It’s no fire sale HP TouchPad, but for $199, Lenovo’s IdeaPad A1 tablet looks like a decent 7-inch slab of Android for cheap.
Just keep in mind that the IdeaPad A1 is far from the cutting edge of technology. Inside, there’s a 1 GHz processor (all the rage in 2010), 8 GB of storage, a 3-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front-facing camera. For software, the IdeaPad A1 uses Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, which was designed only with smartphones in mind. This Is My Next tried the tablet and was disappointed with the viewing angles on the 7-inch 1024-by-600 resolution display.
Still, for $200, you’re not going to find a more capable tablet. As Engadget points out, most slates in the sub-$200 range are buggy, unresponsive and generally awful. And often times, Google won’t even agree to give them access to its apps. What you’ll get with Lenovo’s IdeaPad A1 is a generation-old Android tablet akin to Samsung’s original Galaxy Tab. That’s not a horrible thing.
But consider this: if Lenovo can crack the $200 barrier with the IdeaPad A1, there’s a pretty good chance that Amazon’s highly-anticipated Android tablet will do the same. (We’ve already heard a rumor that it’ll be "hundreds less" than Apple’s $499 iPad.) If a cheap tablet’s what you’re after, you may want to keep an eye out for that one as well. Lenovo’s not launching the A1 until mid-September, so bargain hunters will have a few weeks to figure out their next move.