Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 70A4003AUX Tower Server - 1 x Intel Xeon E3-1226 V3 Quad-core 3.30 GHz
With PROMO CODE EMCRERB28
It appears that I might be one of the first to have both the Dell Venue Pro 8 and the Lenovo Miix 2 8. I bought both and wanted to see which one is better. So, if this is of interest to you then continue on reading:
So, the best thing to say is that these devices are almost identical from a specs perspective. There is actually so little difference that I think it is easier to just say what is different.
There are two models of the processors and you can't tell a difference in the performance or even in the specs, however the Dell has the Atom model Z3740D and the Lenovo has the Z3740 (no D). This is how Windows is reporting the information.
The specs for the Z3740 are here: http://ark.intel.com/products/76759/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z3740-2M-Cache-up-to-1_86-GHz
The specs for the Z3740D are here: http://ark.intel.com/products/78416/Intel-Atom-Processor-Z3740D-2M-Cache-up-to-1_86-GHz?q=Z3740D
Basically the differences that I see are that the Z3740 has 4GB RAM support and 17.1 GB/s memory bandwidth and the Z3740D has 2GB RAM support and 10.6 GB/s memory bandwidth. Everything else is the same. Keep in mind that both devices have only 2 GB of RAM and is not upgradable that I can tell. So, don't get to caught up on this.
The windows button has different approaches on each of the devices on the Dell it is a button on the top of the device if held in portrait mode and is a physical button. The Lenovo uses a capacitive windows button on the front of the device at the below the screen at the bottom when in portrait mode. It is hard to say which is better and I think just comes down to preference. I can see people who are happy to not have a button that is accidental to hit and the Dell is your best on this, however if you want a quicker way when holding the device landscape or portrait then you may prefer the Lenovo. I would say that personally I think this is better on the Lenovo.
Other Button and Port Layout
The Dell has the power / micro-USB port at the top of the device while the Lenovo has it more toward the bottom. I tend to like the placement of the Dell as it provides a better option of holding the device while charging. Again this is a personal preference.
The Dell then has the power and volume rocker bellow the power / micro-usb port. Only issue with this is if you have an elbow cable that goes the wrong way, then it might block access to the power button. The Lenovo has the power and volume rocker at the top and it has no ports that might block it. I would give this one to Lenovo.
The Micro-SD slot on both the Dell and the Lenovo are hidden by a door below the volume rocker and seem identical in their design. It is clear that there is room under the door for Micro-SD and a SIM if they decide to have a LTE connection at some point, however this is not an option nor is their a port for a SIM today.
The Dell has a charging light that is next to the port on the side. The Lenovo has a light on the front that you can see when looking at the unit head on. I like being able to see that the device is charging from the LED on the front.
Webcam and Camera Placement Specs
The Dell has the 1.2 MP webcam on the front of the device at the top, but pushed over to right side near the buttons. This was clearly done to keep you from covering the light sensor when holding it landscape. The Lenovo has the 2 MP webcam centered at the top. This does mean that your fingers tend to want to cover the camera when holding the device, luckily they did put the ambient light sensor a little more toward the button side of the device to help not to cause it to dim. I would give this one to the Dell.
The back 5 MP camera on the Dell is located in the middle with a little bit of a hump. Where the Lenovo has a 8 MP camera on the back that is off to the side where the buttons are and has no bump. I have yet to do a bake off on the camera quality on each, but I can say that the Dell did great for Skype calls.
Speaker Performance / Placement
The Dell has a speaker on the side of the device that would be the bottom if you held the device in portrait mode. The Lenovo has the speaker on the back of the device a the upper part of the device opposite of the camera. Doing an audio test the Lenovo is much quitter than the Dell. The Dell is easily twice as loud playing the same song in my test. The Dell is the clear winner here.
Case / Look of the Device
The Dell is all black except for the silver buttons and the silver Dell logo on the back. There are no logos on the front of the device it is just a black slate with a rubberized feel, not cheap feeling. The Lenovo has logos on the front both Lenovo and Windows for the capacitive start button. The rest of the device is silver in color some parts are metal, but mostly a plastic that is textured to look like an aluminum finish. The back of the device has the Lenovo logo shinny on the back and has a boat load of stickers for Windows / Intel / FCC / etc. The bad thing is that it makes it look like it has flair all over the back. The good news is you can pull off all the stickers and it would really look clean and professional. I would probably say that if you want flash then go Lenovo, but the Dell is simple. Also keep in mind the texture of the device. The Dell always feels secure in your hands more so than the Lenovo due to the rubbery finish. I think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder on this one.
Size / Weight
I put this in as it is funny to me that these two devices are so similar in size that it makes you think that they were cousins. Its like a Ford and Mercury. They look a little different, but the two are basically the same machine. I think it funny because I doubt these were developed with any intention of sharing what each were doing, but they came out almost exactly the same size and weight.
The Dell and the Lenovo have the same resolutions and the specs are all the same on the devices. The only difference that I can tell is that the color on the Dell is warmer than the Lenovo, but the Lenovo seems just a hair sharper. The screen on both of these is so good that it is such a toss up that I wouldn't let this be a decision factor. You are going to love the screen on both of these.
So, lets be honest. These devices are brand new and I am sure that more is to come. Also, the Dell has been out slightly longer than the Lenovo (about a week). Dell seems to have the edge here currently. Dell shipped the device with options for a folio case, active digitizer pen, and on Amazon there are already other cases and accessories popping up. Dell and Lenovo have also shown a Bluetooth keyboard cover that they intend to release. The Lenovo has a promise for a cover and a rubber tipped stylus for a capacitive touchscreen (which would work on the Dell as well) but these are not shipping yet. Also a search on Amazon landed me no additional accessories that were offered 3rd party. I would say that the Dell has this one for now.
The Dell is packaged up like a Microsoft Signature PC. This means that there is really nothing on it except Windows and Office. There are a few Dell specific apps, but no bloat-ware. The Lenovo come packaged up with the Mcafee suite and other items that feel like bloat-ware. It isn't over the top by any means, but you probably need to plan to uninstall some apps after you get the device. The Dell is the clear winner here and I have to commend Dell for taking this approach.
Overview and Results
Both of the devices are great value and cost the same thing. It really comes down to simple things like the looks of the device and if one has something you really want. If you really want the capacitive windows button, stylish design, and better camera; then the Lenovo might be your best choice. If you really want an understated design, more accessories (for now), and no bloat-ware to uninstall; then the Dell is your choice. Either way you have a great device that really makes people question why they are paying the money for an iPad mini. Apps come to ecosystems when devices like this start popping up and get popular. More tablets like this are what the Microsoft ecosystem need to drive the platform forward.
Has anyone else noticed that Lenovo has pushed out thier release date? Please tell me if I am wrong, it is always a possibility. But, two weeks ago the Lenovo website said 'coming Nov 16' However when I visited the site yesterday it had reverted to 'coming soon.'. I chatted with customer service and they said the devixce is now hoped to be available Dec 16.
Has anyone else noticed this or heard about this? Am I just crazy? If they did push the date back, anyone have any theories? I am thinking that they either hit a MFG issue, or they heard so much complaining about certain issues woth RT (i.e. touch optimization for Desktop mode) that they made a last minute design change, although I would think it to late in the game to make any MFG changes.
The Lenovo Miix 2 8 32GB is on sale for $249 at Best Buy.
Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet 2 (TPT2) Review:
I just want to preface this review by stating that I am not going to give a whole lot of technical specifications. I take an esoteric approach to reviews. Technical specs only tell a small part of the story; it is the experience that ultimately proves out and that is what I will attempt to relay to you. Also, I will refer to other devices in this review as comparison and yes even the IPad.... I know, I know but the IPad is what I came from and the only daily experience I had prior to the TPT2 from a tablet perspective and despite the great divide between Windows and IOS users, I feel the two are in the same category and merit comparison.
Screen: The screen is fantastic. It is a 10.1 inch IPS display with about a 720P resolution (same as the Surface RT). The fact that it is about .5 inch smaller than the Surface RT actually lends greater resolution and the color saturation is great. The display is simply beautiful. Fingerprints actually aren't that bad on the screen but for me that wouldn't matter anyways; I accept the fact that I am using my oily fingers and the screen will reflect that. I wish the screen had either one less layer or was more closely bonded to help improve the writing experience. The writing experience isn't bad but not like that of the Surface Pro. The screen is very responsive to the touch, just as good, if not better, than any other device I have used.
Weight: Much has been made about the amazingly light weight achievement with this device. It is fantastically light weight. I definitely do not feel any fatigue while holding it in one hand for extended periods of time like I did with my IPad. The fact that it is so lightweight also makes me cringe a bit less when dropping it since the force of impact is reduced.
Camera: So the cameras are 8MP Rear, and 2MP front (I believe). Honestly they are not that great. The front facing cam is more than sufficient for a good, not great, video conferencing experience. The rear cam, while coming with flash, is just subpar. Low light shots are just grainy and putrid. I am not sure why; it being an 8MP should deliver higher quality shots but it comes down to what you plan on using this for. Personally I feel foolish holding a tablet up to take pictures. It reminds me of a photo I once saw online of a young man holding a baking sheet up in the mirror with a caption reading 'This is what all you idiots with IPads look like when taking pictures.' At first I laughed, and then I said 'Oh Crap.' Since then I only use the rear camera mode of a tablet in the comfort of my own home for my kids. At the end of the day, to me the cameras are not all that important but I will note that I almost think the cameras on the Surface RT are on par or better than that of the TPT2 even though they are less MP.
Sound: Sound is something that, like cameras, is an area where seemingly all tablets fall short. The sound quality itself is on par with the IPad, and the Samsung Ativ Smart PC 500. It still is a bit better quality and louder in my opinion than the Surface RT however not by much. The volume just is lacking, it needs to have the ability to go about 50% louder so I can hear it without ancillary speakers in moderately loud environments such as in the bathroom while showering. This was never an issue with the IPad and has been frustrating. The other issue is the placement of the speaker. The speaker is at the bottom of the device so if you are holding it in your lap, well you are going to strain to hear if there is other white noise. I really wish we would see more tablet manufacturers approach speakers like Samsung, having dual speakers, allowing for stereo separation; front facing makes a world of difference.
Wireless: I personally have no objection to the strength and range of the wireless receiver in this device. It works in all rooms around my house (which is honestly quite small) as well as in my yard and driveway. It is quick, and I never have any connectivity issues that many people experienced with the Surface RT. All in all, no complaints.
Battery: The battery life on this device is great. I really find it a great accomplishment to be able to get 8 hours of average usage (music, videos, light multi tasking) out of a device so light and so darn thin. Yes I know a big part of that is the Atom platform which itself brings some drawbacks but ultimately I am happy with the trade off. The only downside of the battery is the length of charge time (about 4 hours) but that is likely more to do with the underpowered mini USB charging port than anything to do with the battery setup.
Design: So the design of this tablet I believe is going to be a love/hate feeling for people. Personally, I was skeptical if my OCD would allow me to get past the asymmetrical nature of this beast. I, up to this point, have been someone that needs symmetry in a device however I have been able to deal with it. I think that it helps me that I am someone who holds the device one handed most of the time and I do so in my left hand which covers up the plastic edge of the USB and Pen housing. I appreciate the solid feeling of the volume rocker, it neither protrudes too much from the right side, nor is it too sleek up against the housing like some devices. I will complain about the location of the rotation lock. It is directly beneath the volume rocker and I often accidentally hit that when trying to lower the volume. Personally I am a fan of the rubber covers for the USB, Micro SD/Sim card hubs. I always have been, it helps keep dust and junk out of the hubs and it helps continue a nice line all the way around the device. The soft touch back is something Lenovo does well, and I love it. The feeling of that soft touch back helps the device feel firm and secure in my hands and I don't have to worry about is slipping off hard surfaces. I also appreciate the existence of a physical home button. Using devices such as the Surface RT and other capacitive home button devices has occasionally been an issue when accidentally brushing the capacitive button. I have already complained about the location of the speaker so I won't dive any further into that. One other issue I have is with the light sensor. This thing is huge. It creates a visual disturbance when looking at the device; it just looks out of place. It is located on the right side of the screen about two inches from the top of the device. I have many times accidentally covered it and had my screen adjust. The positive is the sensor is very good, and adjusts quickly and effectively but it is in the wrong spot and just too big. It should be about 10%-25% smaller and should be located directly under the front cam. I won't spend too much time on the pen but from a design standpoint I appreciate the red flavor it provides when in the housing. The pen itself is a bit too short, the button is a bit rinky-dink, and the tip is just okay. The pen is fairly responsive but not quite as good as the Samsung experience and certainly not as good as the Surface Pro. I can't find replacement tips so it appears that if you need a new tip, it is going to be $30 for a whole new pen.
Quality: So this is a stinker of a topic. A big part of why I went with Lenovo was because of their quality in their other Thinkpad devices. There are two visual issues that jump at me. The first is the setting of the front cam. You can see the ridges around the came on about half the camera, it appears it wasn't centered very well when set. The other issue is that the home button is nicked. I can't really explain it but it isn't right. Both of these issues are not anomalies with my device because MobileTechReview noted the same issue with the cam and this is actually my second TPT2 with the same issues. Did I just say my 'second TPT2?' I sure did, which leads me to my third issue. I pre-ordered the TPT2 about 30 minutes after it was made available in the U.S. for ordering on their site. I note that because I wonder if the issue I had was related to faulty parts delivered in the first production run of the U.S. tabs. I am not sure but the issue was that since day one of having the first TPT2, every day or two the device would freeze, become totally unresponsive, and then bring me to a blue screen noting an error of 'driver_power_state_failure.' I tried resetting a few times and nothing helped. The error was not triggered by any one thing, it would happen randomly while in different applications, both MS and third party. When I called Lenovo Service, they apparently were not surprised by this as they immediately asked to send the device in for service and repair. The only problem was that there was no repair, the device was deemed un-repairable and I was sent an entirely new unit (which I will get to later). So the issues with the cam and home button may be small and possibly trivial but hey, I spent $700 on this device and accessories, I damn well expect perfection on the one thing Lenovo completely controls, the hardware.
Processing/Responsiveness: So this is an Intel Atom Dual Core Processor. Yes I know many of you will hear Atom and wince but the Atom is really not that bad. I see it as an issue of what you want to do. If you are looking for a hardcore machine capable of heavy multi tasking, heavy processing (i.e. Photoshop), and as a primary laptop replacement then you wouldn't even be looking at this device because of the lack of RAM. For that you need at least 4GB of RAM at a very bare minimum. You also probably want a larger screen, and something with true HD/high PPI. I didn't need that. I was coming from an IPad but wanted the convenience of MS Office applications as well as SkyDrive and XBox Music. The Atom is still faster than what I had in my IPad, and it gets the job done. I have no problems running Metro style apps in unison but I do see some strain if running desktop applications at the same time. The device can get a bit warm when really being pushed but for me, 99% of the time it runs cool because I am not pushing it to its limits. I want to note my experience with Office 365. On my first TPT2, I was able to install a trial of MS Office 2010 and it ran great. By the tome o received my second TPT2, that trial was off the table and no trial for 2013 is offered because MS is forcing our hands to Office 365. I begrudgingly tried Office 365 and uninstalled it within one day... the constant streaming of features made the office applications sluggish and unbearable. I am not sure if this was a device issue or what but it made the taste in my mouth over the whole single license deal with MS Office 2013 even worse. I am disgusted with MS approach and willingness to alienate users... luckily for them I don’t feel a suitable alternative exists in the marketplace, don’t even mention Google Docs.
Mobility: The device is very mobile. It is compact (10.1 Inches) and among the lightest (if not the lightest) tablet offerings on the market of this size. The built in pen housing helps make sure you won't lose the pen (unlike the Surface Pro where the pen can easily be knocked off the device). The addition of the SIM slot for mobile network access (AT&T) is also a welcome addition for those that want/need it.
Accessories: Lenovo is one company that like Apple, does accessories very well. There are two case/sleeve options. The first is a leather sleeve meant to transport both the tablet and the optional Bluetooth keyboard. The second is a traditional type of case. It has a hard backer with cutouts for all the ports (except the micro SD Card, major oversight) and a fold over leather like exterior, micro fiber interior cover that actually wakes/hibernates the device. The cover also has a tab build into the back side that will allow you to prop your device up. There is also a keyboard 'dock' that is actually just a keyboard with a slot that your tablet sits in. The keyboard connects via Bluetooth. It does not have a traditional track pad but has an optical track point that I hear works well. The keyboard itself is the standard amazing Thinkpad experience. The last major accessory is a dock (without a keyboard) that allows you to firmly dock your tablet for charging. The dock also has additional USB 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. The only problem is that all of these will set you back more than you would like.
Ports: So the device comes with 3 ports. The first being a mini USB (yes mini, not micro) charging port. This is underpowered and as a result, it takes several hours to fully charge the device. This also comes with a full sized USB 2.0 port however, just like the mini USB port, is underpowered. I would say that connecting things like a mouse, thumb drive, etc are okay but an external Hard Drive might not perform the best. The third port is a micro SD and sim card port. The last port is the docking port. The docking port only works with the docking accessory from Lenovo but it brings multiple USB ports, charging, and an Ethernet port.
Lenovo Service: So in an earlier topic, I noted that this was my second TPT2. My service experience was great, no hassle at all. The day after I called, they had a box delivered from UPS with a Next Day Air return label, and very clear instructions. About four business days after delivery at their facility, I received a call from someone at Lenovo letting me know that they were sending me a new unit because the first was faulty. I pushed about the reason but was just told that there were faulty parts in the device. They emailed me the basic specs on the new machine, and sent it out the day I approved. Here is the best part. I was upgraded in the process. I received an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro (Was plain W8 at first). Plus the device I received came with WWAN, an AT&T Sim Card installed and ready for activation, and NFC. Yes I said NFC. NFC was not previously available in the US and I am not sure if it is yet. I actually think I may have been sent the international model. I am not sure if this upgrade was intended or simply a mistake that worked in my favor but in a way I feel I deserved it for what I was put through with the faulty device especially when I backed them so heavily leading up to the release which was delayed multiple times and poorly communicated.
I have typed enough of my thoughts already so I will keep this short and to the point. Should you get this? Maybe. Are you wanting to use this full time, running multiple desktop applications in parallel? Do not buy this. Are you wanting this as a primary consumption device (videos, music, news, etc), for light gaming, and MS Office functionality? Consider this Device. I am somewhat happy with this device. I say somewhat because I am still a bit upset about the first faulty device but I am getting over it and if I take that out of the equation (which I don't think you should), then I love this device. Just like anything, it has pros and cons, and the best advice I can give is to spend time at stores that display multiple W8 tablets and see what you need, and what you don't. To me, if I consider everything I get for the price in the TPT2, it is a bit better deal than the Surface RT but that is just my opinion and if you ask my wife, my opinion doesn't really matter and is often wrong