Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Tablet Review: Cheaper, Brighter... Better?

Lenovo has finally entered the Android tablet market with the 10.1-inch IdeaPad K1, which mixes innovative UI enhancements and useful pre-loaded apps with a stylish, colorful design. But is it innovative enough to steer you away from better-known slates? LaptopMag.com weighs in with the review:

What we like about the IdeaPad K1 Tablet:

Good Value: Order from Lenovo and you get 32GB of storage for just $499, more than you'll see
on other tablets this price.

Major UI Enhancements: From its home screen on down to its Android buttons, the IdeaPad K1 features some major improvements on the standard Honeycomb interface we've seen on all of its Android 3.1 competitors. These include a rustic default theme (which reminded us of an Andrew Wyeth painting), the Lenovo Launcher-a widget that allows you to launch your e-mail/browser/eReader/media player, the ability to close apps from the layers menu, and the App Wheel-a rotatable widget with thumbnail shortcuts to your six favorite apps.

Stylish Design: With its matte, chrome-colored side and back trim and deep red back panel, the
IdeaPad K1 is one of the most attractive tablets we've ever seen. The back panel also comes in
white and dark gray, but we strongly recommend the snazzy red shade of our review unit.

Long Battery Life: The IdeaPad K1 lasted 8 hours and 3 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test,
which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi. That compares very favorably to the tablet category average of 6 hours and 43 minutes and the Toshiba Thrive's 6-hour and 35-minute time, and it's just a few minutes behind the Galaxy Tab 10.1 (8:23).

Plenty of Apps: The IdeaPad K1 includes more than 30 bundled apps. A lot of it is trialware, but
some programs are available in full form and are quite useful. Among our favorites is the full Documents To Go 3.0, which allows you to not only view but edit Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and PDFs while syncing with your PC or Google Docs. ArcSoft Movie Story allows you to trim videos and combine your clips with background music, transitions, and other special effects. ArcSync enables users to store 4GB of files in the cloud.

What we don't like about the IdeaPad K1:

Poor Sound Quality: Whether we were listening to music or trying to conduct an audio chat on
Gtalk, the maximum speaker volume was way too low.

Inappropriate Ads: By default, both the Lenovo Launcher and the Lenovo Social Touch nag you
to purchase software, music, and movies. We were particularly shocked that the tablet kept recommending an explicit rap album from LMFAO, even though we'd done nothing to indicate an interest in this kind of music. Families should disable this feature right away.

Heavy: Compared to the 1.2-pound Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the 1.3-pound iPad 2, the
IdeaPad K1 feels a bit bulky.

No Haptic Feedback, No Swype: The keyboard doesn't come with a Swype option, and there's
no haptic feedback to make you feel like you're using a physical keyboard.

Verdict

Those looking for a slimmer Android slate should opt for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and bargain hunters should go for the $399 ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. However, if you're looking for a better interface than stock Honeycomb and want more storage for less money, the IdeaPad K1 is a pretty good deal.

Related Links:

Full Review of the IdeaPad K1

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi Review

54 Super Smart Android Tips

Top 10 iPad Alternatives

Lenovo IdeaPad K1 Tablet Review: Cheaper, Brighter... Better?

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