You know, I think it is preferable for someone to acknowledge that they don’t know the answer, rather than to either studiously ignore the question, or make something up on the spot.
This has been brought to mind during my hunt for a suitable Windows 8 Tablet.
You may recall that I haven’t been too impressed with the current state of the Windows 8 Tablet market. Well, it’s now six weeks further on, so I’ve been gathering more data points in my search for a suitable tablet to invest in.
My shortlist of tablets came down in the end to
The Lenovo and the Dell are pure tablets, while the Asus and HP are hybrid convertibles – they can be used as notebooks, but their keyboards completely detach when required. All four supposedly had active digitizers with proper pen support, which was one of my requirements.
I also had an outside candidate, the Microsoft Surface Pro. Outside, because although it uses the more powerful Intel Core i5 CPU, in place of the Intel Atom Z2760 CPU used in the above tablets, this in turn means that it has a shorter battery life, and requires a cooling fan. There’s also a question mark over whether it will be available in the Dutch market.
In the end, I dropped both the HP and the Asus from consideration. The HP, while it supposedly had an active digitizer, the pen was optional, and at the moment is completely unobtainable. In fact, it’s like the mythical unicorn – some people claim to have seen it, but in practice, it’s missing in action. The Asus looks good, and seems to have a decent build quality, but what finally knocked it out of consideration for me is the fact that Asus support is lagging badly. Unlike the other vendors, Asus still do not yet have updated software drivers available for their product, or the Intel Atom chipset. That’s not a good sign in my book.
It was then down to a choice between the Lenovo or the Dell. I liked the fact that the Dell had a replaceable battery, but on the other hand, the prices for the accessories were always higher than for the Lenovo range. So my choice came down to the Lenovo Thinkpad 2.
The problem was, that there was not just the one model in the Thinkpad 2 range, there was a veritable army of them, and it was far from clear as to what precisely the differences might be, or what what be available in the Dutch market.
Lenovo publish documents that detail the models that are available in Western Europe. The first time I looked, last December, there were only a few to choose from. Then, in January, more became available. There seemed to be two series of products: the 3679 series and the 3682 series. From the published information (as of January 2013), that detailed the models as follows:
However, when I looked at the sites of the Dutch retailers, I was seeing a completely different series of numbers:
N3S23MH – 64GB, Win 8 (not clear whether it has the pen or NFC)
N3S25MH – 64GB, Win 8 Pro (not clear whether it has the pen or NFC)
N3S4HMH – 64GB, Win 8 (not clear whether it has the pen or NFC)
N3S2PMH – 32GB, Win 8 (not clear whether it has the pen or NFC)
Looking at all the sets of numbers, and the prices, then I was fairly sure that the mapping would be:
3679-23G – N3S23MH
3679-24G – ?
3679-25G – N3S25MH
3679-2PG – N3S2PMH
3679-4HG – N3S4HMH
However, I had no clue as to what the difference was between the 3679 and the 3682 series.
I documented all this in the Lenovo Thinkpad forum, and hoped that someone from Lenovo would pop along to clear up the confusion.
No such luck.
And there it stood until a few days ago when I saw that one of the Dutch retailers (only the one so far) had the N3S25MH model arriving in stock. So, I emailed the retailer to ask whether this model shipped with the digitizer and the pen.
Yesterday, the model was showing as in stock, so I asked again. I also took a chance and ordered it.
Of course, as soon as my order was accepted, I had a reply from the retailer that (1) this model did not come with a pen, but that (2) I could order a pen part number FRU39T0803. Naturally, this pen was NOT the Thinkpad 2 pen, but something else entirely.
Clearly, either this salesperson did not have a clue, or my assumption that the N3S25MH model was the 3679-25G model was completely wrong. I might add that a few weeks back, I was reliably informed by another Dutch reseller that the N3S23MH model came with a digitizer and pen (it doesn’t).
Well, the Thinkpad 2 arrived today, and I’m relieved to report that the N3S25MH is exactly the same as the 3679-25G model – it even says this on the box. So it came with the pen, with WWAN and NFC.
It also came with a large sticky label plastered on the back saying NON-ENCRYPTION. I suspect that this is the difference between the 3679 series and the 3682 series. The latter has the TPM hardware fitted and enabled, while the former does not.
It is a bit frustrating that we have to figure all this out by ourselves. Lenovo don’t make it clear, and their resellers, judging from my experience of the Dutch resellers, don’t have a clue.