Ahead of this year’s CES, Lenovo showed-off its new 7in Android tablet, the successor to the IdeaPad A1. The Lenovo IdeaPad S2 is an altogether more desirable package, with a 1280x800 IPS panel, Android Honeycomb OS and slimmer frame. It has currently only been confirmed for distribution in China, but our hands-on confirmed to us that it’s something we’d like to see more of.
Most 7in tablets to date have been failures. The BlackBerry PlayBook and HTC Flyer failed to sell as well as was hoped, resulting in drastic price drops and sharpish departures from the limelight. However, we still believe in the form factor, and the Amazon Kindle Fire is set to introduce it to the mainstream masses properly in the UK later this year. But can the IdeaPad S2 7 possibly compete?
It benefits as usual from this slighter 7in form. It’s light for one, feeling comfortable one-handed unlike all 10in tablets we’ve gripped between our fingers. The back is finished in soft touch plastic too, for that extra-friendly feel.
It doesn’t have the intensity of design you find in the Apple iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, though. The backplate is removable, resulting in a clear seam around its edges, bit this approach results in better connectivity than these more style-obsessed models.
There’s a microUSB socket, microSD card slot and mini HDMI video output, offering rather good functionality for a tablet this size. A physical shutter button also sits along its side, although we question the value of tablet back cameras, even in a smaller 7in tablet.
The 7in size does help the S2 7 in one other respect – screen sharpness. This dinky tablet uses the same 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution as 10.1in Honeycomb tablets like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, resulting in a relatively high 215dpi pixel density. Higher pixel density gives this tablet an usually sharp image.
Commendable sharpness is backed-up by a top-quality panel. The S2 7 implements IPS technology – the same seen in the iPad 2 – providing superb viewing angles and great image quality overall. This ensures the Lenovo Ideapad S2 7 easily trumps the comparable Acer Iconia Tab A100 on screen quality.