Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Review
The IdeaPad K1 offers middle of the road performance at a price to match.
Meet the IdeaPad, a middle-of-the-road tablet from Lenovo released as a sibling to the ThinkPad Tablet. While it does lag in certain performance areas, it does offer a good level of software support and an enjoyable tablet experience. There are some idiosyncrasies though, so you'll have some definite pros and cons to weigh before buying this tablet.
Design & Usability
At 1.65 lbs, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is a bit unwieldy.
Despite its odd shape, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 handles fairly well, but there are some weight issues that will make consumers strongly consider using both hands. Without a lap for it to rest on, users may run into fatigue issues—that's normal for tablets this size. The honeycomb pattern on the back allows for easier grip, but can only do so much.
Because there are only very limited physical controls (power/sleep/wake, volume, hold), the vast majority of your interactions with the device are going to be through the capacitive touch screen of the IdeaPad. It shares the same basic controls as every other Android 3 device, with swipes to change pages or screen, pinching to zoom, and taps to select or open files and links.
The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 has a small number of physical ports on the outside of the unit, limited to a proprietary USB input, headset in, and a micro-HDMI out. As far as wireless connections go, the IdeaPad has a standard 802.11n wireless card, as well as Bluetooth 2.1 to tether peripherals to the device wirelessly. Not bad for the price.
You'll get your money's worth with the Lenovo IdeaPad K1.
Much like other 10.1-inch tablets, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 has a resolution of 1280 x 800, displayed on a screen that's 5.325 x 8.625 inches, giving it a DPI of 150. The IdeaPad uses an LCD screen backlit by an LED array, with a dubiously effective anti-glare coating. You'll notice at first that the screen size is rather large, like many of the other high-profile tablets to hit the market. While your eyesight may dictate how you feel about the tablet itself, the size may work to its detriment for younger users not accustomed to holding a heavier device like this for extended periods of time.
Tablets are generally not great to bring outside due to the way LCD screens work. In order to produce a picture, they rely on a backlight to be seen through the LCD matrix. If there is too much direct sunlight or an overall bright environment, this backlight is often drowned out, resulting in a picture that looks like it emits no light at all in comparison, causing consternation at the beach and other bright environments.
Because the IdeaPad is loaded with Google's Android 3.2, users are granted access to the wonderful world of the Android Market. While by the numbers it doesn't have as many apps as Apple's App Store (yet), the apps found in the Android market are typically much more friendly to developers and users who want to really unlock the capabilities of their beefed-up hardware (for example, cracking Bluetooth capabilities).
Overall, not a bad tablet if your needs are basic.
The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is not a bad option if your needs are limited or if you want an entry-level tablet. It really doesn't set itself apart from other Android 3.2 tablets, although the button on the front of the device itself will help iPad users make the transition to Android if they end up choosing this product.
There are a few drawbacks to the IdeaPad, namely the fact that the battery is somewhat poor, although we've seen much worse. To be frank, the real concern is the dim screen, as that means it will be very hard to squeeze more battery life out of the tablet; what we reported is very close to the performance ceiling for the tablet without making some very dissatisfying tradeoffs.
All that being said, the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is a fairly solid and durable tablet with the beautiful and functional Android 3.2 operating system. You should have no issues or complaints about the basic functionality of the tablet, as the software support is great, and the interface is very easy to get used to.
If you can find this tablet on sale, and your needs for a tablet are not specialized or so advanced that you need to be the king of your living room, this isn't a bad pickup. Keep in mind the performance shortcomings, and if you're still okay with that, you'll be happy with your purchase.
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