Hands-on: Lenovo ThinkPad 8 review

Lenovo has launched a new Windows 8.1 tablet at CES in Las Vegas for those who want something akin to the Surface, but in a smaller 8.3-inch form factor.

The new tablet - which we've already had a play with at a pre-show unveiling - will be coming to the US at the end of this month and the UK in the coming months in both Wi-Fi and LTE variants. The device features a 2.4GHz Intel Atom Bay Trail processor that should deliver a promised eight hours of battery life from a single charge.

Lenovo has kitted out the ThinkPad 8 with a 1980 x 1200 display, 2GB of RAM, up to 128GB of Flash storage (32GB, 64GB, and 128GB models) and both front and rear facing cameras - 8 megapixels on the back, 2 megapixels on the front.

Weighing in at 430g and measuring 132 x 224.3 x 8.8mm it's certainly light and small - akin, in weight and size, to the iPad mini, just slightly longer or wider depending on your perspective because of the wider screen aspect ratio.

The ThinkPad 8 really has potential to shine thanks to the inclusion of a MicroUSB 3.0 slot that will allow you to use the 8.3-inch screen as a second monitor for your current PC. You can also use the Micro-HDMI slot to use this tablet as a desktop replacement by connecting multiple monitors to the device as well as a keyboard and mouse.

Hoping you'll perhaps do just that, Lenovo has also included MS Office for free and because it's the full version of Windows 8.1 you get all the benefits and power that Microsoft offer through the OS.

Priced at $399 (£243) in the US for the entry level Wi-Fi model it's aggressively priced suggesting this could very easily replace your next laptop purchase.

In the flesh the Lenovo ThinkPad is very nice. It comes with an optional "QuickShot cover" that sticks to the side with the use of magnets, doubling as a screen protector and stand when you need to prop it up to use as a screen for work.

Where it really earns its smart credentials is a flap that allows you to reveal the camera without having to perform some kind of origami on the case itself.

Peeling back the cover to reveal the camera lets the tablet know you want to take a picture and it automatically fires up the camera app. The flap isn't left loose, securing in place with another magnet. It's a small detail, but a clever one.

From our brief time with the new Lenovo tablet this looks to be a cracker if you are after a work focused tablet that comes with a full desktop operating system.

You aren't going to be using it to play games on or anything, and the business focus here suggests you'll be using it more for work than sofa surfing, but we like the small form factor and the bigger capabilities with the HDMI, USB 3, and other port options. Think powerful netbook in a tablet form factor and you'll be on to the right lines.