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Lenovo's A1 tablet goes cheap, stays classy

Lenovo's A1 7-inch Android tablet offers an impressive number of features at an affordable price, but will it be enough to grab attention from other budget tablets?

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Lenovo's A1 Android tablet isn't setting out to change the world, but it is hoping to raise your expectations of budget-priced Android tablets.

The A1 is a $250 7-inch Android 2.3 tablet in the same vein as 2010's Samsung Galaxy Tab. Unlike most Android tablets in this price range, the A1 is fully decked out with all of Google's Android services, including Market, Gmail, Maps, navigation, and more.

In fact, navigation is something the A1 should be particularly adept at, since its GPS capabilities aren't dependent on an Internet connection. Using the Navdroyd global map database, the A1 behaves just like any other off-the-shelf GPS system by communicating directly with GPS satellites to determine position.

Many of the tablet's other specs we've seen before--just not at this price point. You get microSD memory expansion, dual cameras (3-megapixel back, VGA front), capacitive multitouch screen, and Bluetooth, all running on a 1GHz Arm Cortex A8 processor. The screen resolution is a crisp 1,024x600 pixels, with a PPI rating of 170.

In the press materials we've seen, Lenovo shows the A1 in four colors: white, black, blue, and pink. The tablet's overall thickness comes in just under half an inch.

Like the Lenovo IdeaPad K1 we recently reviewed, Lenovo will be decking out the A1 with its own Android optimizations and widgets, including SocialTouch, and a central launchpad for core apps, such as e-mail, Web browser, videos, and e-books.

The Lenovo A1's availability has yet to be announced.