Lenovo IdeaPad K1 review
A good price for a reasonable Android tablet; some niggles, but nothing massively serious
Lenovo is a name more commonly associated with executive IT equipment than shiny gadgets, but its IdeaPad K1 Android 3 tablet is a sign it wants to bring its expertise to a wider audience.
Physically, there are still shades of the executive heritage: the rear panel of our review model was clad in a soft brown leatherette material (although Lenovo insists the only version available officially in the UK will be black). There's a veritably PC-like array of expansion and connection options, with not only a slot for a microSD flash memory cards, but also a micro-HDMI output and a stubby cable in the box for connecting USB memory sticks, a keyboard or mouse.
And, just as with its successful line of ThinkPad laptops, the K1 is absolutely loaded with software. Lenovo provides its own app store (in addition to the Android Market), a fully licensed copy of DataViz Documents To Go, plus its own versions of the Music and Gallery apps, two video-editing apps and a selection of HD games – Angry Birds HD is there, Need for Speed Shift HD, plus a number of others. It’s quite a selection.
Then there’s a handful of tweaks to the Android 3 operating system. The system bar that runs along the bottom of the screen has bolder, brighter icons than normal. The menu you get when you tap the notifications area in the bottom-right corner of the screen has more options, and is scrollable.
Lenovo has replaced the stock Android keyboard with its own, added a “favourite” apps section to the bottom of the Android App Drawer, and bizarrely introduced a duplication of Android 3's recent apps menu. Instead of appearing in a straight line up the left of the screen, Lenovo's version pops up to the right as a spinning circle of thumbnails, launched via a button in the middle of the system bar.
In one final, innovative splurge, the K1's single, physical home button, which sits to the right of the screen when the tablet is held in landscape orientation, is touch sensitive. An upwards sweep of the thumb pops up the context menu; a downwards sweep takes you back a step; and pressing the button returns you to the main Android desktop.
|Price ex VAT||£300|
|Price inc VAT||£360|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||5|
|Dimensions||260 x 13 x 185mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,280|
|Resolution screen vertical||800|
|Panel technology||VA TFT|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1,000MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0mp|
|Built-in flash type||LED|
|Accessories supplied||USB dongle|
|Mobile operating system||Android 3|