Here’s our extensive review of the Lenovo Tab 4 10.
The Android tablet market is an interesting place to be right now. Many of the big name manufacturers have taken a step back from the high-end Android tablet market, and in most markets around the world, the only high-end Android tablets you’ll find have a Samsung badge present.
Most high-end Android tablets face competition from Chromebooks, Apple iPads and Windows-powered Ultrabooks. This leaves the mid-range and lower end market sectors, where we are starting to see a number of manufacturers offer tablet computers at tempting prices.
Mid-range and lower end devices may have a similar display size to the high-end competition, but typically offer a comprised experience with fewer features and less powerful specifications. However, different manufacturers offer different compromises and if you’re in the market for an Android tablet but don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend, finding the right device can be a challenge. During the last few months, I’ve tested one of Lenovo’s Android tablet offerings, the Lenovo Tab 4 10. And today, I’m diving into the depths for our full review of one of Lenovo’s best Android-powered slates to date.
To introduce the Lenovo Tab 4 range, there are two main models – the normal model and the ‘Plus’ model. Each variant is available with an 8-inch display or a larger, 10-inch display. The Plus variant comes with greater specifications, but a slightly higher price tag as a result. We’ve been testing the Lenovo Tab 4 10 Wi-Fi Only model, but yes, it also comes in a LTE variant.
In comparison with the other Tab 4 models, this is the less powerful, larger screen model, and so far we’ve been impressed. This particular model retails for $179 (Wi-Fi Only) in the US with 16GB of storage, and can be purchased from any one of several sellers linked below. It’s available in other countries as well. For the duration of this review, please understand that what we talk about may or may not necessarily apply to the other Tab 4 models.
This Lenovo Tab 4 model measures 10.1-inches by its diagonal and is composed of 1,280 by 800 pixels. This is, of course, significantly less than the majority of tablets and even smartphones that are available today. Personally, I’m unable to notice the difference most of the time. The only occasions where I do see a difference is when watching video off YouTube or Netflix, but the difference is not always massive. For writing and gaming purposes, it’s difficult to spot the screen resolution being particularly low.
Color rendition on this tablet is relatively muted compared with some competing tablets, though this trait is common with most budget tablets. Put the Lenovo Tab 4 10 next to a high-end tablet or smartphone and the difference is obvious.
One genuine weakness is that the tablet lacks an auto-brightness sensor, which means you have to manually control the brightness of the display. The tablet doesn’t get dim enough for late night use if there’s a lot of white on the display, nor does it get bright enough for use outside under sunlight, but most of the time, the tablet works as well as it needs to.
To summarize, the display is mediocre. It’s nothing special, but this means that it’s perfectly serviceable. Most people, and almost certainly the audience for the Tab 4 10, will have no issue with the display.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 is a traditional Android tablet running Android 7.1.1 Nougat out of the box. The tablet boasts a slate form factor and comes with a modest set of specifications. At its heart, we find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 chipset backed up by 2GB of RAM. This is a quad-core processor clocked at 1.4GHz packing the Adreno 306 GPU. There’s one storage variant that has 16GB of on board space and a microSD card slot for expandable memory. The IPS LCD panel is composed of 1,280 by 800 pixels, and there’s a 7,000mAh battery that charges up via a microUSB port. Lenovo has not included any sort of fast charging technology. Rounding out the device’s spec sheet is Bluetooth 4.2 and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. The exterior of the device measures 247mm by 171mm by 8.3mm, and together it weighs 500g. This is not the smallest, lightest nor thinnest of tablets available today, but when holding the Lenovo Tab 4 10 with two hands, it doesn’t feel like anything out of the ordinary.
With modest hardware specifications, you might be forgiven for thinking that the Lenovo Tab 4 10 is going to be a sluggish and frustrating device to use. How is it in everyday use? Before answering the question, I should clarify that everyday use for me meant web browsing, social media use, some photo editing in Google’s SnapSeed application, and editing documents using either Google Drive or Microsoft Word. Occasionally, I watch some YouTube and Netflix, and there’s some lightweight, casual gaming too. In short, nothing that sounds too demanding.
During these tasks, the Lenovo Tab 4 10 remained a consistent performer. It does not have a flagship device ‘snap,’ and whilst applications generally open consistently, there are tiny delays that for most people are unnoticeable until they use a significantly more powerful device. The Lenovo Tab 4 10 has 2GB of system RAM which can be a handicap for people who want to switch between several different games, but it should not be that big a deal.
For watching Netflix, there’s no issue whatsoever with how the device performs, and nor should there be. There were, however times when Google Docs or Microsoft Word would lag by a few characters as I was typing using a wireless keyboard, but this lag was inconsistent and rarely noticeable. In this respect, the Tab 4 10 is no different from the vast majority of Android tablets as the lags were likely caused by the operating system and wireless setup, not the tablet itself.
One test of how powerful a device is involves downloading and installing applications via Google’s Play Store in the background, whilst using another application in the foreground. It was obvious that the Lenovo Tab 4 10 was busy in the background when trying this experiment, but it was no deal breaker for me.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 has been constructed using a hard plastic material. It isn’t expensive-feeling plastic, but it’s well pieced together and feels solid and durable. The flap covering the microSD slot easily opens and closes, and there are no uneven panel gaps or sharp edges around the device. Beyond this, there is not much to like nor dislike: the design is simplistic, putting dual stereo Dolby Atmos speakers on front at the top of the device from a landscape point of view. The speakers are good. They are loud and clear, and add a lot to the tablet experience. The speakers can project sound all around the device, meaning you’ll hear good audio from all angles. Credit goes to the tablet’s virtual surround sound ability, which is great for watching video and listening to music in the living room.
Lenovo has given the Tab 4 10 both a front and rear camera, but their marketing literature makes little mention of these components. There’s a 2MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera. Both might be considered “serviceable,” but only under ideal lighting. The front camera is designed for video calling and images are fuzzy, and lacking in definition. The rear camera is present as a courtesy should the user wish to take a picture of something when his or her phone is not at hand, but it’s not something to be relied upon.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat under a Lenovo software skin, which includes a number of special features. One is Lenovo’s ‘Productivity Mode,’ which is an attempt at biasing the user interface more for productivity and a way of altering from the stock Android look and feel. There are cosmetic changes here and there, but the device overall looks and feels reasonably close to what one gets with vanilla Android on a Nexus or Pixel.
Productivity Mode works reasonably well, though I’ve seen it force close a few times during my testing. It can also stop accessing a particular application if it’s updated whilst it’s still showing it the recent apps screen, but for the most part, if you’re patient with it, this is a welcome addition.
There are a number of bundled applications included with the Tab 4 10, including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, but these can easily be uninstalled if you don’t want them. Yes that’s right: these applications may be uninstalled rather than disabled, which frees up internal space.
The device also has the usual assembly of Google applications, and with access to Google’s Play Store, it’s relatively easy to add applications that fit your needs or wants. The software experience is smooth enough to use, but if you also use a more powerful device, occasional slowdown and lag will be noted and the Lenovo Tab 4 10 will not feel as snappy in use.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 uses a 7,000mAh battery cell to keep things alive away from the charger. There are tablets with larger battery capacities that are similar in size, but despite this, battery life is a clear strength. Keeping the screen dim with some moderate use (plenty of Netflix), has resulted in twenty-four hours of screen on use with a single charge. More demanding duties such as writing using a paired wireless keyboard (over Bluetooth), and playing games, makes an impact on battery life, but I never saw an extrapolated screen on time of under fifteen hours when using the device with its backlight at a minimum.
Standby is also excellent thanks to Android 7.1.1 Nougat’s ‘doze on the go’ feature. The tablet doesn’t sip battery when off. You can happily bring the tablet with you on your travels and know that if you don’t use it until the evening, the battery would be largely where it was the morning before you set off.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 is a $199 device with some definite strengths and no particular weaknesses. On paper, the device has a low-end processor and mediocre display, but for watching Netflix and experiencing some lightweight gaming, this won’t matter to the majority of customers. If you want a tablet with solid battery life, good speakers and a newer version of Google’s Android OS all for a price that won’t break the bank and is otherwise adequate; the Lenovo Tab 4 10 could hit the spot.
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