Quick Note About the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Pen

May 1, 2013

I am still using the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 every day. I judge a product by how well it “sticks” to me and this thing really sticks to me! Of course, a lot of fine points are coming out as I use it. One of them is the included digitizer pen that I use to take notes with.

I admire the fact that the Lenovo pen attaches using a distinct internal slot as shown at left. It ensures the pen is always at hand.

This is compared to the Microsoft Surface Pro’s poor design that has no pen slot other than sharing its charging port—a very problematic design since you can’t charge and hold a pen at the same time. Since, due to its short battery life, you will need to charge the Surface Pro quite a lot, the pen is rarely attached, and so I guarantee you will grab the Surface one day and forget the pen is left behind on the table.

Again, having a dedicated pen slot like the one on the Lenovo is important for a tablet. However…

The Included Lenovo pen has a few problems

However, the included Lenovo pen has a few problems:

  1. The pen is very thin and a bit short and so it doesn’t feel great for long term use. It works well enough, it’s just not fantastic.
  2. The side-button is tiny and hard to find.
  3. The pen does not have an eraser at its end. Most good Wacom digitizer pens have a button at the end opposite the point. That button activates the eraser tool in nearly all pen-enabled software—and again, this pen lacks that button. So you have to activate the eraser some other way.

Internal Pen is Best As Emergency Backup

Due to these three issues, I use the included internal pen mainly as an emergency backup, and instead keep a few extra full-sized Wacom pens handy for normal use. For example one is always in my briefcase and one is always on my desk (the latter I use for note-taking when on a business call—this little tablet is great for that, using OneNote).

Buying Extra Pens

So where can you buy full-size Wacom pens separate from a tablet? At the left is one available on Amazon; It works great with the Lenovo and here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Penabled-Tablet-Pc-Eraser-Pen/dp/B000085BDB/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

However, unfortunately, the supplier for this pen on Amazon has just changed and the price has nearly doubled since I bought it. It’s too much now I think.

But others are available.

For example here is a link to another less expensive model, this one made by Lenovo for their other tablets, and I think it should work, but I have not tested it:

http://www.amazon.com/Thinkpad-Tablet-Digitizer-Identical-Included/dp/B000KX3CWK/ref=cm_cr_pr_pb_t

If you try this one and it works, please place a comment on this post (or, if it does not work, return it to Amazon and comment here to that affect!). By the way, don’t purchase a pen made for a Wacom digitizer tablet like the Bamboo or Intuos; those don’t work with screen-based digitizers.

Trouble with Loose Pens

The trouble with loose pens is you forget them. So again, one solution is to have a few scattered about (like you do with ink pens). Admittedly, that’s expensive and you still may not find it when you need it. So having the one stored inside the tablet, as Lenovo has done, is the best plan to make sure you always have one on hand.

Also, I found that I could toss the extra pen in the bottom of the sleeve I describe at the very bottom this post: http://www.oneminutetodolist.com/blog/more-about-the-lenovo-thinkpad-tablet-2/

Michael Linenberger

14 thoughts on “Quick Note About the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Pen

  1. Karl Person

    Michael,
    I have an HP Elite 900 tablet that has a long battery life and a pen. (although there is no way to store with the tablet) I use MS OneNote a lot and have since your first tablet book. This tablet has lots of accessories like a docking station for my desk, keyboard cover for typing on the road and another cover with a host of external connections that can be made, HDMI, SD, etc.
    Is there something that prevents you from recommending this tablet.

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      Karl, I hadn’t looked at it yet and just read up on it. Other than no pen slot, I’d say it looks like a real nice unit. In fact, I like the taller aspect ratio. Looks real good!
      Michael

      Reply
      1. Karl Person

        Thanks, I had requested the Lenovo that you listed, but our IT Department ordered the HP. I was disappointed at first, but have been won over the last few weeks and I am trying it as my main computer at my desk. I have my laptop in a bag under my desk, but have not found a need to get it out yet!

        Reply
  2. Rob

    Hi.

    I also have the Thinkpad Tablet 2 and I agree with your summary of the Lenovo pen. I traded up for the Wacom Bamboo Feel stylus:
    http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Bamboo-Samsung-Windows-Tablets/dp/B00BVUQZZ2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1384826540&sr=1-1&keywords=wacom+bamboo+feel+stylus

    This isn’t the cheapest option (and the price doubles if you want the Carbon version). However, it feels like a real pen and the build quality is second to none. Is is by far and away the most solid stylus I’ve ever come across. It comes with two types of tip, hard (white) and soft (black). Depending upon your writing style, and probably your screen protector, you can choose the nib that best suits you. I prefer the harder white, as there is less drag on the nib. The nib glides effortlessly. My only gripe is the lack of an eraser function.

    My primary use is meeting notes, which then SkyDrive and sync back to my work laptop and phone. I rarely tote my keyboard around, and my choice of case reflects this.

    I bought the Moko Slim cover, which includes a holder for my upgraded stylus. Unfortunately, it prevents use of the dock. I was having to constantly remove the tablet from its cover. It’s a shame, because I really like it otherwise.
    http://www.amazon.com/MoKo-Thinkpad-Windows-Integrated-Elastic/dp/B009YG9LYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1384826847&sr=1-1&keywords=MoKo+Slim+Cover+Case+for+Lenovo+Thinkpad+Tablet+2

    I have since bought a Thankscase, which allows the machine to dock without being fully removed from its cover.
    http://www.amazon.com/Thankscase-Thinkpad-Microfiber-Interior-Function/dp/B00C3QV9H2/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1384826966&sr=1-1&keywords=Thankscase+Lenovo+Thinkpad+Tablet+2

    I’m now trying to figure out how to attach my Bamboo stylus to the new case!

    Lastly, are you having the “display driver has stopped responding” issue? It was really bugging me for a while. A fix can be found here:
    http://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-slate-tablets/TPT2-Win-8-1-Display-driver-keeps-crashing/m-p/1285821#M26392

    Thanks for the blog. Lots of interesting info. I’m off to read some more!

    All the best, Rob.

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      Rob, thanks for your comments on the pens and cases. Regarding the display driver, I have been holding off upgrading the Tablet 2 to Win 8.1 due to all the issues reported on that same forum. Elsewhere on that forum a Lenovo staffer says they have another BIOS upgrade coming soon (2.0) to finally squash all the 8.1 issues. And I am waiting for that BIOS change before I upgrade. So, no, I have not had any of those issues (yet). Michael

      Reply
  3. Ernst Anepool

    Nice to read its a pressure sesitive pen, and working with the standard Wacom pen, so you can even use the Pen of your Samsung Note 2 Phone, and the Pen from the X60/61 you’re curious works too.
    My gues is that all pens from Penenabled Tablets and Convertables will work, but be aware the Bamboo/Intous pens differ a lot the pen from mu girls Bamboo Touch does Zilch on X61, EP121, Note…

    But Penpressure response differs a LOT, Note pen being the softest, the X60 pen being the mellow , with nice spread from thin to broad, the EP121 being more heavy handed, and the old 3button Wacom Tablet pen being for the Neanderthaler among us, and very short spread from thin to Heavy.

    Fine artwork goes easiest with X61 pen :-)

    Reply
  4. Rob

    Great news – Lenovo is bringing out the Tablet 10:

    From their website:
    Business Tablet with Full PC Capability
    Business-ready 10.1″ tablet delivering a full PC experience with four versatile modes, Windows 8.1, and ecosystem including optional Ultrabook Keyboard, ThinkPad Tablet Dock, and Digitizer Pen
    From: http://shop.lenovo.com/ca/en/tablets/thinkpad/

    Following the link goes to a 404 error.

    The Thinkpad Tablet 3 is (almost) here!

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      Rob, that is good news. Can’t wait till they announce and ship it! Michael

      Reply
  5. Martin

    Hi

    I have a TP2 since 2 years ago. Recently the digital pen doesn’t work anymore (just before to install the W10). And with the W10 doesn’t work neither. Question: Could be the battery or the digital pen doesn’t work with battery?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Michael Linenberger Post author

      Sorry Martin, I quit using the TP2 about a year or so ago, so no thoughts on what might have led to the issues. By the way, as I recall the pen does not use a battery. Michael

      Reply
  6. Primale

    Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is awesome, nice
    written and come with almost all important infos. I’d like to peer extra posts like this .

    Reply
  7. Alex R

    I know this is a bit late. I ordered the Amazon linked pen and received a Thinkpad X60 pen which was incompatible with my Thinkpad Tablet 2, so I returned it. eBay has a much higher likelihood of having a pen compatible with the TP Tablet 2, so I’m waiting for it to arrive.

    Reply

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