Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review and Gaming Performance: Thoughts and Impressions

Posted by B. Johnson
Published on September 11, 2014 | 0 comments
Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review and Gaming Performance: Thoughts and ImpressionsHi guys, welcome back!

Just a while ago, i just showed you one tablet that was not really impressive in many ways, especially in gaming performance.

And that tablet was Huawei IDEOS S7, which is a 7-inch slate shipping with low-resolution 480x800 pixel display and low 256MB of RAM.

It’s really obvious that – given its low-grade hardware specs -, this Huawei’s tablet will not excel in terms of gaming performance.

Even with Snapdragon single-core processor inside along with Adreno 220 GPU – which is pretty powerful on tablet’s market 2 years ago -, this tablet is still not a worth buying tablet, especially if you’re looking for a gaming device.

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 benchmarks and gaming performance

Anyway, as i promised to you in my previous review, today i’m gonna show you one other tablet that is ‘on the same page’ with Huawei IDEOS S7.

This one is made by Lenovo and YES – the tablet i’m about to show you today is also a low-end device shipping with low-grade hardware specs inside.

This one is called Lenovo IdeaPad A1, a 7-inch tablet sporting the 1024x600 pixel resolution.

Well, if you’re interested to get to know more about this 7-inch device, as well as its gaming performance and what games that would work perfectly on this tablet, then here you go, my personal review of Lenovo IdeaPad A1.

Introduction

Similar just like Huawei IDEOS S7 – this Lenovo’s tablet is also equipped with the hardware specs that now are already considered as ‘outdated’ for today’s standards.

First of all, on the screen department, this tablet is only sporting a low-resolution 1024x600 pixels on its 7-inch display – which is exactly the same on the 7-inch Samsung GALAXY Tab 2, Tab 3 and Tab 3 Lite.

Compared to Huawei’s tablet i just showed you in my previous review, the display of Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is definitely much better than the one found on Huawei IDEOS S7 (480x800 pixel resolution) – although Huawei’s tablet still excels on many sectors that Lenovo IdeaPad A1 doesn’t.

Meanwhile, on the performance sector, there’s also nothing to write home about on this tablet given that Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is only powered by a single core TI OMAP 3622, which looks inferior even compared to the first-gen Amazon Kindle Fire that already uses a dual-core TI OMAP 4430 processor.

So in terms of performance, this Lenovo’s tablet may not be able to perform smoothly, especially when deploying heavy graphics-related tasks at once.

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 Review and Gaming Performance: Thoughs and ImpressionsAnd its mediocre performance is also followed by a laggy multitasking experience given that this Lenovo’s tablet is only equipped with 512MB of RAM – although this is still better than the even lower 256MB of RAM on Huawei IDEOS S7.

Unfortunately, i haven’t found the information about the GPU on the spec sheet of this tablet.

But i’m assuming that this processor will also use PowerVR SGX GPU given that TI OMAP 4430 on the first-gen Kindle Fire also comes with PowerVR SGX 540 GPU.

According to the Wikipedia page of TI OMAP 3622 processor of this Lenovo’s tablet, this CPU is accompanied with PowerVR SGX530 GPU, which is already considered as outdated and definitely not on par with other rivals on the market today.

However, i’ve seen some devices with this processor and GPU are still capable to run some older games in 2012 or before that year.

But we’ll get more on that later.

The rest of the specs of this tablet are pretty much the same with many other low-end budget tablets out there - from Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, Java, 3.15MP rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera and 6 hours of promised battery life for talk time (multimedia) – with the exception of FM radio and cellular connectivity.

But the questions remain. With all of these hardware specs that this Lenovo’s tablet come with, does Lenovo IdeaPad A1 have what it takes to be a good gaming tablet?

Is this Lenovo’s tablet still relevant to be positioned alongside other 7-inch rivals on today’s tablet market?

Is it worth it to buy this device?

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  • No SIM
  • 400 g (Weight )
  • Released October 2011,
  • 7.0 inch (TFT capacitive touchscreen, 600 x 1024 pixels, ~170 ppi pixel density), 16M colors
  • Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1 GHz Cortex-A8 CPU Processor TI OMAP 3622
  • PowerVR SGX530
  • microSD Memory Card slot for up to 32 GB
  • 16 GB Internal storage
  • 3.15 MP rear-facing camera
  • VGA front-facing camera
  • No GPRS
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • No EDGE
  • No Radio
  • USB
  • HTML, Adobe Flash Browser
  • GPS
  • Java MIDP emulator
  • SNS integration
  • Accelerometer, compass Sensors
  • Pink, White, Black, Blue
  • Non-removable Li-Ion battery
  • Up to 6 hours of Talk time (multimedia)
Similar just like Huawei’s tablet i just showed you earlier in my other recent review - when it comes to specs -, there’s nothing superior about the internals found on this tablet.

I even think that the overall package of Huawei’s IDEOS S7 is a bit better than the one found on this Lenovo IdeaPad A1, of course, put the low 256MB RAM aside.

However, the lack of powerful hardware on this Lenovo’s tablet fortunately is still covered by some other great goodies on this device, which can’t be found on Huawei’s tablet – like rear-facing camera and higher-resolution display.

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 features a 7-inch display sporting the 600x1024 pixel resolution, a single-core 1GHz TI OMAP 3622 processor, 512MB of RAM, PowerVR SGX530 GPU, 3.15MP rear-facing camera, VGA front-facing camera and microSD card slot for up to 32GB to support the internal storage of this device.

Unfortunately, there are many features that Lenovo sacrifices on this tablet, like the cellular connectivity and no FM radio – although these 2 things are still acceptable given that tablets are mostly not equipped with these features.

There is also a couple of other standard features like Bluetooth, GPS, Java, USB and more. Not to mention, this tablet is believed could last in 6 hours in talk time or multimedia use.

Screen

Even though the screen resolution that Lenovo equips on this tablet is not gonna stack against the competition on the market, but at least it’s still better than the unimpressive 480x800 pixel display on Huawei IDEOS S7.

Besides, for a 2011-released tablet, the display of this device is not left behind with other rivals because even Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 and Tab 3 Lite are still using the same 1024x600 pixels on their display.

Not to mention, these 2 popular tablets are also not equipped with such powerful processors inside, although they are still more powerful than the TI OMAP 3622 inside this Lenovo IdeaPad A1.

Anyway, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 comes with 7-inch display rocking the resolution of 600x1024 pixels.

The display of this tablet may not deliver such an eye pleasing experience nor look sharp for the users, but at least, it’s still readable for this 7-inch device.

However, you will always need to deploy the pinch-to-zoom gesture a lot, especially when reading contents like books or browsing the web.

But despite having this low-resolution screen, i believe its battery life can last longer because its processor is not going to squeeze a lot of power just to execute all the pixels on the display.

So i think it’s a good decision by Lenovo to use this screen resolution, ensuring an all-day battery life in moderate use.

User Interface

Similar just like the other Android tablets out there, there’s nothing to write home about on the UI of this device.

It still has the same standard homescreen with the ability to show widgets or app shortcut, the app drawer and many other standard features that you’ve probably come to love on your Android device.

However, compared to other counterparts, i think the UI of this Lenovo’s tablet looks a bit dull or childish, especially with the navigation buttons and other elements around the screen.

So if you decide to buy this tablet (which i highly doubt that), then you must accept all the dull looking UI that comes pre-installed on this device.

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As a low-end budget tablet, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is powered by a single core TI OMAP 3622 processor clocked at 1GHz, accompanied with 512MB of RAM and PowerVR SGX530 GPU – which definitely are not on par anymore with other rivals on today’s tablet market.

But the worst part is, even on the lowest-end tablet market, what Lenovo IdeaPad A1 has in its machine doesn’t stack up anymore against the competition in its class.

But we must always remember that this Lenovo’s tablet was released back then in 2011, so its mediocre hardware specs of this device can still be acceptable.

Besides, at the end of this review, i’m gonna show you a bunch of other alternative tablets that are far better than Lenovo IdeaPad A1, especially in terms of specs and gaming performance.

Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is definitely a low-end budget tablet. In fact, given its ‘outdated’ and lowest-grade processor and GPU, i think this tablet doesn’t deserve to be positioned on the current tablet market, even on the lowest-end market alongside Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Lite.

However, when it comes to performance, i believe its TI OMAP 3622 processor and PowerVR SGX 530 GPU inside this device are more than ‘happier’ to accommodate any tasks that user wants to execute on this tablet – like watching videos, reading contents like books or PDF files, checking photos or playing some games.

But of course, the performance of this tablet will show some lags and stutters especially when opening many apps or tasks at once or deploying live wallpaper on the homescreen.

But it’s still normal to see given its lowest-grade specs. Besides, i’ve even seen many Tegra 2 tablets that have laggy performance especially when live wallpaper is deployed on the homescreen.

Meanwhile, on the gaming performance, this tablet is also not that impressive on this sector. In fact, the gaming capability of this device really sucks at best.

The internals of this tablet actually kind of remind with a low-end cheap Android smartphone from Chinese manufacturer, which also features the same PowerVR SGX 530. But interestingly, even with this lowest-grade specs, this cheap Android smartphone is capable to run some high-performing games like PES 2012, Dead Trigger or Need for Speed Most Wanted.

Unfortunately, most of these games don’t perform smoothly even in lowest graphics and you must use a specific app called Chainfire 3D (of course, after your Android device is rooted), which bridges the GPU of the device with the games, allowing users to control every element and graphics in the gameplay.

So i believe it’s going to be the same with Lenovo IdeaPad A1, especially since this tablet only comes with low 512MB of RAM.

This tablet may be able to run some older games like PES 2012, Need for Speed Undercover or SHIFT, Asphalt 5 and many other heavy 3D games, but for the newer games, it’s really obvious that this tablet will suffer a lot in performance.

And that’s the reason why i DON’T recommend this tablet to you especially if you’re looking for a budget gaming tablet. It will definitely disappoint you in many ways.



Anyway guys, if you want to know more about the gaming performance of Lenovo IdeaPad A1, including what games that will run on this tablet, check out my YouTube video playlist or Pinterest page. :)

Battery Life

As a low-end budget tablet, it’s not shocking if Lenovo IdeaPad A1 only comes with low capacity of battery.

And that’s true because this Lenovo’s tablet is only powered by 3550 mAh battery, which is more ideal for a smartphone’s battery (remember Motorola DROID RAZR MAXX with its 3300mAh?).

This battery capacity can be considered as small for a 7-inch tablet.

However, it’s not that disappointing because many of older-gen low-end 7-inch tablets mostly use around 3500 to 4000mAh battery.

So this battery capacity is still acceptable for this device. Besides, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is only sporting a low-resolution display.

So basically, this 3550mAh battery is still more than adequate to deliver an all-day-long of battery life, of course in moderate use.

According to GSMarena, this tablet is believed could last probably around 6 hours of talk time or multimedia use.

This translates into a full day of moderate usage.

However, its battery life could drop drastically to just around 3 to 5 hours if you intend to use this tablet for doing some heavy tasks intensively – like for watching movies in marathon or playing games in the row.

On the other hand, if you are not a power user and will only use this 7-inch device in your spare time, then you can expect to see this tablet last all day, of course on a full charge.

My Personal Opinions

I think it’s really easy to take conclusion that Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is just not a great tablet.

And that’s based mostly on the hardware specs of this device (and of course, some video reviews that i've seen on YouTube).

As a matter of fact, compared to even the Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Lite – which also is a budget low-end tablet, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is just a big NO for all tablet shoppers out there.

It has a low-resolution display (but still better than the one found on Huawei IDEOS S7), it has an outdated single-core processor, it has older-gen PowerVR SGX GPU, it only has 3.15MP and VGA cameras back and front respectively and it’s powered by 3350mAh power battery.

This Lenovo’s tablet may be pretty good for enjoying media contents like movies, books, magazines, web pages, photos or even games.

However, the experience of using this tablet as a media-consumption device will not be satisfying to most users because there will many lags here and there especially when multitasking many apps at once or deploying live wallpaper on the homescreen – given its low RAM and mediocre processor.

But even so, this tablet is still suitable to use for kid users especially to play some casual games that don’t require 3D heavy graphics and visual effects in the gameplay – like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja -, although this tablet is still more than capable to run some older 3D games like Asphalt 5, PES 2012, Need for Speed Undercover or SHIFT and many older games released in 2012 or before that year.

But definitely, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is not recommended for you especially if your looking for a budget gaming tablet.

There are many 7-inch tablets that are far better than Lenovo IdeaPad A1, in terms of specs and gaming performance – like HP Slate 7 Plus, HP Slate 7 Extreme, Google Nexus 7 (2013), Kindle Fire HD, Asus MemoPad 7 HD, Acer Iconia Tab B1-720 (with Mali-400 GPU) and many other options in the same price range of Lenovo IdeaPad A1.

Anyway, to end this review, i’m gonna try to answer some of the questions i’ve already asked previously above:
  • Does Lenovo IdeaPad A1 have what it takes to be a good gaming tablet? No, definitely not – given its outdated and mediocre processor and GPU, it’s really obvious that Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is not a great gaming tablet. This tablet may be able to run older games like PES 2012, Need for Speed SHIFT, Asphalt 5 or simple casual games like Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja. However, for the newer titles with 3D heavy graphics – like Dead Trigger, Modern Combat 3, GTA III or Need for Speed Most Wanted -, i don’t think these games can be played on this device (with the exception if you use Chainfire 3D app on your device).
  • Is this tablet still relevant to be positioned alongside other devices on today’s tablet market? No, definitely not – with the same reason as above question, Lenovo IdeaPad A1 is not relevant anymore to be positioned alongside other 7-inch rivals on today’s tablet market, even on the low-end budget tablet market.
  • Is it worth it to buy this tablet? No, absolutely not – given its low-grade hardware specs and outdated processor, plus low-resolution display, it’s definitely not worth it to buy this tablet because there are just many other 7-inch alternatives that are way better than Lenovo IdeaPad A1, even in the same price range or around $120 - $150 – like HP Slate 7, HP Slate 7 Plus, Kindle Fire HD 7, Asus MemoPad 7 HD, Acer Iconia Tab B1-720 with Mali-400 GPU and many more.

Disclaimer: Hi guys, bear in mind that this is not some in-depth review. This is Read more...

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