Put a full version of Windows 8 on a tablet you're in for a bit of a juggle, just ask the Microsoft Surface Pro. You've got two balls to keep in the air: processing power and battery longevity. While the ThinkPad Tablet 2 often fumbles with the former, it flourishes with the latter.
Unlike the Surface Pro or the Surface RT, which are powered by an Intel i5 and an ARM processor respectively, this tablet has an Intel Atom chip. You may remember this processor from the netbook era of a few years ago, before tablets came along and cleaned their clocks. Now the Atom is back to power Windows 8 slates, like this and the Acer Iconia W510.
The ThinkPad Tablet 2 handled web browsing well enough, with Internet Explorer at least. Sites load at an acceptable speed, and we were able to begin scrolling down the page almost instantly, before images and video embeds finished loading. Google Chrome, as well as the Google app, performed poorly though. There's an obvious need for a patch or two here.
The system had just enough grunt for some light multitasking. Using Window 8's neat split-screen feature, we could watch run a YouTube video while browsing news headlines in the Bing Daily news app. We also enjoyed listening to music via the Music app while playing some Angry Birds or Cut the Rope.
That's the limit of the ThinkPad Tablet 2's gaming and multitasking abilities. The low-wattage Atom processor is meant for battery life, not blazing speeds. Lenovo estimates the battery life at 10 hours. We generally came in around 8 hours, after taxing it with heavy web use and streaming video. That's not bad at all, enough to get you through the average work day, or to watch several movies on a long flight.
While we enjoyed the battery life the Atom provided, it had us wondering why it was paired up with Windows 8. What's the point of making a device with wide compatibility if it doesn't have the horsepower to run the most important legacy apps? Food for thought, especially if you're between this and the more powerful but not as long lasting Microsoft Surface Pro, or just a regular old laptop.
2GB, 800MHz DDR2
Intel GMA graphics
1366 x 768 resolution