Lenovo IdeaTab A8-50 Review

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Overview

  • Pros

    • Good performance
    • Decent price
  • Cons

    • Unremarkable design
    • Irritating Android modification

Quick Take

A low-cost tablet that offers an adequate screen and decent performance packaged in a somewhat lack-luster design.

Lenovo’s IdeaTab A8-50 is one of the latest of the company’s Android devices, coming in between the more expensive A10-70 and the budget model A7. Does it do enough to justify its $180 suggested price? We take a look.


Build and Design

While the A8 bears a passing resemblance to its larger sibling the Lenovo A10-70, that’s largely skin deep. Where the A10 was designed as a landscape model with obvious multimedia features like front-facing stereo speakers, the IdeaTab A8 is a simpler portrait-style device like most inexpensive tablets. It has only a single speaker, located at the “bottom” of the screen, although it does still have the Dolby sound enhancements that the A10 sports.

Lenovo IdeaTab A8-50 Front ViewThe back of this tablet’s casing is a slightly rubbery midnight blue plastic; not impressive, but not terrible, and it doesn’t take fingerprints.

We have similar reservations about the A8’s design as we did with the A10’s. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just incredibly generic, and provides no real distinguishing feature. This tablet has to stand up to strong competition like the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.0 and Asus MeMO Pad 8, and it’s not going to stand out from the crowd with its looks.

It does have the Lenovo name going for it. For a long time, ever since it manufactured for IBM, Lenovo was synonymous with extremely high quality and durable hardware — at least in laptops. But laptops aren’t tablets, and Lenovo’s Android line hasn’t had the chance to prove itself the way the Thinkpads have. Who knows? Maybe it’ll turn out that they’re just as bulletproof as Lenovo’s other hardware. But even having recently reviewed another Lenovo tablet, we’re still not sure.

Screen

The display on the A8 is pretty much adequate and generic: a fairly typical LCD, with a 1280 x 800 resolution. Color depth is solid, and brightness is good. It’s obviously not going to compete with the resolution and pixel density of more expensive devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4, but then, you’re not going to find one of those priced at $180, either.

You don’t really need a higher resolution, as 1280 x 800 is quite solid for the majority of uses. This resolution is adequate on 10-inch tablets; with the A8’s smaller screen, pixel density is bumped up to 188 PPI, which is very comfortable for reading and video.

Lenovo IdeaTab A8-50 Rear ViewAs this is an IPS display, it offers wide viewing angles. This is an unusual bonus on a model in this price range.

Buttons and Ports

On the left side of the IdeaTab A8, an oversized door protects the microSD card slot. It’s oversized because it’s actually designed to protect two slots, the second being for a mini-SIM card — but that’s on the international models with 3G, whereas the U.S. version makes do with just Wi-Fi.

On the right side are the volume rocker and the power button.

There are no physical buttons on the front, as these are all on-screen – that’s Google’s recommendation for all Android devices. But it does have a front-facing speaker, which improves sound volume and quality.


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