The Lenovo IdeaTab S2109 is the Chinese manufacturer's latest Android tablet offering. A 10-inch, Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) device, the S2109 is powered by a dual-core, 1 GHz processor and has a 1024 x 768 resolution. It's available with 8 GB, 16 GB, or 32 GB of storage, though it is also expandable thanks to a microSD card slot. It has only a front-facing, 1.3-megapixel camera, and other features include micro USB and micro HDMI ports and SRS-enhanced speakers. So is it worth your money, or, as tablets make the shift to quad-core processors, does the S2109's dual-core processor make it the last of a dying breed?
Build & Design
When it comes to the build of the IdeaTab S2109, I feel like a lot of users will either love it or hate it. The thing is, I'm a big fan of sharp angles and edges, and the S2109 basically has none, so I definitely fall into the latter category. I can, however, recognize that it's entirely a matter of preference, so its shape may not be as big of a deal for other users.
The way it's built certainly doesn't have any effect on comfort or portability, I just dislike the rounded corners and tapered back on an aesthetic level; it gives the whole thing an almost oval-like look. But it's perfectly lightweight, weighing in at 1.28 pounds (580 grams), and while it's no Toshiba Excite, it's on the relatively thin side too, measuring only 0.35 inches thick. Per my preference, I wish that Lenovo had used some sort of textured material on the gunmetal-colored backing of the device, but instead the PC/ABS material is quite slick and extremely prone to fingerprints. Thankfully, in a very generous move, the S2109 ships with a rubberized case, so that helps ameliorate the problem.
Button and port placement is mostly standard, though Lenovo did design the ergonomics from a practical standpoint. Working under the assumption that people are usually holding larger tablets like the S2109 in landscape orientation, the branding is on the bottom of the long side, while the power/standby switch is on the left side so it can be easily tapped with a finger while holding the tablet horizontally. Meanwhile, the micro USB, micro HDMI, and headphone ports are all on the right side, along with a microphone and covered microSD card slot. The volume rocker resides on the top edge.
On the flip side, Lenovo recognized that most people hold their tablets in portrait orientation when video chatting, so the front-facing, 1.3-megapixel webcam is centered on the left short side, thereby placing it on the top edge of the tablet when held vertically. Yes, it seems a little bold for Lenovo to have made a general assumption about how people hold their tablets when performing certain tasks. But on the other hand, I think Lenovo's pretty accurate in its assumptions, and it's certainly a good fit for this user.
The 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 display of the S2109 won't blow you away with its sharpness, but the IPS screen does have a respectably wide viewing angle. I find its great viewing angles even more impressive in light of the fact that the display isn't even all that bright, even at maximum settings. Color quality, however, is decent.
The speakers of the S2109 are definitely a high point. Though they are all rear-firing -- I loved the idea of having front-firing speakers lining the screen of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, so I think it's a shame that isn't really catching on -- the S2109 sports four speakers with SRS sound enhancement that are not only powerful, but also of good quality (at least for tablet speakers). Two of the speakers are bigger than the others, and Lenovo states on the spec sheet that the speakers have "powerful dual bass," suggesting that those two are bass-enhanced. It's a feature that you can hear, albeit only slightly, when you crank the volume up to the max. But the fact that you can hear the slight thud of bass at all on tablet speakers is an achievement in and of itself, in my opinion.
The only issue with the speakers is that, with four of them on the edges of the tablet's rear, you're bound to be covering up at least a couple of them at any given time when holding it.
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