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(Pocket-lint) - Lenovo is a Chinese company that bought the IBM hardware brand last year as well as the trademark for ThinkPad notebooks.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X41 is the company’s leading ultraportable design so it comes as no surprise that it has been used as the basis for this take on the Tablet PC.

The first thing you’ll notice is how well it’s built. Designed with mobile life in mind, the chassis is strong and robust and the keyboard is just as sturdy, with solid keys. The pointing stick may well put people off but once you’re used to you’ll find how easy it can be to use.

At first appearances this is still very much a notebook and follows the standard trend of taking a notebook design and adding a digitised screen, which you can write on with the specially supplied pen. In this way, you can use the X41 as a standard ultraportable but when you want to make notes, or share an idea with others you can twist the 12.1-inch screen around and use it in tablet mode.

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As you would expect of the ThinkPad brand, the screen is great to use and feels really responsive. Reminding you this is a business machine, a Biometric fingerprint reader can be found by the side of the screen. Other key features include IBM’s rescue and recovery software, which can repair software crashes instantly. The hard drive is protected from fatal falls due to the use of the Active Protection System, which acts like an airbag.

Weighing in at 1.7kg, this is a truly portable notebook, which we found was matched by an equally impressive battery life. We hooked the device up to our wireless network using the built-in 802.11g adapter and managed to work off battery power for close to 3 hours. True, this isn’t ideal for all-day computing, which is why Lenovo offer a second larger battery pack that offers well over 5 hours of battery life but costs £150 (inc. VAT).

While it seems the world is switching over to Intel’s Core Duo chip, Lenovo’s current chip of choice is the ultra-low voltage Pentium M, in this instance the 758, which is backed by 512MB of DDR2 memory. You won’t find this the fastest machine on the market but it's quick enough to handle office tasks with ease. The pay off comes in how quiet and cool the unit runs in use, so you’ll be able to carry it around without it getting too warm to the touch.


Tablet PCs have had a bad time in the press, mainly as they haven’t lived up to the early hype surrounding them. However, if you approach this machine as a standard notebook but with even extra functionality, then you’ll be closer to appreciating how useful the format is.

Writing by Mike Browne. Originally published on 22 May 2006.