Performance and battery life
As you can see from the chart above, the IdeaTab consistently lands at the bottom of the pack when it comes to benchmarks. Alongside similarly priced devices, the A1000's modest processor can't quite compete. Still, while benchmark results aren't always indicative of real-world performance, the 1.2GHz MediaTek MT8317 dual-core CPU is every bit as inadequate as the numbers would have you believe.
Everyday use was not without its flaws. The accelerometer often took a few seconds and several shakes to register when the device was tilted, and when it did, it took another handful of seconds for the icons to load properly. When browsing the internet, pages in Chrome were slow to load, even with mobile-optimized sites. Once websites were up and running, zooming in and out was relatively painless, and we encountered little to no tiling for the most part. GIF-heavy sites like Tumblr proved to be too much for the IdeaTab; they were slow-loading at best and crash-inducing at worst. On both mobile and full sites, there was also significant stuttering while scrolling through text.
On the whole, games ran much more smoothly. We tried out Temple Run 2, Candy Crush Saga and Tetris, all of which put in a good show. None of those titles are particularly demanding, so if you're a casual gamer, the IdeaTab is a serviceable option. The only game where we noticed some latency was Robot Unicorn Attack 2, though it wasn't bad enough to hinder gameplay.
With the brightness set at 50 percent, we played a 1,270 x 720 video on a continuous loop until the battery gave out and died, and the results were nowhere near the most impressive we've seen. The A1000's seven hours and 34 minutes of battery life places it firmly near the bottom of the table above. In the 7-inch budget Android tablet niche, the IdeaTab's numbers are somewhat more respectable. While the 3,500mAh battery's performance isn't the worst we've seen, it's a far cry from the 10 hours of juice you get out of the MeMo Pad HD 7. It was even bested by the HP Slate 7's end result by a whopping two minutes. However, it did outshine the refreshed Nexus 7 by nearly 20 minutes. During everyday use, you'll be able to squeak out a bit more time from the IdeaTab. Depending on how much you rely on your tablet for web browsing, videos, music and social media, you can probably expect something in the ballpark of eight or nine hours with conservative use.
As we mentioned earlier, it's not an easy time to be a 7-inch Android tablet. A low price tag simply isn't enough to wow buyers in a market where they can afford to be picky. The IdeaTab A1000 can't hold a candle to the competition, particularly when it comes to devices like the 2013 Nexus 7. While the $160 retail price might catch one's eye, it's still too much for such an underperforming tablet.
The IdeaTab A1000 can't hold a candle to the competition.
While the Nexus 7 is more expensive at $230 for the 16GB WiFi model, the fact that it comes with Android 4.3, a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor and a 1,920 x 1,200 (323 ppi) display should be enough to convince you to save up your hard-earned cash. Likewise, the ASUS MeMo Pad HD 7 blows the IdeaTab out of the water in terms of performance. Considering that the MeMo Pad retails for $150, it's impossible to justify spending more on an inferior device.
Even devices we've been hard on, like the HP Slate 7 and the Hisense Sero 7 Pro, outperform the IdeaTab. While the former failed to impress, it still put up a better fight than Lenovo's offering, though we can't say we would suggest buying either product. Hisense's $150 tablet has a vastly superior 1,280 x 800 display, and while it had its own flaws (like headphone compatibility issues), the Sero 7 would be a much wiser buy. It's worth noting that all of the devices mentioned in this section come with rear cameras and -- with the exception of the Slate 7 -- ship with Android 4.2 or 4.3. When compared to the competition, the IdeaTab simply doesn't measure up.
The only thing Lenovo's IdeaTab truly has going for it is its emphasis on audio quality, but when all is said and done, that's not enough for us to recommend it. The unforgivably shoddy display was far worse than we would have expected even at this price. Even if we were able to look beyond that obvious shortcoming, the tablet's poor performance would have been the final nail in its coffin. Browsing the internet was far from pleasant, and we ran into too many problems with apps freezing or crashing. While stuttering might be a fairly common issue in Android tablets, it was especially noticeable with the A1000. Overall, we can't, in good conscience, recommend adding this device to your gadget collection. With heavy hitters like the Nexus 7 and MeMo Pad HD offering far better performance at a similar price, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.