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Lenovo IdeaPad A1 review

5.7/10 AVG.
RATING



5.7/10
Informr score
The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 currently has an Informr score of 5.7 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 8 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

If you’re on the lookout for a full-featured Android tablet with decent specs and a low price tag, say hello to the Lenovo IdeaPad A1. Priced just a little bit more than Android-powered devices like the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Nook Color e-reader tablet, the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 offers a lot more features from the get go. And it also comes in a highly portable form factor, to boot.

The A1 tablet’s features include a 7-inch 1024x600 pixel resolution touchscreen display that’s held inside a casing that measures 12mm thick. It has dual cameras, with the main one having a 3-megapixel sensor on it, and comes with built-in sensors to detect motion and the amount of ambient light. Hardware-wise, it is fitted similarly to some entry-level Android smartphones released in the past two years, so it’s a sure bet that you are going to find plenty of useful, albeit dated, hardware functions.

And as for the software, the A1 tablet from Lenovo comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread pre-installed. Unlike similarly-priced e-book readers that also have some form of the Android sofware installed on them, it offers unlimited access to the Google Play app store. That means you can download as much software as you like. That includes the ability to install all manner of official downloadable software, of course.

As feature-rich as the IdeaPad A1 is, however, it simply is not powerful enough with its weak processor and meager amount of RAM. It can still function quite well for most tasks such as Web browsing and document viewing on Android, but if you’re looking to purchase and play the latest 3D games or do some really complex computing, you need to look elsewhere for your tablet.

Need To Know: Lenovo IdeaPad A1

1. 7-inch form factor makes the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet very portable and easy to use. (The Good)

2. Default operating system will let users enjoy plenty of official and third-party software support. (The Good)

3. Comes with relatively low amount of user available RAM. (The Bad)

4. No upgrade path to later versions of the Android software. (The Bad)


Operating system
Android
Processor
1 GHz
Screen Size
7"
Camera
3+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


GottaBeMobile

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1′s $199 price point makes it an exceptional value. It has specifications that while not mind-blowing, get the job done.It’s not going to deliver a full-blown experience like Apple’s iPad, but it’s perfect for those that want to check their email, play a game, or surf the web on...

- Adam Mills, GottaBeMobile
TabletPCReview

If the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 were the only budget tablet on the planet, it would be easy to recommend it simply for its affordable $200 price tag. But it isn’t, and the fact that you can get the Kindle Fire for the exact same amount of cash will likely result in many buyers opting for name recognition o...

- Vince Font, TabletPCReview
Mobile Tech Review

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet is by no means a bad product; in fact it's a good alternative to those no-name tablets we see at Fry's and MicroCenter (Azpen, ChinaMart, even some Coby's aren't so hot). But the tablet's OS and CPU are already dated, and that means you'll get no future-proofing here. In...

- Lisa Gade, Mobile Tech Review
PC Magazine

If you're sold on the 7-inch form factor and want an affordable, capable tablet, the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet, which is now available in an 8GB version for $199, are better (and less-expensive) bets. Below-average performance, an older OS, and a subpar screen make the A1 a tough sell.

- Eugene Kim, PC Magazine
Fudzilla

The Lenovo A1 is a mixed bag to say the least and frankly I’m not sure what to make of it.Just looking at the price and spec sheet would make me slap a Top Value award at the end of the review and get it over with. A brand name Android tablet with 16GB of storage, great battery life and GPS for €154...

- Nermin Hajdarbegovic, Fudzilla


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Quick view

Screen Size
7"

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1's screen size is 7 inches with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution.

Processor
1 GHz

There is a OMAP 3622 1 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The tablet runs on the Android 2.3 operating system (OS).

Camera
3+ MP
You can take photos or capture video with the tablet's onboard 3+ megapixel camera. There is also a secondary front facing camera with VGA (640 x 480) resolution.
Storage
2/16 GB

Internal memory is 2/16 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 32 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
3550mAh

The tablet is powered by a Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol), 3550 mAh battery. Lenovo's performance ratings are 7 hours Wi-Fi surfing.

IdeaPad A1 Specs

Overview
Release date October 6, 2011
Regions available USA
Networks
No cellular data
SIM card No
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 2.3

Compare Android Tablets

Secondary OS No
Processor OMAP 3622 1 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 2/16 GB
RAM 512 MB
ROM No
Digital compass No
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible No
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included AC Charger, Data Cable, Manual, Standard Battery
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity 3550 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time 4 hours
Video Playback Time Up to: 6 hours
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 7 hours
Internet Use (Celluar) Unknown
Reading Time No
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Material Magnesium alloy
Colors Black, Pink, Blue, White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 12.5 x 19.5 x 1.2 cm (4.9 x 7.7 x 0.5 in)
Weight 400 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (TFT)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1024 x 600 pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 7 inches
3D No
Sensors Ambient Light, Motion / Accelerometer
Graphics Wallpapers
Themes No
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key No
Home Key Yes
Mute Key No
Predictive Text Entry No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
Fingerprint Sensor No
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling No
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) No
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP
Additional Email Features -
Messaging No
Connectivity
USB Micro-USB 2.0
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth 2.1
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot No
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC
PC Synchronization No
TV Out No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
Unknown
Resolution
3+ megapixels
Dual lens
No
Zoom
4x digital
Flash
No
Additional Main Camera Info
Effects, White balance, Exposure Value
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Video Recording Parameters
VGA (640 x 480 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
VGA (640 x 480)
Zoom
Additional Front Camera Info
No
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MIDI, MP3, AAC, AMR, WAV, OGG
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, MPEG-4
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock No
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch No
Timer No
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Document Viewer Yes
Viewable document types DOC, DOCX, PDF, PPT, PPTX, XLS
Weather No
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments
Related Links Manual (PDF)
Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Reviews
Where to buy Lenovo IdeaPad A1
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Critic Reviews


GottaBeMobile

Fantastic price point, size makes It versatile, unimpressive cameras, mediocre display

from GottaBeMobile

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1′s $199 price point makes it an exceptional value. It has specifications that while not mind-blowing, get the job done.

It’s not going to deliver a full-blown experience like Apple’s iPad, but it’s perfect for those that want to check their email, play a game, or surf the web on a screen that’s larger than your typical smartphone....

More

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1′s $199 price point makes it an exceptional value. It has specifications that while not mind-blowing, get the job done.

It’s not going to deliver a full-blown experience like Apple’s iPad, but it’s perfect for those that want to check their email, play a game, or surf the web on a screen that’s larger than your typical smartphone.

GPS, cameras, and access to the full-blown Google Play Store (Android Market) are also huge pluses as well.

Suffice to say, the IdeaPad A1 is a nice alternative to both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet and offers several features

Read full review

Less

TabletPCReview

The IdeaPad A1 is no Kindle Killer, but it is a nice alternative for those who want a slightly more feature-rich and productive device

from TabletPCReview

If the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 were the only budget tablet on the planet, it would be easy to recommend it simply for its affordable $200 price tag. But it isn’t, and the fact that you can get the Kindle Fire for the exact same amount of cash will likely result in many buyers opting for name recognit...More

If the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 were the only budget tablet on the planet, it would be easy to recommend it simply for its affordable $200 price tag. But it isn’t, and the fact that you can get the Kindle Fire for the exact same amount of cash will likely result in many buyers opting for name recognition over bonus inclusions like a camera and an SD card slot. There are quite a few buyers, however, that may look at the Lenovo A1’s online storage expansion capabilities and included camera and deem it a viable alternative to the Kindle Fire.

Read full review

Less

Mobile Tech Review

Affordable full-featured Android tablet

from Mobile Tech Review

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet is by no means a bad product; in fact it's a good alternative to those no-name tablets we see at Fry's and MicroCenter (Azpen, ChinaMart, even some Coby's aren't so hot). But the tablet's OS and CPU are already dated, and that means you'll get no future-proofing here....More

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 tablet is by no means a bad product; in fact it's a good alternative to those no-name tablets we see at Fry's and MicroCenter (Azpen, ChinaMart, even some Coby's aren't so hot). But the tablet's OS and CPU are already dated, and that means you'll get no future-proofing here. In fact, the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, products that are primarily marketed as color ereaders, have a better CPU and a real reason to run Gingerbread (it's hugely customizable and both Fire and Nook use highly customized UIs to make them more turn key for the causal buyer who's into ebooks, web and video watching). But if you want cameras, a GPS (off-line GPS at that) and unfettered access to the Android Market, and your budget is $200 to $250, the IdeaPad A1 does surpass the Fire and Nook Tablet in those potentially important respects.

Read full review

Less

PC Magazine

The Ideapad Tablet A1, with its middling performance and low-quality screen, is a tough sell

from PC Magazine

If you're sold on the 7-inch form factor and want an affordable, capable tablet, the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet, which is now available in an 8GB version for $199, are better (and less-expensive) bets. Below-average performance, an older OS, and a subpar screen make the A1 a tough sell.

Read full review

If you're sold on the 7-inch form factor and want an affordable, capable tablet, the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet, which is now available in an 8GB version for $199, are better (and less-expensive) bets. Below-average performance, an older OS, and a subpar screen make the A1 a tough sell.

Read full review

Less

Fudzilla

Pretty good navigation device, pretty good build quality, cameras aren’t impressive

from Fudzilla

The Lenovo A1 is a mixed bag to say the least and frankly I’m not sure what to make of it.

Just looking at the price and spec sheet would make me slap a Top Value award at the end of the review and get it over with. A brand name Android tablet with 16GB of storage, great battery life and GPS for €154? This makes it cheaper than some e-book readers, let alone proper tablets....

More

The Lenovo A1 is a mixed bag to say the least and frankly I’m not sure what to make of it.

Just looking at the price and spec sheet would make me slap a Top Value award at the end of the review and get it over with. A brand name Android tablet with 16GB of storage, great battery life and GPS for €154? This makes it cheaper than some e-book readers, let alone proper tablets.

However, it is impossible to overlook its shortcomings. Clearly, it lacks processing power, but even so it offers a decent user experience for the money, so this sounds like a fair trade-off. The poor screen on the other hand is a major issue, even for a value product.

In the end, it is really a matter of personal choice. If you are on a tight budget, the A1 will do the job. Also, if you prefer storage or GPS functionality over performance, particularly in games, it also makes sense. Basically, if you are interested, make sure you go down to your local shop and see the screen in action before you reach for your wallet. Maybe it’s just me, some people might not mind the limited viewing angles as much as I do.

On another note, the A1 seems like the perfect choice for kids, too. It is dirt cheap, robust, it has a couple of cameras to play around with and it is available in white, pink and blue.

Read full review

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Laptop Magazine

It doesn't bring much to the table.

from Laptop Magazine

At $249, the IdeaPad A1 is one of the least expensive full-fledged Android tablets you can buy. The build quality is certainly better than other budget slates we've tested from Ainovo, Archos, and Pandigital--and the battery life is strong. However, in too many ways you get what you paid for with...More

At $249, the IdeaPad A1 is one of the least expensive full-fledged Android tablets you can buy. The build quality is certainly better than other budget slates we've tested from Ainovo, Archos, and Pandigital--and the battery life is strong. However, in too many ways you get what you paid for with a dull screen, sluggish single-core performance, and an outdated OS. Hardware hackers looking to improve the experience by rooting the IdeaPad A1 and installing a more up-to-date version of Android may find this device a bargain, but most others would be better off with the less expensive Kindle Fire, similarly priced Nook Tablet, or pricier but more powerful Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.

Read full review

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Cnet

A classic Android tablet, at an attractive price, but its subpar screen gives the competition an edge

from Cnet

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is for all of those Android fans who were drawn to the Amazon Kindle Fire's $199 price tag, but couldn't take the plunge without a few more basic tablet features thrown in, not to mention a more conventional Android software experience. If you can look past the mediocre scre...More

The Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is for all of those Android fans who were drawn to the Amazon Kindle Fire's $199 price tag, but couldn't take the plunge without a few more basic tablet features thrown in, not to mention a more conventional Android software experience. If you can look past the mediocre screen quality, the Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is one of the best tablet values around.

Read full review

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Notebookcheck

Handy size, low weight, good manufacturing quality, good battery life

from Notebookcheck

Summarizing, we can say the Lenovo offers a solidly manufactured device with the IdeaPad A1. The device is adequate for surfing on the Internet, watching a little video (no Full HD material) and playing an occasional game and it fulfills its purpose. The tablet doesn't have a HDMI port since it can't ensure a smooth playback of such contents. Slight jerking is noticed in everyday, routine use. The screen has a good average brightness for indoor use and a pleasant feel to the greatest extent. No one can expect high-end hardware for €199; the IdeaPad A1 relies on the good "Lenovo workmanship" and a proper screen....

More

Summarizing, we can say the Lenovo offers a solidly manufactured device with the IdeaPad A1. The device is adequate for surfing on the Internet, watching a little video (no Full HD material) and playing an occasional game and it fulfills its purpose. The tablet doesn't have a HDMI port since it can't ensure a smooth playback of such contents. Slight jerking is noticed in everyday, routine use. The screen has a good average brightness for indoor use and a pleasant feel to the greatest extent. No one can expect high-end hardware for €199; the IdeaPad A1 relies on the good "Lenovo workmanship" and a proper screen.

We can only hope that Lenovo will have an upgrade to even out the one or other weakness and that scrolling in the menu or on the home screen, for example, becomes more pleasant. The competition on the tablet market is great and there is currently a big contender available overseas: The Amazon Kindle Fire. How this much talked about tablet fares in daily use can soon be read in a review from our US colleagues.

Read full review

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