The Bottom LineAug 23 2011 - Lenovo attempts to make a fairly unique tablet experience with a few tweaks to the Android 3 interface that for the most part work. In addition, it offers a very different look with its blend of color and aluminum to the back of the tablet. Add in double the storage of many similar priced tablets and it looks quite attractive. The downside is that Lenovo has placed a large number of trialware applications on it in addition to setting up the device to essentially have ads streamed to it. This tarnishes what could have been a very solid tablet offering.
- Double The Storage Capacity Of Many Similar Priced Tablets
- Unique and Functional UI Overlay
- Distinctive Appearance
- Too Many Applications Loaded That Are Trials
- Lenovo Defaults It To Receive Over The Air Ads
- Fairly Thick And Heavy
- 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (Cortex-A9) Dual Core Processor
- 1GB Memory
- 32GB Storage
- 10.1-inch WXGA (1280x800) Multitouch Display
- NVIDIA Tegra 2 Graphics
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- 2.0 Megapixel Front Camera, 5.0 Megapixel Back Camera
- micro HDMI, Mirco SD Card Slot, Docking Port
- 10.4" x 7.4" x .52" @ 1.65 lbs.
- Android 3.1
Review - Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 10.1-inch 32GB Wi-Fi
Aug 23 2011 - Lenovo entered the tablet race a little late even though they had been developing a few of their own tablet and hybrid options they showed off in the past. The IdeaPad Tablet K1 takes a fairly conservative approach by opting to use the Android 3.1 operating system but they have taken a few risks by applying their own user interface on top of the base OS. Essentially, they have added their own launcher program that resides in the center of the home screen.
By default, the launcher hold five zones which include Watch, EMail, Read and Listen which bundle a set of applications to the appropriate category name. There is a fifth zone that is the globe which takes users to the web browser. Now, these zones are completely customizable and it is advised that users customize it right away. For one, Lenovo also has its Lenovo Messages setup by default which is essentially a set of ads that it pushed to the device periodically. In addition to this launcher, there is an icon that brings up a wheel of favorite apps for the user which is customizable and can select between six total applications.In addition to the UI changes, Lenovo has loaded a huge number of applications into the K1. They range from games, music, entertainment, books, social and tools. Some of them are quite handy to have preloaded including Documents to Go for editing documents and spreadsheets, Netflix for watching streaming video or Amazon's Kindle for books. The problem is there are a lot more applications than just these loaded onto the system and many of them require some sort of payment to unlock features or use. This ends up being detrimental to the user experience.
To offset the large number of applications, Lenovo has priced the 32GB version of the tablet at the same price as most tablets are charging for just 16GB of storage. These means that the tablet has double the amount of space for apps, videos, music or ereader files. Of course, with the Android tablet market being saturated with options, pricing has become much more fluid. Even HP has recently dropped the prices of their PlayBook to attract more buyers.
Physically, Lenovo has also made a few design decisions with the K1 that make it unique. First, it offers a two toned appearance with an aluminum trim and one of three color options for the back panel including red. This certainly sets it apart from the other Android tablets on the market. It is very glossy though and will end up showing fingerprints on it about as much as the front glass display will. They have tapered the edges overall fairly well such that it can be held in either portrait or the default landscape mode fairly easily.
While the appearance of the K1 is unique, the overall size of the tablet is unfortunately not that improved. It certainly isn't the thickest of Android tablets on the market, but it still nowhere near as thin as the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. The weight is also quite high, over one an a half pounds, which can get tiring when holding it for extended periods of time.
The display on the K1 has a few issues with it that make it a bit below average than some of the others on the market. Viewing angles were acceptable such that viewing it from the side wasn't a problem. The issue is with the brightness and contrast particularly when viewing the tablet outdoors. The brightness just isn't enough to overpower the level of glare that the glass coating generates. The results make it difficult to use for any extended use outdoors or in certain lighting conditions.
There are two cameras on the Lenovo K1 just like pretty much every other Android tablet. The front one is a 2.0 megapixel that resides in the top center of the tablet in landscape mode. The rear facing camera is a 5.0 megapixel model that resides in the upper right hand side of the tablet when held in landscape mode. This should prevent most cases where a hand or finger might get in the way of the lens. Performance from the cameras is typical of most tablets with poor low light performance and colors aren't always accurate.
Lenovo makes the standard ten hour running time claim that just about every tablet on the market makes. To achieve this, they have included a two cell 7400mAh battery pack. In video playback tests, the tablet was able to run for just under eight and a half hours. This falls short of their claims and is typical of most of the current generation of 10-inch Android tablets. In particular though, it doesn't match up to the ten hours that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the class leading Apple iPad 2 achieve.