Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 Review
The Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 might be among the most affordable tablets available, but its entertainment focus and front-facing speakers aren’t enough to make up for an otherwise below average device.
(2.5 out of 5)
- Loud, front-facing stereo speakers
- Runs Android 4.2
- Below average display with poor viewing angle
- Clunky build
- Middling battery life
It’s no longer enough to simply make a serviceable low-cost Android tablet—they have to be able to compete with high-quality, low-cost products like the
Design and Features
Lenovo’s never really wowed us with its tablet designs, and that trend continues with the A1000
The display is a pretty big letdown here, as 1,280-by-800 has become the standard for even low-cost tablets. The A1000′s 1,024-by-600-pixel display looks noticeably grainier than the MeMO Pad HD 7′s and downright ancient next to the Nexus 7′s full HD display. On top of that, viewing angles are subpar, and colors begin to wash out from pretty much any angle other than straight on. The actual display seems too recessed under the glass surface, making the whole surface even more reflective.
This is a Wi-Fi-only tablet that connects to 802.11b/g/n networks, but only on the 2.4GHz band. Bluetooth 4.0 is also onboard, but there’s no GPS radio. Lenovo offers the A1000 in a 16GB for $159.99 and a 32GB model for $189.00.
Hardware Performance, Android, and Mutlimedia
The A1000 is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 processor with 1GB RAM. In our synthetic benchmarks, the A1000 scored significantly lower than the MeMO Pad HD 7, which uses a quad-core MediaTek processor, and got absolutely smoked by the Nexus 7. The HD 7 scored a 12877 to the A1000′s 7422 on the Antutu overall system benchmark. On graphical benchmarks the A1000 fared even worse, scoring just 7 frames per second on the Taiji benchmark to the HD 7′s 14 fps. In real world usage, the situation isn’t quite as bleak as the benchmarks would indicate. Navigating around the system is generally quick, but I’d chalk that up to strides Google in general has taken to smoothing out the Android user experience. Some performance issues crop up when you try to switch orientations, which can take painfully long, and switching between multiple apps can often causes hang-ups.
In our battery rundown test, which loops a video with screen brightness set to max and Wi-Fi on, the A1000 lasted 5 hours, 5 minutes. That’s shorter than the HD 7′s 5 hours, 50 minutes and the Kindle Fire HD’s 7 hours in the same test.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with Lenovo’s Android 4.2.1 skin; it just doesn’t really add anything useful. There’s a persistent Menu button along the status bar and a few fairly useless Lenovo-branded apps and widgets, but otherwise nothing major. The big selling point here is the audio optimizations, provided by Dolby Digital branded equalizers. It’s basically Beats, but with more flexibility and more presets. Like the Slate 7, you can hear the differences in the audio profiles, but Bass Boosts make tracks sound muddy, while the Rock and Pop profiles are virtually indistinguishable. Lenovo would be better off following Toshiba’s example and releasing stock Android tablets. The MeMO Pad HD 7 and
The front-facing speakers get loud and don’t sound all that bad, especially when compared with most tablet offerings. The Dolby audio profiles only work with headphones in, but you’re not missing out on much when using the tablet’s speakers. There’s still no bass to speak of, but no tablet speakers really have any. To Lenovo’s credit, things don’t sound overly harsh here and the mids and mid-highs are well represented. Things do start to distort at max volume, however, especially on challenging tracks like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,” which features a lot of sub-bass content. The Kindle Fire HD also has the Dolby stamp of approval and features above average speakers, but most other competitors fall short.
For music the A1000 supports AAC, MP3, WAV, and OGG, but not FLAC or WMA. It’s easy to remedy with a third-party app, but those omissions don’t make sense on a tablet focused on music playback. For video you get MP4, H.264, DivX, Xvid, and WMV files at up to 1080p resolution.
The Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 is affordable and has an above average set of speakers, but it makes too many sacrifices with features and performance. The display is fairly dismal and the performance is as pedestrian as it gets. The Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 is better in nearly every way, with a sharper display, faster performance, and extras like a rear-facing camera and dual-band Wi-Fi. It also currently lists for less than the A1000, making this choice a no-brainer unless your tablet is also your main audio source. If that’s the case, I’d recommend checking out any number of affordable Bluetooth speaker options. And if you’re looking for the best combination of features, performance, and price, the Google Nexus 7 is hands down the best small-screen tablet you can find.
By Eugene Kim, PCMag
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 4.8 x 0.4 inches
- Weight: 12.32 oz
- Operating System: Google Android 4.2.1
- CPU: MediaTek MT8317
- Processor Speed: 1.2 GHz
- Screen Size: 7 inches
- Screen Type: TFT LCD
- Screen Resolution: 1024 x 600 pixels
- Screen Pixels Per Inch: 169 ppi
- Graphics Card: IMG PowerVR SGX531
- RAM: 1 GB
- Storage Type: SSD
- Storage Capacity (as Tested): 16 GB
- Additional Storage: MicroSD
- Camera Resolution: 0.3 MP
- Wi-Fi (802.11x) Compatibility: 2.4GHz
- Bluetooth Version: 4
- GPS: No