Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

Tablets for government: Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2

The tablet has become an integral part of the mobile plans of many agencies, complementing and, in  some cases, even replacing laptop and desktop PCs. Different models of tablets have different strength and weaknesses, and which one is right for your agencies depends on your own needs. This week, we take a close look at five popular tablets and what they offer agencies.

What we considered

Battery life

How long will it last when unplugged from a power source? Are optional spare batteries easily removable and replaceable?

Processing power

Does it have a powerful processor and enough memory to open large documents, use high-performance apps or run multiple programs at the same time?

Security features

What kind of authentication is available? Are there FIPS-certified encrypted drive spaces or secure containers for BYOD users?

Ruggedness

If it’s designed to be rugged, how rugged is it? Can it pass MIL-STD 810G tests for temperature, shock, liquid and particle intrusion?

Lenovo’s ThinkPad Tablet 2 is a Windows 8 Pro tablet with good battery performance well-suited to the agency user who needs a near-desktop experience while operating remotely. But its prior-version USB port might be a hindrance to those using many newer peripherals. It starts at $670, and its optional keyboard dock is $119.

What works for government agencies

Users in an office setting would likely go for the optional Bluetooth keyboard stand. The ThinkPad’s bottom edge sits in a small trench and rests on a small stand that pops up out of the keyboard. The tablet recognizes the keyboard as a Bluetooth device as soon as it’s turned on. At that point all text entry will default to the Bluetooth keyboard, making typing much easier. In addition, the keyboard weighs about a half a pound and is no bigger than the tablet in any dimension.

For users who think the 10.1-inch touch display will make graphics too small for accurate tapping, Lenovo offers an optional digitizer pen. One comes with the tablet, and Lenovo also offers it separately for $25 for users who want a backup. It slides into the casing on one side, holding it securely when not in use.

To facilitate secure sharing of files to other devices, Lenovo has included a Micro-SD card reader. The ThinkPad Tablet 2, which comes with a 1.8 GHz Intel Atom Z2760 processor and a 32G or 64G SSD, also has a mini-HDMI port that will let user display their screens on a monitor or projector. Both of these features are great for the agency employee who needs to give briefings or demonstrations while in remote locations.

What might not work for government agencies

Unlike some other tablets in its class, the ThinkPad’s full-sized USB port is version 2.0 and not 3.0, which might be an issue for users who want to take full advantage of USB 3.0 devices. Another minor concern is the fact that the Bluetooth keyboard charges through its micro-USB port, which will be an issue if both the keyboard and ThinkPad need charging.

The ThinkPad includes Windows 8’s enhanced security features but doesn’t have a biometric or smart card reader.

MORE: 5 tablets for government

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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