Lenovo IdeaPad K1 – Nothing different from other Android tablets
The first Android device to come in to the market and since then, there have been a lot of tablets coming in to the market which have been quite identical. Some of them are thinner or have better cameras and some have extra ports. However, all of them have same software inside and the processor (dual core 1 GHz Tegra 2) too is the same.
Lenovo IdeaPad K1 too follows this tradition. The price of this tablet is $499 for the 32GB model and there are three options for colors – black, white, and red. However, this tablet is neither the thinnest, nor the cheapest, nor best equipped and it is certainly not the prettiest. This device sits somewhere in the middle of other devices.
Lenovo IdeaPad K1 has a good mix of glossy plastic and sturdy aluminum and the device feels good in the hands but it suffers a bit due to smudges. When you hold this tablet in the landscape orientation, the dedicated home button is located on right side of the 10.1 inches display. This home button is a bit redundant as there are onscreen controls for navigation on the Honeycomb OS. Still it is not pointless. Apart from fitting getting naturally under the right thumb when you grip this tablet, the physical key has some cool tricks. For example, holding this button down will capture snapshot of current screen. Swiping this button downwards will get to you menus or apps. This implementation is neat but during my testing, it did trigger accidentally a lot of times.
Apart from the aforementioned nuances, the other design features are really familiar. Left side has volume rocker, power button, lock for screen orientation, and slot for microSD card. Bottom edge has microHDMI port, dock input (for USB sync and charging) and headphones jack. Front side has a two megapixels camera and the back side has five megapixels camera along with flash on back.
Lenovo’s Android :
Tablet makers do struggle a bit with Android these days. Android loyalists often criticize if the manufacturer plays with the Google code or puts in any software that is unnecessary. However, without all this, it is almost impossible to make a tablet that will be different from the ton of others out there.
Lenovo IdeaPad K1 comes with Android 3.1 out of the box and there are around thirty apps preinstalled inside. They include big names like Kindle and Netflix and there are also some in house names like SocialTouch (it is messaging aggregator) with Lenovo App Shop.
Apart from that, there are all the goodies that you’d expect on Android 3.1. For instance, you get Android Market and there is also Google mobile apps for Navigation, Gmail, Maps, Google Talk, and Books. Honeycomb browser is there on center and front of home screen of IdeaPad and there is dashboard of the common actions (for reading emails, watching videos, reading books, and listening to any music). The manufacturer has called this central dashboard as ‘Lenovo Launcher’. It is a useful addition but you can delete it if you don’t need it.
However, there is one customization of Lenovo that you don’t get to change. The screen’s bottom has odd icon of speech bubble that is located on center of navigation bar and clicking on it launches overlay of all your favorite apps. The manufacturer is calling this feature ‘App Wheel’ and it lets you navigate through all the apps by just spinning through overlay. There is one more icon on center of this wheel and it lets you add or remove the apps from the quick list. I liked this concept but some might say it creates more confusion and clutter. Standard app drawer is accessible from upper right side corner and the apps that are recently used can be accessed from bottom left side. Hence, Honeycomb doesn’t need any 3rd app menu in 3rd corner.
One thing that I noticed immediately on the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is that the display is not really as vibrant or bright as on Apple iPad 2. Even Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has better display. The resolution of of Lenovo screen is crisp and responsiveness too is good but overall viewing experience could have been better.
Apart from that, everything from the keyboard typing experience to browser loading time is on par with other Honeycomb OS tablets that I have tested before. This isn’t unexpected since all of them have the same memory and processor combination.
The manufacturer has rated the battery life of this tablet at ten hours with mixed use. I didn’t test the battery life in my labs.
Lenovo IdeaPad K1 32GB model costs $499.
Lenovo IdeaPad K1 has a lot of features but still doesn’t have anything that is drastically different from other tablets in the market. That said if you are looking for a cool Android tablet and don’t really care about having light or thin design, then this one is a good option.