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Lenovo Announces Affordable Tab A Android Tablets

Consumers shopping for a low-cost Android tablet will soon have a few additional choices. Today, Lenovo announced three new, budget-minded Android tablets in the 7-inch Tab A7-50, 8-inch Tab A8 and 10-inch Tab A10. The three slates will launch in May for $129, $179 and $249 respectively.

All three Lenovo Tab A devices run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on quad-core MediaTek MTK 8121 processors with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Lenovo  says it will provide each tablet with an over-the-air update to Android 4.4 KitKat, though the company has not announced a timetable for this upgrade.

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The 7-inch, Lenovo Tab A7-50 provides a 1280 x 800 display, which is typical of budget tablets in this price range, including the $149 ASUS MeMOPad HD 7 . At 7.79 x 4.77 x 0.38 inches and 11.28 ounces, the A7-50 is roughly the same size and weight as the MeMOPad HD 7 (7.7 x 4.7 x .4 inches, 11 ounces)  but is a tad heavier and thicker than the Google Nexus 7 (7.9 x 4.5 x 0.34 inches, 10.24 ounces).

In addition to a colorful 1280 x 800 screen, the 8-inch Tab A8 packs Dolby-enhanced dual front speakers in order to deliver what Lenovo calls "'home entertainment' on the move" in its 8.54 x 5.35 x 0.35-inch, 12.69-ounce frame. Apple's $399, 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display (7.9 x 5.3 x 0.29 inches, 11.7 ounces)  is both lighter and thinner, but costs  more than twice as much.

Meant for power users, the Tab A10 packs a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 display and dual Dolby speakers on the front for a richer multimedia experience. When paired with an optional Bluetooth keyboard, the 10.39 x 6.94 x 0.35-inch, 1.2-pound A10 promises solid productivity on the go.

The A7-50, A8 and A10 come with 3,450-mAh, 4,200-mAh and 6,340-mAh batteries, respectively, and Lenovo says each should last approximately 8 hours on a charge. We'll have to wait until we can put the devices through our tests to see if the they provide better or worse endurance than advertised.

The new Tab A line is a refresh of Lenovo's IdeaTab A series, which packed weaker, 1024 x 600-pixel displays than the new models. While we liked the $129 IdeaTab A1000's design and speakers, subpar performance and a dim display held it back. We look forward to seeing how the new Tab A devices stack up, so stay tuned for our full reviews.