Lenovo IdeaTab Lynx review: first look

24 Oct 2012
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Lenovo-IdeaTab-Lynx_thumb.jpg

With two days to go until the Windows 8 launch, we’ve enjoyed an hour or two with all Lenovo’s new devices: and the IdeaTab Lynx promises “the ultimate flexibility between work and play”. So can it deliver?

The design is fundamentally similar to the Asus Transformer Prime, with all the intelligence packed into the tablet but an optional keyboard base for when you need to get some work done.

This has the extra advantage of bosting the battery life from eight hours for the tablet on its own to 16 hours, plus it includes two USB 2.0 ports (the tablet itself offers micro-USB, micro-HDMI and microSD).

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Lenovo has decided to sell the Lynx as a tablet with the base an option, which is a shame: without it, there’s nothing obvious to distinguish it from the cluster of Windows 8 tablets.

For example, while the 11.6in screen uses IPS technology – and has the viewing angles we’d expect because of it – its resolution of 1,366 x 768 is commonplace. We also found it to be a little grainier than we’d ideally like, although this effect is less noticeable if you push the screen up to its full 400 nit brightness.

It’s a multi-touch screen with five points rather than the ten of its larger sister, the Yoga 13, but that isn’t a big issue for a small-screen machine. After all, there’s barely room to lay two hands on a screen this size.

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The keyboard is a decent compromise between girth and usability, with enough travel on the keys to give touch typists something to respond to. That said, if you think you’re going to be using the keyboard frequently then you should consider a convertible tablet – it will be more comfortable to use for long periods of time.

The advantage is that, when you are in tablet mode, it’s light. According to Lenovo it weighs 640g, which increase to 1.3kg with the dock. Certainly we’d be happy to use it one-handed for a good length of time.

We have more mixed feelings about the design. The grey colouring is a little subdued, but the honeycomb pattern feels nice when you’re holding it.

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As with all the Windows 8 tablets we’ve used – and note the IdeaTab Lynx runs Windows 8 rather than Windows 8 RT, so you don’t get Office 2013 bundled but you can install your own desktop software – it’s nippy. This is despite it using a dual-core Atom processor and 2GB of memory.

We don’t yet have UK prices, but in the US the 32GB version of the Lynx will cost $599 for the tablet and $149 for the base. With the likes of Asus being more competitive on pricing, we suspect Lenovo will have to drop down to make an impact with the Lynx.

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