Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 review:

Great features for a Atom tablet, but it'll cost you

An active digitizer stylus is included, and tucks into its own built-in slot on the left edge of the system. Windows 8 was definitely built around finger interaction, not a stylus, but there are cases where it could come in handy, and other than that, it stays out of the way.

The keyboard dock we tested has no additional ports or connections, but a non-keyboard dock is also available, offering three extra USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet jack, and full-size HDMI.

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Atom-powered systems, such as the ThinkPad Tablet 2 or HP Envy X2, are going to be much slower in benchmark tests than Core i5 tablets such as the Surface Pro. It's important to keep this performance difference -- which can be as much as four to five times greater in terms of application speed -- in mind, but it's not necessarily a deal-breaker.

For basic tasks, you may not even notice. The Windows 8 UI works smoothly on Atom systems, as do Microsoft apps, such as IE10, which are clearly optimized for this hardware. Some third-party apps are less consistent. Netflix worked fine, but Google's Chrome Web browser was very stuttery (a problem that a software update could easily fix).

If you're not engaged in moderate-to-heavy multitasking, or trying to run big Photoshop filters or encode video, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 might be just enough machine for you. But I suspect it works better as a secondary or travel computer -- using it on your desk all day, every day, would accentuate the performance limitations.

Battery life is where you see the real advantage of having a tablet with Intel's Atom platform. The system ran for eight hours and 53 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which is a little less than some other Atom tablets we've tested, but not by much. This is iPad-level territory, and Windows 8 is much smarter about sleeping and preserving battery life, so this could be an all-day computer quite easily.

The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 moves up to being my favorite current Atom-powered Windows 8 tablet, on account of its strong industrial design, excellent keyboard dock, and great battery life. I'd still pick up a Surface Pro (or maybe an IdeaPad Yoga) instead for all-day use, and adding the must-have accessories only makes this tablet more expensive than something with this level of hardware should be.

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)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

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System configurations

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

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

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

Acer Iconia W700
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 128MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Toshiba SSD

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 3317U; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; 32MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 4000; 128GB Samsung SSD

What you'll pay

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