The IdeaPad Tablet A1 is not just an affordable 7” tablet. At just $200 it competes directly with Amazon Kindle Fire, but to achieve that Lenovo needs to sacrifice internal storage and make other compromises. Even so, users still get some innovative features, such as full GPS capability without requiring data connection. Unfortunately, the tablet comes with the older Gingerbread (Android 2.3), instead of Honeycomb (Android 3.0), which is designed specifically for tablets. Now that Ice Cream Sandwich and Honeycomb are out, the tablet feels a bit like a letdown; considering that previous models that have been able to get away with Android 2.x did so by significantly modifying the stock Android interface and apps.
At 0.47” thick, the IdeaPad Tablet A1 isn’t exactly slim, which makes it comparable to the early model of Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 and the Acer A100. The tablet comes with four separate color offerings: light blue, pink, black and white. The tablet uses roll-cage case design made from magnesium alloy that can effectively protect the internal components from nasty bumps.
As mentioned previously, the low price is achieved by trimming down the internal storage, the basic model has 2GB of built-in storage, although models with larger internal storage are available. Its external card slot supports up to 32GB of microSD card and the microUSB port allows you to connect to PC easily. The 1GHz Cortex A8 single-core chip could be the reason why you only get Gingerbread on board and it explains why the tablet is priced aggressively. The 1024 x 600 pixels resolution results in 170 ppi (pixels per inch), although lower than the new iPad with its Retina display, the screen of IdeaPad Tablet A1 still looks sharp. The tablet’s rear- and front-facing cameras have similar resolution at 3Mp and the battery life is rated at approximately 7 hours. Its most unique feature is dedicated GPS capability, with the pre-installed NavDroid app, which can be used when the tablet doesn’t have data connection.