Initial Impressions and Hands On: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (Gen 2) 2-in-1

The next device in my stable for testing is the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (Generation 2).

This is a Microsoft Signature device which means it arrives without any extra stuff installed all over it, outside of the standard Lenovo Settings and Companion apps which are not intrusive, and help you easily get driver, BIOS, and other system updates.

One of the first things you notice about the ThinkPad X1 Tablet is that it employs a different style of kickstand compared to most 2-in-1 devices in this category.

Previously, I have been testing the Lenovo Miix-720 2-in-1 which has proven to be a solid option in this category. The Miix-720 has what I would call a traditional kickstand in that it pushes out from the base of the tablet and extends to create a solid base. In order to close this stand you must pull the base back into the tablet itself.

However, when you compare that to the ThinkPad X1 Tablet and its different style of stand, I believe the Miix-720 implementation is better.

On the X1 Tablet the kickstand pops out from the back of the tablet when you trigger a small slider switch on the left side of the device. Once it is open you then use your thumbs/fingers to push the stand out from the top, it is hinged at the bottom of the device, to a near flat position that stands the X1 up just short of 90 degrees.

When you use most 2-in-1 devices you would push on the front top of the tablet to open the kickstand further and change the screen's angle. On the X1, pushing from the top of the tablet in the same manner results in the stand closing. It has good friction for holding the screen at an angle but when you push it down to around 40-45 degrees the friction frees up and the kickstand closes suddenly. If you are not ready for it the tablet will go flat against whatever surface you have it on and while your lap is usually cushioned and catches the X1 without issue, closing like this on a solid surface like a desk would cause a solid thunk as the tablet closes.

I bring this up because it is a departure from what most of us are used to when it comes to these 2-in-1 devices. I am also sure once you build up the muscle memory that you will develop the habit of lifting the device up into your hands and snapping the kickstand closed. If the X1 is your first 2-in-1 then you have no old habits to fall back into when it comes to closing the kickstand.

Lenovo also managed to deliver a great keyboard for the X1 that includes the familiar ThinkPad trackpad, buttons, and red nub for moving your mouse around the screen. They also decided to use the precision trackpad drivers in Windows 10 so you get full access to the gestures for working in the operating system. The keyboard includes a pen loop for holding onto the included stylus for Inking on the device.

Note: The detachable keyboards that come with the Miix-720 and X1 Tablet are not interchangeable as they have different connectors.

The X1 also includes a Windows Hello compatible Fingerprint Reader that is located in the spot where you would normally see the Windows Logo/Button on most devices - on the right hand side and centered when they keyboard is attached. What I love about this peripheral is that if you are using the device as a tablet without the keyboard you can still login with your fingerprint in any orientation despite only registering your fingerprint in one specific layout.

According to Lenovo the X1 Tablet is built so that many elements including the battery, wireless card, and storage drive can be serviced by removing the rear cover. This is pretty amazing for a pure tablet because so many use adhesives to secure everything in place.

The X1 Tablet comes with a pretty standard set of port and connections and like the Miix-720 it uses USB Type-C (3.1) for charging.

Here is a rundown of those connections:

-- USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C)
-- USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-A)
-- Mini DisplayPort
-- Headphone/Microphone Combo
-- Kensington Lock
-- Micro-SD Card Slot (Behind kickstand; Supports up to 64GB

The review device has these unit specs:

-- Core i5 1.2GHz (7th Generation)
-- Intel HD 615 Graphics
-- 2 x 4GB DDR3 RAM
-- 12 inch display (2160x1440)
-- 256GB Storage Drive
-- Dual-Band Wireless-AC and Bluetooth 4.1
-- Front Camera 2MP with Fixed Focus; Rear Camera 8MP, Auto-Focus, Flash LED
-- TPM 2.0 Chip
-- 37 watt-hour battery

The case material is a hybrid of Magnesium and Polycarbonate Glass Fiber and the dimensions are:

11.48" x 8.25" x 0.34"; 291.5mm x 209.5mm x 8.45mm; Weight starts at 1.69 lbs

Stay tuned for my full hands about this device after I have a couple of solid weeks of experience with it.

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