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Lenovo IdeaPad K1 review

Can this Android tablet impress like some of Lenovo's laptop offerings?

Lenovo ideapad k1

The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 packs: the power and flexibility of Android 3.1; good specs in its 10.1-inch screen and Nvidia Tegra 2 processor; a wide range of pre-installed apps, many of which fix gaps in the basic apps of Android; a fairly good price tag, coming in cheaper than the iPad 2; and some nice features, including the microSD card slot and USB host connector.

Yet, we wouldn't recommend it over the other options. Certainly not when compared to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or iPad 2. Or, indeed, a great deal of the other tablets we've reviewed.

We liked:

The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 does have good specs. Tegra 2 should provide plenty of power, the 32GB of on-board storage is great and it's got a big, high-res screen. For under £400, that's not bad value for money.

We also like, in principle, that Lenovo has taken such an aggressive approach with apps. Many are superfluous, but having a full version of Documents to Go is a genuinely great thing to have on a tablet right from the start.

And though many people will find having a Home button on an Android 3.1 tablet pointless, some people will find it appealing. At least, it makes the Lenovo stand out.

We disliked:

Performance was inconsistent, but we can just about put up with that. The screen is a bit dim, but we can put up with that. Many of the included apps are confusing, and named the same as the (often better) built-in apps, but we can put up with that.

We can't put up with a tablet that happily locks you out of it so often. Whether the lock icon is refusing to budge, or whether you just can't turn the screen on at all, it's frequently impossible to use the IdeaPad K1. And that's not remotely good enough for a device that costs £400.

It crashed on us, it locked us out, it ran slowly for no apparent reason, parts of software (Flash particularly) wouldn't behave correctly – we just got sick of not knowing if we'd be able to use it or not.

On top of that, it's larger than the competition, and heavier. It may be cheaper than an iPad 2, but it comes in at about the same price as the Eee Pad Transformer, which strongly suggest you check out instead.

Verdict:

Lenovo's IdeaPad K1 is a tablet with some bright ideas that can't manage to complete the basics. The strength of tablets is that they're computing without the friction or hassle – straight onto the web or email in seconds from picking it up. If the tablet doesn't reliably turn on, or if the web pages won't scroll properly, what's the point in a tablet?

The problems with the IdeaPad K1 could possibly be fixed with an update, but as it stands, we can't recommend it. Look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the iPad 2 and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer instead.

Tech Specs

Product TypeTablet
Flash Memory Capacity32 GB
Processor ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ManufacturerNVIDIA
Graphics Controller ModelULP GeForce
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeNo
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time9 Hour
GPSYes
HDMIYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
WimaxNo
Product FamilyIdeaPad K1
Front Camera/WebcamYes
Operating System PlatformAndroid
ColourRed, Silver
Operating SystemAndroid 3.1 Honeycomb
Brand NameLenovo
Form FactorSlate
Processor Speed1 GHz
Processor TypeTegra 2
Screen Size25.7 cm (10.1")
Number of Cells2-cell
Screen Resolution1280 x 800
Standard Memory1 GB
Weight (Approximate)739.4 g
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory Card ReaderYes
TouchscreenYes
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyVibrantView
WWAN SupportedNo
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Height13.2 mm
Width264.2 mm
Depth188 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyLPDDR2
Product SeriesK1
ManufacturerLenovo Group Limited
Product Model13042QU
Product NameIdeaPad K1 13042QU Tablet Computer
Product LineIdeaPad
Aspect Ratio16:10
Manufacturer Part Number13042QU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.lenovo.com/uk/en/
Marketing Information

IdeaPad K1: A multimedia powerhouse that's optimized for the Web.

It's the Web as you've never seen it before. The IdeaPad K1 boasts full support for the latest Flash content and complete digital rights management - you can legally download and store movies in every available format. Instant synching of photos, music and videos to dedicated online storage space lets you share your files seamlessly across all your devices - and share them through social networking sites.

Limited Warranty1 Year