Who says that Android is just for highly-portable devices? Announced today and available in February, the 19.5-inch Lenovo N308 provides a rich Android desktop experience while doubling as a supersized tablet. We had a chance to go hands-on with the N308 and were intrigued by its foldable kickstand and pure Android UI.
Starting at $450, the Lenovo N308 features a speedy Nvidia Tegra quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and up to 500GB of storage for your media files. The system comes with Android 4.2 with both Google Play and Amazon app stores preloaded. A 2-MP front webcam allows you to video chat using Skype, Google Hangouts or any other messaging app.
In order to achieve this relatively-low price, Lenovo compromised a bit on the display panel. At only 1600 x 900, the 19.5-inch screen has a low pixel density of 94 PPI, which compares unfavorably to most Android tablets, including the Google Nexus 7 (1920 x 1200, 323 PPI) and Google Nexus 10 (2560 x 1600, 303 PPI). We didn't get a chance to play any videos or run any graphically-intense apps during our brief hands-on time, but the desktop UI and icons appeared less sharp and colorful than they do on most mobile devices.
Like Lenovo's Horizon series, the 10.1-pound, 1.3-inch thick N308 has an adjustable kickstand that allows you to prop it up and use it as a desktop with the included keyboard and mouse or fold it flat for table top or tablet use. In practice, we found the stand was quite stiff and required a fair amount of force to bend. However, that stifness ensures that it won't fall over from the slightest touch.
While you wouldn't expect to take a device this heavy with you on the road, the N308 promises 3 hours of endurance, enough time to move it from room to room or hold it on your lap until your wrists get tired.
The goal of the Lenovo N308 is clearly not to compete on specs, but to provide a family friendly Internet / media PC for an affordable price. While 7, 8 and 10-inch tablets give you sharper screens for less money, the N308 provides an immersive experience for the livingroom that should be good for families where parents want to share the experience of watching movies, gaming and using educational apps with children rather than just handing them a small device to look at on their own.
Lenovo is not the first to bring Google's operating system to an all-in-one PC. Earlier this fall, HP released the Slate 21, a 21-inch Android station with a full HD screen that retails for $399. Viewsonic pioneered the category with its VCD 22, which was released in 2012. We're eager to see how the Lenovo N308 stacks up when we have the opportunity to do our full review.