Lenovo A7-10, Precarious Balance
What to expect from a tablet less than 100 €? The question arises today more and more with products like the Cdisplay of Cdiscount or the Fire 7 “of Amazon. The tactile slates have reached a price floor which makes them accessible to all, but which obliges them to make Lenovo’s A7-10 is a perfect illustration of this industry as it tries to match low prices with a satisfying experience.
Lenovo’s slate embeds a 7-inch (17.7 cm) screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 px, a concentration of 170 pixels per inch. Behind the slab is a MediaTek MT8127 4-core 1.3GHz mobile chip with 1GB of RAM. For multimedia, the tablet is served by a single VGA front camera (0.3 Mpx) whose images will be housed in the internal memory of 8 GB (for 5.5 GB actually available, but expandable via micro-SD up to an additional 32 GB). Finally, on the connectivity side, we find Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, as well as an A-GPS chip and an accelerometer. Everything is supported by a 3450 mAh battery and powered by the operating system Android 5.0 Lollipop (after software update).
The Lenovo A7-10 tablet is from 85 € in all the good creameries on the web and is often the subject of refund offers (ODR) lowering the cost price to 55 €.
The Lenovo tablet does not really risk design and ergonomics. We find ourselves in front of a 7-inch device relatively compact, solid construction, but with little fancy. We still regret that the margins around the slab are a little thick, which leaves the screen only 70% of the front panel occupation.
With almost 270g on the scale, the tablet ranks in the lightweight category for its size. But all is well finished, no cracking of the hull is noteworthy and the assembly gives a good impression of solidity. There is no heating of the device during heavy operations, although, as we will see later, the term “heavy operations” is not quite suited to the middle part of the beast.
If the finishes do not betray the tariff positioning of the beast, we can not really say the same for the screen. At first sight, what is most noticeable is the distance between the slab and the screen itself. The few millimeters that separate the two layers affect the quality of the rendering, but make it especially a mirror, since there is not less than 45% glare rate in our test protocol. On this point, it ranks last good of all slates tested, up to the Fire HD6 Amazon. Even its maximum brightness of 350 cd / m² fails to ensure good readability outdoors.
The color rendering is also not the best, with a delta E that points to 5.8 and a completely unbalanced colorimetry. If the skin tones and shades of gray are about the same, the rest cracks the ceiling. As for the temperature, if it is perfectly homogeneous on the whole spectrum, at 8000 Kelvin it remains very far from the standard measurement of 6500 K. A word on the screen definition, which caps, like that of the Fire 7 “d Amazon or Cdisplay, at 1024 x 600 px A vital minimum to ensure a tolerable reading and browsing experience, on a screen this size, even if a move to HD in 1280 x 720 px, would benefit more widely to the user’s eye.
The tactile delay also betrays somewhat the positioning of the tablet, since settling down to 100 ms it enters the soft belly of the market.
It should be noted, however, that despite overall results below average, the contrast reached a staggering 1698: 1. A score that exceeds that of all IPS tablets under our probe until today, including iPad Pro. Only Amoled displays and their “infinite” contrast are doing better on the market today. Surprising, however, a slight consolation in view of other measures.
INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION 4/5
Native to Android 4.4.2 aka “KitKat”, the tablet is fortunately eligible for an update to version 5.0 (Lollipop) of the Google OS. Indeed, the experience under KitKat is not the most pleasant, the ergonomic codes are outdated and the design is somewhat “rude”.
Once under Lollipop, it’s another story. The interface is much closer to the codes of Android “stock” or naked. We find an application drawer, the notifications and shortcuts merged panel and a slightly more consensual design. Note also that Lenovo has integrated an application permissions manager, similar to what is proposed in Android 6.0. A welcome addition and properly integrated within the security settings.
The transition to version 5.0, in addition to providing a slightly smoother interface, also helps the responsiveness of the whole. When we noticed some slowdowns under Kitkat, the whole file without any hitch under Lollipop. The mobile chip manages to run the beast without any problem, although it will be patient when loading content a little demanding.
The integration of many pre-installed applications, not always very useful in the face of Google’s software offer, is one of the few black spots that persist after the switch to Lollipop. The tablet includes for example a McAfee antivirus application, but also a home browser in addition to Chrome, or a social network dedicated to the game. Some other applications, such as the calendar or the gallery, are directly inherited from Android pure juice but have some late versions compared to what is offered today.
Without a dedicated video playback application, the tablet uses its Gallery software to read the files. If it has no trouble playing all common formats, we notice some dropouts of the image when the tablet tries to play .avi files in 1080p. A weak point that does not really matter, because the resolution of the screen does not allow to restore all the details of a Full HD video.
On the audio side, Lenovo’s tablet boasts an extremely powerful and relatively balanced headphone output. The sound scene is well transcribed, with a wide dynamic range and a well-marked crosstalk. Only the distortion reaches a high threshold when listening at full volume. The speaker on the front is slightly lacking punch and gives a sound completely devoid of bass, with a slight tendency to wheeze.
In terms of gaming entertainment, the A7-10 does not really rank among the most successful devices in its segment. Real Racing 3, the part is afflicted with occasional micro-jerks that spoil the fun of play and take away the general experience. In short, the tablet is not cut to support operations too demanding resources.
The unique photo sensor on Lenovo’s tablet is probably more in shape than anything else. Indeed, the meager definition produces clichés that are singularly lacking in detail, sharpness and contrast. Video capture has the same flaws in addition to significant remanence. The angle is extremely small, forcing the tablet at arm’s length to hope to be contained in the field. The colors are completely fanciful with skin tones extremely pale at the edge of the sickly. Barely tolerable in well-lit environments, it is necessary to forget the possibility of conversing in the video as soon as the penumbra points the tip of its nose so much the tablet hardly discerns anything.
The 3450 mAh battery in the A7-10, coupled with the meager technical sheet of the beast, ensures a battery life of about 2 days in normal use. In our Smartviser test, the slate held 12:47, ranking it in the average high of the tablets tested until today, just a stone’s throw away from the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet and far ahead of competitors like the Cdisplay or the Amazon Fire. The behavior of the battery during streaming video playback is however slightly less brilliant. With 7:05 counter, it is significantly worse than the solid 9:25 of the Amazon Fire 7 “.
Unfortunately, standby behavior is not ideal, with the measured loss, but continuous energy. Finally, it will take no less than 3:30 to fully recharge the battery.Tags: Lenovo A7