Lenovo IdeaPad S2110 tablet with laptop dock hands-on review

Summary:Lenovo has introduced an Android tablet with optional laptop dock to go head-to-head with the Asus Transformer line of tablets. The 10.1-inch IdeaPad S2110 has a beautiful screen and the dock provides the best laptop in the genre.

S2110 laptop (600x450)

Lenovo has been making Android tablets for a while and has taken the lessons learned from that experience and applied them to the IdeaPad S2110. This Android tablet is as thin and light as you would expect, and even though it lacks the latest version of Android it offers smooth operation. The key feature of the S2110 is the optional laptop dock that turns the tablet into a full laptop.

Don't miss the S2110 full photo gallery

Thin profile(450x600) (225x300)

Android tablets are a dime a dozen, in number if not in price. OEMs are scrambling to give their tablets an edge against all the competing products, and Lenovo has leveraged its experience in making laptop keyboards for the laptop dock for the S2110.

Hardware as reviewed

  • Processor: Qualcomm APQ8060A (1.5 GHz)
  • Memory: 1 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB (32 GB optional)
  • Display: 10.1-inch IPS (wide angle), 1280 x 800
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.0; 3G optional
  • Ports: MicroHDMI, docking/charging, audio; On the dock: 2 USB 2.0, SD Card slot
  • Cameras: Front -- 1.3 MP; Rear -- 5 MP (LED flash, autofocus)
  • Audio: stereo speakers; SRS TruMedia
  • OS: Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Battery: Tablet -- 23.4 Wh; Dock -- 23.4 Wh (9 - 10 hours tablet, 18 - 20 hours with dock)
  • Dimensions: 259.8 x 178 x 8.69mm (10.2 x 7.0 x 0.34") 
  • Weight: Tablet only 580 gm (1.28 lbs.); Tablet + dock: <3 lbs.

Operation of the S2110 is smooth and fast even though Lenovo uses the Snapdragon processor instead of the Nvidia Tegra. That decision was due to Qualcomm's integration of 3G, an option Lenovo intends to offer with the S2110 in the future.

The 10.1-inch IPS display on the S2110 is gorgeous, with wide viewing angles. The touch operation is light and accurate and the thin, light form makes the tablet comfortable for use in the hands. The edges of the tablet house the expected hardware controls: power button, volume rocker, and audio jack. There is a docking connector for use with the laptop dock, and a mini HDMI jack for use with large monitors.

The S2110 tablet is a good tablet, although it's disappointing Lenovo went with Ice Cream Sandwich instead of the current version, Jelly Bean. The latter is the best version of Android by far and would be nice on the tablet. Lenovo has not stated if/when the S2110 will be updated to Jelly Bean.

Lenovo has preinstalled a lot of games and utilities, along with some simple widgets for the home screen. This installation is much easier on performance than past Lenovo offerings, a welcome change.

The S2110 with optional laptop dock is designed to compete with the Asus Transformer line, and it performs admirably in this respect. I am a fan of using tablets with keyboards and this dock from Lenovo is as good as they get.

Keyboard 1(300x225)

The keyboard is marvelous, as the keys have good tactile feedback and travel. It is possible to type very rapidly using the dock. I did have occasional duplicated keys appear, but that could be due to my fast typing. I really like this keyboard, and the trackpad with two mouse buttons are also well done. It is surprisingly useful at times to be able to use the trackpad to move the blue cursor around the screen for hands-on operation.

Like the Transformer docks, the Lenovo laptop dock has a second battery that doubles the already good tablet battery life. I have gotten 10 hours of battery life on the tablet alone, and nearly 20 hours with the laptop dock connected. The dock charges the tablet battery when connected, so you always have a full tablet battery when you pop the slate off and leave the dock behind.

Lenovo is pricing the S2110 competitively, with the unit as reviewed priced at $429 on the Lenovo web site. The laptop dock should add $120 to that price, a bargain for the utility provided. There is also a 32GB tablet option available for the S2110.

Update: According to Lenovo the starting price for the S2110 is $399 and just $499 with the tablet/dock combo. These prices are not evident on the Lenovo web site at the time of this publication.

The only complaint I have with the IdeaPad S2110 is the USB charging cable provided. It's becoming a common practice for OEMs to go cheap with cables, and Lenovo has done so with this one. The USB charging cable plugs into the included power adapter, but the cable is only 3 feet in length. You can't reach an outlet from the average desktop with this short cable, restricting where you can place the unit for charging.

Laptop closed (500x126)

See also:

Topics: Tablets, Android, Lenovo, Reviews

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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