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I have buyer’s regret. After spending £2,000 on a Surface Book 2 for its detachable tablet charms, my eye has been swayed by the third-generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet, unveiled at this year’s CES.
It ticks every box bar one, but I’ll come to that later. Fast processor? Absolutely. It supports the eighth-generation Intel Core series, although if you want the last word in power then look away – these are the more power-efficient versions, which are fast but not phenomenal.
Glorious screen? Tick. This 3,000 x 2,000 resolution 13in panel uses IPS technology, with Gorilla Glass protection, and looks fantastic.
It’s also got some strong travel-friendly stats. Even with the keyboard attached, it weighs a reasonable 1.27kg, and Lenovo is promising 9.5 hours of video playback battery life.
There are lots of other nice inclusions too. Twin USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, microSD reader, nano SIM slot, support for up to 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM, and an optional Lenovo Pen Pro that attaches to the side.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen: The keyboard
But it’s the keyboard that’s the true star of the show here. The ThinkPad range has long been praised for the strength of its keyboards, and this is hands down the best “Surface-Pro-style” keyboard I’ve used.
I say Surface-Pro-style because it attaches magnetically and doubles as a cover; the X1 Tablet is, as its name suggests, a tablet first and foremost. But whereas the Surface Type Cover feels like a cover with an integrated keyboard, the X1 Tablet’s equivalent feels like a keyboard that integrates a cover.
What does that mean in practice? To start with, big keys with great travel – just as good as my Surface Book 2’s. There’s also a generously sized touchpad and integrated TrackPoint.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet 3rd Gen: The drawback
In fact, there’s only one area where the Tablet fails and that’s when you want to type on your lap. But that’s inevitable with this style of keyboard: the trouble is that the screen needs a support, which means a kickstand. And although Lenovo’s is both solid and infinitely adjustable, it can’t defeat gravity.
As I said right at the start, I have buyer’s regret. This is a superb tablet that genuinely feels like a laptop with the keyboard attached, and all that power on offer only adds to that impression.
Naturally, it doesn’t come cheap. US prices start at $1,599, and I expect the UK versions to start from £1,499. Will it be worth it? To be certain, I’ll have to wait until I get my hands on a review sample, but it’s already one of The Big Tech Question’s picks of CES 2018.