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Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx review:

An Atom hybrid that blends into the background

Connections, performance, and battery life
The Lynx falls victim to the same problems as many other Atom tablets. It eschews full-size ports and connections in favor of micro versions, which are frankly not terribly useful for everyday consumers, who rarely have a Micro-USB-to-USB dongle with them, or a microSD card. You'll end up carrying around a pocket full of adapters and cables, which runs counter to the portable nature of a lightweight tablet. The keyboard dock adds a couple of full-size USB ports, but they are of the older 2.0 variety, not the faster USB 3.0 you'll find in an Intel Core i-series device.

The performance of all the Atom-powered Windows 8 tablets and hybrids we've tested has been similar, and surprisingly good for everyday use (at least for anyone who remembers how slow Atom-powered netbooks were). That's because so much of what we do on laptops and tablets these days is cloud-based, such as online video streaming, e-mail, and social media -- and also because Microsoft has done an excellent job making sure the Windows 8 UI and native apps run smoothly even with an Atom CPU. IE10 and Netflix are two examples of apps that look and work better than one might expect.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The big advantage these Atom tablets have over their more expensive Core i5/i7 cousins is in battery life. The low-power CPU is very efficient, and the Lynx ran for 7 hours and 32 minutes on our video playback battery drain test. That's using the internal tablet screen battery -- we're currently testing the system with the additional keyboard dock battery and will update this review when we have those results.

The Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx is a perfectly workable Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet, and has a better-than-average optional keyboard dock to form a quasi-clamshell package that works well as a laptop. But, starting at $649 for a plastic case and micro-style ports, it's hard not to either comparison shop down to Dell's Atom-powered Latitude 10, which starts at only $499, or slightly up to to Lenovo's own ThinkPad Tablet 2, which offers a great relative value starting at $30 more, and includes a full-size USB port, better construction and design, and dual front-and-back Webcams.

Unless I absolutely needed an 11-inch screen over a 10-inch one (and I can't imagine why I would), that extra $30 for the ThinkPad version represents a smart investment.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Load test (average watts)

System configurations
Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 737MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB MMC SSD

Asus VivoTab Smart
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 725MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB SSD

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 737MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB MMC SSD

Dell Latitude 10
Windows 8 (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 747MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB MMC SSD

Acer Iconia W510P-1406
Windows 8 Pro (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 747MB (Total) Intel GMA; 64GB SEM64G SSD

Microsoft Surface Pro
Windows 8 Pro (64-bit); 1.7GHz IntelCore i5; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Sharedl) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Micron SSD

What you'll pay

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