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on December 11, 2011
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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on November 13, 2011
After what seemed like forever waiting for a 7" tablet that was designed to be a tablet, with a capacitive screen, GPS, bluetooth, a camera (this has two) and all of the standards (not requiring cell service) for an affordable price (and not being a China wanna be), I thought I finally hit gold with the A1. I actually pre-ordered this directly from Lenovo prior to common availability. Well, to sum it up briefly, it's tons better than any China Wanna Be of any size, but only ties with a converted B&N Nook. (*"converted meaning: rooted and using either a Gingerbread or Honeycomb formatted SD.)

The processor lags compared to Nook. If surfing the Market or the web, you're really never quite sure if you hit the back button because of the lag. Kinda annoying when you discover you've lost you're search or closed out of a program because of this.

Although the resolution is the same as the Nook, the quality and light sensing of the Nook is by far superior.

The touch sensing is equal to the Nook. At times it is very sensitive - unless it's edge sensing. Like the Nook, it sometimes gets a bit persnickety.

The cameras aren't to compare to today's phone or digital camera standards, but this isn't a phone or digital camera and wasn't designed as such. They do the job exactly as I would expect them to. (**Skype is claimed to not work, however other video chat clients have been reported to.)

The GPS rocks. Plain and simple. No data/Wi-Fi required as long as you use a locally installed Nav program. Lenovo includes a limited (one state) nav program just for this. If you hotspot your phone for a data connection, you can use Google's Navigation which is also included. (**GPS does not work within buildings but does fine in a car in a wooded area.)

Bloatware? I wish all devices came like this. MOST of them can actually be removed without root! It only came with the standard Google apps (including Market), Lenovo's Market (awful), the Nav app, Kindle, a help program, eBuddy (one stop social networking), Documents To Go, iheartradio, esFile Explorer, and mSpot Movies. That's it! Koodos to Lenovo for this.

Battery life? Nook takes this, too. Constant use is about 5 hours. Depsite its common micro usb charging port, ONLY the Lenovo cables will work to charge.

Speakers? A1 takes the trophy. By far. Really good and loud sound - which is great for audiobooks! But keep in mind, this is a tablet. Not an iPod. Not a stereo.

Design. The Lenovo wins. It feels a lot more sturdy than the Nook. And the back doesn't pop off like the Nook's does. The microSD slot is a lot easier to access. The volume buttons react better because of a slight bump in the buttons that make them easier to push. (**The pictures of the A1 make it appear to have both a micro and a standard SD Slot. Looks are deceiving. The standrd SD is NOT a standard SD Slot - its a speaker.)

As a side note, the A1's hard buttons (menu, home, back) only light up if you touch them. Considering the black frame, and incredible unlikelihood that the user is psychic, I feel that was a pretty poor choice of design. At least it has them, though. (**To remedy this, I put a screen protector on it, then used white out to put dots below the buttons so I could see them.)

So in summary, if you're looking for tablet to read, check the news, watch videos in a hotel room, listen to stuff, or to look cool in office meetings as you record them, then the A1 is perfect for the price. If you don't need the stable bluetooth, GPS, decent speakers, and a microphone, save the $50 and go with the rooted/hacked Nook Color.

FAQs: No there is no standard size USB port - just the micro. No there is no HDMI port. No it will not be upgraded to Honeycomb. This is a single processor device that can not support it correctly. Being a former user of Honeycomb, I haven't missed it. You will NEED to replace the standard Launcher with another like Launcher Pro, ADW Launcher, or Go Launcher EX. The included Launcher is EXTREMELY slow. The review was written on my Lenovo A1 tablet.
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on May 4, 2012
I'm new to Tablets. I chose the Ideapad 7.0- because of the reviews (mobiletechreview.com) and price. Amazon shipping was excellent.

Initially I had problems connecting to my home wifi, probably due to not really understanding how properly use the keyboard. It is tiny and easy to make mistakes without knowing(especially spaces).
The item ships Without a useful written User Manual. I located one on the Lenovo website which is somewhat helpful(also found it on the tablet under a GetHelp app/icon) and purchased Android Tablets Made Simple through download. It was not very useful.

The unit functions as advertised, but it is impossible to understand how the Home Screen/Buttons and Apps are supposed to work. It is mostly trial and error. I finally learned that the Back Key? feature solves most problems. It does not function as normal-windows computer.

I launched NavDroyd(GPS), but it did not function and I then Uninstalled it and then reinstalled it. It did not work then either.

I then downloaded GPS-Wifi on Google Play(search: wifi android gps) and it seems to function quite well,(complete with photos) but I'm just trying to understand how it is supposed to work.

This tablet needs an Instruction Book although it is sort of -Intuitive--

I am also questioning the functionality and usefulness of a Tablet. As of right now I am leaning maybe towards a small laptop/netbook with--Real MS Office- installed with real keyboard etc. Maybe I'll change my mind as time goes by.

I also launched Docs to Go, to verify receiving a Word document. It arrived as an attachment but was unable to open it until I discovered a Download Symbol in the upper left corner of the screen. Tapping it opened the document.

As for games, .....Jees, I'm always playing -How To Get Through Today- and really don't need any others !!!

I have called the companies 24x7 Support Line twice. Very helpful and quick to answer. I was surprised.

I also purchased the Folio Leather Case $11.99, free shipping. Excellent item fits the Ideapad perfectly.

All in all... a pretty good purchase(s)-----Cost vs Benefit.
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on June 2, 2012
Background: We have multiple PC's, an iPad 2, iPhone 4s, etc.

My main reason for getting this tablet was to have something that I could customize for my own usage around the house and something larger than the iPhone for entertainment while traveling. Sharing the iPad doesn't work well since it doesn't have multiple user settings.

Read books and store manuals on first and foremost. These are PDF's for all my electronics, my vehicles, and my power equipment. Lots of manuals.
Watch videos
Surf the web
Link to my email
Not much of a gamer

My initial impression is very good. My concerns were:

Numerous comments about the screen and angle of view.
Short answer is that the angle isn't very good. But, for the most part I hold the device in my direct line of sight. To me, this is pretty much a none issue and I don't think most people will be that bothered by it.

Android 2.3 being out of date and thus inadequate
So far, it seems to be working fine. The interface is new to me and things don't work like I'm used to, but I'm managing to get around in it.

Power of a single core CPU
It's been very responsive for me initially. I'm more than satisfied with the performance of the CPU. It's not as quick as the iPad 2, but adequate.

I've used the Lenovo app store and it has the basics covered, the apps seem to download and install quickly. I've loaded things like weather.com and other common apps. It does come with a document app for Office based files that seems to work well.

Bottom line is this is a good ereader/7" tablet. It has nice features and seems to work well. I had considered the Nook and Kindle Fire, but didn't care for the limitations placed on those devices and the need to jailbreak them to get full functionality.
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on December 10, 2011
I wanted an ereader for indoor use only, that could do a little more than just be a reader, had decent build quality, and didn't break the bank. After much research, I decided to take a chance on the Lenovo Ideapad A1 for just $200.

Well, I wasn't disappointed. With this device, I can read books, check my mail, browse the web, listen to music and watch Youtube videos. And I still have two cameras and a GPS as well to play around with. Plus I have full access to the Android Market. There is also a micro SD slot on the device for extra versatility.

Everything works and I have had no serious problems. Some people have complained about lack of screen responsiveness, poor wireless performance and random reboots. I have had no such issues.

I did however have one problem with the keyboard. After experimenting with keyboard settings, I lost access to the supplied GO Keyboard for Lenovo, and ended up with a smaller keyboard with less functionality and which preferred to type Chinese/Japanese(?) characters. I found the solution on one of the forums. Simply hold down the left button on the keyboard (the button with Eastern (Chinese?) characters, bottom left), until you are able to select the correct language/country. After that, you are back to the original GO Keyboard for Lenovo.

As others have already mentioned, the three buttons below the screen are not easily visible and only light up AFTER you touch one of them - not a very good design feature.
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on December 28, 2011
I love ANDROID tablets and thus purchased this tab for my wife. The 7inch screen size is perfect for any purse or breafcase. My wife loves it and its size. The spread and quality of the experiance is great.

From tech point of view:
1. Even though this product is mostly plastic, it is of strong quality.
2. Screen resolution is very good for watching videos.
3. Sound quality is good.
4. Is easy to operate.
5. Storage is more than enough for most thing on a tab.

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on February 18, 2012
I purchased the Nook tablet for my girlfriend for our anniversary (I purchased this product for myself). Not even 3 hours after we got the Nook, did we realize the biggest selling point for Android was not available, which was the Android Market (Barnes and Nobles want you to pay three dollars for ANGRY BIRDS!). So I talked her into getting one of these, which was cheaper than the Nook tablet, and she was blown away. Now we're sporting his (black) and hers (pink) IdeaPads!
Moral of the story is this; If you want a reader which is bound tightly to the respective sellers, by all means get one.
But even if you do want a reader that is not restricting in Android, get one of these. As I said, these are cheaper too. Not only that, but you get the Market, and you can find a reader of better quality there as well! Oh and did I mention you don't have to have a "membership". The associate at Barnes and Noble felt kind enough to tell us the Nook would be cheaper with a membership to BandN.
It's Android 2.3
I'm hoping to root this tablet, and go from there
Through third party software (Go Launcher, no root needed) it's customizable
Even if you want a reader but just want to save money (i.e. we're both college students), get this.
Skype will not work, but there are other video calling software available
Overall I am pleased with this product. Wouldn't trade it for anything! Now if I can just figure out how to root! Any help for that one?

EDIT: So since the review, I'm pleased to say I have been able to root it successfully. Now this thing is turbocharged!
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on June 1, 2012
First Bravo to Amazon: I ordered this on Sunday with supersaver shipping and had the tablet on Wednesday! Monday was a holiday! Super fast service! wow!!
I wanted a tablet to bridge the gap between my iphone and my desktop. I have an older laptop and while it is ok, it is clunky to read books etc. I looked at high end tablets such as ipad and realized I just couldn't justify spending the money. Office Depot was running a 2 day sale on the Lenovo so I went with the intent of getting one there. The sales guy tried to sell me a more expensive tablet even when I said I wanted to keep the price at 200. didn't buy from them but after checking Amazon,found the tablet at the same price, yippee! Besides the price hooking me, I have a Lenovo desktop and love it!!

I've only had my table for 2 days and so far I am happy with it. There is a digital booklet that explains the function of the buttons but one can figure most out by "playing" with it. I got a folding case with mine that frames the bottom buttons which makes it easier to use the hard to see buttons. I was able to download and sync Firefox so that my bookmarks and such are now on the tablet as well. I am still having trouble figuring out the e readers i.e. Kindle, and how to download books to it from the Gutenberg site. I tried one book thinking it would automatically show up in Kindle but it didn't.

My biggest problem is trying to mount/sync the desktop to the tablet to transfer certain files I have. I can't get Docs to Go nor Efiles Explorer to work. Both of these programs were on the Lenovo when I bought it. Everything looks fine until I try to actually sync them. Efiles claims it can't find my computer and when I click the USB tab in Docs to Go, nothing happens, no window pops up. I did all the troubleshooting suggestions to no avail. I am not dumb but neither am I a computer wizard so if anyone has any suggestions, I GREATLY appreciate them. My next step I'm considering is to unintsall and reinstall the programs to see if that helps. This problem is the only reason why I gave it a 4 star instead of 5.

I really like this tablet and, for the price and Amazon's light speed delivery, would recommend it.

After I wrote this I went on the Lenovo website and found a 1 1/2 minute video showing me how to transfer files from desktop to tablet. Treat tablet like a flash drive and drop and drag, boy do I feel dumb!!! From there Docs to Go synced fine and I can read all my files from the folders I transferred. It seemed like the Docs to go had to have the files first in order to sync which seems counter intuitive since I can install programs on my desktop without having any files associated yet with them. Anyway, it seems that problem is solved. Now that e reader thing......
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on April 8, 2012
I've only had my A1 for three days, but so far love it!!! Solidly built, didn't have to make any changes to it at all out of the box except for elongating the time that the screen goes dim. Screen is vivid and bright. My tablet has yet to spontaniously reboot as many have reported, in fact it has never rebooted by itself. Connected to my wi-fi right out of the box. I also took it over to my mom's and again connected with no issues and no dropped connections, or reboots. I previously had a Samsung Galaxy 7 plus tab but sold it only as at an original price of $399 it was too expensive to have sitting around not being used (I mainly use my tablets for travelling, but when it's new, I'm on it frequently!). As far as I can tell the Lenovo does everything my Samsung did, or should I say everything I've used. I've only taken a couple of pictures, one outside that turned out beautiful (but honestly I'm not going to be using it for a camera). My main uses are checking email and internet browsing. So far so good. I was thrilled to find a tablet other than the Nook and Kindle for such a great price.

As far as other's complaints, yes the keys on the bottom (home & back) would be nice if they were lit all the time, but I haven't really found that much of an issue. The only time it was is when I held the tablet in landscape mode and had the buttons on the right side, then I would accidentally hit them when I was scrolling which would then knock me out of internet. So in landscape mode just make sure buttons are on left hand side. Otherwise you just swipe down there and they will light up - certainly not a deal breaker for me.

Another quirk for me is only some (very few really) of the apps I download appear on the app page. The majority I have to add the shortcut of the app. That is the one thing the Samsung did do by itself, but again not a big issue for a $200 tablet.

For the price, I don't see how this can be beat. You're not tied into using all Amazon or all Barnes and Noble, yet you have the access to kindle books and the Amazon website or B&N or whatever. I just don't know why this product hasn't been more advertised for those of us that can't afford an Ipad. I had settled on a refurbished kindle but was having a problem pulling the trigger not knowing how much of a "computer" I was getting. I then quite by accident found the Lenovo tablet on another website and every site I have since found it on it has had at least a 4 star overall rating from consumers which was enough to sell me!
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on July 18, 2013
The Lenovo Ideapad featured here is small, ligth, portable, and has a great price point for it's performance. A few highlights:

-WIFI and 3G Data Connectivity (via SIM on certain build models)
-Responsive Ambient Light Sensor (Reacts quickly to ensure a high battery life, working at 7hrs is what it's marketed at and have no reason to doubt so far.)
-Front and Rear Camera/ Video (Not the best quality, but if you need them..)
-Audio Port for conventional 3.5mm Headphones.

Not so good:
-Memory and Processor a little lagging (For another fifty bucks, you could upgrade to something more multi task friendly)
- Cameras lag (Very blurry and well, not what you'd expect on a post 2004 device. You'd be better off using your cell phone VGA)

For me, an Android device should be very easy to use and intuitive. This one is no exception, however the initial setup isn't all bundled for what I've experienced in even Android phones of older builds.

What's most annoying is actually just two things for myself. It has a lock button for screen orientation. Ok. It has a menu selection that opens up and allows you to auto rotate when the lock is off. Great. Well, why is it that it only applies to certain applications, and not the home screen? It's seriously the only thing, along with the lock screen, that doesn't switch to landscape. This seems pretty silly.

Secondly, maybe this is unique to Android tablets, and not phones, but even though this is a fairly new Android OS, it does not support several applications available to even basic Android phones. This seems more like a programming glitch more than anything, but certainly a let down if you like the Android for the diversity of apps available to it.. kind of a big deal.

Last on the bad stuff, it's an IBM thing. So for some reason, they thought that an Android device would make a great Windows twin. As in if you want to customize which browser, music player, video player, etc. that you want to use, you can do that. BUT, you can't make the home screen select your favorites to go to. You're stuck with the stock browser (and almost literally so as mentioned before, you can't download some apps available to other Androids). The best you can do is make your own "home screen" for your favorite app themes. Simple, right?

End Note: If you're looking for a cheap entry in the tablet world, this thing is fun, functional, and fairly reliable with great battery life to boot. It features a wide array of easy to use connectivity, and I am looking forward to giving the navigation system a run for its money once mobile data is achieved.

If you're looking for something hardier, the iPad is one solid piece of great working machinery with great battery life and durability.
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