Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 $130
If you can get it at the most affordable price of $130, Lenovo’s IdeaTab A1000 is very much the entry level. Sold under the tag-line “optimised for music” you know the screen and performance won’t be great…
With a 7-inch, 1024×600 screen, a the 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of memory, front and rear cameras, and dual front-facing speakers, it also it has a Micro SD card slot for expanded storage. Pretty thick by current standards at 0.42 inches (10.7 mm), it’s easy to hold, if heavy.
The single 0.3MP front-facing camera is nothing to write home about; grainy, dark and with a laggy action, the result of a slow CCD chip combined with Android 4.2 and the processor.
The worst let down is that screen. The 1,024 x 600 resolution gives a pixel density of 170 ppi but that’s not the worst of it; the LED display is set a little too far below the glass, giving excess glare and severely limited viewing angles. Head-on, the colours are washed out; dull whites and only dark-grey where you want black. I’m not sure I’d even try to use this outdoors. The touch capability is also woefully imprecise.
On the up-side, it runs Android 4.1, so this device can access the Google Play Store and all the same apps other Android tablets get. Since 4.2 and 4.3 have been incremental updates, 4.1 runs well enough on this device. It may not set the world on fire, but for those on a tight budget, you might want to consider this tablet. Unlike other cheap, no-name tablets, you are getting some of the Lenovo build quality in an inexpensive no-frills package with expandable storage.
However, it’s low-to-bottom of everyone’s performance benchmarks. Worst of all, the battery life falls below 8 hours in almost every test. I’m just not sure the all-round experience is worth scrimping for. Save a little more pocket money and go for a tablet with a better screen. AJS
Related: How-to – Tablet Buying a Tablet Autumn 2013