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The Lynx name would suggest something cutting edge and futuristic, but this Windows 8 convertible is anything but that. The IdeaTab Lynx is a very functional and reliable performer, with the extreme flexibility offered by the proper tablet mode and the keyboard dock. That, and the good battery life makes this a device that is very usable. However, it will still not be able to completely replace your proper laptop anytime soon.
There are two parts to this product - the Lynx as a tablet, and the overall package with the keyboard dock attached. It weighs just more than 640 grams as a tablet, and the keyboard dock adds another 660 grams to the weight. In combination, the entire package weighs as much an ultrabook. There is no doubt that the Lynx is good to look at, with the darker colour tone at the front and the lighter rubberized finish at the back. However, the in-hand feel of the tablet isn’t one that is the most premium. The back panel flexes when you push in near the Lenovo logo, and tapping on it brings out a rather hollow sound.
The sides are completely flat, but do betray the dual colour finish. Below the display is the Windows key, on the left spine is the volume rocker and the power key. The right side spine holds the Mini HDMI and the 3.5mm ports. The micro USB charging port sits below the display, while the spine above the screen has the memory card slot, hidden away beneath a flap.
The keyboard dock brings in a whole host of add-ons, over and above the plain and simple 84-key keyboard. There are two USB 2.0 ports, a built-in battery and a charging port as well. The best part is the hinge for the display to sit in - much more secure than what a lot of other convertible pretenders have done in the not too recent past. The method to remove the tablet from the dock remains fairly standard, with the one button release.
But, the critical aspect is the keyboard, and it gives me something to crib about. The key design is very similar to some of the recent IdeaPad and Yoga machines. The problem is the curve design at the bottom of every key, which makes it extremely difficult for the fingers to really get used to the layout without a period of spelling mistakes and hampered typing speeds. The touchpad isn’t very big, but the precision is consistent.
However, the way Lenovo has blended the two together makes the Lynx look like a clamshell mini-laptop, rather than two separate devices joined together.
The 11.6-inch screen on the Lynx does not offer Full HD resolution, and instead is limited to 1366 x 768 pixels. In the proper tablet mode, we would have appreciated a higher res screen to bring it in line with the Android tablets in the same price bracket. However, the display is crisp and while colour reproduction is not as vivid as some of the AMOLED screens, the IPS panel means the colours are extremely accurate. Whether you're watching videos or reading a bunch of text, this IPS screen is extremely comfortable. Hopefully, with the next update, the resolution will be bumped up as well. Touchscreen response is accurate and quick, and that just makes using Windows 8.1 that much more fun.
Lenovo claims 8 hours of battery life from the tablet’s battery, and another 8 hours with the dock’s additional pack. For the tablet battery, we registered an impressive 6.5 hours in our battery benchmark, run at full load and 100% display brightness. Translate this into a typical usage scenario at work or at home, and you will usually never have brightness levels above 50%. That means you will get more than 8 hours on a single charge, which is what we experienced. Even without having to carry the dock around, the IdeaTab Lynx is good enough to last a complete day at work.
The Clovertrail based Atom Z2760 dual core processor, paired with 2GB of RAM, is no scorcher in the performance charts. In PC Mark 07, it registered a score of 1431, which is pretty much in range of most other Windows 8 convertibles like the HP Slate x2 and the Asus VivoTab. However, benchmarks really don’t always tell the complete story, and we shouldn’t hold that against the ideaTab Lynx. The real world performance is very smooth, although you cannot really multi-task on this machine, beyond a point. But within those limitations, you get a very competent performer, with the main focus being good battery life. The 64GB flash storage is fairly quick, booting into Windows 8 in about 11 seconds. The CloverTrail platform does not support SATA, otherwise a full-fledged SSD would have improved performance further. The 2GB RAM does prove to be a limitation when you open 10 tabs in Chrome and want to open iTunes in the background with a significant increase in the time it takes to open an app. But for most typical home and home office uses, tasks like viewing multimedia, web browsing, emails and document creation - the IdeaTab Lynx works very smoothly.
To buy or not to buy?
The Lynx name would suggest something cutting edge and futuristic, but this Windows 8 convertible is anything but that. The IdeaTab Lynx is a very functional and reliable performer, with the extreme flexibility offered by the proper tablet mode and the keyboard dock. That, and the good battery life makes this a device that is very usable. The IPS screen, albeit not Full HD, is fantastic for all use cases. However, it will still not be able to completely replace your proper laptop anytime soon, at least until the keyboard dock gives you a better typing experience.