Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

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    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

    *Updated with 2 new sketches using photoshop touch

    The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet is quite possibly the best purchase currently available for a artist on the go. It is a 10.1inch 1280x800 Android 3.1 tablet (honeycomb) that uses the pressure sensitive N-trig duosense digitizer technology. The pen is optional and will cost an additional $30 on top of $499.99 for the tablet. The N-trig digitizer performs surprisingly well as you will see in the images and videos below.

    As an Android Honeycomb tablet, there are only 4 real apps that truly supports the active digitizer pen. However, despite it's small offering, it is an extremely capable product. The 4 apps I will tell you about in this review is Sketchbook Pro HD (4.99), Picsay Pro (3.99) Note Mobile (Pre-installed), and the just announced Photoshop Touch (9.99).

    Sketchbook Pro HD is identical to the iPad offering. The only difference here is that it now supports N-trig digitizers for Android tablets. Other android tablets like the HTC Flyer and Jetstream also support full pressure sensitivity in Sketchbook Pro HD. If you have used Sketchbook Pro on a standard pc, you will feel right at home with this version.

    Here is a quick sketch done in Sketchbook Pro HD:
    http://db.tt/EYz2e0hW


    Picsay Pro is great for making notes on photos. Picsay pro has a built in camera function and drawing function. Fire up the app, take a photo, then paint over the photo without ever leaving the app. The pro version now supports pressure sensitivity, which equals more control over the things you draw. However, the performance is not as smooth as Sketchbook Pro HD and sometimes your inputs will not be shown.

    Notes Mobile is a pre-installed note taking app for the Lenovo Thinkpad tablet. It has two ways of taking notes. The first is free draw and acts just as it sounds. The second however, is its handwriting to text feature. This feature works flawlessly IF you don't write in cursive.

    Finally, Adobe just announced Photoshop Touch the other day. In their press release there was absolutely no mention of pressure sensitivity. However, after digging through the internets, I came across one person on a forum claiming that pressure sensitivity was supported. This claim was more than enough for me to download and see for myself. Android's refund policy is only 15 minutes, I had to move fast. Once downloaded and installed the first thing I did was go to the brush tool. And low and behold there was the pressure sensitivity option.

    Here is a quick sketch done in Photoshop Touch:
    http://db.tt/bLobesTk

    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review

    Adobe Photoshop Touch is the best sketching and photo editing app you can download. Between Photoshop Touch and Sketchbook Pro HD, Photoshop Touch is the clear winner. It is far more responsive and has a ton of features that you can play around with.

    Video demo of all 4 apps coming soon.
    If you have questions or request, please ask them.

    Last edited by sketchroll; November 17th, 2011 at 11:08 PM.
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    Thanks for your observations and nice sketches.

    I had been wondering about this Lenovo tablet as a decent portable option. How is the system overall? Is it responsive or maybe a little sluggish? I'm seriously considering an HTC Jetstream because the build quality seems higher and I like their Sense UI.

    A few clarifications. The Sketchbook Pro for Android is not the same as the iPad. SKP on iPad is at version 2, whereas Android is version 1. Android version 1 is roughly equivalent to iPad version 1. SKP v2 for iPad is much improved and I hope they bring a similar update to Android.

    SKP on HTC Flyer will not work stock because the Flyer has Android 2.3. SKP requires Android 3.0. When/if the Flyer gets updated to Honeycomb SKP should work with pressure sensitivity.

    There is an app called Quill that is vector based and supports the n-trig pen. I think it's mostly geared toward note taking, but it might work for sketching as well.

    Thanks for your thoughts on PS Touch. I look forward to your video.

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    Nice sketches. I look forward to the video. I would like to see how pressure sensitivity works in Photoshop touch (specifically opacity).

    Edit: Sorry about this second post, originally my first post was eaten, or so I thought. So I decided on a much smaller post here. And now the old/first post has showed up.

    Last edited by munho; November 22nd, 2011 at 03:44 PM. Reason: more info
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    Thanks for the review Sketchroll, I have been seriously looking at the Lenovo for a couple of months now but I keep hoping someone will press Wacom into finally making a 10 inch sensor. I may just go ahead and take the plunge seeing as how no one else is really making one.

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    Yeah, I was looking at the Lenovo and sketchbook pro not having the high res capabilities of the iPad2 didn't make me want to make the switch yet, so I'm thinking I need to wait for the next generation of Android tablets with ice cream sandwich. The stylus looks sweet though, as the fat capacitive stuff is not so much fun.

    The photoshop touch thing looks interesting. Is there an iPad 2 version coming out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sloppybunny View Post
    Yeah, I was looking at the Lenovo and sketchbook pro not having the high res capabilities of the iPad2 didn't make me want to make the switch yet, so I'm thinking I need to wait for the next generation of Android tablets with ice cream sandwich.
    I don't understand...are you saying that Autodesk has a special iPad only version of SBP that has a higher resolution than the Android version or are you saying that the iPad 2 is a higher resolution device?

    If the former, well I cannot say for certain but would not think that is possible.
    If the latter....well you need to do more research.

    The iPad 2's display is 1024x768 while the Lenovo's is 1280x800 and there is less than an inch difference in size.

    Last edited by Penabled; November 24th, 2011 at 07:40 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    I don't understand...are you saying that Autodesk has a special iPad only version of SBP that has a higher resolution than the Android version or are you saying that the iPad 2 is a higher resolution device?

    If the former, well I cannot say for certain but would not think that is possible.
    If the latter....well you need to do more research.

    The iPad 2's display is 1024x768 while the Lenovo's is 1280x800 and there is less than an inch difference in size.
    Sketchbook Pro for the iPad 2 is a bit different. Even though the screen resolution is 1024x768, the canvas size can be 4x that at 2048x1536 (with only 4 layers). This is due to the extra processing power and RAM in the iPad 2.

    There is another app on the iPad called Procreate, where on the iPad 2, supports hi-res (1920x1408) with 16 layers.

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    Much obliged, sketchroll...

    ...your post helped me get off my butt and order one (well, that plus a $500 giftcard, woo!) If my figures are correct, I'll be getting a 16gb Thinkpad tablet, the optional digitizer pen, a Moko tablet case and an HP bluetooth keyboard with a few cents to spare. Or I could've got a basic iPad 2 and...well, not much else. I call that a win!

    One question about Photoshop Touch...I saw something about it using a new file format that's readable by normal Photoshop. Do you know if this format can be read by other graphics programs, like GIMP? Looks like a fun program, but I don't want to spend $$$ for regular PS just to use the files I'd create there...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    I don't understand...are you saying that Autodesk has a special iPad only version of SBP that has a higher resolution than the Android version or are you saying that the iPad 2 is a higher resolution device?

    If the former, well I cannot say for certain but would not think that is possible.
    If the latter....well you need to do more research.

    The iPad 2's display is 1024x768 while the Lenovo's is 1280x800 and there is less than an inch difference in size.
    The former. I looked at the market place for android and sbp is described to have the canvas size resolution, while on ipad2 it's 2048x1536 for max canvas size. If you keep canvas at screen size they give you 10 layers, in hd it's only 4.

    I do like the stylus the Lenovo has. The minute something equivalent of procreate and ink pad are on Android ill dump my iPad. Though photoshop touch might make up for some of it

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    I mean sbp on android, canvas is screen size.

    my sketches, and rants.

    naomiandpoggie.blogspot.com
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    Great sketches and review !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    Thanks for the review Sketchroll, I have been seriously looking at the Lenovo for a couple of months now but I keep hoping someone will press Wacom into finally making a 10 inch sensor. I may just go ahead and take the plunge seeing as how no one else is really making one.

    They already do. Wacom does produce a 10.4 screen with a 3/4 aspect ratio sensor board. (same as Ipad in the 3/4ths sense)

    Problem is that almost every single Android and Windows Tablet Manufacture seems to only want wide screens, like 10.1, etc. Wacoms sensor boards were also pen only, and didn't have the dual digitizer as seen in the 12 inch models.

    However, Wacom is now officially supporting Android. With both the Samsung Galaxy note (5 inch) and the Panasonic Toughbook Tablet (10.4 inch), and hopefully more down the road.

    And to also point out, The Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet uses an N-trig pen. Certainly useful and better then the Ipads Foam stylus's, but still not up to Wacom level.

    N-trigs Pen solution for Android is also App exlusive. You can't navigate the Android OS using the N-trig pen, only apps that intend for its use can use it.

    Now with Wacom's solution as seen by all the Galaxy note videos, the Pen seems to work thruout the entire operating system, and is not App exclusive as N-trigs is. I find that to be a pretty significant difference.

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    "N-trigs Pen solution for Android is also App exlusive. You can't navigate the Android OS using the N-trig pen, only apps that intend for its use can use it."

    Incorrect, it works system wide. I have a Thinkpad Tablet. This is however true of the HTC Flyer. I don't know about the Jetstream or upcoming Quattro.

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    Thank you vijil, I wasn't aware that N-trig changed that. I have yet to see the Thinkpad tablet in the wild, so I was under the assumption that it had to same restrictions as the flyer. Sucks for Flyer users however. But on the thinkpad tablet, between the different note/art/sketching apps, do all of them have pressure? Or do only specific apps like Skethbook Pro, etc register pressure?

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    @ darkmagistric

    It is only specific apps. These apps all have pressure: Sketchbook Pro HD, Photoshop Touch, Quill, Notesmobile, Picsay Pro. There may be more, but I've only tested these.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darkmagistric View Post
    Thank you vijil, I wasn't aware that N-trig changed that. I have yet to see the Thinkpad tablet in the wild, so I was under the assumption that it had to same restrictions as the flyer. Sucks for Flyer users however. But on the thinkpad tablet, between the different note/art/sketching apps, do all of them have pressure? Or do only specific apps like Skethbook Pro, etc register pressure?
    I have a flyer with a leaked version of Honeycomb and the pen works everywhere. Some apps like Photoshop Touch won't work because the flyer has a lower screen resolution. But Sketchbook Pro is ace on the Flyer now.

    Edit: It's also worth noting that Photoshop Touch does not have pressure sensitivity with either the HTC Jetstream or Flyer. It has something to do with how it was implemented I think, but it doesn't work on either device.

    Last edited by munho; November 27th, 2011 at 10:47 AM. Reason: added info
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    That's a shame munho...I was rather hoping the Jetstream would be fully functional as I do like it's design over the slab-like, squared off Lenovo. More so since HTC was really the first ones to bring back the whole idea of using a pen with these things yet their implementation was just horrible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Penabled View Post
    That's a shame munho...I was rather hoping the Jetstream would be fully functional as I do like it's design over the slab-like, squared off Lenovo. More so since HTC was really the first ones to bring back the whole idea of using a pen with these things yet their implementation was just horrible.
    Let me clarify my statement, I don't think it's HTC's fault that PS Touch pressure sensitivity doesn't work, I think it's Adobe's, but I'm not certain. Pressure sensitivity works well in Sketchbook Pro and Quill.

    HTC makes a mean device that's for sure and the Jetstream "should" be a beast of a system, but it's not. I believe it's crippled by the bloatware of AT&T, as well as a poor implementation of HTC's sense modification of Android Honeycomb.

    I've actually been impressed with the N-trig digitizer. I think it works well. It doesn't work nearly as well as Wacom, but it's better than using a sausage finger As of yet, there really hasn't been any of these smaller slate devices (Android/iOS) with Wacom. I think the future is bright, but the present is still full of compromise.

    I ended up returning the Jetstream because I couldn't justify the price for such a crippled device.

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    Hello! I'm eying a purchase of a moderately priced sketch-tablet-on-the-go and have been looking specifically at the Thinkpad Tablet. I did see that the HTC Flyer just got a Honeycomb update though, and if I remember correctly, that brings pressure sensitivity to it. The Flyer is cheaper as well, though it's 3 inches smaller. I had looked at low-end tablet pc's, but their battery life and thicker/heavier size, along with their higher price is sort of putting me off. I'm kind of going out of my head trying to figure out what to get. Anyone have any experiences with Thinkpad Tablet vs. HTC Flyer, or any other options? (I also saw the Jetstream, but it's pretty darn pricey, and it's through AT&T only, bleh.) Thanks!

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    I also forgot to ask about the HP Slate 500. those are pretty affordable as well.

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    HTC FLYER

    Quote Originally Posted by Featherbeard View Post
    Anyone have any experiences with Thinkpad Tablet vs. HTC Flyer, or any other options? (I also saw the Jetstream, but it's pretty darn pricey, and it's through AT&T only, bleh.) Thanks!
    I have a 16GB WiFi Flyer (Best Buy) and am very anxiously waiting for the Honeycomb upgrade. I will definitely post a review using SBP and probably Photoshop Touch when this happens. I really like the Flyer... great hardware, really lousy use of the stylus even while they bragged on its utility. The Note app is handy but the crayola colors and pens are an insult... no opacity, no mixing of colors, and very annoying and slow auto-saves (lessened with the addion of 32GB microSD).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Featherbeard View Post
    The Flyer is cheaper as well, though it's 3 inches smaller. I had looked at low-end tablet pc's, but their battery life and thicker/heavier size, along with their higher price is sort of putting me off. I'm kind of going out of my head trying to figure out what to get.
    Low-end tablet pc's are thicker/heavier no doubt, and the battery life won't get you away from an outlet for very long. But they might make up for it in savings. I picked up a Motion LE1600 off Ebay for less than $250, and that was with Win7 and Office 2010. Pair that with a 7" Nook Color (rooted, of course) and a copy of Sketchbook Mobile and you've got a pretty good sketch-on-the go, finish-at-home setup that's actually less than the Thinkpad Tablet.

    Just sayin'...

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    Thanks for the reply! I ended up getting a very good deal on a 64gb HP Slate 500. I mostly went with it because of Windows 8 coming out soon, reading about how lovely it works on it, and I can use Artrage and Photoshop (admittedly not very well). I couldn't pass up the amazing ebay deal though on a fully warrantied refurb! I don't know how fast it is in comparison to the Flyer or the Lenovo, but it seems pretty zippy!

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    Fyi......The HP Slate 500 was the first tablet to employ N-trigs digitial pencil tech....and because of that, its also the worst. Photoshop is a mess on the Slate. CS3 is barley usable on it. CS4 & CS5 Forget it.

    Art Rage and Sketchbook Pro will both run fine. the biggest issue you might have is the pen itself. Its not as comfortable to hold as a wacom pen (all metal), has no eraser, the hovering/tracking accuracy is pretty badly off (not so much an issue on cursorless Android Platforms), and the because of the construction of the pen tip..its loud. Constant clanking with a very unnerving glass on glass sound and feel.

    And the thing about Windows 8....alot of us early adopters are concerned because the HP Slate's resolution is touted to not be supported in Windows 8. I have the developers build of Windows 8 installed on my Slate, and all though it works fairly well, the whole Metro element won't run at the default res. You have to bump up the res which distorts the screen. Not sure if Microsoft announced any changes or not to that, but last I heard, the Slate 500 was not going to be too windows 8 friendly.

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    Thanks for the reply! I'm having a hardware issue with the slate I purchased, and am probably going to return it. Do you think the Thinkpad Tablet would be a good alternative for a compact digital sketchpad?

    Quote Originally Posted by darkmagistric View Post
    Fyi......The HP Slate 500 was the first tablet to employ N-trigs digitial pencil tech....and because of that, its also the worst. Photoshop is a mess on the Slate. CS3 is barley usable on it. CS4 & CS5 Forget it.

    Art Rage and Sketchbook Pro will both run fine. the biggest issue you might have is the pen itself. Its not as comfortable to hold as a wacom pen (all metal), has no eraser, the hovering/tracking accuracy is pretty badly off (not so much an issue on cursorless Android Platforms), and the because of the construction of the pen tip..its loud. Constant clanking with a very unnerving glass on glass sound and feel.

    And the thing about Windows 8....alot of us early adopters are concerned because the HP Slate's resolution is touted to not be supported in Windows 8. I have the developers build of Windows 8 installed on my Slate, and all though it works fairly well, the whole Metro element won't run at the default res. You have to bump up the res which distorts the screen. Not sure if Microsoft announced any changes or not to that, but last I heard, the Slate 500 was not going to be too windows 8 friendly.


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    Hi everyone. Just got one of these and I'm surprised at how useful it is as a Sketchbook replacement. Dida little review of it on my site.

    http://surfacenormal.com/wp/?p=545

    My only gripes are that it could use better palm rejection (I use a glove), and also a bit more processor speed.

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    Just glanced over it real quick...nice review there Surface...and I am now a proud and satisfied owner of a Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet. Bought it as a Christmas gift for myself...sorta, basically I have been saving up for something ever since the HTC Flyer hit shelves...I did buy one and tried it out for two days but the implementation of the pen was very nearly useless for anything other than notes and crude pie charts. I returned it and saved my money for a while.

    As stated earlier the pen works everywhere on the Lenovo and while I am happy with my purchase...I'll be happier still when the Android 4 update is released, sadly I have noticed a few bugs but all easily overlooked for the pen's utility.

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    I just ordered one of these, I like the idea of being able to sketch something digitally almost anywhere, my biggest concern is lag and the palm rejection issues noted.

    Would like to see some colored/painted examples or finished work done on the tablet..

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    Question

    Er... sorry? Why did you copy and paste my own post back in..? I'm confused.

    Quote Originally Posted by Graci33rt View Post
    Thanks for the reply! I'm having a hardware issue with the slate I purchased, and am probably going to return it. Do you think the Thinkpad Tablet would be a good alternative for a compact digital sketchpad?Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review
    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review
    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review
    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet Review


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    Quote Originally Posted by chaburchak View Post
    Low-end tablet pc's are thicker/heavier no doubt, and the battery life won't get you away from an outlet for very long. But they might make up for it in savings. I picked up a Motion LE1600 off Ebay for less than $250, and that was with Win7 and Office 2010. Pair that with a 7" Nook Color (rooted, of course) and a copy of Sketchbook Mobile and you've got a pretty good sketch-on-the go, finish-at-home setup that's actually less than the Thinkpad Tablet.

    Just sayin'...
    How's the responsiveness of LE1600? Most modern tablets I tried were laggy.

    I found this comment on youtube and they claimed there was no lag

    "We use it with Manga Studio EX ($150) for graphic novels and book illustrations, and the performance is simply fantastic, for only $300+. LE1600/1700 are great replacements for any tablet PC for artists, incl. the great Wacom Cintiq 12WX ($999). The trick is in the Win XP Tablet Edition, which isn't as RAM-hungry as Vista or Win 7. Only with 1.5 GB and 30 GB hard drive, it works like a rocket and never lags the cursor movements at drawing or crosshatching."

    Would you recommend a dual core LE1700 over a single 1600? I plan to use SAI on it.

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