Review: Lenovo IdeaTab K3 Lynx 11.6-Inch 64 GB Tablet (and a review of the repair process)


In July 2013 I bought Lenovo IdeaPad K3 Lynx 11.6-Inch 64 GB Tablet from the US. I had it in my hands since August. I paid $347.84 for the tablet and $22.99 for the cover. The joy of owning it was little, because it broke, and I had to repair it. Below, some feed-back on the process and on the tablet itself.

First, some feed-back about the tablet. As a note, I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 which I use as a device for mobile use (quick email, Facebook, Google maps, Twitter, stuff like this). I use the tablet for business purposes (presentations, for example), and for reading. I don’t use it for games and Android / iOS applications.

The good:

  • It runs Windows, as in „computer-based Windows”. You can run anything which runs on Windows 8 on your PC. Any kind of software. I really really like this point.
  • The screen is huge. I really like this, also.
  • As strange as it may sound, I find it of a great value to be able to connect to the microUSB port a USB hub, to which I attach a mouse and a keyboard (actually, the keyboard is connected through bluetooth). So, I have a device with mouse + keyboard, I can put a USB Flash drive, it all runs smoothly. When I’m at a conference I have a device which is very similar to a laptop, when I travel I can read and use it as a tablet. I like this a lot.

The so-and-so:

  • It has decent powers. Nothing great, but it’s a 350 $ system. Quite decent.

The bad:

  • Lenovo customer service is not that great, see below.
  • The main connector is located at the bottom of the tablet. Thus, I have problems when I attach the USB hub. Later edit: I am a bit silly, it seems. I could just rotate the tablet, and it’s not on the bottom side anymore. :)
  • It’s just strange to use Windows 8 on a tablet. There are gestures and substitutions, but it’s not the same as with an Apple or Android device. The keyboard doesn’t know when it needs to show and when it needs to hide. The double click and right click are not easy to understand, it’s very hard to have the same precision with the finger as you would have with a mouse.

The conclusions:

  • Hadn’t I had the problems with the service, I would consider the tablet as a top choice. The advantages of running Windows are far greater than the disadvantages which come with this. If I’d live in the States, I’d buy again Lenovo IdeaPad K3 Lynx 11.6-Inch 64 GB Tablet or a similar one (I have to make the research again, and right now I don’t feel like it).

About the repair process.

As I told you, in August I had the tablet, but a few weeks later it wouldn’t start. I tried booting into BIOS, trying Windows Repair, tried to boot from a device with installed OS. No luck.

You see, the problem was the fact that the tablet needed to boot from a device which was specifically made for it. So, if you inserted your regular Windows 8 DVD (even a recovery one, but one which was not specifically made for it), and tried to connect to it through a device, the tablet wouldn’t start. After some talks on Lenovo Forums, nothing was solved. I tried to give it to repair in Romania, no one was authorized to do so. The unauthorized service centers most likely wouldn’t have had a DVD repair for the tablet. I phoned the service in Romania, they could only ship it to Europe, not US, there was no way I would give the tablet to them. I phoned in the US to receive a copy of the official repair CD for the tablet, they wouldn’t give it to me. In the end, the only viable solution was to send the tablet via post to the US, then repair it in there, then send it to someone in the US (a friend I am very grateful to), then have that friend send it to Romania via post.

About this process:

  • Lenovo had some serious with the forums. I didn’t solve my problem in there. It’s useful to know you can communicate with support from the US, but, in the end, I haven’t had my problem solved.
  • The first call to the call center took about 30 minutes. The second one, which I postponed, a bit scared on the possible length of it, took around 10-15 minutes. Lots of „please hold the line”, „let me talk to my supervisor”. After the first call, it was established they would send a CD via post. I waited for the CD, when I called back they told me they wouldn’t send the CD. OK, but they should have given me an email.
  • I am unhappy with the fact that Lenovo made no exception to my specific case – I couldn’t send the tablet to the service in Romania, they couldn’t send a CD to the US, they couldn’t send a link I could download the CD, they wouldn’t ship the tablet to Romania, not US. No exception. The only option – bring the tablet to the service in the US, and they would ship it somewhere in the US.
  • I had no paper I had sent the tablet for repair. Romanian officials love papers. :)
  • The Lenovo service handled the situation well, I had the tablet repaired in time, sent, I had a page to check for status.
  • My friend was extremely nice and kind to me. I won’t detail this, just know I was very lucky with this.
  • The Romanian post did remarkably and unexpectedly well. When I shipped the tablet, first I went to my local post office. After waiting in line for a while, the postal officers had no forms for sending things to the US. When I told them I want to ship a tablet, they told me I can’t ship through them. And here, miraculously, all my problems with the Romanian post stopped. I went to another post office, which had a customs office, but I went close to the end of the program, and the official was not there anymore. And now for the good, positive, and, based on previous experiences, extremely rare acts of a postal officer in Romania – the person at the postal office was friendly, really wanted to help me, and provided me with good tips on how to send the package, how to fill in the paper. In the end, the package had zero value declared. It was by far the best experience I ever had at sending a package through the post. Then, the package, even though it said „tablet” (so an electronic with value), actually got shipped to and from the US. It got in there / from there in an OK time. When the package arrived in Romania, I expected to be asked to go to a half postal, half custom office, be asked what’s in the package, and perhaps return with additional papers. But no! They sent me a hard copy mail in which they told me I needed to send them an email with proof I previously sent the tablet from Romania to repairs. This was very very convenient and simple. Another thing – they delivered the product at home. This might be surprising, but in Romania I never got a package at home, I always had to go myself to the postal office. Very satisfied with all this (my expectation with Romanian post were quite low, I admit).

Where did I do wrong?

  • I bought a product which had no international warranty. I bought other things from the US, but for some products I should have cared more for International warranty. The Lenovo tablet is a good tablet, but there are plenty of other options.
  • I always, constantly thought I could reinstall Windows myself. I was quite shocked to find that I needed to ship the product to the US only for this.
  • (due, in part, to the previous item) I didn’t back-up my OS when I got the tablet.
  • I didn’t take into account the user experience I’d have of using Windows on a tablet. I’ve used an iPad, I have a Samsung S4, I thought a Windows tablet would be something similar. It’s not. Using the hand as a mouse on Windows 8 it’s rather strange & not so good. Add a mouse + keyboard and you’re fine, but what’s the point of a tablet, then?
  • I didn’t take into account the fact that I might ever lose the tablet and had some data on it. My current tablet has a good password, no personal files whatsoever, even if you have access to it, it won’t be of much help. Even if you take out the SSD and put it in another computer, it won’t be of much use.
  • Anyhow, despite all these, I’m happy with my decision. :)

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