Hands on with Lenovo's redesigned ThinkPad X1 Tablet

Earlier this week at CES, Lenovo refreshed its lineup of flagship ThinkPad X1 PCs, introducing the second-generation X1 Tablet. Unlike the X1 Yoga, which is a convertible, the Tablet has a detachable keyboard.

Last year's ThinkPad X1 Tablet had its limitations, all of which have been resolved this time around. For example, the first-generation model had an Intel Y-series Core processor, which offered limited performance. This year, Lenovo went all-in with an eighth-generation U-series chip.

To be clear, not only is the U-series more powerful than the Y-series in general, but the eighth-generation chips are quad-core now, meaning that they even pack a much larger punch than the seventh-gen processors. This all boils down to a massive performance increase for the X1 Tablet.

Another issue that I had with last year's model was the kickstand. It was this weird design where it folded down from the device, and because of this, you couldn't lean the display too far back and it didn't feel stable enough to be lappable.

This has been fixed with a regular kickstand, similar to what you'd find on other tablets like the Surface Pro.

Now, you can place the display at any angle that you want.

The display is larger as well, with a higher resolution. The 12-inch 2160x1440 screen has been replaced with a 13-inch 3000x2000 display, keeping the 3:2 aspect ratio. It includes HDR as well, meaning that when you stream video, the color and contrast can change dynamically according to the film's metadata.

The way that the pen is stored has changed, and I'm not sure that I'm on-board with this. Last year's X1 Tablet had a pen loop that was attached to the keyboard. Now, there's a holster that attaches to the side of the device. In theory, it makes sense. There's a dedicated slot to attach the clip to, so you don't have to stick it in a USB Type-A port like some other OEMs do, and magnetic attachments often fall off.

The thing that bothers me is that this blocks the volume rocker on the side. It just doesn't seem practical to place the volume rocker there when it's going to be blocked.

There are some minor design changes as well, such as the color being a deeper black, and the new X1 logo.

Unfortunately, there's no IR camera for Windows Hello. Instead, Lenovo stuck with the fingerprint reader, which can tend to make sense on a tablet.

As I expect from ThinkPad keyboards, this one is comfortable to type on. The keys travel a full 1.5mm, which is kind of rare on an attachable keyboard cover.

I think that the biggest news around this device is what can't be shown in photos: performance. Considering the price points that ThinkPads reside at, a Y-series processor just made it seem like it wasn't a viable option. With an eighth-generation U-series chip, the ThinkPad X1 Tablet has the power of a full ultrabook.

Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Tablet will be available in March, starting at $1,599.

Neowin is at CES to bring you all the coverage from the show floor, click here for other articles.

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