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Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Removable Review: Solid Surface Pro option


Sarah Tew / CNET

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Detachable is a 1

2.3-inch tablet with a built-in kickstand and removable keyboard. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s really the same thing as Microsoft’s Surface Pro. Surface Pro has not changed at all in generations. The X12 may sound familiar, but it’s a fresh design with new components – including Intel’s 11th generation processors and Thunderbolt 4 support. Lenovo also includes the keyboard cover (an additional purchase for the Surface Pro) as well an active pen. And while it may not have the stylish appeal of Microsoft’s tablet, the X12 is built to survive extreme heat and cold, dust, drops, spills and shocks.


  • Strong build quality
  • More privacy, security features
  • Keyboard, active pen included

Prices for ThinkPad X12 Detachable currently starting at $ 1,088 but it fluctuates with the offerings Lenovo has available. In the UK, Lenovo’s website says that X12 “coming soon” at the price is listed as £ 1,520. It is available in Australia from 2,199 AUD. A similarly configured Surface Pro 7with a similar configuration as my rating system, it costs $ 1400 and it is without the keyboard cover and pen. Lenovo offers a variety of configuration options, including five 11th-generation Intel Core processors, two of which are vPro versions for greater security and remote administration. Unlike most ThinkPads, however, there is only one screen option – but that’s fine.

Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Removable

Price as reviewed

$ 1349

Screen size / resolution

12.3-inch 1920 x 1280 touch screen


1.8 GHz Intel Core i5-1130G7


16 GB 4267 MHz LPDDR4X (onboard)


128 MB Intel Iris Xe graphics




802.11ax wireless, Bluetooth 5.0


USB 4 Type-C with Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 3.5 mm combination jack

Operating system

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit


The whole package

Sarah Tew / CNET

The tablet’s 12.3-inch screen has a 3: 2 aspect ratio that gives you more vertical workspace than widescreen 16: 9 screens.
Color spectrum covers 100% sRGB and the brightness is estimated at 400 nit. It actually hits just above the brightness in the middle and slightly below around the rest of the screen. However, uniformity is generally good, and the brightness helps some with glare. All in all, this is a first-class display for work, presentations and entertainment.

With this as a tablet, there is not much in the body, but still Lenovo captures the look and feel of ThinkPad laptops. Because everything is wrapped behind the screen, the tablet is solid and weighs in at 760 grams (760 grams) alone or about 2.5 pounds with the keyboard and pen. Still, it’s lighter than most laptops and is built to meet 12 Mil-Spec standards.


The outrigger holds on and gives you enough flexibility for positioning.

Sarah Tew / CNET

The ThinkPad design continues to the detachable keyboard that clicks onto a set of magnetic connectors. A strip just above the keyboard folds and attaches magnetically to the bottom of the screen, which in turn lifts the back of the keyboard for a more comfortable typing position.

The keyboard layout and size required little adjustment for me, and there is enough travel to the keys that you do not feel like typing on a flat surface. The function keys are pre-programmed with shortcuts for VoIP calls, microphone mute and notifications. The keyboard is also backlit, so you do not struggle to see the keys in the dim light of a cabin.

A fabric loop on the right side of the keyboard holds the supplied pen when not in use. Although the pen’s performance is steady and responsive, make no mistake about writing on paper. It’s really great to have for tagging documents, drawing a quick flow chart, taking notes or just doodling to refresh your mind.


The Fn and Ctrl keys are replaced, but Lenovo’s Vantage software lets you instantly switch features.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Next to the usable trackpad (there is a ThinkPad TrackPoint if you prefer) there is a fingerprint reader for quick logins. When not using the keyboard, there is also an infrared camera next to the 1080p webcam so you can sign in with face detection. There is also a privacy shutter you can slide to block the webcam. It’s also a worldwide 8-megapixel camera – for those times when you need to quickly take a picture or video of a project or workplace.

Where the X12 slides up is with gates. It has two USB-C ports, one of which supports the Thunderbolt 4, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, and that’s it. You rely on dongles, hubs and docks for all older ports, and there are no dongles included for USB-A, Ethernet or HDMI. Lenovo will sell them to you when you set up your system. They are also all on one side and spread apart, so if you use both in laptop mode, there may be something hanging from the top of the screen.


If you need older gates, you will need to use dongles and docks with X12.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Given how slim the tablet is and the components inside, I was surprised that I managed to get a battery life of 9 hours, 23 minutes from the ThinkPad X12. That’s about an hour cloud of Lenovo’s battery life requirements, and it’s possible it was with a lower Core i3 configuration.

My Core i5 configuration made at the level of seashells and convertible two-in-one with comparable components. It’s a step behind the 11th generation Core i7 laptops we’ve tested, but honestly not so much. If you want a little extra performance or longevity, it will be worth going up to the i7. For everyday office, school or field use, the i5 with 16 GB of memory should keep your work smooth.

And that’s pretty much the story of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Removable: It’s a sleek, solid tablet PC with long battery life, zippy performance and all the accessories you need to get the job done right in the box. Only be prepared to get dongles or a dock if you need more than one USB-C connection.


Sarah Tew / CNET

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