Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 review

October 19, 2012
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    The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 is a new entry into the ever-growing category of tablets that can also be used as laptops. Does Lenovo have what it takes to take on competition like the Asus Transformer series? Find out in our review.

    The tablet went on sale in July, and while there aren’t a lot of people talking about it, that doesn’t mean that it’s a sub-par device. While it may not have the quad-core processor or large amounts of RAM that some if it’s peers do, the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 still performs well, and is easy to hold and use.

    If you want to see the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 in action, jump to the video below. If you just want to know the basics of the device, check out the following list of pros and cons.

    Pros

    • Up to 16 hours of battery life with dock
    • Performance is on par with or surpasses many devices
    • Keyboard on dock is very functional
    • Stylish, professional appearance
    • Well-placed speakers
    • Full-sized USB and SD card slots on dock
    • Thin and light
    • Very sturdy construction

    Cons

    • The touchpad on the dock isn’t as easy to use as it could be
    • Matte finish easily attracts fingerprints
    • Scrolling on the home screen and in the app drawer can be a little laggy
    • Video recording is sub-par
    • Expensive compared to some of its competition

    Hardware

    The Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 is powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. While many of it’s competitors are running quad-core processors, the S2110 actually offers performance that is nearly on par with many of them. The processor is complimented by 1 GB of RAM and either 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, depending on the version of the tablet you buy.

    The specs are rounded out by a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. On the tablet itself, you’ll find a mini-HDMI slot, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a micro-USB slot hidden where the tablet connects to the optional dock. Speaking of the dock, this adds a mini-USB and two full-size USB slots, as well as a full-size SD card slot for those who need more storage.

    To keep everything up and running, the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 includes a 6,340 mAh battery rated for up to 10 hours of use. The optional dock adds another battery that supposedly brings the battery life up to 20 hours. In our testing we found that Lenovo’s stated battery life was a little optimistic, but not unrealistic. We were able to get between 8-16 hours of use, which is an awful lot of browsing time.

    The optional dock available for the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 adds a lot of functionality to the device. The keyboard, especially, is a joy to use and makes life much easier for those of us who use tablets for work-related tasks. The touchpad isn’t quite as nice. While it is functional, the mouse pointing seems to jump around the screen, and chances are you’ll still find yourself having to use the touchscreen to navigate many apps.

    Software

    On the software side, the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 runs a skinned version of Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich. We know some of you aren’t fans of skins and would rather use vanilla Android, but luckily the skinned launcher running on the S2110 doesn’t affect performance. Most of the time, anyway, but well get to that in a little bit.

    The launcher is widget-based, grouping apps into categories like “Life,” Social,” “Games” and “Media.” Tapping once on one of these widgets expands it, allowing you to access all the apps contained within in addition to adding your own.

    You can customize your home screen with a long press on a widget or other icon, which brings you into “Edit Mode,” where you can delete and move apps. This is a handy feature, as if you make a mistake you can easily back out and leave your home screen unchanged. Once you’re happy with your setup, tapping “Save Changes” sets your new home screen in stone and returns you to the normal mode.

    While we said that the launcher doesn’t affect performance on the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110, and this is true most of the time, there is one occasion where noticeable slowdown occurs. When scrolling from screen to screen on the home screen or in the app drawer, the tablet’s rotating cube-like effect chugs and generally slows down. Luckily, this won’t affect performance in apps or games, and is only noticeable in the previously-mentioned two screens.

    Camera

    The 5-megapixel camera built into the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 varies when it comes to quality. Brightly lit images come out fairly sharp, but while the camera will capture what’s in front of it in dim-lit situations, it introduces significant grain to the image. Take a look below for a picture taken with the S2110′s camera.

    When we switch to video mode, it’s an entirely different story. While the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110′s camera will capture 1080p video, the quality leaves much to be desired. The framerate suffers from massive stutter issues, and the audio is often blown-out sounding and can fall out of sync with the video.

    Luckily, most of us aren’t buying tablets to use them as cameras, so this shouldn’t be an issue for many, but it’s worth noting if you’re considering purchasing this device.

    Build Quality

    While it’s made of plastic, the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 feels a lot more solidly built than some of its competitors. The body of the device doesn’t flex and creak, even it you try to make it do so. As solid  as it is, the device is both light and thin. Surprisingly so, actually.

    The IdeaTab S2110 weighs in at just over a pound (1.28 pounds, to be exact) and is 0.34 inches thick. That actually 0.01 inches thinner than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1.

    The matte finish found on both the back of the S2110 and the bottom of its dock is stylish and helps you keep a good hold on the device. Somewhat surprisingly, this finish is a real fingerprint magnet, so don’t expect your IdeaTab to stay looking pristine through hours of heavy use.

    Video Review

    Conclusion

    While we have a few gripes, in general there’s a lot to like about the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110. The build quality is solid, the performance is good even with its less-than-top of the line hardware specs, and it’s light and easy to use. The main problem with the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 is the price. At $429 for the 16 GB version of the tablet alone, and $579 for the 32 GB tablet and dock, it’s simply too expensive to be able to maintain pacing with the competition.

    If Lenovo drops the price and ups the specs on future models of the IdeaTab, it could have a real winner on its hands. As it stands now, Lenovo simply has a solid runner-up. As the device stays on the market, it’s likely that we’ll see a price drop, which could make the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 a must-buy item, depending on how much the price is lowered.

    Have you had a chance to try the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110? Let us know what you think of it in the comments. Do you think the price is fair, or do you agree that it’s a little too high for a device with the specs that the S2110 has?

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