Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 Review - HotHardware

Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 Review

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If you were looking for a 10-inch Android tablet just a few short months ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find them for sale and Android 2.2 was the only game in town.  However, with the release of Google's Honeycomb OS in late February, the floodgates began to open.  Now you can't swing a USB cable and not hit one of these things and many are built on very similar, if not identical platforms.  As such, it's rather difficult for manufacturers to differentiate their product in this market space, though some have had more success than others.

In the notebook arena, if there's a manufacturer that has been able to carve out a niche' for their brand name over the years, it would have to be Lenovo with their ThinkPad line of products that cater mostly to the business professional and road warrior.  Lenovo's consumer-targeted IdeaPad has been less prolific in this regard, however.  Recently Lenovo announced Honeycomb tablets from both ThinkPad and IdeaPad camps, though today we're taking a look at only their new IdeaPad Tablet K1.

Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1

The IdeaPad Tablet K1 is Lenovo's first Honeycomb tablet to hit the market, though the more industrial strength ThinkPad Tablet is expected to arrive in the next couple of months.  The K1 is billed as a media consumption and entertainment device built for portability and performance on the go.  Honestly, that sounds like a lot of the Honeycomb tablets we've seen to date.  So why should Lenovo's IdeaPad Tablet K1 grab your attention?  We'll see if we can determine that for you in our hands-on experience and performance evaluations on the pages that follow.

Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 Android 3.1 Tablet
Specifications & Features
Display:  10.1" LED Backlight WXGA (1280x800) LCD
Capacitive Touch, Multi-Touch, Scratch resistant glass
  NVIDIA® Tegra™ 2 @ 1GHz
  16GB/32/64GB Models

Wireless Data Network:
WLAN 802.11 b/g/n@2.4GHz

Bluetooth V3, 3G1

2MP Pixel Front Camera, 5MP Pixel Rear Camera, 720P HD Video

1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack (Headphone)
1 x Mini HDMI
1 x micro SD Card Reader
1 x Volume Rocker
1 x Screen Orientation Lock
1x Power Button
1 x Screen Capture Button
1 x Microphone
2 x .5 W Stereo Speakers
1 x Docking Connector

Software :
- Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) Operating System
- Google Mobile Services for Android 3.1
- Flash 10.2
- Lenovo Social Touch, Lenovo Media Gallery, Lenovo Video Player, Lenovo Music Player,Lenovo eBook Reader
-  Cloud, mSpot Music, Complete HD codes formats (except for MKV&MPEG-2 & RMVB), PlayReady DRM, Lenovo AppStore, Oovoo, Poketalk, eBuddy, Connectify, Facebook, Twitter, Norton Mobile Security, AccuEather, Dataviz: Documents to Go, Printershare, Zinio E-Mag, Amazon Kindle E-Book reader, Luck Launcher Games: Galaxy on Fire2, Need for Speed: Shift, Angry Birds, Vendetta Online, Murtha Drawing Pad, Talking Tom, Silver Creek: Solitaire, Silver Creek: Hearts, Silver Creek: Spades, Silver Creek: Euchre, Silver Creek: Backgammon,Warships, Treasure Arm, Flash Game Arcade

Up to 10 hours: 2 cell battery

10.4” x 7.4” x .5”
Pricing: 16GB MSRP - $479, 32GB MSRP - $499

If you were looking for something in the above specifications list or with respect to Lenovo's bundle, that jumps up and screams "pick me," you'll likely be left a bit flat.  Make no mistake, though this is a well made 10-inch Android Honeycomb slate, it's based on the same NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz processor and 1GB of RAM configuration that so many others are built on.  The obligatory 2MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing cameras are there, as well as 802.11n, Bluetooth, mini HDMI and a micro SD card slot.  What's perhaps at least a little eye-catching is the IdeaPad K1's $499 MSRP for the 32GB model, which prices it a full $100 less than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Apple's iPad 2 and right in line with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer.  Let's take a look around and see what else there is about this device that makes it unique...

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The final price of $499.00 is surprising considering past pricing for IBM/Lenovo branded products.

I liked that the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer performed so well in the performance tests. It's the one Android Tablet that I've liked the most so far.

Lenovo's interface tweaks aren't enough to change my mind though.

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@realneil I've been pro transformer from day 1.....and I'll really be pro transformer if the rumors are true that the first kal-el device is going to be the transformer 2. I'm also assuming ice cream sandwich, should be killer.

I really like the ui tweaks Lenovo has going on, the app kill button is huge!!! Great work.

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I am not spending this kind of money on a tablet until they make them with a 12 to 14 inch screen. People like me with big fingers don't do well with tiny screens like this. I had my mother try my daughters Asus EEE Pad Transformer and she couldn't handle the tiny size. She liked the concept but no go on the size.

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I'm a big fan of my ASUS transformer. My $600 laptop sits idle now. It really is a great user experience, IMO. The keyboard dock really adds to the utility. My only real gripe is the video playback. It struggles with some HD content. What really pleases me, and was my primary concern when I picked it up in June, are the timely updates. It does not take long for ASUS to rollout firmware updates for both the pad and the dock. It took about a week or two for 3.1 & 3.2 to hit my tablet after the release from google.

I have rather large fingers too, and I do not struggle with the touch interface except when trying to select text from a webpage or Polaris document (another great feature of the ASUS). I don't suspect screeen size will help much though, since text will likely be rendered about the same size.

The keyboard seems cramped at times, but show me a 10" netbook that doesn't. The only thing I really missed at first was Swype. But fortunately, the Swype 3.0 beta rolled out a month after I got the Transformer, and it made the user experience complete for me.

I'm not sure how much I'd like the dock configuration of this Lenovo iteration. I like the fact the ASUS folds up like a netbook (and provides extra battery to boot).

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For video on the web skyfire works the best. I have used for some videos and it rocks.

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Paid $340 and $54 for docking station. Just received Friday so learning. Easy set up...could use another port or two.

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Thank you for this very comprehensive review. I have read a number of detailed spec sheets and I am unable to confirm either an accelerometer or an electronic gyroscope. You also claim that the USB/dock cable will charge the device. Users are complaining loudly that it does not. Finally, users are complaining that the purported ability to download DRM movies and watch them later instead of streaming, i.e. a Netflix movie on a airplane, is not possible. I was able to confirm both in writing on the Internet and by a telephone call to Lenovo presales that this model includes a SIM card port, but there is no plan to make a functional either now or in the future. When I asked why it was put in I was told a 3G model would be offered in the future and they didn't want to have to change the form factor/factory assembly process. Who knows? However, the person I talked to clearly understood my question and my persistence in a full answer.

Also, some vendors are claiming that this device is not available from the manufacturer. This may be just a snarky way of stating that they are out of stock and Lenovo is unwilling to restock them before Christmas. My white K1, purchase from B&H, will arrive December 5 and was $299 all in, i.e., tax and shipping included. For my first fondle slab of any description I believe I have done well. I certainly would not pay an additional $100 + for any of the other models mentioned in this article. Provantage lists it for $291 backordered 4-5 weeks. I.e., not before Christmas.

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