Mar 13, 2012

Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet - Wacom Digitizer, Palm Rejection, Pressure Sensitivity, 2 Button Digitizer

The X201T offers a Wacom Digitizer which allows you to do precise handwritten notes and draw sketches. There are different versions of the X201T, some only have digitizer input only and others have digitizer + multi-touch input.

The technology on the X201T is Wacom based. N-Trig is a competing technology that has it's advantages and downfalls. From my experience Wacom has better "line quality" and the digitizers feel better. N-Trig does win at not being as erratic on the edges. But if I had to choose a digitizer type that I like more it would be Wacom. (N-Trig demo 1, 2)

If your X201T has multi-touch then you can use your fingers. The X201T's multi-touch technology supports up to 2 touch points, and it also supports the Wacom digitizer (usually referred as "penabled").

The digitizer has some neat technology built in. This is not a "stylus" because the digitizer is an "electronic device". A stylus is nothing more than a stick, the digitizer is very different and enables a few extra features. Some of these extra features are: pressure sensitivity, "hover" state recognition and palm rejection, and multiple buttons. Wacom pens may have 2 buttons and a pressure sensitive eraser.

The default X201T digitizer is known as "ThinkPad Digitizer Pen (41U3143)". This is the pen that is also used in the X60 and X61 tablets. Of course you can get other "Penabled pens" which work just as well and may be more comfortable.

The system does have palm rejection technology. When you draw the digitizer's tip or eraser close to the screen the finger touch is disabled, and will continue to be disabled while the pen is close to the screen. Once the pen is out of that "hover" state then multi-touch is enabled and you can use your fingers. It's pretty neat stuff.

Wacom digitizers are very good at pressure sensitivity. Just like "real pens" the line boldness/thickness will depend on how much force you apply to the pen. Pressure changes allow you to draw more "natural" lines. Pressure sensitivity does not work on all programs. MS Paint does not have pressure senstivity, but Windows Journal does. You may have to update your Wacom drivers.

These touch features make it very different than touch only tablets like the Apple iPad. The iPad and many Android tablets use "capacitive" screen that only accept finger touch. Capacitive pens emulate finger touch and therefore are not as precise, do not offer "hover state", pressure sensitivity, and palm rejection. Some Android tablets like the HTC Flyer, Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet, and Samsung Galaxy Note offer digitizer input via N-Trig or "S-Pen".


The default X201T digitizer has 1 button which by default is used as the equivalent of a mouse's right click button. There are other Wacom based pens that have 2 buttons. With 2 buttons you can do a little more with your tablet.

ThinkPad Digitizer

Fujitsu has a digitizer for their tablets that has 2 buttons and the name of it is Fujitsu LifeBook Digitizer. Having 2 buttons is better than just having 1 button.

LifeBook Digitizer

A few other notes on this digitizer is that it looks good, it's comfortable, offers a round eraser with softer spring, and can be tethered with a string. This digitizer will not fit in the X201T's digitizer port, and it does NOT offer a pen clip.

If you update your Wacom Tablet PC drivers you will have access to more features including button reprogramming. You can make one of the buttons launch something, or be used for a specific function.

I wish!
One thing I would love to see is digitizer button adaptability. Basically the digitizer would adjust the buttons to suit the program being used, or at least change functions based on the screen orientation. But it doesn't do that so it's just a little wish of mine.

If you often use your X201T as a tablet I highly recommend getting the Fujitsu LifeBook Digitizer. The default digitizer may feel limited but the LifeBook Digitizer doesn't feel like that. The digitizer gives you options to improve your tablet experience.



  1. Is the Lenovo ThinkPad (0A33887) Digital Pen compatible with X 201 T. How does it compare with the other pens above?

    1. The Lenovo ThinkPad (0A33887) is an N-Trig based digitizer for the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet (Android). The X201T is a Wacom based digitizer. The pen technology in each system is completely different, and therefore they are not compatible.

  2. How would you rate the pressure sensitivity of the Lifebook digitizer versus the Wacom digitizer?

    1. They are basically the same thing. Although the biggest difference will be the way that you hold the digitizer, which yields different results.

    2. Thank you for the quick reply. I think I'll try the Wacom version first. Thanks again.

  3. Hi! I have a thinkpad tablet from Lenovo. I wonder, will this Fujitsu lifebook digitizer works on this tablet ?? Do you know if it works ? Or they are different specs ? Thanks!!

    1. There are screen technology differences, one is N-Trig and the other is Wacom. They are NOT compatible.

      The ThinkPad Tablet uses N-Trig technology. The N-Trig digitizer usually has a single button, with a plastic tip with metal inside, no eraser, and uses a AAAA battery. There is accuracy and pressure sensitivity to this digitizer, but the line quality is lesser than Wacom digitizers and it may show some erratic behavior.

      N-Trig examples:
      Fujitsu T580
      HTC Flyer

      The X series convertible tablets and the ThinkPad Tablet 2 use Wacom technology. The Wacom digitizer usually has 1 or 2 buttons, plastic tip, pressure sensitive eraser, and does not use a battery. The pen offers better line quality through the pressure sensitivity, but the accuracy is not as consistent particularly at the edge of screens (calibration, and angle of the pen matter a lot more).

      Wacom examples:
      Samsung Series 7 Slate

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hmmm, damit i bought the wrong stylus then :(

    Do you know any other stylus compatible with the thinkpad tablet, that is better for drawing than the original one? I wanted something more smooth for drawing. I even asked ntrig for a pen with more pressure levels, but they said it doesn't exist yet at ntrig. Did you test any stylus that you felt better for drawing on that tablet?

    1. No, all the N-Trig pens that I have seen and tried are the same.

  5. I have x201t with digitizer input only, can I convert it to digitizer+multitouch input?

  6. Is this laptop good for running programs such as adobe creative cloud and autodesk sketchbook pro?

    1. There are better ones. http://www.jessebandersen.com/2014/07/list-of-wacom-based-digitizer-pen.html