With the glut of midpriced Android slates now on the market, it’s difficult to get excited about yet another one—especially when it’s another me-too model with little to differentiate itself in terms of price or features. That’s the dilemma we have with Lenovo’s IdeaTab S2110A. Lenovo has priced this slate at $339 list for the tablet alone, or $429 with its complementary keyboard dock. Our assessment? It’s a passable tablet with a few clear flaws, but little to recommend it above a horde of similarly priced models.
This IdeaTab reminded us most of all of Lenovo’s IdeaTab S2109, a 9.7-inch slate we looked at a few weeks before. Our primary disappointment with both of these tablets is that they’re built around less-efficient dual-core processors, instead of the quad-core CPUs we see in many recent mid-level tablets, such as Asus’ $399.99-list Transformer Pad TF300 and Acer’s $449-list Iconia Tab A510.
While the IdeaTab S2110A’s processor, compared to some other dual-core slates, performed reasonably well on our suite of benchmark tests, the slate as a whole fell far short in one key area: battery life. Many quad-core tablets we’ve looked at this year delivered from four to seven more hours unplugged runtime than this IdeaTab. The way we see it, a tablet at this price that runs for only seven or eight hours without recharging is borderline unacceptable.
Furthermore, while this plastic-encased IdeaTab is thin, light, and attractive, it feels too pliable. That said, when we weren’t test-bending the S2110A, we found more than a few things to like about it. Its 1,200×800-pixel screen was bright, clear, and colorful, and, as we mentioned, the tablet itself performed well. Sound-playback quality was good, and we shot some nice-looking photos and video with the rear camera.
Our review unit came with 16GB of storage, as well as a black-and-silver keyboard dock in the same box—a combo package Lenovo sells for $429 list, and you can buy a 16GB tablet-only version for $339 list. There’s also a 32GB tablet-only version for $419 list, and a combination 32GB tablet-and-dock package for $499 list.
To our eyes, the $429 or $499 packages are the best deal. The keyboard dock (displayed in the image below) turns this slate into a small laptop-like machine for basic e-mailing and Web work, and the dock holds an additional battery, which Lenovo says can add an extra 10 hours of battery life.
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