Lenovo Tab A8 Review and RatingsDuring 2013 and the first half of this year, we’ve tested and reviewed a bunch of compact Android tablets. Over that time, as a class, compact tablets have diversified in a big way; earlier, the only common screen size that small Android tablets came in was 7-inch. (Nowadays, we classify slates with 7- to 9-inch screens as “compact,” while tablets with larger screens are “full-size.”) The big growth has been in 8-to-9-inch models, likely thanks to the emergence and success of Apple’s 7.9-inch-screened iPad Mini.

Some of these, such as LG’s G Pad 8.3 (whether the standard, Google Play, or Verizon LTE versions) and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4, were premium, high-performance slates ranging between $300 and $400, while others, such as Dell’s Venue 8 and Acer’s Iconia A1-830, were inexpensive, entry-level tabs under $200. Then, too, a few recent “classic compact” models with 7-inch screens, such as our Editors’ Choice favorite of last year, Google’s Nexus (2013), have persevered despite premium prices (in the case of the Nexus, $200 to $300).

Lenovo Tab A8

Without question, we’ve no shortage or lack of variety in compact Android tablets.

That brings us to the subject of this review, part of the recent wave of 8-inchers. Lenovo’s $179.99-list Tab A8 is a low-cost 8-inch model with 16GB of storage, a 1,280×800-resolution screen, and an entry-level MediaTek quad-core processor. What all this adds up to is an under-$200 slate that stacks up well against like-priced competitors, less so against higher-priced models. When compared to Google’s $229.99-list 32GB version of the Nexus 7, for example, the Tab A8 comes up short, even with its larger screen, and even more so when pitted against one of the elegantly designed LG G Pads.

You can buy the Tab A8 in only one configuration—with 16GB of onboard storage, plus the core components mentioned in the previous paragraph. However, Lenovo says it will offer the A8 in four different colors, as you can see here…

Lenovo Tab A8 (Colors)

When we wrote this in early July 2014, though, only the Midnight Blue was available.

In addition, Lenovo says it will offer a 3G version, which will connect you to the Internet via your wireless provider wherever it delivers service. Like the other three chassis colors, the 3G-ready model had not yet materialized. When and if it does, though, it will come with ostensibly upgraded audio: a pair of stereo speakers, rather than the single speaker that graced our Wi-Fi-only test unit. Plus, it’s expected to have proximity and ambient-light sensors, neither of which you’ll find on the Wi-Fi model.

Lenovo Tab A8

The Tab A8 is part of a refresh of the company’s budget-friendly A-series tablets, including the 7-inch IdeaTab A1000. The line comprises three different models—the Tab A7, Tab A8, and Tab A10—each, according to Lenovo, designed for different kinds of use. The smallest of the lot, the Tab A7, is intended primarily for reading and browsing, where the A8 is designed as an entertainment-consumption slate. The 10-inch A10, on the other hand, is meant to serve both productivity and media-playback functions.

With such a wide selection of feature sets and prices available, choosing the right compact slate is often a matter of evaluating overall value in each model—in short, what do you get for the money? In the case of the Tab A8, you get a nice-looking display, reasonably competent audio for a single-speaker tablet, and acceptable performance. We think this Lenovo slate provides good value for its $179.99 list price, but it’s not a breakaway product at that price. We’d like it much better discounted by a Hamilton, a Jackson—or maybe even one of each.

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Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A Review and Ratings

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.

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A

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.

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A KeyboardOverall, we were underwhelmed with the IdeaTab S2110A, primarily due to its build quality, short battery life, and somewhat dated dual-core CPU—all of which we’ll discuss in detail over the course of this review. You can find better-built slates, such as Asus’ Transformer Pad TF300, with a keyboard dock, a quad-core processor, and a longer-lasting battery for not a whole lot more money.

Lenovo IdeaTab S2110A Review and RatingsFinish reading this article at Computer Shopper.



 

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109A Review and Ratings

We’ve looked at a few Lenovo Android tablets over the past year or so, and, so far, none of them has blown us away. They’ve been able enough efforts, but none of them had that little bit extra to push it over the top.

The most recent of them was the, a 9.7-inch Android slate with a dual-core processor. It has only 8GB of storage, yet it’s still more costly than the IdeaTab we’re reviewing here: the $299-list IdeaTab A2109A, which is a 9-inch slate with 16GB of memory and a Tegra 3 quad-core CPU.

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109A

While $299 is a decent price for an Android tablet of this size built around a quad-core chip, this one has a few drawbacks. First, the A2109A’s cameras are subpar, compared to those in some other slates we’ve tested. Second, and far more important, is the display: Its screen is mediocre, and a tablet is nothing if not its screen.

Consider that this IdeaTab’s display is the same resolution (1,200×800 pixels) as the $249-list , a very popular 7-inch model with a great-looking, highly detailed screen. Even with its extra spread, the A2109A’s display panel is not nearly as vibrant and clear as the Nexus 7’s. Tablets—any tablet—should display graphics, videos, and photos well, but, as you’ll see in the Features & Apps section later in this review, this IdeaTab falls short in this way.

Lenovo IdeaTab A2109A

 

Aside from the less-than-stellar screen and cameras, though, the A2109A was a solid Android citizen. It performed well in our suite of benchmark tests, even on our Battery-Rundown Test. It also comes with an SRS-enhanced sound system that delivers better-than-average audio—for a tablet, that is.

Music, video soundtracks, and games sound good, but, unfortunately, the lackluster display makes this a poor choice if you’ll be using your tablet mainly as a media-consumption device, such as for watching movies. The Google Nexus 7, even considering that the screen is smaller, displays videos much better, as does the aforementioned IdeaTab S2109 and several other slates near the same price.

Although this IdeaTab contains a respectable set of connectivity options, such as USB and HDMI-out, before we can recommend it as a personal entertainment device, it would need a better screen. As is, it’s a good fit for browsing Web sites, managing e-mail, texting, listening to music, and performing other non-graphics-intensive tasks. Quite a few other models of the same screen size (or smaller) work better for viewing videos and photos, though.

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Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet - Decked Out for Business

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet – Decked Out for Business

It only takes a quick glance to know: Here in late 2011, most new tablets are built for consumers. Only a few current ones, such as the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook andFujitsu Stylistic Q550 Slate, have been designed specifically for business. The PlayBook might be a little too tied-down for your tastes, in that it doesn’t offer its own e-mail client and must be tethered to a BlackBerry smartphone to get the most out of it. Windows-based slates like the Stylistic Q550, meanwhile, give you easy access to your business documents—but Windows isn’t ideal for touch input. (Also, Microsoft doesn’t yet offer an infrastructure for downloading free or inexpensive apps, like you have with Apple iPad or Android tablets.) These two tablets are pretty accurate representatives of the state of business slates today, so it’s clear that getting the best of both worlds (a consumer-like tablet experience, with all the versatility and security you need for business) hasn’t been possible—until now. Built around a 10.1-inch screen, Lenovo’s new ThinkPad Tablet has all the accoutrements you would expect in a device that bears the ThinkPad name. What sets it apart, though: It lets you keep your access to apps and features as open as your company will allow….

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