Lenovo is a huge brand name when it comes to laptops, desktops, servers, smartphones, tablets etc.
We have in our hands their latest tablet release, the TAB3 8 Plus. A new entry in the mid-range category. Compared to their previous TAB3 8 lineup, we can see that the new model has significantly better specs. Let’s see how it goes.
Packaging – Specifications
TAB3 8 Plus arrived in a colorful packaging similar in size with NVidia’s K1 tablet reviewed here.
Inside, you will find the tablet itself, the power adapter with the dedicated USB cable and some basic documentation.
In terms of specifications, it is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625, a new mid-range SoC (including Adreno 506 GPU for the 3D graphics acceleration tasks) that targets a balanced performance with great battery life. Definitely a much better option than the Mediatek MT8161 SoC of the previous model. The same applies for the RAM size since it now equipped with 3GB of RAM. Internal ROM is the same old 16GB that is still enough for normal usage and can be expanded via the microSD slot (up to 256GB. 128GB was tested fine).
The 8 inch touchscreen is also upgraded and now comes with a brighter 1920×1200 IPS variant.
Wi-Fi also took a nice boost with Dual band support (1×1 MiMo, 433Mbps). BT4.0 is supported as well.
Much better performance can be expected from the 8MP primary camera at the back (with auto focus) and the 5MP camera at the front.
The excellent stereo speakers remained the same with a Dolby Atmos certification. FM radio is supported with the use of external headphones.
Battery size remained the same (4250mAh) but battery life is expected to be better due to the new SoC selection.
I/Os include a microUSB(for charging and data), a headphone and a microSD slot.
GPS. accelerometer, proximity, and compass sensors are also included.
Android 6.1 (Marshmallow) is selected operating system.
Overall, for less than 150$, the spec list is very impressive.
Lenovo’s design is plain but attractive at the same time. It is made of plastic, but feels very solid when you hold it in your hands. Grip is perfect due to the material used at the back that is similar to sandstone.
The screen coverage is ~71% which is decent if you consider the landscape oriented use with the dual speakers at the sides (you need space for your thumbs)
Power and volume buttons are on the right side (portrait orientation) and on top you will find the charging and headphones port. The microSD slot is located under a Lenovo branded flap at the left side.
Screen quality is very good. The IPS screen has wide angles and can be easily used outdoors thanks to its high available brightness. Full HD resolution is a perfect option for a 8inch mid-range device since it promises both great visuals and battery life. There is no Corning Gorilla Glass protection so it would be wise to use a screen protector.
There are screen color options to choose from but the ones that don’t actually ruin the image are standard and movie. You can select them from the lower left side of the screen.
Speaker performance is fantastic. This pair of speakers is actually better than the ones found on Shield K1 especially in terms of volume. These can be very loud, if Atmos is selected, and can be a great companion to your trips.
Android – Menus – Settings
Fortunately, TAB3 8 Plus uses the stock rom of Google’s Marshmallow version of Android. This is usually great for non-flagship devices since it favors speed and responsiveness and is not filled with bloat-ware applications.
Although there are some Lenovo apps, these can easily be removed and the installation as a whole can be considered as bloat-ware free.
Menu list is the classic Android one and you will feel right at home from the first minute.
Of course, Play Store is pre-installed and you are free to install any application from Google’s never ending catalog.
The only feature really missing is the split screen option. Hopefully a future Nougat update will solve this.
There are ~11GB of free space that you can use after the first boot. Marshmallow settings allow you to expand this storage with the use of the microSD card.
During our testing period, the device received two updates, one major (650mb) and a smaller one. Hopefully it will be updated to Nougat at some point.
TAB3 8 Plus performed admirably in all key areas.
Pure performance is stellar with a ANTUTU score of 60000 range. Certainly there are better scores around but not at this price range and certainly not with the same battery life.
KODI works fine and even 4K file playback is possible for as long as it is not via Wi-Fi due to bandwidth limitations.
YouTube has hassle free playback at 1080p as well. Same applies for Netflix since HD playback is supported as well.
Movie/music playback is very enjoyable due to the performance of the stereo speakers mentioned above.
Wi-Fi performance is quite good and you will be able to stream 1080p content if your access point is equally good (433Mbp).
USB supports OTG function so it will be very easy to attach your pen drive and access its contents.
The combination of Snapdragon 625 and 3GB of RAM also ensure an almost lag free browsing to the android user interface, at least until you fill it up with many active apps at the same time.
Gaming is also stellar and you will experience lags only in titles using heavy 3D textures.
Camera – Battery Life
Both cameras were upgraded and result was noticeable. The main camera has very good performance, especially in day light. Low light photos are difficult but it was expected.
The front facing camera’s 5MP provides an ideal solution for applications like Skype and taking selfies (again, avoid low light locations).
Geo-tagging is supported.
Snapdragon 625 ‘s 14nm technology appears to work wonders since we achieved 8+ hours (real world) of Google Chrome web browsing that can be bested if you use lighter browsers. For dedicated (local) video playback, battery life is even better with more than 12 hours of battery life. This will guarantee all day long usage with only one charging. Considering it an Android device, stand by battery consumption was good with only 5% loss. Only IPad’s can best this score.
During gaming, battery life varies from title to title.
Lenovo for sure tries to dominate the low end market of Android tablets by including great hardware at such a low price (140€).
There is no other 8inch tablet with a mid-range SoC from a well-known manufacturer like Qualcomm, 3GB of RAM, (almost stock) Marshmallow Android, Dolby certified high performance stereo speakers and a gorgeous 8inch 1200p IPS screen. Don’t forget that you will also get the support that matches Lenovo’s brand name as well.
Right now the Lenovo TAB3 8 Plus is the only way to go for a sub 150$/140€ tablet. We are certain that you will be hard to find a similar one for under 200$ too…
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