Lenovo has finally entered the Android tablet market with the 10.1-inch IdeaPad K1, which mixes innovative UI enhancements and useful pre-loaded apps with a stylish, colourful design. But is it innovative enough to steer you away from better-known slates? LaptopMag.com weighs in with the review.
What we like about the IdeaPad K1 Tablet
Good Value: Order from Lenovo and you get 32GB of storage for just $US499, more than you'll see on other tablets this price.
Major UI Enhancements: From its home screen on down to its Android buttons, the IdeaPad K1 features some major improvements on the standard Honeycomb interface we've seen on all of its Android 3.1 competitors. These include a rustic default theme (which reminded us of an Andrew Wyeth painting), the Lenovo Launcher — a widget that allows you to launch your email/browser/eReader/media player, the ability to close apps from the layers menu, and the App Wheel — a rotatable widget with thumbnail shortcuts to your six favourite apps.
Stylish Design: With its matte, chrome-coloured side and back trim and deep red back panel, the IdeaPad K1 is one of the most attractive tablets we've ever seen. The back panel also comes in white and dark grey, but we strongly recommend the snazzy red shade of our review unit.
Long Battery Life: The IdeaPad K1 lasted eight hours and three minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi. That compares very favourably to the tablet category average of 6 hours and 43 minutes and the Toshiba Thrive's 6-hour and 35-minute time, and it's just a few minutes behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8:23).
Plenty of Apps: The IdeaPad K1 includes more than 30 bundled apps. A lot of it is trialware, but some programs are available in full form and are quite useful. Among our favourites is the full Documents To Go 3.0, which allows you to not only view but edit Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs while syncing with your PC or Google Docs. ArcSoft Movie Story allows you to trim videos and combine your clips with background music, transitions, and other special effects. ArcSync enables users to store 4GB of files in the cloud.
What we don't like about the IdeaPad K1
Poor Sound Quality: Whether we were listening to music or trying to conduct an audio chat on
Gtalk, the maximum speaker volume was way too low.
Inappropriate Ads: By default, both the Lenovo Launcher and the Lenovo Social Touch nag you to purchase software, music and movies. We were particularly shocked that the tablet kept recommending an explicit rap album from LMFAO, even though we'd done nothing to indicate an interest in this kind of music. Families should disable this feature right away.
Heavy: Compared to the 1.2-pound Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the 1.3-pound iPad 2, the IdeaPad K1 feels a bit bulky.
No Haptic Feedback, No Swype: The keyboard doesn't come with a Swype option, and there's no haptic feedback to make you feel like you're using a physical keyboard.
Those looking for a slimmer Android slate should opt for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and bargain hunters should go for the $US399 ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. However, if you're looking for a better interface than stock Honeycomb and want more storage for less money, the IdeaPad K1 is a pretty good deal.
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