This is the second Lenovo tablet review I have written for this site, the first was for the popular Lenovo TAB 2 A7-20 7″ tablet which we bought to replace the much loved but elderly Nexus 7, which had met a sticky end when it was dropped on it’s face in the caravan. When our local seniors computer club decided to purchase a couple of tablets for the members to borrow to see if an Android tablet would suit them, it was a good opportunity to give them a good test. The other tablet is the newer TAB3 7 Essential and I’ll add a review of this model next month. Bear in mind that this 10″ tablet has been superceded by an 8″ model and a ‘business’ 10″ one, so I don’t know how long this particular model will be available. After reading this you might want to get one before they sell out, but let’s go look at it in more detail first.
First impressions are of a solid, elegant tablet. I immediately liked the nice dark blue back model we chose for the club (there is a white model also). It has a kind of matt rubberised feel to it which makes the tablet easy to hold and better in my opinion than the shiny, often slippery, plastic backs that many tablets use. All the controls are grouped together on the left side of the tablet when held in landscape mode along with the the micro USB charging socket and Micro SD card slot which is nicely concealed behind a door to install a card to expand the tablet’s storage. This is one of the great advantages of Android tablets over the popular iPad which doesn’t provide external storage options apart from ‘the cloud’. The Lenovo supports cards up to 64Gb which is a lot of space for photos, videos and music. The earphone socket is on the right of the tablet, which makes sense if you are watching a movie or video but when you rotate the tablet into portrait mode, either the earphone socket or volume controls are at the bottom. This is a critisism that can be levelled at most tablets however and shows that the device is intended to be used in landscape mode normally.
Quick tech specs are: QuadCore processor, 1Gb RAM, 16Gb storage (plus the SD card) which may not mean a lot but suffice to say for everyday use that most of our age group require, it’s fine. It may not be fast enough for hardcore gamers but I did install Real Racing 3 which is a fairly good test of any tablet and it performed well, with surprisingly good frame rates and responsiveness. You steer the car in this game by tilting the tablet left and right and this was very smooth so if you wanted to play some of these types of games, the Lenovo would be fine for many. GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi that supports the ‘N’ standard (but not the latest ‘AC’ one) are all there so the device can have many uses including navigation and streaming music to a car stereo etc.
Screen quality is great. It has an IPS screen with resolution of 1280×800 which is lower than the previous model, but doesn’t seem to make a great difference to my eyes. Colour and saturation is extremely good and it has nice wide viewing angles which is the mark of a quality screen. Text stayed crisp and sharp in normal resolutions or if zoomed in.
Sound quality is also very good from the top mounted twin speakers and like all Lenovo tablets recently this one has the addition of Dolby. This one has the ‘Atmos’ feature as well that provides quite amazing sound quality – check out the demos in the Dolby app included. These sound good through the speakers even at a reasonable volume and even better with good quality headphones plugged in. The tablet even includes an FM radio!
This tablet comes with the oddly named ‘Trebuchet’ launcher installed by default that isn’t personally that appealing to me, it has ‘odd’ icons and text, I prefer to install the Google Now Launcher which includes the ‘Now’ feature that is a very handy extra screen you get to by swiping right (to the left screen). A worthwhile change in my opinion which is available in the Google Play Store. Like many tablets and phones these days, there is no dedicated Home, Back or Recent Apps buttons, just remember to swipe up in any app to make them visible again at the bottom of the screen.
The cameras installed are reasonable, the rear 5Mp one takes excellent shots in daylight, but struggles in poor light conditions, while the front facing 2Mp one is fine for Skype but maybe not that great for ‘selfies’, but who of our generation takes ’em anyway?
Finally, battery life is impressive, which is what I expected from the installed 7000mAh battery, which is the same size as the previous model but with a lower res screen. Lenovo state 10 hours between charges and so far after a couple of days of testing video, games, updates etc use the review one is still showing over 70%. One of the benefits of larger tablets is that much larger batteries can be installed. To be honest, and this may well apply to many of our age group with less than perfect eyesight, a 10″ tablet makes sense provided it is slim and not too heavy. This Lenovo is slimmer and almost as light as my older 7″ Lenovo.
This budget large screen Andrid tablet from Lenovo has impressed me so far, it will be interesting to see what our seniors at the club have to say about it. My guess is that they will probably say ‘I want one!’ At a little over $200 here in Australia it, like all the Lenovo tablets, is great value in comparison with their main competitors in this market, Samsung.