"This Best Selling Lenovo K1 Ideapad 130422U 10.1-Inch Tablet (Black) Tends to SELL OUT VERY FAST! If this is a MUST HAVE product, be sure to Order Now to avoid disappointment!"
The advanced Lenovo IdeaPad Tablet K1 keeps you connected to music, movies and apps, on the go. It’s the web as you’ve never seen it before; the 10.1" IdeaPad Tablet K1 with Android 3.0 is optimized for the web like no other tablet. The K1 comes with full support for the latest Flash content and complete Digital Rights Management (DRM) so you can legally download & store movies in every available format. Plus, it instantly syncs your photos, music and videos with a dedicated online storage space, so you can easily share across multiple devices, or with the wider world through integration with popular social networking sites. And with access to the Lenovo App Shop and the Android Market, thousands of useful apps and games are just a click away.
Let me first say, I’m doing this review to help those people, like I was, who have been sitting on the fence waiting for a good option apart from the Ipad 2, so I apologize for the lengthy review.
I do have access to an Ipad 2 (when my daughter is not hammering away at it) & I must say that I love it, but being an android phone user, could not get comfortable with the iTunes thingy & the plain old icons interface. However, for a not so technical user, I think the Ipad is the best Tablet choice out there.
However, apart from liking what I had seen of the Android Honeycomb OS, I was also looking for an Android Tablet with connections (hdmi out, sd card slot, etc.) so that ruled out my early favorite, the Galaxy Tab 10.1. After looking & trying the rest I settled on either the Toshiba Thrive, which is fat, but really has a nice feel in your hands, & the Asus Transformer, which has a nice screen & that keyboard dock. Eventually ruled out the Thrive as I couldn’t get over the washed out graphics on the screen & the power problems in sleep mode. So it was the Asus….. until I stumbled on an article on the Lenovo Ideapad K1 which grabbed my attention the very night I was going to order the Asus here on Amazon. (Sorry Amazon!)I decided to check it out at Office Depot the next day as it was rumoured they had it on display but not stocked.
Now, I usually buy all my big electronic purchases from Amazon but I couldn’t let this one pass since Office Depot only had one in stock. I’m not sure how they’ve had these tabs on sale for a few days now since Lenovo only officially launched this product Wednesday, but I went to look at a display unit I heard they had & boy, I liked what I saw.
Firstly, the screen. It’s really nice. Just as good as the Ipad, IMO, but just below the Samsung. The screen has a sharpness to it that reminded me of the old Sony Wega TV’s….. nice.
Looks! Kinda look like the Samsung Tab and I like the curved edges.
Netflix!! What more can I say, apart from it runs flawlessly here.
Apps! Apps already included on this Tablet would cost you extra dollars &, for what I need, is mostly ones I can really use, like Documents To Go, Print Share, etc. Not much of a gamer, but Angry Birds is preloaded along with some other neat looking games.
Connections. Hooked the tab to my 50″ Plasma via the micro hdmi out (you will need to buy a micro hdmi cable here from Amazon) & it recognized it right away. My daughters played Angry Birds using the connection & now I’m not sure if they can go back playing it on their phones lol. I opened the micro SD slot but have not inserted a card as yet. However, trying to access this slot was something else till I finally read the manual & deduced (not exactly spelt out) that you need a small twisted paper clip to push in the hole beside the slot to push the slot cover open to reveal the drive.
Honeycomb 3.1. Not unique to the Ideapad but it runs really nice on this tablet without too many glitches. I like the Lenovo unique small menu launcher on the desktop that seems to be the only tweak to Honeycomb that Lenovo did to this OS.
Build. Definitely a solidly built unit. It’s Lenovo & although it’s my first from this brand, they’re usually known to build solid units. But the solidity comes at a price (see Cons below)
No good accessories. Normal for a new device. The Lenovo case was awful & def not worth the $35 being asked for it. Will wait for Amazon availability of cases for this Tab.
Weight. Although it’s not much heavier than most tablets in unit measurement, it feels heavier. Maybe it’s the aluminum edges or the glass (IPS) screen but this is one of the heavier tablets I’ve felt. It’s not as heavy as the Xoom but still has that same feel of the Xoom, that feel of holding a cold metal tray in your hand. This doesn’t bother me as, same with the Ipad, I prefer having these tablets in a case anyway, for feel & security.
Powering On. Noticed a couple times I’ve had to do a restart of the Ideapad to wake it up from sleep mode. Happened at least 4 times the first day of usage but it’s 3 days now & haven’t been happening since. I noticed when I added a secure login pattern, it hung on the startup screen the first couple times as well but seems to be working okay now.
Headphone Jack Position. Small annoyance, but positioning it by the power connector, IMO, was not a good idea, but you can overcome this by turning the tab around so it positions the outlet to the top, but then you will have to get used to the volume up/down buttons are now on the opposite side.
In summary, I waited a longtime for a good Ipad alternative & I’m pretty confident that I’ve found it in the Lenovo IdeaPad. I’ll update this review after a few more weeks of using the tablet, especially since I’ve discovered a dead pixel on startup today, but not noticeable in Honeycomb.
6 MONTH UPDATE:
After 6 months of using this tablet I felt the need to update my review. I have been a little disappointed with the performance at times with the stock browser which crashes on certain websites. Lenovo does update the firmware every month or so but I’ve found the last update to have been a downgrade more than an upgrade as my K1 seems to be more laggy since. Some have seen improvements as per the Lenovo forum which I find useful [...] .
The headphones jack positioning continue to be a real irritant, especially after getting a case for this thing which also makes you notice the weight of this tab even more. But with all these constraints in mind,I have not regret the purchase as it’s used everyday but I would probably take away half a star for Lenovo’s inconsistent firmware upgrade & sketchy support for this tab. I still do look at my daughter’s Ipad2 with slight envy & convinced that it is still the best tablet on the market due to it’s stable OS & quality of apps that’s available to date. But, for me, the K1 is one of the best Android tabs out there along with the Samsung Galaxy & Asus Transformer, with the latter being the best value for money once the K1 is on the market for over $400. For those wondering if a tablet is necessary in their lives, I can only say that I find myself using mine mainly for personal use but it’s been loads of fun using. I would still say this is a buy at this time especially if you can grab one below $400, anything over that, I would suggest looking at the much vaunted Ipad 2.
Right out of the box, most apps will work, including the documents reader. If you received one of the earlier shipped models, however, the promised Netflix app is missing, and many market apps will be unstable (I tried Google Sky). You need to perform an update which will provide Netflix and stability fixes (Google Sky works very well now).
The included documents reader is a definite bonus for this tablet. For example, I’m able to read Office (Word, Excel, etc.) attachments on e-mail. I can download PDFs and read them comfortably. The PDF rendering speed is pretty zippy, fast enough that I’m not distracted by it while reading. For small-font, double-column text that’s popular in many professional journals, it’s easy to find a screen orientation and zoom level for comfortable reading. Panning around a zoomed-in PDF page is intuitive and smooth.
The reception of the built-in wifi receiver is not as good as my laptop or IPhone. Typically, the signal strength on my Ideapad is 1 bar below my other devices. The signal strength icon is not just cosmetic; when the signal strength appears as 1 bar or below, web page loading and app downloads slow down considerably.
I’ve also noticed that the wifi receiver can perform better or worse depending on the network. So far I’ve been connecting consistently with Wireless-G (802.11g). My Ideapad has played well with home and hotel networks, but it’s been hit-or-miss with airport networks. At one airport, my laptop performed fine with fast webpage loads, but the Ideapad struggled. At another airport, there was no discernible difference in performance between Ideapad and laptop.
One attractive feature of the Ideapad is that it has hardware DRM capability, which means that (in principle) you can download rented movies to watch offline, say, on an airplane. However, I have yet to find an app that will actually allow you to cache movies for offline viewing. The included mSpot movies app appears to support only streaming, as does Netflix and movies on the Android Market (which you have to watch via YouTube). I’m hoping that offline movie capabilities will appear soon.
It’s worth mentioning that the tablet has a built-in GPS and compass, so that augmented reality and navigation apps will work. The GPS capability is strangely missing from the product description on many sites.
As is common for Android tablets, the Google mail and calendar integration is easy to set up.
Overall, I’m very happy with the Ideapad, but then my expectations were minimal. I needed a good documents reader that could entertain me while traveling, and it’s almost there. The only feature I’m missing is the ability to cache rented films for offline viewing.
10/13/11-So I’ve only had this tablet for 1 day. I’m kind of getting used to Android but it’s not really as fast as I’ve did with Apple’s (Ipod touch). So here are my thoughts. Note: I bought this one from Best Buy so the back might be different (See Pro 6).
1. Rebooting the tablet from power off is very fast. You might as well shut it off (which turns battery and wifi off) than to have it on standby and letting battery drain.
2. Android Market. Yes you get THE official one (which is one of the reasons why I bought this).
3. Lenovo App Market. They have their own market. These apps have been tested on the device to work and be compatible.
4. You get a lot of preinstalled apps. It’s nice to save a couple bucks. One of them is Documents to Go. Apparently it goes for about $15 regular. The con is that I don’t really like that app, but still, I got $15 app for free.
5. Having dual cameras is nice. Of course the quality isn’t all that great, but at least they’re there. It can also video record.
6. Honeycomb grip back (at least for my model). See Con #3.
7. Rotation lock button on side.
8. Typing is good, no lag.
9. Capacitive Touch Screen (pinch and zoom type). It’s a pro because it’s more responsive than Resistive Touch Screens.
10. Because it runs 3.1 Honeycomb, it DOES support flash (major plus for me instead of buying the cheaper tablets).
11. 32 GB HARD DRIVE!! That’s a no brainer.
1. Charge via pin connector (like your phone). There is no standard AC like you would for a laptop. Also, you can’t charge with USB in computer.
2. Speakers have TERRIBLE quality and aren’t loud at all.
3. The honeycomb part of the back isn’t particularly tight which can be annoying.
It’s like there open air between the hardware and the back
4. Microsd slot is not user friendly. You have to poke something in the hole to open the port. It’s like your typical Reset Hole. The good thing is that you’re never going to get dust in there.
5. I’ve found the Lenovo Social Touch app to be completely useless.
6. User Manual is terrible. I’m the type of person that likes a long User Manual so that everything is explained. Their’s is only a couple of pages. I also like paper versions. Their’s is electronic and is accessed like an app (which isn’t a Con, I just like paper).
1. There’s supposed to be GPS, but I haven’t found how to use it yet.
2. I have not figured out how to load documents on it. I’m a college student so I have some e-textbooks that I need to read. The ipod was easy because all you needed was iBooks.
10/13/11: Initial Review
1. As everyone has said, the tablet will randomly freeze and you’ll have to force a restart. The good thing is that restart is only 15 sec or less. I’m sure it’s a software issue and not a Lenovo issue. I hope they have updates.
2. If you have your volume all the way down and you try to restart, the loading menu will still play the sounds. You might want to have headphones plugged in if you’re in a quiet environment.
3. Wifi is atrocious. I’m not even that far away from my Wifi router and it has terrible reception.
4. I have started to watch movies on Netflix, but I want to test it out more before I have a review that I’m sure about. Just so you know, I am two rooms away from the router. Buffering was so-so. I need to review Netflix when sitting next to the router. Since this is related to video, I will also let you know about the YouTube app.
5. I have noticed that sometimes the internet gets really slow if you have the tablet on for a long time. A quick reboot did the trick for me.
6. I wish the power cord was a little bit longer.
A new update has come out at the beginning of Dec. 2011. I wanted to use the tablet for a few days to see if issues have been solved. I’m proud to say that my tablet does NOT restart anymore!!!! The new update came with Android OS (3.2.1) and Lenovo updates (Build 111109_US). I’m still not pleased with the bad wifi reception away from the router. Although a little bit late for this review, Netflix DOES work well as long as you restart the tablet (remember that the longer a tablet is on, the more processes that are running so you want to start with a clean slate) and are near the router.
First off, the Lenovo K1 has a nice big/bright display. I have watched a few Amazon instant videos and YouTube clips and they look great. The speakers are small but don’t sound too bad, but this is no Bose system either. The K1 comes with a ton of apps and some are the full/pay versions such as Documents to Go. I have deleted some of the preloaded apps and have used the included Android market and Lenovo market to download other apps as well as the Amazon app market. The K1 also has GPS built in and has the Google navigation app that is pretty cool, but I will probably still use my Garmin due to it being smaller for use in my car. The K1 doesn’t weigh too much and is not too bulky either. The performance is pretty fast and I have had no lags of opening or closing apps.
Before I bought the Lenovo K1 I did a lot of research and saw many mixed reviews. After unboxing my K1, I updated the software to the latest version and then performed a factory reset. My K1 works perfectly and I do not have the crashing, forced closure of apps, of system freezes that many have complained about and wonder if they updated to the 829 software build(latest version as of now)and performed a factory reset if that might fix their problems.
My suggestion is to go to a brick and mortar store such as Office Depot and try the Lenovo K1 out for yourself. If you like it, buy it from Amazon and save yourself some money as
well as the tax and you also get free shipping. With the money saved, you can buy a nice case to put your k1 in.
*** July 2012 Update.***
While my K1 has been pretty much trouble free, I can no longer recommend the K1 or any other Lenovo product. Lenovo’s support of its product is pretty poor. Lenovo has an accessory called a USB host cable that makes it possible to hook up USB objects to the K1. The USB host cable was included with the K1 in Europe and other overseas locations but not in the US, when enough people complained, Lenovo received a small amount and took over a month to distribute what they had. Most owners missed out as you had only about 48 hours to order this cable and the only notification that lenovo was going to sell this cable was on a forum on thier website. Lenov also promised owners of the K1 an update to the newest version of the android software 4.0, so far Lenovo has not deliverd and the release date keeps slipping and may never arrive.
Due to these problems, I NO LONGER RECOMMEND LENOVO products.
Like any hardware running software, there ARE going to be glitches (the average life of my laptop is 2-3 years). I researched online and consulted with my computer guru friends and finally have fixed the glitches (cross my fingers) regarding unwanted reboots and app closings. Basically, after updating to Android 3.2.1 and receiving a couple of system updates, most of the problems were fixed. The tablet did crash once after that, and I decided to try something. I uninstalled the Lenovo custom widget Social Touch, and presto, haven’t had any issues since! So the hardware and software seem to be performing nicely, like they should. I will update this review in the future to note any changes. Now onto the Pros and Cons of the tablet (in my opinion):
1) I love the layout of the home pages, including the favorites scroll, where you can add up to 5 apps.
2) Support for other apps: I have a lot of books on Kindle so I love that I can access them on my Lenovo via the Kindle app (you have to get from Amazon). There are alot of WONDERFUL apps out there!
3) I love the customizable Lenovo launcher widget. Let’s hope it doesn’t start causing any problems!
4) Excellent graphics and picture for games and apps alike. Good support for many diffent types of files.
5) Overall the tablet is very responsive, light and powerful. Between the internal 32gb and the 32gb micro sd card, I will have no problem with storage (unless you have a lot of music, movies, pics, etc.)
1) I have problems while using the tablet, I will inadvertently brush over the optical sensor located on the front edge of the tablet and it will redirect me to the home page.
2) Not too enthusiastic about the Lenovo app shop, then again compared to google appstore or Amazon, there isn’t that much of a selection. Make sure you update your apps via whereever app shop you got them, otherwise, the tablet get’s confused.
3) This is not exclusive to this tablet, but yes, fingerprints are going to be an issue. 2 main options as I see it: get some screen protectors, or clean frequently. I much prefer a quality soft microfiber cloth, occasionally sprayed with some water over any chemicals, and it works very well.
4) Separate cables for power and USB to computer, instead of one USB cable which plugs into a plug adapter. Just more cables to keep up with. Also, not to happy with the location of the power connection (bottom). Seems it would be nicer to be on top, that way you could have it plugged in while sitting in a stand or mount.
5) Speakers are OK at best. On the good side, the sound is good if I connect quality headphones or a good speaker set to the headphone jack.
Overall, love the tablet! I will have to make a decision whether to upgrade or not when and if the new Andoid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich becomes available for this tablet.
When I got the tablet home I updated the OS and that was it! Hasn’t crashed on me yet (not sure why other people are experiencing this issue). Build quality is great, screen is not as coloful as say the Galaxy Tab but it’s fine IMO. Speed is great (same duel core Tegra 2 processor as the other guys, plus 1gb of RAM) and yes it’s not the thinnest tablet out there but it’s also not the biggest either. Battery life is a solid 8hrs when in heavy use which is pretty good for an Android tablet (far less than the Ipad though).
The custom widgets are very interesting, especially the main hub widget where you can set all you apps up (I got rid of it, call me a traditionalist). I also like the fact you have the option to close out previous screens without using a taskiller which is nice.
Ah yes the bundled software. Many people have complained that this is merely bloatware. Well I think it’s great you get a full version of Docs To Go, Angry Birds HD, Accuweather, Netflix and a bunch of other usefull and fun apps. The thing that I love is that Lenovo gives you the option to DELETE THEM if you don’t want them, not just have them locked into memory forever.
Now like most Android tablets there are cons which I’ll list below:
-No Android 3.2 (Ice Cream Sandwhich is on the way so no big deal).
-Camera Stinks (most of them do).
-SD card slot. Most reviews have written about the SD card slot cover, so no surprises.
-Speakers are a bit “tinny” sounding. Not the best speakers but good enough.
-Limited apps in the app markets. Not Lenovos fault but it’s getting better every day.
In conclusion, I challenge anyone to come up with a better deal on a 32gb tablet with the same prcessor as the other guys, nice widgets and Netflix ready. It’s not the best Android tablet out there but you could do far worse for $350.00….
One thing that I recommend any person getting this is to update the tablet right away, as many great features are added that were not included out of the box when I bought it.
Value wise, I think this beats the competition simply because of the amount of internal memory (32gb), and the ability to add even more via a micro sd card, also mini hdmi out could be very useful to connect to an hd tv or monitor. Also the operating system works great and is pretty responsive, plus sensitivity is really good.
None so far.
I made a quick video that I uploaded to youtube in case you want to watch it, it shows some hints and tips that I learned after a few days of using the tablet, which you might find useful if you purchase it. You Tube user name Kematica
Additionally, I did purchase from Amazon the RooCase for it[...]and a screen protector that was a bit difficult to install, basically any flying particle in the room where you install it, can become an air bubble on the screen.
It’s been a year since the original purchase, and the tablet keeps working perfectly fine. One thing to note, Lenovo failed to fulfill their promise of updating the operating system to keep up with newer versions of Android. After much pressure from the community of customers that purchased the tablet, they did release a “vanilla” (basic) version of Ice Cream Sandwich back in July 2012, which of course is behind the current version called Jelly Bean.
With that said, you can look up the information on how to do it in the Lenovo forums, the process is somewhat manual, you will loose settings and applications unless you back up, but even then the backup since the device is not rooted, will only keep your apps but not their settings.
Some incredible contributors to the Android community, also released the newer version 4.1 called Jelly Bean. That is what I ultimately loaded in this device, it gave it a new breath of life and functionality, that will keep it going for some years to come I think.
You can learn more about it, instructions on how to download and update in the XDA forums or using Google to look for “[ROM][JB][AOSP] Lenovo Ideapad K1″.
Beware of following the steps correctly and you shouldn’t have problems, otherwise you can “brick” your tablet.
For $350, you get a really good 10″, 32gb(only 24 usable out of the box unless you delete some of their pre-installed stuff), norton security free trial built in, and lenovos own app store. Ive had it for less than 2 weeks, but after heavy daily usage, it has performed quite well for me at least. For example i can get a consistent connection, but admittedly im only 2 or 3 rooms away.
When i first got it i updated it right away. The instruction booklet is small, but after the iconia and ipad, im surprised it even came with one. Theres also a ‘get to know your tablet’ video you can watch. Both make this a good starter tablet(its promoted as a tab for casuals actually while lenovos thinkpad is for business/tech types i guess).
Overall i find this tablet great for my basic needs: web browsing, game apps, youtube/netflix(it lost the netflix advantage though since the official app is in the android market now), email, etc. 4 stars, but im rounding up to 5 cause of its 32gb/free apps/value(i paid more for my 16gb iconia and ipad 2) and to help get it closer to 4 instead of a 3 star average. But before anyone thinks im biased, heres why you probably shouldnt buy it….
* in a matter of days/weeks/months, the quad-core, kal-el, ice cream sandwich, windows 8, 4g(currently on xoom?), etc.-type tablets are coming out. Even if you dont want/care for those, they usually bring reduced prices for current tablets. Who knows, that 16gb $400 transformer or thrive might be around 300 when their successors(prime and at200) are released.
* i havent had my ideapad freeze or crash yet, but a few times it has force closed on some apps. I like to upload stuff on youtube so its good they included some apps to make your own video clips. Problem is, these are the apps that tend to force close on occasion. The only time it really acts up is when i attempt to watch a video it doesnt support, but a quick download of mx video/vital/or mobo-player and im good to go. I havent had the dreaded sleep mode problem either, perhaps the updates fixed that. The battery will drain a bit though on idle/sleep mode but only if you leave it for hours on end. I think the cameras are not quite as good as iconias hd ones or as smooth as ipads non-hd ones. The weakest link for me though is maybe the sound quality. I would say slightly worse than my iconias on average. Not a deal breaker though.
If you can wait for the bigger and better tablets, or for another possible firesale/coupon/or black friday sale in a month, then i recommend you wait. But if you cant and think you could live with the negatives above(they are really not that bad unless you expect perfection), keep in mind the lenovo ideapad. At $350 for a 10″/32gb tablet from a major brand at borderline budget tab prices(i consider 200-300 as budget), as another reviewer said: you could do far worse. The only regret i have is that there wasnt an option to buy the red/white version at amazon.