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11/7/2012
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Hybrid Notebook/Tablet, Android-Style From Lenovo

Lenovo's 10-inch IdeaTab S2110 Android tablet is loaded with features and modestly priced. It competes favorably with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, providing a 50% faster CPU. The optional battery-boosting keyboard/dock morphs it into a laptop-like device with multiple use-cases.

Exploring the IdeaTab S2110

Because the IdeaTab 2110 runs a standard Android 4.0 OS and supports the full set of Google services and Android apps, not much about it is unique from a user interface or software perspective.

The screenshots below show the S2110's out-of-box user interface, including its default home screens, apps, widgets, and an unusual widget-based folder function.

IdeaTab 2110 out-of-box home screens


(Click images to enlarge.)

The S2110's default configuration includes a half-baked widget-based home screen folder feature, which you can see in the screenshot repeated at the right (click to enlarge).

This folder function is based on a set of six folder widgets -- Business, Games, Life, Media, Tools, and Social -- that you can place on any of the tablet's home screens. Each folder widget can hold up to 12 app launchers of your choice, but there's no way to rename the folders or create additional ones, and you can't put bookmarks or other 1x1 widgets in the folders -- just app-launchers. All these constraints render it a relatively useless piece of eye candy.

Fortunately, the S2110 also includes the substantially more useful Android 4.x folder function, seen in the screenshots below. This one lets you create as many folders as you like, name them any way you want, and load them with up to 48 items, which can be any combination of app launchers and bookmarks.

IdeaTab S2110 Android 4.x folder function


(Click images to enlarge.)

Despite the greater flexibility of the more useful standard Android 4.x folder function shown above, I much prefer a third-party folder app. More on that later.

First let's take a look at the apps and widgets that come preinstalled on the S2110:

Preinstalled Android apps


(Click images to enlarge.)

In addition to the usual preinstalled Google Android apps -- including Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Maps and YouTube -- there are a few nice-to-haves, such as Skype and ES File Explorer, but nothing you can't easily download yourself from the Google Play Android apps market. One exception is the unlocked version of Documents to Go, a $15 value, with which you can create and edit MS Word-, Excel- and PowerPoint-compatible files. More about that app later.

Next stop on our S2110 tour is a quick look at the tablet's default widget set:

IdeaTab S2110 out-of-box widgets


(Click images to enlarge.)

In addition to the large folder widgets, which we've already discussed, there are three quick-setting widgets for brightness, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as a fairly typical array of widgets for weather, time, calendar, email, contacts, bookmarks, playing music and videos, and more.

Personally, I'm very sparing in my use of widgets, preferring to configure a single home screen from which I can launch any app or Web bookmark with one or two taps of the screen. That brings us to customization.

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