Lenovo X201 Tablet PC - First Impressions

So the Lenovo X201 Tablet PC that I ordered on 6 May arrived rather unexpectedly on Monday, 17 May…the day after I wrote that its expected delivery date was anything from 18 to 28 May.

This was doubly unexpected because others around the world have reported that it’s taken them 3-4 weeks to get their X201 tablets. Mine, luckily, left the factory six days after I placed the order and took only four business days for delivery (since it weighs less than 5kg).

Not that the Lenovo website told me any of this: The package arrived before the website’s order tracking page had even been updated with the DHL tracking number!

System Specifications

Let’s start with the system specs:

  • Intel Core i7-620 processor (2.00GHz, 4MB L3, 1066MHz)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 12.1” multi-touch display (two finger touch & Wacom pen)
  • 4GB RAM (DDR3)
  • 500GB hard disk (7,200RPM)
  • Intel Centrino Ultimate N-6300 wireless adapter
  • Integrated mobile broadband modem (3G WWAN)
  • Fingerprint reader, integrated camera (2MP), 5-in-1 media card reader, Bluetooth adapter
  • 8 cell battery
  • Upgrade to 3 years warranty

This what it looks like:

Ameel's Lenovo X201 Tablet PC

I’ll post more photos and some video of it over the comings weeks.

So, What do I Think of It?

It’s awesome.

I don’t have the time right now to explain just how awesome it is so here are some quick thoughts:

  • It looks really good – simultaneously sleek, sexy, and businesslike – and feels strong and solid to hold and carry around.
  • It runs really fast (I did get to spec it out nicely) and the screen is excellent.
  • I love the keyboard, though the palm rest area in front of it is a little narrow.
  • I like having both the track pad (which is tiny, though usable) and track stick (which is great for scrolling down pages) available. That said, I did also buy a Lenovo Bluetooth mouse for when I’m doing fiddly, precise stuff on the laptop (like image editing) while sitting at my desk. That external mouse is great, but is a little loud with the clicking.
  • Both the two-finger touch and pen interfaces are fabulous. They do, however, take a while to get good at since you have calibrate them to your writing and touching styles.
  • Using Windows 7 with touch (both finger and pen) is really fun, easy, and intuitive.
  • The speakers are tiny, but surprisingly loud and usable at a pinch.
  • I’ve found some of Lenovo’s software ‘enhancements’ to be a little irritating because they replace Windows functionality that works just fine and I know really well with something I had to learn, set up, and then get used to. For example, the Windows wireless connections interface has been replaced by Lenovo’s Access Connections software. I could uninstall this, of course, but now that I’ve learnt how to use it and have set it up properly, I can ignore it.
  • Finally, as mentioned in various forums, I did have to upgrade the system’s BIOS because, after its first charge-discharge cycle the battery wasn’t charging beyond 45%.

How Are You Using It?

Since the X201t arrived earlier than expected – that, too, in the middle of a really busy week at work – I haven’t had much time to play with it, explore it as thoroughly as I would like, or put it through its paces (like editing HD video on it, for example).

It has already become part of my daily work life, though:

  • I take notes on it at meetings
  • I use it to work away from my desk (without having to undock my existing work laptop from my dual monitor setup, which is a real pain)
  • I annotate documents with it

More broadly, I have started to collect and centralize my work and home lives into OneNote on it.

Before I start using it at it fullest potential, though, I need to do some housekeeping. Specifically:

  • I need to install some more software on it. I’ve got the basics done but need to add a few more things.
  • I need to upgrade my desktop PC from Windows Vista to Windows 7. That’ll make it easier for me to sync files across the two computers. This I started today (by manually backing-up all my desktop data onto my tablet PC) and will finish tomorrow (by doing a clean install of the desktop’s OS).
  • I need to explore Windows 7 properly.
  • I need to scan all my paper documents.

All that will happen in good time (particularly the last bit). For now, though, I’m having a blast using it and will keep you updated as it becomes a more central part of my life.

Oh, one thing, though: Using it to read e-mails and check my RSS feed subscriptions (using Gmail and Google Reader, respectively) is brilliant!