Before we talk about the ThinkPad Tablet 2, Lenovo's new Windows 8 hybrid, we need to talk about the original ThinkPad Tablet, the one that came out in fall of 2011 to mixed reviews. It was an okay device, when push came to shove, with useful features like a full-size USB port, 1080p output and pen support -- a rarity on Android tablets. But the tablet itself was bulky, performance was sluggish, battery life was mediocre and there weren't even that many Android apps designed to be used with a pen. It was a concept that didn't totally work -- at least not with that OS -- and indeed, Lenovo's long since discontinued it.
Fast-forward to the present, and the ThinkPad Tablet's been resurrected in the form of a 10.1-inch Windows 8 device, one that starts at $579 and can be used with an optional keyboard dock. It's a much lighter product, at 1.3 pounds (down from 1.58), and although it uses a heavier-duty Atom processor, battery life is said to top out at about 10 hours. (The original lasted eight in our usual test.) Like the OG version, it allows for pen input on select models, but of course, Windows comes ready-made with a larger selection of apps where a pen might actually be useful. So is the second time a charm? In a word, yes.