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Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Review: Fighting The Surface

Should you get the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable? In this review, you learn everything you need to know about this Windows tablet!

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The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a 12-inch Windows tablet with an Intel Tiger Lake processor, an active pen, and an outstanding ThinkPad keyboard. Both accessories are included. However, starting at over 1000 Dollars, it’s quite expensive. Is it worth it for business customers? That’s what you’ll learn in this ThinkPad X12 Detachable review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 on* Amazon

Design & Built Quality

Let’s start with the built quality which is very premium feeling just as you would expect from the ThinkPad brand. The body is made of a magnesium alloy and seems very sturdy. I like that you can open the kickstand very wide, almost a full 180 degrees. The transition from the screen to the body is not as nice as on an iPad Pro. But it looks like the ThinkPad would withstand crashes much better.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable built quality

It’s 8.8mm thin and weighs 1.2kg including the keyboard. On the top and the right side are air vents because it’s actively cooled and you can hear those fans under heavy load. We get a power button, volume rockers, and a Kensington lock. On the left side, there’s a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and two USB C ports of which one is a Thunderbolt 4 one.

We get a 5-megapixel webcam above the screen which has an infrared sensor next to it. You can unlock it using farcical recognition which works great. In addition, you can use the fingerprint scanner that’s built into the keyboard cover as well.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Ports

I love that the front-facing camera has a shutter so that you can lock the webcam. That’s a fantastic feature if you value your privacy and don’t want embarrassing surprises when being on a Zoom call. The photo and video quality are fantastic for a Windows device.

The 8-megapixel camera on the back takes okay photos and videos, again, especially for a Windows device. But all iPads and most Android tablets are better in this regard.

Keyboard Cover

A major highlight of the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is the keyboard cover. It’s nice to see that it’s included. The keyboard is connected using a magnetic connector and folded up it protects the screen. Thanks to a magnetic bar, you can type at an angle which the Microsoft Surface lineup introduced.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Review

I was able to type on that keyboard very fast and smoothly without any issues. In fact, I think it’s one of the best tablet keyboards on the market today. Sure, it’s made of plastic but feels very sturdy and just works great. The background light is a nice premium feature too.

Read: Best Tablets With Keyboards Tested

My only criticism at the beginning was that the Ctrl and function key are swapped in comparison with all other keyboards I’m using. However, you can actually swap them in the settings yourself. So, it’s not a problem at all.

The touchpad is quite big for a tablet and features two separate mouse buttons. As is typical for a ThinkPad, it has this red track point which you can use as a mouse too.

Hardware & Performance

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Geekbench 5

Depending on the version, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is powered by an Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processor of the eleventh Tiger Lake generation. The i3 version has an Intel UHD graphic while the graphics performance of the other ones is much better thanks to an Iris Xe graphic. There are versions with 8GB and 16GB of RAM, as well as 256GB up to 1TB SSDs. You can get it with 4G too. I’ve gotten the version with an Intel Core i5-1130G7, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Cinebench

In the Geekbench 5 benchmark, the CPU is as powerful as the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 7. The graphics performance is much better though. In the Cinebench R15 test, the Lenovo is faster than the Microsoft tablet in both cases. And the couple of month old Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i is much slower too.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Premiere Rush

To render a 9 minute 4K video in Adobe Premiere Rush, the ThinkPad needed 7.5 minutes. I’m using Premiere Rush to compare the render performance with other platforms like iPads and Android tablets as well. It renders much faster than the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 but can’t keep up with an iPad Pro.

Read: The Best Windows Tablets You Can Buy Today

I can’t recommend any Windows tablet for gaming in particular. It’s better to get an iPad or a gaming laptop for that. With that being said, I did try Fortnite and it does look good with the lowest settings and it’s kind of playable. But for demanding gamers, the performance is too weak. With medium settings, it stutters a lot.

It’s more than fast enough for office work, of course. I was able to use Microsoft Office apps, Chrome, and YouTube in the background without any kind of lag. With tasks like these, the ThinkPad X12 performs very well and fast multitasking is possible. That goes for Photoshop too which runs great.


Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Test

Let’s get to the 12.3-inch screen. Like the Surface Pro 7, it has an aspect ratio of 3:2 and it’s protected by Gorilla Glass. Viewing angles are wide because it’s an IPS screen and the colors look good. The 1920 x 1280 resolution is not super high but it’s sharp enough.

I like that it’s quite bright with 400 nits. I used the ThinkPad X12 Detachable outside in the sun and was able to work just fine. Sure, in direct light, it’s a bit harder but doable when using apps like Microsoft Word with high contrast.

Such screens seem ideal for Netflix. But I can’t recommend it as an entertainment tablet at all. That’s because the two speakers which sit on the right and left side of the screen. Their sound quality is pretty weak. It’s lacking a proper base. In fact, even the single speaker of my Xiaomi Mi 9t Pro smartphones has a much more pleasing sound. And tablets like the Galaxy Tab S7+ have much better speakers too.

Lenovo Pen

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable OneNote

Included is an active pen that has a metal body and feels high-end. On the side are two buttons and on the back, you’ve got to insert an included battery. The tip supports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and it looks and works similar to the Microsoft Surface Pen.

The pen is great for handwritten notes in apps like Microsoft OneNote and I used it in Adobe Photoshop. Considering this is a standard 60Hz screen, the pen reacts well. But unlike with 120Hz tablets, the writing can lag behind the pen a bit when writing or drawing fast.

Sadly, you can’t attach the pen magnetically to the side of the tablet. But the keyboard has a holder for it.

Read: These Are The Best Lenovo Tablets

Battery Life

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable YouTube Battery

In my battery test, the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable lasted 7.5 hours. For this, I’m always looping an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Review: Final Verdict

Well, that’s the end of my Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable review. Can I recommend it? Yes, at least if you’re looking for a powerful and premium Windows tablet. I think it’s a fantastic choice for businesses because the keyboard is included and it’s one of the best out there. It’s a great office tablet and fast enough for apps like Photoshop.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Design

I like the high-end built quality, the sturdy kickstand, and the facial recognition. The camera shutter is a nice feature too.

However, I can’t recommend it as an entertainment or gaming tablet because of those weak speakers. If you want that, I’d always get an iPad or Android tablet instead.

Let’s check out the competition.

The first alternative that comes to mind is the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. Its graphics performance is not as good but the screen is a bit sharper and you can get colorful keyboards. Since it’s older, you might find great deals for the Pro 7, so make sure you compare prices between the two and factor in the accessories.

If you’re a Lenovo fan but want something cheaper, you should check out the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i. It’s an interesting alternative if you don’t need as much power but want a cheaper and similar-sized Windows tablet.

A quick note at the end: While reviewing it, the touchscreen stopped working. I don’t know why and I don’t think it’s a driver issue. It seems like I’m the only one with this problem. Something like this can always happen with every device and that’s what the warranty is for. So, I didn’t let it influence my review but I also didn’t want to leave it unmentioned.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12
Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Review: The Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a fantastic Windows tablet. It features super-fast Intel Tiger Lake processors, a good 12-inch screen, and a high-end built quality. I like that the excellent keyboard cover and the stylus are included at no extra charge. With that being said, it can be very pricey.
  • Fast Intel 11 Gen CPUs
  • Premium design
  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Decent pen
  • Long battery life
  • Very pricey
  • FHD resolution only
Buy at* Amazon


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