(Disclosure: The unit that we used for this review was obtained through winning the raffle on the night the device was launched)
The local tablet market is definitely picking up, as Lenovo has officially thrown their hat into thering with the IdeaPad K1. While they have a lot of ground to cover being about 3 months late to the Honeycomb Tablet party, they’re coming out strong with the K1. Currently being priced at Php 24,900 for the 32GB version, the K1 has the most bang for the buck storage-wise.
We’ll be honest with you, aside from the external form factor and difference in memory and softwareoverlays, current generation Honeycomb tablets are near identical to each other. The IdeaPad K1 isno exception to this – it’s powered by the same NVIDIA made, Tegra 2 processor that powers the Asus Transformer TF101, Acer’s Iconia A500 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. Like its other competitors, the K1 uses a 10.1-inch capacitive screen, has a 5 megapixel camera on the back and 2 megapixel camera on the front, and uses Honeycomb 3.1 as its OS.
The overall build quality was good, with no obvious creaks anywhere on the device. There’s a navigation/home button on the right side of the device that’s there to supposedly help you navigate, but it doesn’t really work as well as it was intended.
On the left side of the K1 lie the volume rocker, power button and the hardware orientation lock. That last bit is a nice touch, and we think that a hardware orientation lock of some sort should be a mandatory feature on all Honeycomb tablets from here on out.
The mini-HDMI port, data port (which also doubles as the charging plug) and 3.5mm audio jack are all located on the bottom of the device.
One of the first things we noticed when we first picked up the device was how heavy it was – it’sdefinitely heavier than the iPad 2, clocking in at .7 kilos (1.65 lbs) which is definitely something to be concerned about when you’re planning to use it for extended periods of time.
Being a late entry to the tablet game, Lenovo has had plenty of time to actually get some sort of UI overlay/interface going in the K1 instead of the stock Honeycomb experience that ships with their other competitors. Most notable of which is the five-way app launcher in the middle of the homescreen. By default it’s configured for watching movies, listening to audio, reading e-books (via Zinio, though there’s a Kindle app bundled as well) checking email and going online.
Further software customization includes the quick launch button at the bottom of the screen that allowsyou to quickly access and launch apps wherever you are, and Lenovo’s own app shop where you can buy apps for the device. There are also a couple of pre-installed apps in the device which, depending onwhich side of the fence you lean could be considered a nice bonus or just worthless bloatware.
The app shop for Lenovo isn’t your typical Android Market experience (though there is the standardAndroid Market app if you so choose) in that it’s mostly a curated app shop that’s saddled with mostly paid apps. The apps listed looks good enough for the most part, and we imagine that it’s a good fit forpeople who don’t want to wade through the Android Market trying to look for an app that’s actually,you know, good.
Another app that ships with the K1 is their Social Touch app, which is basically their version of a socialnetwork aggregator, with a few extras built-in like email and calendar functionality built-in.
To get a semblance of what the K1 is capable of when it comes to number crunching, we downloadedand installed Quadrant Standard, a benchmarking tool that we used in our other reviews. It managed to nab a score of 1,643, which was pretty good, though that performance didn’t translate that much to better performance. Battery life was an advertised 10 hours on a single charge, but during our loop test with a video clip running on repeat with WiFi on, the K1 managed to last about 8 hours and 48 minutes, which was definitely far from the performance from the gold standard in Honeycomb tablets, the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
One issue that we need to mention is that the IdeaPad K1 initially suffered from a wake from sleep problem when we got it. To put it simply, the device would not wake from sleep after its screen timed out no matter how many times we press the power button, forcing us to restart the device each time we wanted to use it again. And we’re not alone – there’s a couple of people already complaining at Lenovo’s official forums about the issue. We did manage to find a fix for it by updating the firmware manually(and then performing a factory reset of the unit), though it baffles us why the firmware update didn’t prompt us automatically.
Probably the biggest draw for the K1 is its price – it’s currently being sold for Php 24,900 for the 32GB version, which undercuts the prices of its competitors by a fair amount (if you compare it to their 32GB offerings).
So again, the question now is, is the IdeaPad K1 worth the money it’s asking for? Normally we’d say yes, but until the software issues are sorted out, we’d have to hold out on a solid recommendation for now. If you do still decide to grab one, try to get that update right away to save yourself a bit of grief.
Solid build quality
Curated appstore via Lenovo’s App shop
Excellent value for the price
Initial refusal to wake from sleep issues, can only be fixed through firmware update
Battery life isn’t as good as other devices
Once you get past the software issues, Lenovo’s IdeaPad K1 is a good tablet to consider if you’re in themarket for a Honeycomb device.
- Display: 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800
- Operating System: Android Honeycomb, 3.1
- Processor: 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core processor
- Physical Dimensions : 264 x 189 x 13.3mm
- Weight: 1.65 lbs