This year at CES, Lenovo seemed to be focused more on laptops than other products, but alongside the dozen or so different ThinkPads and IdeaPads, they did somehow manage to announce and demonstrate not only several tablets, but also a couple of smartphones (one of which was the K800 – a Medfield prototype).
One of the more interesting tablets was the IdeaPad K2, which was running Android and had a pretty impressive feature set that could easily be compared to that of the current flagships Asus Transformer Prime, Acer Iconia Tab A500 and of course, the iPad 2. In fact, the IdeaPad K2 is better than its competition in a few ways, and if it makes it to the market before the iPad 3, it sure would deserve a potential buyer’s attention.
The IdeaPad K2 looks pretty good on the outside – it certainly is more unique than the other tablets on the market. The front has the beautiful 10.1 inch IPS display with a 1920×1200 Full HD resolution, as well as two conspicuous grills, which of course hide the four audio speakers. That’s right, there are four of them on the K2, and all of them are aimed towards the user for the best audio quality on a tablet – there’s even Dolby Surround support, and unlike all the other tablets, it’s actually pretty good at creating a good 3D audio image.
The back of the device has a brushed metal finish and a distinct look, with the fingerprint reader being visible on the left side. It’s actually pretty useful, seeing as Android Ice Cream Sandwich has full on-device encryption, and it should be a great way of keeping your data safe and still being able to quickly access your device with one swipe instead of typing a password. The overall build quality of the IdeaPad K2 is simply great – it is made mostly out of metal, after all.
Performance and hardware features
The performance of Lenovo’s new flagship Android tablet is at the highest level, thanks to the latest Tegra 3 platform, which features a quad core 1.3 GHz processor, and a new GeForce GPU with 12 cores, both of which are two to three times as fast as the components of the previous Tegra 2. That’s pretty impressive considering the whole SoC consumes the same amount of power. There’s also a full 1024 MB of RAM to keep things smooth when running multiple apps at the same time or loading a particularly intensive game or application.
The other hardware features are everything you would expect from a modern high end tablet. You’ve got the usual Wifi N, Bluetooth and GPS radios, as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack, HDMI and USB out ports, a micro SD card slot for storage space (in addition to the onboard memory), and two cameras – a 2 megapixels unit on the front for video calls and occasional quick snapshots, and a bigger 5 megapixels unit on the back with LED flash and support for 1080p video recording.
The IdeaPad K2 will be running the all new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box, and that’s great since the new OS brings a lot of improvements over previous versions, all of which are important. Aside from the full encryption support, Ice Cream Sandwich also has a new interface, universal APIs, a lot of fixes and improvements, new Google Apps and a slew of useful features like Face Unlock and Android Beam. It’s definitely much better than Honeycomb, and it will be the mainstay Android OS for at least a year or so.
Price and Availability
The Lenovo IdeaPad K2 is expected to be available by the end of spring this year, and the price is confirmed to be around $1000, making it one of the most expensive Android tablets to hit the market. The reason for the high price is that the IdeaPad is aimed at the business and corporate markets, bringing a few unique features to keep data secure, plus the build quality is simple awesome – this thing can take a beating! Hopefully the price will come down though, making the K2 a good choice for consumers, as well.