Comfortable and lightweight design; Quality stereo speakers; Solid viewing angles; microSD Card slot; Inexpensive
Below-average performance and graphics; Dim display
The $129 Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 is a cheap Android tablet with good speakers, but its performance falls short of other budget slates'.
While the Apple iPad mini and Google Nexus 7 battle it out for $200+ small-tablet supremacy, Lenovo's IdeaTab A1000 aims for the shopper who doesn't want to pay much more than a Benjamin for a slate. The $129 A1000 boasts a solid set of stereo speakers, full access to the Google Play store and strong battery life. But how does its performance compare to other budget tablets?
Editor's Note: When we initially reviewed the A1000, our battery test did not correctly set the correct screen brightness. After retesting with the correct brightness, the A1000's battery life improved dramatically. As a result, we have updated this review, and increased the rating to 3 stars. We regret the error.
The Lenovo IdeaTab A1000 looks and feels like most other 7-inch Android tablets, but we like that its matte-black back resists fingerprints. When held vertically, the right side of the slate hosts a volume rocker and a microSD slot, and a microUSB slot, headphone jack and power button sit on the top edge. In this orientation, the A1000 has two speakers above and below the display, as well as a 0.3-MP camera on the top-left corner of the bezel.
At 12.3 ounces and 7.83 x 4.76 x 0.42 inches, the IdeaTab A1000 felt light and comfortable in our hands. Its dimensions are nearly identical to those of the HP Slate 7 (7.8 x 4.6 x 0.42 inches) and the Asus MeMO Pad HD 7 (7.7 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches), though the Hisense Sero 7 Pro is slightly longer and wider, at 7.9 x 5.0 x 0.4 inches.
The IdeaTab A1000 is marginally heavier than the MeMO Pad HD 7 (11 ounces) but a little lighter than the Slate 7 (13.1 ounces) and Sero 7 Pro (12.7 ounces).
The A1000 is available with either a black or white back panel; we preferred the sleekness of the black model.
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At 259 lux, the A1000's display is dimmer than the category average of 368, as well as the brightness on the Slate 7 (313), MeMO Pad 7 (358) and Sero 7 Pro (369).
When we listened to a few songs on Spotify, the high-pitched vocals of Vampire Weekend's "White Sky" sounded crisp on the device, as did the acoustic plucking of Bombay Bicycle Club's "Rinse Me Down."
The built-in Dolby Digital Plus equalizer allows users to create specialized audio settings, with customizable profiles for both movies and music. We could choose among presets built for small, medium and large rooms, and we noticed a significant difference in sound when turning bass boost all the way up while listening to Green Day's "Waiting."
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When we measured the device's loudness at 13 inches away from the screen, the A1000 registered 85 decibels, which is slightly louder than the 82-decibel category average but weaker than the Slate 7's 86 decibels and the MeMO Pad HD 7's 91 decibels.
The A1000 is powered by a 1.2 GHz, dual-core Cortex-A9 MCU processor with 1GB of RAM. Although the slate lacks the Tegra 3 processor of the Sero 7 Pro, such games as "Temple Run 2" and Jet Ski racing game "Riptide GP2" ran on the device without any noticeable slowdown on default game settings. However, the frame rate in "Riptide GP2" slowed a bit when we turned on the on-screen splash feature.
Lenovo's A1000 may be serviceable enough for casual gaming, but the tablet fell short on most of our benchmark tests. The device scored 7,200 on the AnTuTu benchmark, which tests CPU, GPU, RAM and I/O performance. That's well below the category average of 12,308, not to mention the HP Slate 7 (11,547), Sero 7 Pro (12,092) and MeMO Pad HD 7 (12,750). Even the HiSense Sero 7 LT, a $99 tablet, scored 8,765 on this test.
The slate scored 6,879 on An3DBench, which is below the average of 7,405 as well as the Slate 7 (7,365), Sero 7 Pro (7,636) and MeMO Pad HD 7 (7,139).
The A1000 took 20 seconds to load "N.O.V.A 3," which is 3 seconds slower than the MeMO Pad HD 7.
During our VidTrim benchmark, the A1000 transcoded a 1080p video to 480p in 11 minutes and 31 seconds, which is far slower than the category average of 7:41. However, it took the Slate 7 the same amount of time, and at 11:23, the MeMO Pad wasn't that much faster.
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The IdeaTab A1000's 3,500 mAH battery proved above average. On the LAPTOP Battery Test (Web surfing via Wi-Fi), the A1000 lasted 8 hours and 17 minutes.
That's more than an hour longer than the category average (7:04), and better than the HP Slate 7 (7:34) and the Sero 7 Pro (6:09). The Sero 7 LT lasted just 4:41, but the MeMO Pad HD 7 lasted 9:40.
On Lenovo's website, the A1000 starts at $129 (after a $30 rebate) with an 8GB hard drive, while the 16GB model starts at $149 after a $40 rebate.
Both configurations are available in black or white.
VerdictWhile it doesn't last as long, the Hisense Sero 7 Pro packs a Tegra 3 processor, higher-resolution 720p display for the same price -- and at $149, the ASUS MeMO Pad HD 7 offers an hour more of endurance. As it stands, the A1000 is a good, but not great entry-level slate.
|CPU||1.20 GHz Dual-core Cortex-A9 MCU|
|Storage Drive Size||16GB|
|Storage Drive Type|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||0.3|
|Card Readers||microUSB 2.0|
|Card Reader Size|
|Warranty / Support||One Year Warranty|
|Size||7.83 x 4.76 x 0.42 inches|