126 of 127 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic tablet for this price point
, December 11, 2011
This review is from: Lenovo Ideapad A1 22282EU 7-Inch Tablet (Black) (Personal Computers)
I picked up this tab a few days ago after some extensive research. Was in the market for a budget tablet $250 or lower. My choices initially were the Kindle Fire, B&N Nook and the Ideapad A1. When the specs/price was put together the Ideapad A1 came out way ahead of the rest. It's true that the Nook and Kindle Fire are dual core tabs but that really doesn't mean anything since usability there is severely limited to be anything more than a media consumption tool for their respective vendors - Amazon and B&N. The Kindle Fire as a permanent storage handicap of 6GB so that was out. The Nook requires an additional $30 SD card since there is only 1GB user space on the device...so that brings the tab price to $279. For just $199 this Ideapad tab gives you everything that you could want in a budget tablet.
- 16GB of storage space (2GB+14GB internal SD)
- MicroSD expansion slot
- GPS which works offline as well (I have not tested this)
- Bluetooth 2.1 in addition to WiFI b/g/n
- Front and rear facing cameras although the front cam is pretty low resolution (.3MP) it's better than no camera at all!
The tab ships with Gingerbread using a very ugly Launcher, this is quickly remedied by installing Launcher Pro which makes it nice and pretty. The capacitive touch screen has no lags at all that I noticed and works very smoothly.
- Screen quality is excellent, at this price point it's terrific, does have an ambient light sensor in the front
- Audio quality via headphones is great, the speaker is pretty loud but speakers on mobile devices are all pretty bad so...
- Does NOT play 1080p video (I don't think any tabs play this resolution), but this tab has NO PROBLEM playing 720p video - I tested it out and it plays beautifully without any lag.
- Netflix, Hulu, Youtube HD all work great
- Skype works but without any video - the front cam is operational but not with Skype, not sure what the issue is but i'm thinking there will be a fix soon.
- Word on the net is that it's easily rootable although I have not been able to root this
My thought is that Honeycomb should work once someone posts an accurate procedure of how to root this tab although I find nothing particularly wrong with Gingerbread per se. Just get rid of the awful Lenovo launcher and you're good to go.
Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the purchase and it fits the bill as an open budget Android tablet that is up to the task of doing everything a basic tab user would want to do.
A few updates after several days of use:
- The GPS works well offline, lock is fairly quick and the unit ships with NavDroid offline maps which can be used for 1 state at a time.
- The home, back and settings menu buttons light up only when touched, this can be annoying at first because you can't find out where they are if it's dark, but you get used to it, but it's definitely a design anomaly
Additional updates (after 2 weeks):
- Still loving it! Skype video finally works, you need the latest update from Market but make sure you "Clear app data" first before updating Skype. The video is upside down for some reason and you have to turn the tab upside down to send upright video over to the other end.
- Dolphin Browser HD works beautifully with the gestures (COOL!), you can just draw shapes on the screen to execute functions (like an up arrow to go to the top of the page :)
- ROOT was successful :D Used SuperOneclick 2.2, installed USB drivers, turn USB debugging on, do not mount the SD card and it takes about a minute to root.
Update - after a month of use:
- no issues at all regarding reliability, still working very good
- Battery life is pretty good
- I was able to transfer a DVD and watch it on the tab using the "MX Video" app which is free.
- Downloaded OsmAnd open offline maps which works better than NavDroid in my opinion
- A mistake in my review said that HULU worked, actually Hulu free is not supported on any mobile device, Hulu mobile apps require a paid Hulu Plus subscription. There is a hack to make playback of free Hulu content work which involves downloading a hacked version of flash (which sends the server a fake id identifying itself to Hulu as a desktop system) and downloading the Hulu apk and installing it. I may give this a go sometime but there are many instructions out there on the web.
6 month update: still working well, updated to Android 4.0.4 (ICS) and it's much more stable than the Gingerbread that came with the unit. The battery is really weak though and I have to charge it daily.
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