The Lenovo A10 is a portable and affordable 10-inch budget tablet with the rare perk of good audio quality. Bargain tablets usually cut too many corners to justify their price; however, the A10 skips the trendy aesthetics and pixel-packed screens to emerge as a simple slate with a rocking set of speakers.
It's cheaper than most 10-inch tablets, starting at $250, but its Dolby Audio stereo speakers sound like they belong on the most expensive tablet out there. With rich and full sound, paired with the Dolby app for fine-tuning, the Lenovo A10 is an audiophile-geared category of its own.
The A10's downside is its averageness -- its screen and design are basic at best, and without the speakers, it would be another faceless release -- but if you don't mind passing up high-end specs in favor of a solid list of basics, the Lenovo A10 is an affordable option with unparalleled audio quality.
Lenovo offers the A10 in a dark blue shade. The smooth back panel wraps around to the front of the rounded corners, making the tablet comfortable to hold in either landscape or portrait mode. The smooth matte finish shows fingerprints a bit, but its tactile appeal makes the inevitable smudge forgivable.
|Lenovo A10||Asus Memo Pad FHD 10||Google Nexus 10|
|Weight in pounds||1.2||1.24||1.24|
|Width in inches (landscape)|
|Height in inches||6.9||7.2||6.9|
|Depth in inches|
|Side bezel width in inches (landscape)|
The tablet is light, at 1.2 pounds, and though it's not iPad Air-sleek, it's still ultraportable. The top edge houses the slightly protruding power button, with the volume rocker, headphone jack, Micro-USB port, and microSD expansion slot on the left edge.
To offset the simple user interface, Lenovo packs in plenty of software goodies, including the Dolby app (more on that later) and its useful Doit suite of apps, which allow you to share data between devices without the need for an Internet connection and sync your contacts. Both the sharing and syncing apps worked quickly and smoothly as advertised, though it's too bad uninstalling them is not an option.
The Lenovo A10 also features a Smart Side Bar that gives quick access to recent apps and display optimization shortcuts. It can be summoned manually by swiping from the bezel to the center of the screen, or set on automatic. You can also turn off the feature, but I found it useful when jumping between different apps and activities -- like switching from reading an article to watching a streaming video -- especially on auto, when it pops up after you switch orientations.
The 10-incher ships with Android 4.4.2, with an OTA update to 4.4.3 rolling out. Instead of being in an app tray, apps are distributed amongst various home screens. The screens are easy to customize by holding a finger to any blank space in the home screen for a few seconds, or accessing the preview option in the menu that's accessible on the Android navigation bar.
The home screen customization options allow you to add menu pages, reorganize app shortcuts, and add widgets. If you don't organize apps into folders or additional menu pages, the various screens can get cluttered quickly. Widgets, though always a nice addition, tend to significantly reduce the number of app shortcuts allowed on the same menu page, and it's also difficult to fit more than two widgets per page.