Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1: A value tablet for business
PCWorld|July 2021
It’s affordable and a solid performer, but the design raises questions.
MARK HACHMAN

The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 is Lenovo’s answer to the very good Microsoft Surface Pro 7+. Both are tablets with detachable keyboards and a business bent. While the Surface Pro 7+ has high-end cachet, the ThinkPad X12, on the other hand, is more about value.

BASIC FEATURES

Of the seven different configuration options of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 on Lenovo’s website (go.pcworld.com/lnwb), our review unit (the 20UW0012US, $2,229 on Lenovo.com [go.pcworld.com/lnwb]) seems to be popular, going in and out of stock as we wrote this review. The tablet has sold out on Amazon as well. Lenovo offers other basic configurations of the X12 Detachable that start with 8GB of RAM, but we’d consider that setup a bit skimpy if other options are available.

It’s very much worth noting that unlike the rival Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ (go.pcworld. com/7prp), Lenovo bundles a keyboard rather than making you pay extra for it. A pen is extra cost (the keyboard comes with a pen loop). A Lenovo pen with 2,048 levels of ink sensitivity (go.pcworld.com/lacp) is the cheaper option; a separate Lenovo pen with 4,096 levels of ink sensitivity (go.pcworld. com/lap2) is about the double the price.

Here are the rest of the main specifications. Where there are many options (such as with CPU, RAM, and so on), the features on our specific model are indicated by the words “as tested” in parentheses after the item.

Processor: Intel Core i3-1110G4, Core i5-1130G7 (as tested), Core i5-1140G7, Core i7-1160G7, Core i7-1180G7

Display: 12.3-inch (1920x1280 touch, anti-reflective)

Memory: 8GB-16GB LPDDR4x 4267MHz (soldered) (16GB as tested)

Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD

Graphics: Intel UHD (Core i3), Iris Xe

Ports: USB-C (Thunderbolt 4/USB4, DisplayPort, Power Delivery, Data Transfer, 40 Gbps), USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps), 3.5mm jack, optional nanoSIM

Security: Windows Hello depth camera/ fingerprint reader

Camera: 5MP (user-facing)/8MP (rear facing)

Battery: 42.2Wh (design), 41.9Wh (full)

Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2x2), Bluetooth 5.1

Operating system: Windows 10 Pro

Dimensions: 11.15x8.01x0.34 inches

Weight: 1.67 pounds, 2.4 pounds with keyboard (measured)

Colors: Black

Prices: Starting at $1,829 (less with discounts, if active) at Lenovo (go.pcworld. com/lnwb) and Amazon (go.pcworld.com/ amx2) ($2,229 as tested)

DESIGN

While Microsoft’s Surface tablets have always been aimed at a broad market of creators, consumers, and professionals, Lenovo has aimed its ThinkPad purely at professionals— and it shows in the design.

The ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 maintains the boxy, black ThinkPad aesthetic, using a magnesium alloy for the chassis material. Though just a smidgen thicker than the Surface Pro 7+, the squared lines really contribute to the idea that this is indeed a “detachable,” which favors keyboard use, rather than a traditional tablet that could take it or leave it.

A wedge kickstand reclines almost flat, to about 10 degrees off the horizontal. You’ll have to do some fumbling about to find the small tab that folds it out, though. The kickstand supports the ThinkPad X12 Detachable firmly until its point of greatest recline, where it becomes somewhat springy.

If there’s anything I truly hate about the ThinkPad X12 Detachable, though, it’s the anemic grip that the keyboard has on the tablet itself. With the keyboard unfolded, moving the Detachable around the house usually means grabbing the tablet itself…and off pops the keyboard, time and again. Even worse, the tablet doesn’t always electrically reconnect to the keyboard when reattached, meaning that I had to fiddle with it—disconnect, reconnect—until it finally worked. It’s not a great look when you have to pop the keyboard on and off to get a product like the ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 to work out of the box.

That’s before the ThinkPad X12 Detachable went overboard. As I was finishing the review, I put the attached tablet and keyboard on my lap. The keyboard released its grip, and the tablet tumbled backward, landing on my toe. The display bowed out from the frame. I was able to snap it back in with no apparent loss of performance, but still—Lenovo needs to fix this. The combination of the weak magnetic grip and the thin, narrow edge of the kickstand means that the ThinkPad X12 Detachable should be left on a desk, not your lap. We informed Lenovo of our experiences, and the company did not comment.

The ThinkPad X12 Detachable includes venting in the side and top of the tablet, and it emits an occasional faint hiss while under normal use. It’s generally almost quiet during normal use. However, the tablet seemed particularly sensitive to the ambient temperature of the room. We’ll explore this further later on in the review.

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