There's a lot to be said for 7-inch tablets. There are also a lot of them out there, and now Lenovo's dipped its tablet oar into the pool with its latest IdeaTab A3000 and IdeaTab A1000 models. We were on hand to take a look at these latest mini-tabs at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona.
The baby of the group, the Ideatab A1000, is being marketed as a "music tablet" because of the partnership with Dolby Digital Plus technology. The sound from this 7-incher's two front-facing speakers can deliver quite a whack of volume, but don't expect booming bass by any means - we'd recommend getting some decent headphones to get the most out of the audio, given the confines of what any manufacturer would be able to do in an 11mm-thich body.
The screen offers up a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution which, while just shy of 720p HD, is expected for the £129 predicted - but unconfirmed - price point. The viewing angle is not bad at all though - better than many yet more expensive budget laptops in our view.
The A1000 is light in the hand given its 340g weight, but we found the smooth-back didn't make for as comfortable a grip as the textured, removable panel on the A3000 model.
The A3000 is a cut above, but drops the "music tablet" front for more-advanced features. A 3G HSPA+ model will be available - something the A1000 won't offer with its Wi-Fi-only option - and Android 4.2 is as standard on the A3000, compared to the 4.1 version on the A1000. Still, the difference between the two versions is so minimal it's hard to notice.
Both models operated well and we didn't have time to thoroughly test out how media rattled the quad core 1.2GHz system of the A3000 compared to the dual core equivalent in the A1000. From what we saw apps and music playback were no problem for either.
Given their predicted price points - nothing was confirmed for the A3000 other than it would be more than €129 (£110), but less than the top-spec S6000's €299 (£258) price point - it looks as though Lenovo could be on to a winner with both of these mini tablets.
We do wish the resolution was pushed to pixel-for-pixel 720p, but for commuting and day-to-day tasks these Nexus 7 competitors sure do have enough to shout about. We'll take a closer look at final devices come the June on-sale date.