on 20 May 2014
If you need a tablet for serious work with Windows software then this does fit the bill. Especially if doing graphics or some development work having the full HD screen is very handy. It does however have a fair few limitations and one has to be aware of those from the outset.
Firstly, if your using traditional windows software you simply have to get a good keyboard and mouse. This instantly means that your setup is a fair bit heaver and less stream lined than first appearances and obviously more consuming of space in your bag.
Lenovo haven't helped much in this department as for some totally bizarre reason they have decided not to make a specific keyboard for the Thinkpad8 or hardly any other accessories. They exist for their other tablets, yet for some reason I can't imagine they seemed to decide that this more powerful tablet that will clearly be aimed at business users doesn't need something as fundamental as its own keyboard. You can apparently use the Thinkpad 2 Bluetooth keyboard but its incredibly expensive and has no alterable viewing angle which I found horrible in theory.
Secondly I wish it had more RAM. Using certain software even though this is a real PC just isn't going to work due to that limitation. An example I had was Photoshop. I wasn't editing large files at all but due to how some of the plugins Adobe make are written they easy exhaust available RAM and seem to not support using swap space. I'd actually never seen some of the built in PS plugins produce RAM errors before but then I guess I haven't been relegated to 2GB for a fairly long time. I know PS is pretty demanding but still thought I would mention.
Onto the screen; It does test your eyes a fair bit due to the combination of high resolution and small 8" form factor when using the Windows Desktop and traditional software. Pretty much everyone that has seen me use it has commented on how tiny it looks. I was of course aware this would likely be the case so it wasn't a shock.
The problems of readability with content in the normal windows environment can be alleviated to some degree by customising the windows theme and enlarging fonts. However current Windows 8 doesn't seem as flexible as I remember it to be in this regards. Many of my programs still seemed to be using fixed sized type and I have a lot of software with large type on menus and places that seem to use the Windows font settings as a guide, mixed with other areas of text that are tiny and seem to totally ignore any windows size setting.
Something I could never have predicted being an issue that is is the fact that the device is only chargeable via USB. What this means is that the capacity to charge the device is really quite limited and slow. The main problem is that if you start using the device with very little power left in it and then plug it in to charge its possible when doing demanding things that the device still uses more battery faster than it is being charged! Eventually you run down to the final few percent of the battery and it just dies and cuts out. Your then left with no option but to put away and charge for an hour or two at least.
This left me in some very frustrating situations recently when I had promised work by certain deadlines when travelling and was then left with a device I couldn't use. This kind of problem is not possible with a laptop or any device that takes a direct power feed.
Ultimately, if you need a REAL computer in a tiny form this does fit the bill although there isn't much choice on the market in the 8" tablet range for a good power users 8" tablet with high res screen. Due to my normal demanding desktop usage this tablet was never going to blow me away due to its limited hardware. The issues I've had though could largely be alleviated with another gig or two of RAM and just a little more consideration on Lenovo's part in relation to accessories and how to charge the device.