Friday, January 24, 2014

Lenovo IdeaPad A10 (Android) hands-on review

Being the "family geek" I am often asked for laptop recommendations. More often than not, functionality requirements are so low that even chromebook will be sufficient. Actually I already recommended two chromebooks and so far both continue to please their owners.

Sometimes the requirements list Skype or greater autonomy as mandatory items. For such users an Android tablet should be enough. Occasional keyboard users require something more substantial. Bluetooth keyboards only complicate the picture.

Since the Lenovo IdeaPad A10 (Android) appeared on the market (end of October 2013), I have been looking on the internet for a hands-on review of the device. And even now, three months later, nothing useful have shown up. This is probably related to Lenovo's refusal to market the laptop in USA (most possibly due to the shaky patents ground there). Lack of cyanogenmod posts on the device and abundance of clearly bought reviews on various blogs did not help either..

Finally couple of days ago, I decided to bite a bullet and buy localized (Hebrew) Lenovo IdeaPad A10 for $310. So here is my list of pros and cons I found so far:


  • USB charging is done by standard 2A 5v microUSB jack.
  • Touching the touchpad yields visible mouse pointer that simulates screen touches. This gives expected look and feel in laptop mode.
  • Interface is easy to use, but suffers from touch/pointer dilemma. Long story short - your hand starts aching after some time pressing buttons on vertical screen.
  • Two full-size USB connectors make it easy to connect flash-disks or mouse - this also improves look and feel in laptop mode.

  • There is no root jail-breaking application (at the moment). This makes it impossible to install VNC server - a must for tech support of the newbie users.
  • Lack of root access makes it impossible to mount a network share. Lack of any modders activity leaves little hope for that to change though.
  • Built-in "explorer" crashes when trying to connect to a webdav sever.
  • SFTP support in the "exporer" does not allow specifying target path.
  • The touchpad is single-figner only and can not interpret gestures - nice to have with most modern laptops (for example: two fingers down = scroll down).
  • SFTP support in the "exporer" does not allow to specify path on the server, does not show video files as icons, insist on copying the file locally first, and even that it does on ridiculously slow speed of 250 KBytes/s..
  • It is expensive for what it offers. A $150 tablet with a BT keyboard could be bought for less than that. Heck, add a bit more and you can buy weak laptop..
Verdict so far: The tablet/wannabe laptop combination is acceptable for users that are aware of its limitations and feel comfortable about it. Fortunately that was the case for me.


Anonymous said...

googling seems to indicate some people had luck with kingo android root app

Arie Skliarouk said...

Other problems found: USB headphones are not recognized, there are bugs in various applications...

Pera said...

Tue worst piece of suit i have had my hands on. Yuk!

Arie Skliarouk said...

@Pera: please be specific, what were your expectation that the device did not meet.

Anonymous said...

Are there any news on rooting the device (A10)and in general?
I am using it for simple tasks really and my concern is, basicly, app2sd problem.

Anonymous said...

solved problems concerning the rooting - full screen - on a 10 (idea pad ) nice little toy!
............enjoy the ride!

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Method said...

Thanks! I'm choosing between the upcoming Archos Arcbook (the exact $150 Android device you described)and the A10. Now seriously leaning towards A10, due to two USB ports and backlit keyboard. The innards are also better, and I think Lenovo just cut the price a few days ago.

Just needed someone who knows what they are talking about to confirm it's legit.

Arie Skliarouk said...

The hardware is flaky one, after six months the screen started blanking. Works properly at a certain angle only. That makes using touch-screen impossible. Can't send it for warranty repair as the laptop already fell and plastic got broken on side...

Makes me sad on the purchase..