Spend some time with the Lenovo ThinkPad X60 Tablet, and you're likely to become a fan of pen-based computing. This update to the company's ultraportable X41 Tablet includes a few key upgrades on the usability front, including a touchscreen display, an improved stylus and the new Active Rotate feature (more on that below).
When it's not folded into a tablet, the ThinkPad X60 Tablet also makes a good ultraportable laptop, with a Core Duo processor and decent-size 80GB hard drive.
You'll have to pay to have the best tablet on the block, though -- the X60 Tablet's price starts at £1,660, and that still doesn't include an external optical drive. But for those who can afford it, the flexible, highly portable ThinkPad X60 Tablet combines the best features of a tablet and a laptop.
Design and Features
Measuring 274mm by 33mm by 267mm, the ThinkPad X60 tablet is nicely sized for using as a laptop or for taking handwritten notes. Its 1.71kg weight is a bit bulkier than its predecessor's, but is lighter than the HP Compaq tc4400. In our experience, the ThinkPad felt light enough to carry around every day and even hold in one arm while taking notes in tablet mode.
Arguably the most innovation on this new ThinkPad tablet can be found on its 12.1-inch XGA display. The touchscreen lets you use your finger or the included stylus to navigate menus -- we appreciated the additional mode of input, especially when we were surfing the Web in tablet mode. The touchscreen's indoor/outdoor viewing capability meant we were able to use the tablet in direct morning sunlight that washed out the displays on other laptops.
Neither of these features are unique to ThinkPads, but the new Active Rotate feature, standard on all ThinkPad X60 Tablets, is a true innovation. Most convertible tablets include a rotate screen button so that users can manually adjust the screen from landscape to portrait mode -- the Active Rotate feature on the X60 Tablet uses the computer's internal accelerometer to detect the tablet's angle and adjust the screen position accordingly. This feature is convenient for showing notes to a colleague or toggling back and forth from note-taking in portrait mode to reading in landscape mode.
Although unusual angles or uneven surfaces can throw off the system, during our tests it almost always aligned correctly. You can disable this feature, and Lenovo also includes a manual screen-rotation button on the display bezel. In addition, you get standard tablet navigation features such as a button that calls up a convenient tablet shortcut menu, power and Esc buttons, a circular four-direction navigation button and a fingerprint reader.