I’ve used Android for many years but despite dalliances with a Nexus 7 and a couple of smaller Fire Tablets, I have a confession. The tablets I actually use? If I’m using apps or watching TV I use an iPad and if I’m looking to get some work done I use a Windows 10 detachable tablet from Dell.
When Lenovo asked if I wanted to get a look at their budget 10.1 Inch tablet I jumped at it. The market seems to have dropped in price with few premium devices and the Tab 3 seems no different. Designed less to be thin and perfect and more as a tough media consumer the Tab 3’s big selling point is it’s Dolby stereo speakers.
Picking it up and I was surprised by the weight. The body is made of plastic but there’s some hidden reinforcement in there which makes it far less creaky and twistable than I’d expected. The screen quality is reasonable – bright enough to use in the sunlight but with a very slightly visible screen door effect. The internal specs are reasonable – a 1.3GHz quad-core chip and 2GB of Ram are reasonable for watching media and simple apps but there were noticeable slowdowns at a number of points. Storage is disappointingly low at 16GB but at least there’s a microSD card slot.
From a software perspective, Lenovo has had a light touch – and that’s a good thing. They’ve added a decent kids mode that lets you lock down specific apps, times of day and times apps are available and which will stop most kids. Beyond that and a couple of preinstalled manual and systems diagnostic apps it’s a vanilla Android. There’s no indication that Lenovo plans to upgrade the tablet to Android 7 but they are sending out at least some security patches – at the time of writing on the 7th of May the tablet had received the March security patch.
Android tablets have had and still have a multitude of problems. Perhaps highest amongst them is that they’ve never really caught on for app developers and many app’s just don’t make the best use of them. That said there is one good reason for a big Android tablet – watching videos and TV. What you want is a reasonable screen, expandable storage and something that has the battery life to last your day. The Tab 3 is never going to match the iPad’s range of apps but it does what it does well and at a quarter of the price. I’ll be happy to keep using it as a TV screen and to check my Feeds in the morning. If you’re budget sensitive or want a tablet for the kids it’s a good, solid choice.
Price: ± £125
Lenovo is a Chinese Multinational that makes a huge range of computers, electronics, TVs and phones. with over 50,000 employees and a revenue approaching $46 billion dollars. They acquired IBM’s PC business – Thinkpad – as well as owning Motorola Mobility and making their own branded Ideapad and Yoga convertibles. They have courted controversy several times particularly in their PC business with several pre-installed programs that were either acting as spyware or left gaping security holes.
The Tab 3 has an all plastic body with a blue frame. The front is covered with Gorilla Glass with mid size bezels running from a centimetre and a half to two centimetres. There’s a single front facing selfie camera paired with a rear facing camera. The Tab 3 has all it’s controls – on/off, a volume rocker on the right next to it’s microUSB charge port and a covered microSD port.
The Tablet is less ergonomic than I’d hoped – the front curve to the sides is rather abrupt and feels a little sharp after you’ve been holding it for a while. The weight isn’t excessive but it’s not that light either and you’ll have problems holding it for several hours.
- Dolby Atmos dual speakers. These speakers cover the whole back top of the tablet and the software bundled givse you a certain amount of control over the sound you hear and equalisation but the sound is still somewhat tinny and quieter than would be ideal. I found them fine to listen to watching videos in a quiet room but with any background noise switching over to headphones was the smart move.
- MicroSD card: Lenovo includes a utility that lets Android treat the microSD card as part of the internal storage. This does, of course, slow that storage down slightly but it give much more space for apps and makes good sense to do.
Product dimensions: 24 x 17 x .8 cm
Capacity: 16GB plus MicroSD
Item Weight: 553g
Colour: Black with blue highlight frame
Made in China
Materials: ABS Plastic
Operating System: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Processor: 1.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon Qualcomm snapdragon apq8009 quad-core processor
Operating System: Android 6.0.1
Memory: 2GB RAM. 16 GB internal storage
Display: 10.1-inch screen. Resolution 1280 x 800 pixels. IPS technology. Multi-touch screen. LED backlit display.
Camera: 5 MP rear, 2MP front
Connectivity: micro USB 2.0 and 3.5mm headphone jack
Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz) capable
Speakers: Dolby® atmosTM Stereo Speakers
Battery: 7000 mAh non-removable
FM Radio: Built-in
Warranty: 1 year limited
We based our Ergohacks Verdict on 4 weeks of tinkering, testing and using the Lenovo Tab 3 10.1 Inch provided by Lenovo during April and May 2017. This article was first published on 12th of May 2017.