The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet offers something different: upgradability. This is achieved through a series of plugin modules that add features as and when you need them.
Lenovo could send only one of these to test – the Productivity Module. Its key skill is to boost the X1 Tablet’s ten-hour battery life, but it also has a series of extra ports: one USB 3, Lenovo’s proprietary OneLink+ connector and a full-sized HDMI video output, to complement the USB 3, mini-DisplayPort and USB Type-C ports around the edges of the tablet itself.
In tandem with the keyboard – which connects in a similar fashion to the detachable keyboard found on Microsoft’s Surface products – this turns the ThinkPad X1 Tablet into a portable workhorse. With the Productivity Module clipped to the bottom and the keyboard attached to its front, the tablet is heavier and thicker than the Surface Pro 4 by quite a large margin, but its stamina is more fitting for a device designed for office use.
In typical ThinkPad fashion, the quality of the keyboard is excellent. The keys have a soft, cushioned action that gives it a great touch-typing feel and there’s loads of travel (1.35mm per keystroke to be precise). There’s also plenty of space between each key, so typos are kept to a minimum, and the touchpad is good, with a smooth top and a responsive action. It’s light and slim, too. Adding the keyboard increases the weight from 725g to 1.1kg, while it measures 14.2mm thick with the keyboard and 8.6mm without. And I do like the inclusion of a fingerprint reader. Embedded in the front-right bezel, next to the screen, this can be used to unlock the tablet in a trice – a quick dab of your thumb is all that’s required – without having to type a password.