Lenovo IdeaPad A1 review

Posted on May 9 2012 - 10:06pm by Julius

The competitiveness in the tablet market is at an all time high at the moment which is great news for the consumer. If you’ve been considering a budget model here’s another tablet you should add to your list: the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet.

Lenovo has been one of the most overlooked players in the tablet game because they have been pretty quiet since the company’s announcement last year that they were bringing out a new range. We first had a taste of the IdeaPad when we met the company at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA) in Berlin last year and couldn’t wait to get one of our own to try out longterm.

What’s surprising about the product is its price. Instead of coming up with a risky over priced tablet Lenovo did exactly the opposite: they released an entry-level tablet. This seems to be a step back from what manufacturers usually do, but they seem to have done the right thing just like Amazon has done with its Kindle Fire.

What is the Lenovo IdeaPad A1?

The IdeaPad A1 is a 7-inch tablet, which is relatively small compared to other best selling tablet. The company haven’t built it to compete with Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1, but we’re pretty sure that they want to (and can) – compete with Amazon, ASUS and Samsung’s offerings.

The 7-inch tablet comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread already installed. A number of sources say that it will be upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich, Google’s latest Android version that merges both tablet and smartphone user interface, when its code becomes available. Some say that no upgrade has been planned for the device, though – time will tell.

What differentiates the IdeaPad A1 from other tablets like it is it’s free GPS service that is connected directly to the satellite. This is very useful if you travel a lot and don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on data costs.

Specifications

For its price, the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is a powerhouse. It is powered by a Texas Instruments (TI) ARM Cortex A8 single-core processor, running at 1 GHz and has a 512 MB total memory. It has a 3-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel front camera for video calling which both performed well for their intended purpose.

Users can also choose from a selection of storage capacities as Lenovo offers 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB models. The great thing about this tablet is its expansion options: it has a micro SD card slot, which is like a dream come true  for such a cheap device, who’s going to complain about that?

Design

The device is aimed for the entry-level market, and from how cute the tablet looks, I think it is aimed to get a take chunk of the younger market too. Its back cover is made of plastic and has a glossy look. Users can easily choose back cover colors, which include white, black, pink and blue.

The body is also made from plastic, which helps decrease the tablet’s weight (400 g). Don’t you worry, though, as it is very sturdy. It has a thickness of 11.95 mm, which means it’s easy to handle but thick enough to take the odd knock or two.

Display and Performance

It has a 7-inch multi touch screen display that has 1024 x 600 resolution, which is quite good compared to the 1024 x 600 resolution offered by competing 10.1-inch tablets.

Of course, like many of its competitors, it has a problem with readability under sunlight. This is due to the glossy screen and the screen’s brightness that makes it hard to use outdoors. HD videos with 720p resolution can be played smoothly, but anything with a higher resolution than that can lag in some parts. On the whole though watching videos was a pleasurable experience and certainly better than squinting at your smartphone.

Being an Android device, there will never be a shortage of games and apps available, so it is great to know that the device can take on multiple apps running at the same time.

Conclusion

We can confidently say that the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is a solid device that is worth its price. Yes, it is pretty cheap for a tablet, but don’t think it is cheaply built. It is a device built especially for watching videos, surfing the net, playing games and more. You can get more from the IdeaPad A1 than any other device within its price range.

No one would expect to have high-end hardware for £125. It is definitely worth more than it costs, check out the latest prices at Idealo.

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