About time, it seems..
Since my ASUS 7HD died I sought out options rather hastily. I liked the more squarish aspect ratio of the first one but it wasn't quite what I hoped for. My second try though is a winner.
The Lenovo A8-5500 is an 8-inch tablet that is the proverbial 'just right' size. The 7" screen of the 7HD was a bit crowded, and the 10" Transformer was too big for me to use as a tablet (just fine as a laptop replacement when hooked to its keyboard though). This 8" screen has the same resolution of the 7HD so it's plenty bright and clear, and performance (for what I do at least) is just great.
Once it was set up the tablet updated itself to 4.4.2 Android so it's quite up to date. However it's clear that many devices can run the same Android yet look quite a bit different! ASUS implements their own system enhancements (even more so now with the Zen UI). Most reviewers like ASUS mods but clearly Lenovo won't be using it - they have their own though, in the pop-sideways panel of settings and most-used programs. Nicely done, but I already have my most-used stuff in the bottom part of the screen, and I cannot reclaim that area by removing them, so the popout is a bit redundant. Perhaps I'll find ways to use it better but for now: not really handy.
Lenovo also crowds the main screen with icons like iDevices and unlike ASUS. I've dumped most of the icons into a folder or two, which makes screen space available for widgets. I admit it: I LIKE WIDGETS - which often include shortcuts of their own (ugh: triple redundancy with side-panel and screen-bottom icons).
Battery life is very good, and I've thrown some switches that imply even more savings. I like 10-hour charges for tablets, a feature which very few tech devices manage. I've reloaded a few common games and my astronomy apps so it's pretty much a duplicate of the HD7 now. Once I've added in an office suite it will be closer; it appears that Lenovo has added one I know little about but I'll give it a try before filling more memory with a new version. Google Sheet is sufficient for most of my dabbling on the tablet.