The Lenovo A10-70 boasts a MediaTek MT8121 quad-core 1.3 GHz processor. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much out of it, since several other low-end quad-core tablets I’ve seen have had middling performance, more concerned with saving juice (and money) than having a lot of horsepower under the hood. Wow, was I wrong. The A10 won’t be besting the high-performance devices, but it blows the doors off competing low-end models.
Whereas most budget tablets I’ve tested — even ones with quad-core processors — have testing in the 4000 to 5000 range on Quadrant Standard benchmarks, the A10 clocked in at a whopping average of 8260 across several tests. 4-5 thousand would have been plenty for most needs; 8000+ puts it well into the range of “do anything you want to do.” It just makes me a little regretful that it doesn’t have an HDMI connector for hooking up to a TV; this device is well suited to multimedia.
The rest of the specs are less exciting, but acceptable. The A10-70’s 1GB of RAM sounds stingy compared to new devices with 2GB or even 3GB, but it’s really not bad at all.
The version with 16GB of internal storage leaves a little over 12 gigs available to the user, and this can be increased via a microSD memory card slot by us to 32GB. Lenovo also offers a version with 32GB of internal storage for $280.
WiFi and Bluetooth perform well, and the device’s GPS sensor seems to work particularly well, getting a quick lock even from indoors.
The Lenovo A10-70 comes equipped with the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat — having received the update from 4.4.2 to 4.4.3 even while I was writing about it.
As is typical with bigger manufacturers, Lenovo has put some “secret sauce” modifications into Android to make it “theirs.” While it generally won’t increase the learning curve if you are already familiar with this operating system from Google, there is one thing that annoyed me to no end. Unlike other Android devices, the A10 doesn’t have an “app drawer”. Instead, all installed apps are dumped out onto the various home screens, for you to flip and sort through in the same space where you might want to lay out widgets.
Among the features you’ll find in Android 4.4 is, when you pull down the quick settings slider, a button marked “Cast Screen.” Unfortunately, despite the fact that this uses the same logo as Google’s Chromecast streaming devices, it doesn’t actually work with Chromecast (and for good measure, it doesn’t actually explain that fact anywhere on the device). Instead, it’s designed for devices using Miracast, which is a different technology. If you have a Miracast capable TV, you can broadcast the device’s screen to it.
The A10’s software package is fairly standard, with the various Google apps and services (Gmail, Google Drive, Books, Music, etc.) as well as preloaded copies of Skype and Evernote, plus the Kingsoft Office suite for working with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files.
One area where the A10-70 is designed to outperform its rivals is its sound system. It boasts a pair of larger and much more powerful speakers than your average tablet, as well as a Dolby branded app for audio enhancement.
I’m not entirely sold on the size and quality of the speakers being a big advantage; I think most people would still prefer to use headphones and keep their entertainment private. However, since the app also applies to audio played through headphones, that’s no big deal.
I’m not enough of an audiophile to go into the weeds about the individual settings and options, but the A10 boasts a full graphical equalizer with both manual and several automatic modes, as well as configurable settings for a variety of uses, and a volume equalizer. All in all, the audio settings definitely add both vibrance and crispness to the sound.
The rear camera on the A10 is definitely one of its larger compromises. It’s 5 MP, which isn’t that bad, but it’s also fixed focus. This puts it in a class with smartphone cameras of five years ago, which is not good company. It can take decent long range snaps, but I wouldn’t bother using it for anything serious, and I kind of wish Lenovo hadn’t bothered including it. When choosing between a tablet with a poor rear camera, and a tablet that invests the cost of that camera somewhere else, I’ll choose the latter any day of any week.
There is also a 2MP camera on the front for video conferencing.
According to Lenovo, the A10 is rated for a battery life of 9 hours average use. I would say that that’s fairly accurate as an average — less if you’re watching video, but more if you’re reading or browsing.
All in all pretty good for a mid-range tablet, where power-saving usually gets a little less attention than on the high-end ones. And considering the level of performance that comes out of the A10’s processor, I’d say that you’re getting excellent “fuel mileage” so to speak.
Price and Availability
Don’t stop now — Page 3 summarizes our final thoughts on the Lenovo A10-70.