Above-average performance and battery life; Good sound quality; Robust selection of bundled apps
Some stuttering at times; Poor front-facing camera
The IdeaTab A2109A is a 9-inch Android tablet that provides good sound quality and lots of useful apps for the price, but there are better options.
With the exception of Lenovo's pen-enabled ThinkPad Tablet, the company's Android slates have never really stood out from the crowd. But the IdeaTab A2109A has one very good thing going for it: a low price. For $299, you get a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and a 9-inch HD screen for $100 less than the iPad 2 and more premium big-screen Android tablets like the Xperia Tablet S and Google Nexus 10. Does the A2109A have enough appeal to sway buyers?
The left side stores volume controls, a 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone and a rotation lock switch. The top is home to the power button, while the right side stores micro-USB and mini-HDMI ports as well as another microphone. The 3-megapixel rear-facing camera is sandwiched between a pair of speakers. The middle of the back panel wears a silver lowercase "lenovo" logo.
Despite its smaller screen size, the 10.23 x 7 x 0.46-inch IdeaTab A2109A's footprint takes up more room than the Sony Xperia Tablet S (9.4 x 6.8 x 0.4-0.5 inches). The A2109A weighs 1.25 pounds, just a hair lighter than the Xperia (1.26 pounds).t
DisplayNexus 7 have the same resolution as the IdeaTab A2109A.
When we watched the HD version of the "Skyfall" trailer, we noticed that a distant tunnel entrance looked blurry. The red bars on the British flag were not as vivid as they should have been. Wrinkles on the flag also weren't sharp. In a closeup of Daniel Craig's face, his blue eyes appeared dull. In a scene where he's on a boat floating through a dragon's head, the head's red insides looked lifeless and 007's face looked somewhat blurry.
At 224 lux, the IdeaTab A2109A's screen trails the 355 lux category average by a wide margin. The Xperia (411 lux) and the Nexus 10 (376 lux) are also much more radiant than the IdeaTab A2109A's.
Software and Interface
The IdeaTab A2109A runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. The upper right hand corner stores the Apps button, while a button in the bottom left pulls up several menus you can open. These include Preferences, Manage apps, System settings, Add more capacity and One touch clear.
When using the swipe gesture to navigate to different screens within the IdeaTab A2109A's OS, the sliding animation commonly found on Android tablets is replaced with a rotating animation. While it looked interesting, we noticed some stuttering while this tablet was flipping between screens.
The IdeaTab A2109A comes with a host of apps. These include SugarSync, which offers 5GB of cloud storage. Gametanium offers a portal to a multitude of casual games for $3.99 per month. Norton Tablet Security is also included; renewing the monthly subscription will cost you $2.99. Google apps, such as the Play store, Gmail and YouTube, are also onboard.
For video chat fans, Skype and ooVoo are both bundled with the IdeaTab A2109A. PokeTalk allows you to make international calls, but we imagine that most people will use Skype.
GOKeyboard, a third-party keyboard app, lets you seamlessly switch languages. You can also use GOKeyboard to do other things such as record voice messages to send to friends, insert emoticons and more. We found the keyboard to be responsive and accurate when we typed on it.
News Republic aggregates articles on topics ranging from Politics to Entertainment to Sports and much more. Once you select a topic within the app, the left side of the screen presents a list of relevant articles while the right displays the article you selected. Pressing a button that resembles a crooked tree branch in the top right corner of the screen displays a beautiful interface consisting of terms and buzzwords relevant to the topic you selected. Select a key term and News Republic will pull up articles pertaining to the term. Not only does this app have a slick interface, but it permits you to affix feeds to topics that interest you most to your Home screen.
While there's an icon for the Lenovo App Shop, the company discontinued the store. The icon can be easily removed, though.
In the graphics-centric AN3DBench testing suite, the IdeaTab A2109A scored 7,179. That trails the 7,319 category average, though not significantly. The Xperia and the Nexus 7 both got superior scores of 7,752 and 7,782, respectively.
In real-world usage, the IdeaTab A2109A felt sluggish at times. When we had five tabs open in Google Chrome, we noticed some slight stuttering when scrolling up and down Web pages. When switching between tabs, there were instances where a Web page that was previously loaded would appear blank, only to reappear in its entirety after a second or two. When switching between Chrome and the Home screen, we noticed no slowdowns. When using the swipe gesture to switch between screens, slowdowns were slight but noticeable.
Camera and Video
The 3-MP rear-facing camera did a much better job of taking accurate images, though images looked fuzzy and colors lacked life. We took shots of a colorful mousepad as well as a collection of buttons. An intense red streak along the bottom of the mousepad looked dull, and the green on the button we snapped was much brighter than it looked on-screen.
|CPU||1.2-GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 T30SL|
|Storage Drive Size||16GB|
|Storage Drive Type||Flash Memory|
|Display Resolution||1280 x 800|
|Front-Facing Camera Resolution||1.3MP|
|Card Reader Size|
|Warranty / Support||2-year Extended Warranty|
|Size||10.23 x 7 x .46 inches|