A while back the kind folks at Lenovo sent us the Ideapad A2109 to review over the summer. We’ve been testing it as a family to put it through it’s paces in a number of different scenarios and this is the first of a series of reviews we’ll be posting as we get to grips with the tablet.
I liked this tablet straight out of the box. It has a quality feel. It’s an impressive 9 inch tablet that is great for all the family and good value at £170 from PC World at the moment. The tablet is built around a sturdy metal frame which means the Ideapad is a delight to handle and reassuringly robust. Start up is very fast, taking 15-20 seconds from pressing the on button and using it is simple and intuitive. Lenovo covers the Andriod 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system with their own Modrian user interface and it is effective, using icons to start programmes. The icons can be placed into logical groups to customise the layout to your own tastes. For Andriod phone users the interface will feel familiar.
The Ideatab uses a Nvidia Tegra 1.3GHz Quad Core processor with built in GeForce gaming processor, plus 1280x800 HD screen and SRS Surround sound speakers, so it's well equiped for basic gaming and video playback. Front and rear cameras make it also ideal for Skype as well as taking impromptu family photos and videos.
In short the Ideatab is a great value all round family tablet that looks like it will stand up to the knocks of family life.
The touch screen interface with its icon layout and simple control keys in the bottom left hand corner (home, back, new window) make the tablet simple to use. Settings can be accessed via another touch button in the top right hand corner whilst voice control is situated in the top left hand corner. The pop up keyboard includes a well judged positive sound feedback that makes typing a delight. The keys are also large enough for full size fingers resulting in fewer typing errors, although one drawback is that the keyboard obscures much of the content section in gmail, which requires more planning than usual. For serious typing I bought an Anker bluetooth keyboard which is similar in size to the Ideapad and works very well. It’s only drawback is the lack of a trackpad, but it makes serious typing far easier and it is something I’d recommend to get the most out of the tablet - I’ve written this review using exactly that combination.
The Ideapad screen quality is good with sharp, vivid reproduction. Part of my morning routine is to do my emails, then read the news (on the BBC APP, on USA Today and via MyYahoo). The Ideatab has quickly become my device of choice for this activity due to its quick start up, ease of use and size. It copes well with text, graphics (checking the weather forecast) and video (breaking new stories)
We downloaded two games from the Google Play store for Curly Girl to play on the Ideapad and she happily balanced the tablet on her lap to play them. The Ideapad is a good size for her and easier to use that a Smartphone (we have a Galaxy S2). Little Man is a tad too small to play with a tablet yet although he seems quite happy to sit and watch me tapping away (good lad).
The all important numbers:
Item Weight - 5 g
Product Dimensions - 1.2 x 26 x 17.8 cm
Screen Size - 9 inches
Processor Brand - NVIDIA
Processor Speed - 1.3 GHz
RAM Size - 1 GB
Computer Memory Type - DDR DRAM
Hard Drive Size - 16 GB
Graphics Card Description - Integrated
Graphics RAM Type - DDR DRAM
Operating System - Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Average Battery Life (in hours) - 9 hours
You really don't need a lot of extras with the Ideapad but there are three things I would recommend that cost us about £45 from Amazon:
1. - this is a necessary purchase to prolong the life of the screen (especially with the number of ice-lollies being waved around in this house at the moment).
2. - £8.18. A sturdy case for the price let down by slightly poor fit (it is slightly too large for the height of the tablet which means pushing the bottom of the tablet up slightly to touch the home key).
3. - a worthwhile investment at £28.77 for more lengthy typing.
The Android version that comes pre-installed does not support some types of video playback - as it is a tablet, not a laptop. This is irritating but I’m sure I will find a workaround when I try. At the moment I simply use another device instead.
More to try out
As yet we have not tested the video or camera to any great degree. So that’s for the next review. As is making the most of the connectivity - hooking up the picture to our TV for example.
All in all I feel I’ve come to appreciate the Lenovo Ideapad quickly and I'm already wondering how I lived without it - often the case with new technology I find - but now the true test begins - will I still love it after a few months of use?