While Microsoft is rumored to be prepping a 64-bit Surface tablet based on Atom silicon, Lenovo has already announced one. The new ThinkPad 10 is coming in June, and it will reportedly feature a quad-core Bay Trail chip paired with up to 4GB of RAM and the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1. The tablet is encased in an aluminum chassis, the screen is covered by a protective layer of Gorilla Glass, the battery promises 10 hours or run time, and the docking connector mates with multiple accessories. Sounds good, no?
Lenovo hasn’t posted the full specifications online, and there’s some disagreement in the reports posted around the web. For example, Engadget says the 10" screen has a 1920×1200 resolution, while Paul Thurrot’s Supersite for Windows claims it’s a 1080p unit. Either way, you’re getting a nice step up from the 1366×768 resolution that plagues all too many Atom-based tablets. A stylus is in the cards, too, and PC World suggests that it’s based on Wacom digitizer tech.
The Lenovo press release is a little short on specifics, but according to Thurrot, Intel’s Atom Z3795 SoC provides the horsepower. This chip has a 1.59GHz base clock and a 2.39GHz Burst frequency, making it similar to the old Z3770. It’s unclear whether the Z3795 will be the only CPU option. Versions of the ThinkPad 10 will reportedly be available with 2-4GB of memory and 64-128GB of flash storage, though. More storage can be added via the microSD slot, and there are mini-sized USB 2.0 and HDMI ports onboard.
Now, the ThinkPad 10 isn’t just a tablet. The slate slides into a $129 "Ultrabook full sized keyboard" that turns the machine into a lap-friendly hybrid. This dock has a wide touchpad and nice-looking keys, but I don’t see any additional USB ports. It looks like the angle of the screen may be fixed, as well.
A second keyboard accessory will be available for $119. This one loosely resembles Microsoft’s Surface Touch Cover, so it’s probably not as good for sustained typing. Lenovo is also prepping a $119 docking station equipped with three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI output, and a wired Ethernet jack. The tablet itself will start at $599.
As someone who has been pining for an upscale Atom convertible ever since Windows 8 debuted, I’m particularly intrigued by the ThinkPad 10. If the build quality and keyboard are up to ThinkPad standards, this could be my next ultraportable.