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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.

Keyboard alternatives

Although Google Voice Typing works well on the S2110 and can go a long way toward speeding the process of entering large amounts of text, the best way to increase the efficiency of using any tablet for work purposes is to team it with a good Bluetooth keyboard.

One intriguing option is the IdeaTab S2110's own optional keyboard/dock accessory, which provides the following added features:

  • Notebook keyboard size and feel.
  • A full row of tablet-specific function keys.
  • Glidepad cursor navigation, with enable/disable.
  • Three-in-one card reader.
  • Two full-size USB 2.0 ports.
  • Micro-USB charging port.
  • Secondary 6320mAh battery.
  • Mates with the S2110 to form a foldable assembly.

Snapped into its optional keyboard/dock, the IdeaTab S2110 becomes a laptop-like device.



(Click images to enlarge.)

Currently, the S2110's keyboard/dock is only available as part of a tablet bundle that costs about $90 more than the tablet alone. Although this makes it an expensive alternative to a normal Bluetooth keyboard, it's well worth considering if you value the extra features listed above. I've used it, and was very impressed with its quality and utility.

I also tested two popular Bluetooth keyboards with the IdeaTab S2110: the Logitech Android keyboard, and the Zagg ZaggKeys Flex (pictured below). Both worked well.

Using the IdeaTab S2110 with Logitech's Android keyboard (left) and Zagg's ZaggKeys Flex (right)
(Click images to enlarge.)

Unlike the third-party Bluetooth keyboards, which can be used with multiple models of Android and iOS tablets, the S2110's keyboard/dock is only likely to be usable with the S2110 (and possibly its successors).

Virtual keyboard alternatives

Being a 10-inch tablet, it's possible to type fairly accurately using the S2110's standard Android soft keyboard. Still, for many users -- myself included -- typing with a virtual keyboard doesn't approach the efficiency of typing with a physical keyboard.

Numerous user-installable virtual keyboards can be downloaded from the Android apps market, letting you substitute your favorite keyboard. Let's take a quick look at two alternatives, as well as the tablet's option of "voice typing."

The screenshots below demonstrate four text input alternatives:

  • The standard Android keyboard.
  • The GO Keyboard, which offers a nifty thumb-typing mode, among other interesting features.
  • "Google Voice Typing," which works amazingly well, but requires an active broadband data connection.

Three virtual keyboards, plus Google Voice Typing





(Click images to enlarge.)

Adding productivity apps

To see how well the IdeaTab S2110 performed work-related tasks, I tried using several office suites and other productivity apps, including Documents to GO, Office Suite Pro, QuickOffice Pro HD, Kingsoft Office, LogMeIn, SketchBook Mobile and AutoCAD WS.

All of the MS Office-style apps I tested worked, to one extent or another, although the features implemented varied widely with some, such as Documents to Go, which offered only minimal capabilities. The screenshots below give a few glimpses of these apps running on the S2110.

Running productivity apps on the IdeaTab S2110


(Click images to enlarge.)

What else can it do?

A better question would be, "What can't it do?"

Without getting swept away with the vastness of all the ways you can enjoy an Android tablet these days, here's a brief screenshot montage showing some leisure-oriented apps running on the S2110:

Games, and ebooks, and videos, oh my!


(Click images to enlarge.)

For more details, and more than 500 screenshots showing these and numerous other apps running on the Lenovo IdeaTab S2110, have a look at my blog's extensive IdeaTab S2110 screenshot tour.

The bottom line

Lenovo has done a great job designing the IdeaTab S2110. The thin, light, moderately priced 10-inch Android tablet is suitable for both work and leisure. It competes favorably with Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, providing a 50% faster CPU.

Additionally, the optional battery-boosting keyboard/dock accessory morphs it into a laptop-like hybrid device, which you can conveniently snap together and apart to fulfill the need of the moment.

Overall, I found it to be a pleasure to use.


Lenovo IdeaTab S2110 Android tablet


Name: IdeaTab S2110

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 allows it to be used like a laptop.

Price: $340 with 16 GB flash. Optional keyboard/doc around $90 extra -- exact pricing depends on overall configuration.

Pro:

  • 1.5-GHz dual-core processor.
  • Bright screen.
  • Includes an unlocked copy of Documents to Go, a $15 value.
  • Micro-HDMI port for video output.
  • 5-MP rear camera with LED flash; 1.3-MB front camera.
  • Thin and light with non-slip textured back.
  • Optional snap-on keyboard/dock with secondary battery.

Con:

  • No hardware GPS (except on 3G model).
  • No microSD expansion (except via keyboard/dock).

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