Reviewing Lenovo TAB 2 A7 - A Small Tablet With An Affordable Price

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Operating System & Bundled Apps

The Lenovo TAB 2 A7 runs a pretty clean version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The branding and customization made by Lenovo for this tablet is fairly light and consists of minor changes and additions to the stock operating system. As you'd expect, Lenovo replaced the stock launcher with their own version of the launcher, which is actually not that different from the default one. It still offers the main features: custom wallpapers, shortcuts, widgets, multiple home screens and bottom icon dock.

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The usual notifications bar is present, with the recent notifications shown in chronological order. Pull down from the left side of the screen and you get the notification list; pull down from the right side and you're given a list of quick settings for fast toggling. You can also slide left or right from the main home screen to get to the additional home screens. Tapping and holding in an empty area on the home screen allows you to add a shortcut or a widget to one of the home screens.

The TAB 2 A7 comes with a list of preinstalled (or bundled) apps. Many of them are what you usually find on the stock Android (including the complete suite of Google Apps - Maps, Photos, YouTube and all the others), but you can also find third-party apps and Lenovo's proprietary tools:

  • Chrome - the well known Google browser

  • Contacts - a simple contacts app

  • Security HD - Lenovo's own antivirus and system clean-up app (a welcome addition)

  • SYNCit HD - Lenovo's own cloud storage for contacts sync app

  • SHAREit - a media content sharing app

  • Dolby Audio - the Dolby feature control panel

  • Email - an email client app

  • Calendar - a simple calendar app

  • Calculator - a calculator app with scientific operations

  • Sound Recorder - a simple sound recorder app

  • FM Radio - an International Space Station internal communication system receiver (just kidding, it's a simple FM radio app)

  • Gamestore - Lenovo's own gaming store

  • WPS Office - a free mobile office suite

  • Tap the Frog - the only preinstalled game on this tablet

  • txtr ebooks - a simple (and really nice, we might add) ebook reader

It's nice that Lenovo chose to offer the mostly unaltered Android experience with this tablet. This way, its users are allowed to personalize their device in any way they desire, without being forced to use a heavily modified operating system full of features they might not even need. This is a generally favoured approach by the users and we liked what we got with this device, in this regard.

Performance In Benchmarks

Given the price range this tablet fits into, we didn't expect much when we started running tests on it. But you might be surprised to find out that Lenovo's entry-level device in its market holds up to the challenge.

Usually, when it comes to benchmarks, the CPU is the first in line to be tested. We'll use one the most popular benchmarking apps on the market, Vellamo, to put the Lenovo TAB 2 A7's CPU to the test. Let's see if it meets our expectations.

First, we're going to run the Vellamo Multicore test, which benchmarks the CPU while running multiple tasks simultaneously, testing its multitasking abilities. The TAB 2 A7 scored 1250 points on this test. Not much, but it's on the scale.

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The next test we will perform is the Vellamo Metal test, which measures the CPU performance when dealing with single-core operations. Most of the apps on the Android market follow this rule, so the result for this test is pretty important. The TAB 2 A7 got a score of 787 points. Not that high a score also, but it's not like it's a surprise. Again, it could be worse.

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The gaming performance comes next in the series of tests we perform on this device. We will use another well known benchmarking app for this, GFXBench GL Benchmark. The test that usually applies to our situation is the T-Rex test, running in off-screen mode, which means that it will test the device while using the 1080p resolution, regardless of the resolution of the device's actual display resolution. The tablet was able to render 498.2 frames, which is a very low score compared to other devices, but considering this tablet was not intended for gaming, this score was pretty much expected.

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Given the results to the tests we ran so far, we now know that this tablet is not intended for heavy use, like serious multi-tasking or gaming. But for the generic user, it will perform well, as long as you don't expect the world of it. Now, let's see how the TAB 2 A7 performs while browsing the web. This kind of use is expected by any tablet user, so it's kind of important that it behaves well under these circumstances. In this regard, we will return to the Vellamo benchmarking app, which offers a test meant to measure the device's performance while rendering a website containing common HTML, CSS and JavaScript content. Our test tablet scored 1850 points on this test, positioning itself on the bottom of the scores list. Once again, not so encouraging, but well within the limits.

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The final test we ran on our device is the battery autonomy test. While using the TAB 2 A7, we concluded that in regular use, the device holds up for at least a day. However, for a more rigorous result, we turned to PCMark's Work Life Battery test. The device scored a whopping 8 hours and 48 minutes. This is a very good result and means that we were right in assuming that by using not that power-hungry components, Lenovo managed to offer a long battery life by using a battery with regular capacity.

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The Lenovo TAB 2 A7 tablet isn't a high-end device and the benchmark tests confirm it. An upside of this is the fact that the tablet manages to offer a really good battery life.

Product rating 3/5

Verdict

Lenovo didn't reinvent the digital world with the TAB 2 A7. Instead, it offers an affordable Android tablet that does its job admirably for the average user. It didn't score that high on any of the synthetic benchmarks we threw at it (not even medium, you might say), but when you pay that little on an Android device, do you really expect it to run the latest games and high-end apps? No, you expect to be offered a device that suits itself admirably to everyday use, on which you can check a pub's location on the map, browse your friends' holiday photos on Facebook, tap on some frogs for fun from time to time and hold a video call with your friends from the other side of the world every now and then. You expect a device that feels good to the touch when you hold it and doesn't get hell's-fire hot in your hands every time you run an app. And that's what the Lenovo TAB 2 A7 is: a decent tablet intended for everyday use. To sum it up, if you're looking for a powerful gaming device, then the Lenovo TAB 2 A7 is not for you. If you need a tablet that should help you manage aspects of your business life, it also might not live up to your expectations. But if you want a device on which you can browse the latest social media updates, navigate on the Internet during your evenings at home after work and play a simple game once in a while, we can safely recommend you the Lenovo TAB 2 A7. For its price, it's one of the best you're going to find on the market.

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