The low-cost, mid-range smaller than 10-inch Windows tablet market is starting to fill up, what with Asus, Acer, Toshiba, Dell and Lenovo all tackling it, but might there be room under the sun for a higher-end contender too?
We shall see soon enough, as Lenovo has just taken the wraps off the ThinkPad 8 at CES in Las Vegas. The slate runs full Windows 8.1 out the box and steps things up pretty much in every department compared to its distant cousin, the Miix 2 8-inch.
The first thing you’re bound to notice is the fresh 8-incher’s striking design, complete with a premium aluminum chassis, slim bezels and an overall uber-elegant industrial vibe. Moving on to the hardware, the ThinkPad 8 packs Intel Bay Trail heat, which at first may sound rather unremarkable.
However, the SoC running the show here is an Intel Atom Z3770, capable of speeds up to 2.4 GHz in burst mode. To our knowledge, no other 8-incher comes with the chip in tow, just a number of larger fellows, like the Dell Venue 11 Pro or HP Omni 10.
And we’re only getting started with ThinkPad’s top-notch hardware, as the tiny screen boasts 1,920 x 1,200 pixels resolution. Then you get 2 GB RAM for smooth as silk multitasking, HDMI connectivity, 8 MP/2.2 MP cameras and, get this, up to 128 GB of built-in storage.
The Achilles’ heel appears to be the lack of a microSD card slot, but on the bright side Lenovo has committed to releasing the slate with a range of optional accessories, aiding it to achieve its full potential and convert into a full-blown Win 8-powered laptop.
Pricing is to start at $399 in late January, with “Topseller” models going for $429 and up. What does that exactly mean? The details are murky, so let’s wait and see how much will each configuration cost and what they’ll specifically offer.