There's nothing horribly bad about the IdeaTab A1000, but then, there's nothing particularly great about it either.
Lenovo gets into the booming low-end tablet business with the IdeaTab A1000, a 7-inch Android device with adequate specs and a solid brand behind it.
The IdeaTab A1000 comes in two flavors: a model with 8 GB of memory for $130, and one with 16 GB for $150. Otherwise, the two are identical, featuring the same 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen, and Google Android 4.1.
With budget tablets coming in every which way, from established names like Asus and HP to newcomers like Hisense with its Sero 7 Lite and Pro, competition in the under-$200 segment of the market is red hot -- surprising considering that segment practically didn't exist not too long ago.
Best known as the makers of the Thinkpad laptops, Lenovo brings in a very established brand name to offer. Thinkpads are notorious for their durability and quality; there's a good reason why someone like me, whose keyboard is his livelihood, buys them exclusively. But that doesn't guarantee success in the tablet market.
Build & Design
On the outside, the A1000 looks and feels fairly generic, with a black front, silver trim, and glossy white back. (A version with a black back is available, but our review unit was white.) There's no particularly distinctive style; if it weren't for the Lenovo logo, you'd really have no idea who built this thing, although the back plastics are a trifle reminiscent of Samsung's Galaxy Note 8.0.
The overall design is functional but uninspiring. There's not a lot that you can really do with the basic tablet shape, and this IdeaTab certainly doesn't push the envelope.
Unfortunately, there's really no way to describe the A1000's screen as being anything other than seriously lacking. For starters, the resolution, 1024 x 600, is well below competing models that feature 1280 x 800, and isn't even basic HD despite Lenovo touting it as such in its marketing copy. That works out to a pixel density of 169 ppi, which isn't awful, but it's also not anything to write home about.
The real problem, though, is colors and viewing angles. Colors lack vividness, and the viewing angles are mediocre at best. If you're not staring at the thing head on, it looks more like an LCD from five or six years ago than something that just came out.
Other Buttons and Ports
The USB port is on the top of the device, unusually, sitting right next to the headphone jack. This is a bit unconventional, but I'm starting to warm up to the "USB on top" design, since it makes holding the device easier if you use it while it's recharging. Naturally, there's also the standard power and volume buttons.
Bizarrely, there's not one but two tiny plastic doors on the sides. One covers the microSD card slot, which is pretty self explanatory. The other one covers... nothing. No slot, no access port, no connectors, just a little door covering a flat piece of plastic on the casing. Maybe there was originally supposed to be a second slot to hold a SIM card or something, before the A1000 got turned into an entry level unit. At least, that's the best guess I can make.
Page 2 of this review covers important aspects of this tablet, including its performance, software, and camera.
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