October 3, 2012
- Affordable price
- Sturdy construction
- Good performance
- Low quality display
- Mediocre cameras
- Lots of apps pre-installed
Lenovo is a relative newcomer in the world of tablets, but the IdeaTab A2109 does a decent job at getting their foot in the door and off to a good start. We like the sturdy design of the tablet as well as the speed of the device, but it could use some minor improvements.
The IdeaTab A2109 is a 9-inch tablet that looks to take a bite out of the Apple iPad market share. Of course this means it has to contend with Apple's superior design, friendly iOS and almost cult following at times.
When you first pick up the tablet, you might comment on its weight, which is heavier than most other tablets at 14.1-ounces. It is also a little thicker in size at 0.5-inches. However it is made of a sleek and sturdy metallic case that feels really solid.
Along the tablet's left edge, you'll find the volume up/down toggle, screen orientation lock and 3.5mm headphone jack while the top has the power button. On the right edge is a micro-HDMI port and micro-USB port for charging and syncing. We like the micro-HDMI port because this allows you to show HD movies and images on an HDTV.
The backside has a 3-megapixel camera while the front has a 1.3-megapixel camera. The rear camera can shoot videos in 1080p full HD quality. Also on the back behind a plate is a hidden microSD card slot for expanding the tablet's memory capacity. This is nice way to add memory if you can remove the difficult to remove cover.
The 9-inch display has a WXGA 1280 x 800-pixel display, which is of relatively low-quality compared to other similar tablets. It is good enough to read small font sizes while surfing the Web, but it has an overall dull appearance and mediocre viewing angles. This is one area where Lenovo really needs to improve if they want to become a major player in the tablet market. The screen also has a nasty tendency to show every fingerprint and smudge.
For connectivity, you get Wi-Fi, aGPS and Bluetooth. There is no cellular data or 3G option available.
Lenovo loads the IdeaTab A2109 with Google's Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) with a few slight customizations. The interface worked well on this tablet and was very responsive. The home screen is used to show Lenovo's customized widgets that expand to show either more information or more apps.
Out of the box, the tablet comes with lots of applications already installed. You get things like AccuWeather, Amazon Kindle, Cut the Rope HD, GameTanium, Norton Security, PokeTalk, Skype, ooVoo, SugarSync, Zinio and many others. You'll probably want to spend some time either uninstalling the apps you don't want or reorganizing them in the app folder.
The web browsing experience using Google Chrome, which is also pre-installed, was very pleasant. It supports Adobe Flash, has smooth navigation and displayed web pages without any glitches. For web browsing, Lenovo definitely got it right here (with the help of Android too).
The IdeaTab A2109 is running a 1.2GHz quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU with 1GB of RAM. There is also 16GB of storage (about 13GB free) but you can always expand via the microSD card slot too. Like we said earlier, the tablets runs great across the board in real-world testing.
Photo quality with the rear-facing 3-megapixel camera is inline with most other tablets. Quality is OK for quick shots but it certainly won't replace a digital camera. For both images and videos, lighting is a must as low-lit surroundings produced poor results.
Battery life with the A2109 will provide you with one whole day's worth of off-and-on use with Wi-Fi enabled and active.