|Introduction and Specifications|
|Although Nvidia's Tegra 3 has been taking tablets and smartphones by storm, there are other noteworthy mobile processors out there, including Qualcomm's dual-core, 1.5GHz 8060A. The Snapdragon S4 SoC appears in the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110, which is a 10.1-inch tablet that runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0. That's not a bad setup for a tablet, particularly if you're shopping on a tighter budget.
Lenovo took a different approach with the IdeaTab S2110’s display than we usually see. Whereas other tablet makers are gunning for the highest resolution displays, Lenovo opted for a 10.1-inch screen with 1280 x 800 resolution and a 16:10 ratio. That means 1080p is out of the question, but the screen has upsides to consider, including 420-nit brightness built in IPS technology with 178-degree viewing angles. While testing the IdeaTab S2110, we found viewing angles to be as excellent and Lenovo claims: you can show a video to a small group without anyone feeling cramped. The screen responded well to our pinches, swipes, and taps as well.
The tablet also has 1GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal data storage. For connectivity, the S2110 has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. Also, optional 3G connectivity is supported, though it was not present in the model we tested.
On the front, you have a 1.3-megapixel camera that supports video recording in 720p. The rear camera is the more serious one, with 5MP resolution, autofocus, an ambient light sensor, and an LED flash.
As with most tablets, the detachable keyboard is optional for the IdeaTab S2110. You can pick up the IdeaTab S2110 for $399 (as configured in the model we tested), or buy the IdeaTab and Keyboard Dock for $499. That price tag is in line with pricing from Lenovo’s competition.
The tablet has a micro-USB port, which connects it to your computer or to the Keyboard Dock, as well as a micro-HDMI port for 1080p playback on your HDTV. There’s also a slot for a SIM card. The Keyboard Dock adds a couple USB 2.0 ports and, importantly, an SD card reader. Another Dock bonus is the built-in battery, which extends the IdeaTab S2110’s overall battery life for up to 20 hours of up time claimed, even constantly playing back 720p video content.
|The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 isn’t flashy, but it has a clean look and you can barely feel the transition from the glass screen to the thin metal edge. The sides have only two buttons: Power and Volume. Overall, this tablet has a solid “one-piece” feel to it. That is, until you plug the S2110 into the Keyboard Dock.
laptop) a very sleek clamshell. In our opinion, the connector puts a dent in the S2110’s appearance though it does add some sturdiness to the design.
Even so, we really like the Dock, and we like that the bulky connector is so sturdy. Pop the tablet into the connector and the two are now connected so solidly that you won’t hesitate to adjust the screen angle by pushing or pulling at the top of display. There’s no wobbling or looseness at all. And you can pull the tablet back out of the connector with a push of the Dock’s button, which is right under the Lenovo logo.
Although the keyboard is necessarily cramped, the keys are responsive and we didn’t feel uncomfortable typing on them. As you might expect, the keyboard had Android home and back keys. There’s no backlight, which is understandable, but it always feels like a missed opportunity to pass on the backlight in keyboards for modern mobile devices. The Dock’s touchpad is very responsive. Although this is a subjective assessment, we really like the touchpad and had no trouble with precision when we moved the cursor around the screen. It also handled taps just fine. The touchpad is small, but it didn’t feel cramped under typical use.
By itself, the IdeaTab S2110 is very thin – only 0.34 inches thick. It weighs about 1.3 pounds, a smidge less than the iPad. The Keyboard Dock is almost the same size as the IdeaTab, but 0.38 inches thick and 1.32 pounds. When the system is connected and closed, it’s still a light, slim package that doesn’t take up much room (or, more importantly, add much heft to) your bag.
One design gripe we have is the FCC info label, which sits right on the back of the IdeaTab S2110. The sticker has white text and is hard to miss on the textured black shell of the tablet – it brings to mind the ugly labels that the IT department might put on your work computer. We’ve seen this label appear in less obtrusive spots on other tablets (such as the side, namely). You can’t escape the label by plugging it into the Keyboard Dock, either: it’s positioned so that it appears just above the Dock. Alas, just pull it off and wipe down the glue residue if needed with a bit of solvent and you're good to go.
|As we noted earlier, the IdeaTab S2110’s touchscreen is very responsive, making it easy to swipe and tap your way around the Android OS. Lenovo gave the classic interface a light but important touch: the folders and widgets are big and easy to see. They have the look of inter-office envelopes, complete with ties, which adds a little flavor to the otherwise staid interface.
Skype, ooVoo, gTalk, Kindle, and some other freebies. Go Keyboard is a keyboard app that lets you customize your onscreen keyboard. It's handy if you want to have a large onscreen keyboard for longer typing sessions.
Wi-Fi printer and several games, including Backgammon and Solitaire. DataViz DocsToGo comes installed, but you’ll need a paid upgrade to create Word or Excel documents.
Google Play Store, which is available right from the main page.
|Performance: CPU and Web Browsing|
|The Google Play Store has plenty of benchmarks for testing your tablet’s processor and graphics performance. We’ve rounded up a few that, together, provide a comprehensive picture of a tablet’s capabilities.
As with all of the tablets we test, the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 runs through the benchmarks with the same settings it had when it arrived from the manufacturer. The only exception is that we disable any screensavers and sleep settings, as those can interfere with benchmark results.
We kicked things off with Linpack, which runs the tablet through linear equations. It’s a widely-used benchmark and we’ve tested many tablets with it, so we have a deep pool to compare the IdeaTab S2110 to. As it turned out, the IdeaTab performed very well in Linpack, taking the top spot from its other Android peers.
When we put the IdeaTab S2110 through the Rightware BrowserMark benchmark, the tablet stumbled a bit, landing in the lower half of our comparison scores. Even so, this is a reasonable score and many of the Android competitors are tightly grouped in this test. Now, for the graphics benchmarks.
|Performance: Graphics and System Level|
In An3DBench XL, which is a port of the jPCT 3D engine, tablets run through several rendering tests and demos. We opted for three of them. When comparing these results, keep in mind that the Emperor’s New Clothes is limited by V-Sync. The result is that the frame rates for that test are generally pretty similar.
The IdeaTab S2110 had no trouble with the Emperor’s New Clothes, but didn’t perform as well in Flower Power and Magic Island. Again, that’s not unexpected, and the tablet holds its own.
The IdeaTab S2110 slogged through the AnTuTu benchmark with an overall score of 6569. This score is disappointing, but given the tablet's performance in the other benchmarks, we can see the big picture: the S2110 is a generally solid performer especially when it comes to graphics. You'll note the S2110's GPU score here is the highest of the bunch, though it can't compete in raw CPU power versus the quad-core Tegra 3 based tablets in this test.
|Battery life is critical for tablets, particularly for tablets that have keyboards. If you’re thinking about buying a tablet to stand in for your laptop, strong battery life is a must.
To stretch the IdeaTab S2110’s battery life, Lenovo has a backup battery in the Keyboard Dock. Plug the tablet into the Dock, and it immediately taps your backup power. According to Lenovo, the setup boosts the tablet’s 10 hours of normal use to 20 hours.
On its own, the IdeaTab S2110 held out for 8 hours and 13 minutes, which isn't quite long enough to put it in our chart's top five. That's better battery life than the bulk of the tablets we've recently reviewed, though - and that's without the Keyboard Dock's backup battery. When we ran the same test on the S2110 docked, it took the top spot with 12 hours and 56 minutes of usable battery life.
|Performance Summary and Final Thoughts|
|Performance Summary: The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 is a modest, sturdy tablet that gives off a vibe of dependability. It isn’t flashy, but it is comfortable to use and it’s small and light enough to be a good travel companion. And although the screen doesn’t have the resolution that higher-end tablets offer, it’s plenty bright and has excellent viewing angles.
Likewise, the tablet won’t knock your socks off when it comes to performance (particularly graphics), but it can certainly hold its own versus other Android slates. We didn’t notice any hiccups when navigating the OS, opening programs, and browsing the Web. It handled streaming video just fine, too, and it handled other ordinary tasks, like connecting to our Wi-Fi network, without a glitch.
As we mentioned, the FCC label would have been less obtrusive in a different location on the tablet. And, Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t the most recent version of Android – we would have liked to have seen Jelly Bean in actiona. Even so, the IdeaTab S2110 isn’t going to disappoint typical users. We think Lenovo can hit a broad range of consumers with a modest-but-dependable tablet like this.