GCN LAB REVIEW
Government, consumers hanging out at Lenovo's pad
- By Greg Crowe
- Nov 30, 2011
The newer tablet form factor has become quite prevalent in recent years. Its simplicity of design has gained increasing popularity, not only from the average consumer but also for government organizations.
The IdeaPad Tablet K1 from Lenovo is a good example of a newer tablet that government users should be taking a closer look at. Its 10.1-inch, 16:10 widescreen touch display felt expansive once we got our fingers on it. The entire tablet weighs a mere 1 pound, 10 ounces, which is about the weight we would have expected for this form factor.
We also found the Android 3.1 operating system to be a good fit for the IdeaPad. Its interface was easy to get a handle on. What’s more, the IdeaPad reacted to our finger movements and did what we wanted nearly 100 percent of the time. The only thing that we found wanting in this area was that the screen rotation was a bit slow to react when the tablet was changed from a landscape to a portrait orientation or vice versa.
Lenovo IdeadPad Tablet K1
Pros: Decent price; nice screen; good battery life.
Cons: Desktop rotation is slow to respond.
Ease of Use: A-
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We also liked the screen. With one touch it takes you to the last window you were looking at — or back to the desktop. Another touch lets you see which programs you have open and switch to the he navigation buttons at the bottom of one you want.
The ever-increasing number of apps available in the open Android Market is usually criticized as its weakness. The rap is that there is no vetting of apps for quality or appropriateness to a particular task. Lenovo has tried to solve this problem with the Lenovo App Shop. This service helps do the legwork of checking for an app’s validity and usefulness. It allows for a good selection and did not leave us wanting in any particular area.
Lenovo also provided software to make navigating the user interface easier. The Lenovo Launcher puts four of your most commonly used applications together on the home desktop. It can be adjusted to show any applications you want, so you will have instant access to your most-used programs as soon as the IdeaPad boots up.
The high-definition graphics of the IdeaPad were simply amazing. Its NVIDIA Tegra 2.0 T20 1.0GHz processor and 1G of memory really did the job when it came to performing several tasks at the same time. Even tasks that seem to be the most time-consuming ordinarily, such as opening e-mails, took no time at all to do in the IdeaPad.
We were pleased to see that the IdeaPad came with a webcam on both the front and back of the unit. The 2 megapixel camera in front is sufficient for videoconferencing, while the 5 MP one in the back would do well for digital recording of either still images or video.
Many users might quickly run into storage issues with the 32G hard drive. Fortunately, Lenovo offers a 64G option for these users.
A paucity of ports
The IdeaPad had the bare minimum when it came to communications and data ports. There was a Micro SD card reader and a mini HDMI port. While there was no native USB port, the data jack plugs into the USB port of any other device, so data can be transmitted via a second party.
We noticed that when the IdeaPad was in operation while resting on a surface such as a desk, the underside tended to get a bit warm. This level of warmth was never uncomfortable to the touch, and its temperature was distinctly cooler when held aloft. However, we felt it was worth pointing out.
Of course, like with all of its competitors, fingerprints and smudges will accumulate on the IdeaPad’s touch screen quite rapidly, necessitating frequent cleaning. We don’t suppose science will ever come up with a translucent material that doesn’t collect all the schmutz from our fingers. This is the touch-screen devices’ particular cross to bear.
Lenovo claims that the 2-cell Li-Polymer battery will optimally last up to 10 hours. Of course, our battery tests usually do not reflect such optimal conditions. We set a high-definition video file to play in a continuous loop at a moderate volume and brightness. Then we unplugged the fully charged IdeaPad and started the timer. Once the IdeaPad was at 15 percent battery, it refused to keep running the video player, so we instead opened other applications that had equivalent power consumption for the remaining time. We were pleased to find that, even under these grueling conditions, the IdeaPad lasted 5 hours and 38 minutes. This should be enough time to get work done while in-flight and still have power left to watch a movie.
Lenovo is retailing the IdeaPad Tablet K1 for $519. This is a good price for what the IdeaPad offers, and it’s in line with what is being asked for across the board for tablets of this type. Government users looking to find a tablet that will suit their needs couldn’t go wrong with the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1.
Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.