With Christmas just around the corner it seems to be that Tablets are sitting quite high up on many a Christmas list and whether you’ve been naughty or nice theres lots of choice on the tablet market at the moment.
I suspect that many parents will be looking for tablets for their kids this year and with a number of budget options on offer starting at around £80 tablets are finding their way in the to the hands of much younger kids that before.
Here in the UK there have been some high-profile budget tablets over the past few months with 7″ Android tablets on offer from Tesco, Argos and now Lidl, you’d think that the supermarket chains could have had it all sewn up but as tablets are this years must-have toy, and true to form for the popular toys, these tablets are either out of stock or in very short supply.
So, carrying on with our look at some of the tablets on the market this year we have the Lenovo IdeaTab A3000. The A3000 is a budget tablet that will compete in this years tablet frenzy on the run up to Christmas. It may be budget priced but it has been on the market for a while so is the A3000 a tablet that can hold its own in the 7-inch tablet arena? We have a quick look.
Along the top of the Lenovo’s sturdily constructed body is the busiest. We have the power button, 3.5mm headphone jack and the MicroUSB socket.
To the right of the screen there is a lonely volume rocker.
Nearer the bottom of this this is an indentation for a thumbnail to allow you to remove the back cover.
The bottom has only a hole for the microphone.
The front of the device is a fingerprint magnet. The glossy black finish is quite luxuriant however two minutes of use will see oil everywhere. At the top is an ear speaker, something we don’t really need on a tablet, but its there and should make things more convenient if you plan to use this as a phone. To the right of this is the front facing video camera.
The back has a slightly raised 5 megapixel camera. A well placed addition as it does not intrude on hand placement, nor do your hands get in the way of photos. We have a removable back cover, normally a feature we would expect on a device with a removable battery, not so here. This sucker is semi-permanent. You can remove it if you really must but doing so will void the warranty. Instead the removable back cover allows access to the MicroSD card and on the 3G model, access to the SIM card tray.
The back covering itself has an impressive texture to it, whilst still plastic it’s gives a nice amount of grip and feels a huge amount better than so many of the Samsung tablets we have seem lately. At the very bottom are the two holes for the external speakers. More on these later.
The A3000 runs Android 4.2.2 with a Quad Core 1.2 Ghz processor and 1 GB of ram making multi tasking a breeze when using this tablet. With 16GB on board storage and expandable storage through the microSD card there is plenty of room to install and store whatever you want. The microSD slot is located under a removable back which is handy compared to that of the Samsung galaxy tablets with the side microSD slot that has proven to be difficult at times for people with big hands.
The A3000 I had to review was wi-fi only, however it is available to buy for wi-fi and 3G use with a dual sim. The tablet has the usual android jelly bean layout which is easy to navigate for beginners in the tablet realm. The tablet runs effortlessly, when playing games and watching HD videos on YouTube, and surfing the net. The screen is touch responsive when typing with a quirky typewriter sound reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher in murder she wrote, a novelty that I still find quite amusing when using the tablet.
Applications pre installed on the A3000 are as follows
- Game and Entertainment: Game Tanium, Rara.com, FilmOn
- Business: Kingsoft Office, Norton Mobile Security, Skype
- Utilities: AccuWeather, ES File Explorer, HRS Hotels
The Android store is also available to download your favourite apps.
The 5 megapixel camera is poor, which opens up the debate on how good should a tablet camera be? I believe if you have a camera on a tablet it should be able to take a decent shot of whatever you want to capture. I would not expect the camera to replace your digital camera however nowadays a 5 megapixel camera on a phone can take a quality image. The Nokia Lumia 520 is the perfect example of a cheap 5 megapixel camera phone with no flash, that can take a nice shot and shoot a decent 720p 30fps video. Personally I think the camera on the A3000 should have been better, the image quality is poor and the video capture is mediocre.
The front facing camera is good enough to make video calls with through apps like Skype or Google Hangouts.
Below are a few examples of the camera still and video.
One thing I could not fault is the sound quality on the tablet. It may not be Dr Dre beats but the speakers on the tablet are fantastic, as loud as you need it to be without any distortion of sound quality. With so many companies releasing tablets this year it is difficult to choose which one is the best for you. Many people like to stick to well know brands, such as Apple, Samsung, Sony however with these brand names comes a heavier price tag. If you are looking a reliable tablet for your kids or yourself that is high quality at a low cost then you can’t really go wrong with this tablet. If you are looking to spend a little more than the £119.99 then you could also have a look at the innovative Lenovo Yoga range.
Other competitors in this price range include, Tesco Hudl, Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, Google Nexus 7 2012, Hp Slate 7inch, Kindle Fire HD
Lenovo IdeaTab A3000 Specifications:
- Processor: MT 8389/8125 Quad-Core 1.2GHz
- Operating System: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
- Display: 7.0’ IPS 1024×600 Multi touch capacitive
- Dimensions: 194 x 120 x 11mm (7.63” x 4.72” x 0.43”)
- Weight: 345 g (0.76 lbs)
- Memory: 1GB LP-DDR2
- Internal Storage: 4GB/16GB eMMC
- Expandable Storage: Up to 64GB microSD
- Battery: 3500mAh Li-Polymer - 7 hrs WiFi web browsing, Stand-by ~ 2 weeks
- Connectivity: WiFi (WLAN 802.11b/g/n,) Bluetooth® 4.0, A-GPS, WCDMA/HSPA+ (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Sensors: Accelerometer (G-sensor) Ambient Light Sensor
- Ports: 3.5 mm Audio/Mic Jack, Micro-USB (supports USB-OTG), Micro-SD card slot
- Camera: 0.3M (Front,) 5.0 MP Auto Focus (Rear)