The Windows 8.1 tablet is a scrappy beast, nipping at the heels of the all-conquering iPads until something gives. And in its latest incarnation, 8.3in in size, branded with Lenovo's business-angled ThinkPad name and at a more than reasonable US$400 (£245) price, it's time may just have arrived.
Think Rad, Great
Why? For one, the 8.8mm thick ThinkPad 8 can do much more than your iPad can thanks to the fact that it runs full Windows 8.1 and not the limited RT verson of Microsoft's OS. That means full Office, proper Adobe software like PhotoShop and Illustrator plus PC games as long as you're not too cocky and can settle for lower resolutions. Not to mention running two apps or programs side by side and Windows 8.1's other neat tricks.
The ThinkPad 8's spec sheet is impressive too, most importantly that 8.3in screen which while a way off the iPad Mini with Retina's pixel count, does put in a sterling 1920x1080 effort and offers slightly more room to play with. That's a higher resolution than Lenovo's other 8in tablets, not to mention rivals such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro. And don't forget, the iPad Mini with Retina's colour reproduction has been bested at times by rivals like the Nexus 7 so we can't wait to get the ThinkPad 8 and Mini Retina screens side by side.
Lenovo's also trussed the ThinkPad 8 up with a 2.4GHz Intel Atom Baytrail processor, clocked higher than its rivals with iPad-rivalling storage sizes of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. Connectivity candy includes built-in 3G/4G, a microUSB 3.0 port and a microHDMI port.
Lenovo hasn't announced a keyboard dock but the ThinkPad 8 does get a QuickCover which protects the tab, doubles up as a stand and cleverly allows the 8MP camera to peek out from a folded corner whilst auto-opening the camera app. Stay tuned for a hands on straight from Las Vegas.