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Lenovo ThinkPad X200t 12.1in Tablet PC - Lenovo ThinkPad X200t
Tablet PCs, given their specialised nature, rarely come cheap and the X200t is no exception. There's only one configuration available in the UK and it's on sale for around £1,400 from online retailers or £1,500 from Lenovo directly. For this money, though, you do get a very well specified machine featuring every component you're likely to need when working on the move. Unsurprisingly this means integrated HSDPA for which an antenna is attached to the top of the screen, as well as the usual stalwarts like Draft-N Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There's also a Trusted Platform Module and an accompanying fingerprint reader for secure authentication and encryption of data, while this machine is vPro certified so can be easily integrated into an existing infrastructure that uses Intel's management systems.
Unlike the X200, on which the X200t is based, the X200t doesn't use a full-power Core 2 Duo processor, instead opting for a more frugal low-voltage dual-core SL9400 running at 1.86GHz. This strikes a nice balance between performance and power saving, since it consumes only 17W at peak, but delivers a little more processing grunt than the arguably more common ultra-low voltage CPUs.
Accompanying this is 2GB of 1,066MHz DDR3 RAM, which is more than enough for the likely usage, and a 5,400rpm 250GB hard drive. There's no option for an SSD in the X200t as yet, but the standard mechanical drive does feature a free-fall sensor and combined with the sturdy and well designed chassis it should remain safe in event of a fall.
As a business machine it's no surprise to see Intel's limited, but basically sound, integrated 4500M HD graphics. This helps keep the weight down, as well as enhancing battery life, while the lack of an integrated optical drive and the relatively low-capacity four-cell, 28 Watt-hour battery lead to a manageable 1.7kg overall weight. Clearly dedicated ultra-portables can boast more supermodel-like weights, but the added complexity of a convertible hinge and significantly thicker touch-sensitive screen account for a great deal.
As for the screen itself it primarily uses a supplied digitiser pen for input and though Lenovo also advertises it as finger friendly, we found it to be anything but. Though you can use your finger, it often requires unrealistically hard stabs to make it effective and the small icons that still make up the majority of Windows' UI are more or less impossible to use. This is a particular disappointment given how the Dell Latitude XT, which uses a capacitive screen similar to the iPhone, proved it is possible to make a Tablet PC that can be used effectively with just a finger,
Thankfully, with the provided digitiser pen things are far better. Handwriting recognition is excellent, while the pen features a tactile soft-touch finish and is nicely balanced for excellent handling. Moreover, though the ability to use one's finger from time-to-time would be appreciated, it's the digitiser that will be doing most of the work and here the screen proves itself to be accurate and responsive. Like any good Tablet PC the screen orientation also changes automatically when switching to tablet mode, while there are dedicated buttons for power and screen orientation to the left of the hinge. Also, either side of the hinge, are microphones that in tandem with the webcam and integrated HSDPA mean you could conduct business 'face-to-face' (as it were) from almost anywhere.