Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 - New Kid on the Block

Launch SRP: S$699

Overview and Design

Just Another Honeycomb Tablet?

Unless you are living in the Stone Age, it is nearly impossible to not notice the flood of tablets into the market this year, especially options from the Android OS camp. Google's tablet optimized OS, Honeycomb, is rapidly adopted by many brands to build their tablet models and Lenovo is no different.

First announced on 22nd July, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 is the first of the three tablets unveiled by Lenovo. We first managed to get an initial hands-on of the tablet at a media event in the last week of July, but we've since been occupied with all our efforts in Comex 2011 and PlayTest@Comex. But that also meant we've had more practical time with the K1 tablet to bring you a more balanced analysis.

The IdeaPad Tablet k1 is positioned as a device for the mainstream consumers. To ensure it's easily usable and has the proper impact of a media consumption platform, the K1 has specs equivalent to some of the larger tablets such as a 10.1-inch display, NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and a Google Android 3.1 OS. That's not everything about the IdeaPad Tablet K1. Lenovo has worked to tie-in some exclusive offerings that you can only find on the K1. We'll spill the details on the next page, but let's first have a good feel of the general design of the tablet:-

The IdeaPad Tablet K1 is one of three in Lenovo's first salvo of tablets to the market.

Design Aspects

One word to describe the physical appearance of the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 - ordinary. Looking ordinary is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it's a tried and tested design that wouldn't backfire on the company, but on the other hand, it does not make your product stand out from the crowd. As with most other tablets, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 has rounded edges and sports a glossy screen.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 looks very similar to the rest of the slates we have seen so far - rounded edges and a thick black bezel around a glossy display.


With a thickness of 13.3 mm, the IdeaPad Tablet K1 is considered decent among its peers (Acer Iconia Tab A500 at 13.3 mm, ASUS Eee Pad Transformer at 12.98 mm, Apple iPad 2 at 8.8 mm). However with a weight of 750g, it's among the heaviest in the 10.1-inch category. While one-handed operation is still possible, the hefty weight of the IdeaPad Tablet K1 may exert strain on your hand over some time. 

 Located on the left side of the tablet is the microphone, power button, volume controls, rotation lock and microSD memory card slot.

You will find the micro HDMI output, 3.5mm audio jack and proprietary connector at the bottom of the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1. Oddly, the proprietary connector is only for charging and doesn't serve any other use - yet. There also definitely space for a full HDMI port so it's quite puzzling why they didn't feature that instead. It would have been more readily useful than the micro connector.

We were actually surprised to see a hardware menu navigation button on the right side of the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1. All other Honeycomb tablets do not feature a physical button for navigation purposes. We will explore the function of this button in our next section.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 comes equipped with a two-megapixel front facing camera for video calls.

We liked the textured back of the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1. Not only does it give the K1 a unique look, it has a practical function of giving you a better grip of the device.

In terms of build quality, the Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 has some demerit points. With its shell mostly made from plastic, the K1 looks and feels more like a toy - especially if you had bought one of the brighter colored backings like red. It lacks the premium feel of tablets in its class such as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer. Moreover, the K1 tips the scale at 750 grams despite the plastic chassis. On another comparative note, the newer Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 also sports a mostly plastic build, but weighs only 565 grams. Even the Motorola Xoom (3G version) with its anodized aluminum build weighs lighter than the K1 at 730g. Handling-wise, the K1 scores some brownie points with its rounded corners and textured back, which assist you in having a better grip of the device.

Overall rating 6.5/10
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The Good
Enhanced multitasking tab
Valuable preloaded apps
The Bad
Plastic build
Frequent system freezes and crashes

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