Lenovo IdeaTab A3000
Meet the Lenovo A3000, a seven-inch Android slate that's aimed at taking on the Nexus 7 thanks to its low-price of £149.99 and speedy quad-core processor in a small-sized form factor, but can it stack up to the likes of the even lower priced Tesco Hudl and Google's current flagship? Find out in our review.
When we put the the A3000's bigger brother, the S6000 to the test, we were very pleased with its solid build quality and construction, and we're happy to say that the A3000 follows suit. Just like its larger sibling, the A3000 is a bare bones, black plastic-fantastic affair, but it's solid and light, weighing in at just 344g and measuring up at a mere 11mm thick. The rear cover also has a textured back that's grippy in the hand and it's removable to gain access to its SIM and microSD slots, the latter of which is expandable up to 64GB to bolster the 16GB of onboard storage. Our model also came with two SIM slots, one of which is capable of handling a 3G data connection - definitely handy when out and about for gobbling down data where there are no Wi-Fi spots around, although you'll have to supply your own SIM of course.
Lenovo's kitted out its A3000 with a quad-core 1.2GHz processor which performs well during intense games, and its 1GB of RAM helps out when multitasking. We threw various apps and games at the slate during our test, and we found it faring well each time - although we did notice a little bit of lag occasionally. Its battery life lasted us around six and half hours, just short of the seven that Lenovo rates it for - but that was under heavy load, with Bluetooth switched on and connected to a Bluetooth speaker, so you should be able to hit its rated battery life easily if you're not going heavy on its wireless connectivity and use a standard pair of headphones instead. Charging is a pinch thanks to its standard microUSB port, while Lenovo has also added USB On The Go which will let you plug in other accessories such as memory sticks, although you will need to use a separate cable.
When it comes to cameras, tablets rarely shine, and the A3000 is no exception. Lenovo's slate is kitted out with two cameras, a 0.3-megapixel cam up front for your video chatting needs, while the rear is home to a five-megapixel shooter with auto focus. Unfortunately, they're not the best cameras available, as they shoot muddy photos, and you can forget about low-light performance. The front camera will suit you fine for Skype chats with the family, but don't even bother with the rear snapper unless you really need to - we don't expect you'll be shooting much with a tablet anyway. You'll find Android 4.2 Jelly Bean onboard here too, which has been left fairly stock, although there are a few unnecessary additions that, unhelpfully, slow the tablet down. The homescreen is littered with various folders that are not a part of stock Android, and they make swiping through each page fairly laggy even with the quad-core processor, while they're also not the most attractive feature either.
As we've seen on the likes of Tesco's Hudl and the Nexus 7, a seven-inch form factor is capable of handling high-res screens: unfortunately, the A3000 falls short here. While we're fans of the solid build quality, the 1024x600 resolution display is not as crisp as its rivals, and while it's perfectly bright and has great viewing angles, we'd rather have something with a crisper screen, especially when reading e-books, comics and when playing games.