Long battery life; Good rear camera; Good performance for price; Haptic feedback
Display could be better; Weak audio
With all-day endurance, solid performance and the latest Android OS, the Tab 4 is a great value for a 10-inch tablet.
It’s easy to find an affordable 7- or 8-inch Android tablet, but if you want a larger screen for binge- watching shows, playing games and getting work done, you normally have to spend well over $200 for slates such as the Apple iPad ($329) or Asus ZenPad 3s 10 ($289). Lenovo’s Tab 4 10 gives you a spacious 10-inch screen for just $179 and throws in strong battery life, solid performance and good build quality, to boot. However, its screen, while serviceable, isn’t nearly as sharp or as colorful as those on its pricier competitors.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 has an unexciting but functional aesthetic, with plastic gunmetal-gray sides and a soft-touch dark-gray back that’s easy to grip. Its bezels aren’t very thick, but they don’t stand out for being thin, either.
At 9.7 x 6.7 x 0.3 inches and 1.1 pounds, the Tab 4 10 is more than light enough to use and carry, but it’s a little heavier than its pricier competitors, such as the Asus ZenPad 3s 10 (0.95 pounds, 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.2 inches) and the Apple iPad (1.03 pounds, 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.3 inches). Lenovo’s smaller version of this slate, the 8-inch Tab 4 8, is significantly smaller at 0.7 pounds and 8.3 x 4.9 x 0.3 inches, while the Fire HD 8 weighs a mere 0.81 pounds and measures 8.4 x 5.0 x 0.4 inches.
The Tab 4’s relatively thin frame has room for a micro USB charging port, a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card slot, which lets you add to the built-in 16GB of eMMC storage.
The Tab 4’s 10-inch, 1280 x 800 display is fine for movie watching or game playing, but it doesn’t have the vibrant colors you’ll find on more expensive tablets. When I watched a trailer for Thor: Ragnarok, the green of the Hulk’s skin and the red of Thor’s cape seemed mostly accurate, though a bit dull. However, despite its relatively low-resolution display, the panel showed fine details, like the stubble on Bruce Banner’s face, and the textures of a wall were sharp and prominent.
According to our colorimeter, the Tab 4’s screen can reproduce a respectable 87 percent of the sRGB color gamut. However, that number is quite a bit lower than the more premium Apple iPad (123 percent), the Asus ZenPad 3s 10 (113 percent) and the category average (97 percent). The Tab 4 8’s screen reproduces a very similar 89.5 percent of the gamut, while the Fire HD 8’s display was less colorful, clocking in at 79 percent.
The Tab 4 is not the brightest tablet on the market, but with 307 nits (according to our light meter), the screen is more than adequate for indoor use. The panel is visible under direct sunlight, but the colors were extremely dull under those conditions. The Apple iPad (470 nits), the Asus ZenPad 3s 10 (426 nits), the Tab 4 8 (427 nits), the Fire HD 8 (380 nits) and the tablet category average (385 nits) were all significantly more luminous.
The Lenovo Tab 4’s two top-mounted speakers offer sound that’s palatable for watching videos or playing games, but if you want to listen to music, attach some headphones. When I listened to AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” the audio was flat and lifeless, but it wasn’t more distorted than most other tablets and laptops we test. The maximum volume was too quiet to fill a small room.
The pre-loaded Dolby Atmos app allows you to choose a sound profile (Movie, Music, Game or Voice) and turn on such features as a volume leveler and a dialogue enhancer. I found that none of the settings significantly affected audio quality; however, disabling Dolby altogether made the music sound even more hollow.
With its Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 CPU and 2GB of RAM, the Tab 4 10 packs a decent amount of power for surfing the web, doing social media updates and playing games. When I fired up the graphically intensive game Injustice 2, I was able to have some pretty complex hand-to-hand battles, using Batman or Harley Quinn. I occasionally noticed some very mild stutters, and images weren’t as sharp as I’d like, but the game was playable.
The Tab 4 10 scored a modest 1,891 on Geekbench 4, a test that measures overall performance. That number is significantly lower than the tablet category average (3,035), the Mediatek 8176 CPU-powered ZenPad 3s 10 (3,270) and the iPad (4,429) with its Apple A9 CPU. The Tab 4 8 has the same Snapdragon 425 processor and, hence, got a similar score of 1,847. The Fire HD 8 and its unnamed quad-core MediaTek processor scored a slightly ower 1,785.
Lenovo’s tablet earned a lower-than-average score of 6,112 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark. That’s less than half of the category average (13,198) and miles behind the iPad (28,399) and the ZenPad 3s (14,124). The Tab 4 8 scored a nearly identical 6,029, while the HD 8 registered a similar 6,015.
Interface and Software
The Tab 4 10 runs Android 7.1 Nougat with a very light Lenovo skin on top. I appreciated Nougat’s split-screen capability, which made it easy for me to see two application windows side by side in landscape mode.
Rather than re-inventing the wheel, Lenovo pre-loads its tablet with Google’s own Gboard virtual keyboard, which provides a fantastic typing experience. The Tab 4 10 supports haptic feedback, something you don’t get on the iPad or on many Android tablets, so I was able to feel a pleasant tactile response while typing.
In the keyboard settings menu, you can even turn the vibration level up or down for lighter or heavier feedback. The standard Android navigation buttons for back, home and recent apps also provide feedback.
Lenovo pre-loads a handful of useful apps and, thankfully, eschews annoying bloatware. Lenovo SHAREit allows you to send files back and forth to other mobile devices or to your PC over Wi-Fi direct. SYNCit HD keeps your contacts, SMS messages and photos synchronized across all of your devices. The Dolby app helps you adjust the audio settings.
With the Tab 4 10, you can leave your charger at home. Lenovo’s slate lasted a strong 11 hours and 17 minutes, significantly longer than the tablet category average (9:44) and the ZenPad 3s 10 (8:09), but shorter than the iPad’s time of 12 hours and 59 minutes. The 8-inch Tab 4 8 lasted a strong 10 hours and 7 minutes, while the Fire HD 8 endured for 10 hours and 58 minutes.
Most people don’t buy tablets for photography, but if you need to snap some pictures with the Lenovo Tab 4 10, its rear-facing, 5-MP camera won’t let you down. Photos I shot on our office roof deck were sharp and relatively colorful. Fine details,such as the grain in a wood planter and the lines in a building’s stone edifice, were easy to make out. Green leaves and silver chairs looked vibrant.
The front 2-MP camera is nothing to Skype home about. However, under the fluorescent lights of our office, it captured reasonably accurate photos of my face. As with most webcams, the fine details were somewhat lacking, with the lines in my skin and hairs in my beard hard to distinguish.
Lenovo makes several first-party accessories available for the Tab 4 10, including a keyboard case ($79.99), a durable kids’ case ($29.99) and a folio case ($24.99). The company also recently announced Home Assistant, a $75 Alexa-enabled speaker that attaches to the Tab 4 and uses an app to show you the weather, music or other content on-screen.
The Lenovo Tab 4 10 delivers exactly what it promises: a capable 10-inch tablet experience at a great price. If you want to invest an extra $150, the Apple iPad offers longer battery life, a superior display and access to Apple’s wider ecosystem of tablet-friendly apps. You could save a lot of money by purchasing an 8-inch Android tablet, such as Lenovo’s own Yoga 4 8 ($129) or the Amazon Fire HD 8 ($79.99). However, if you want a large-screen media tablet with great battery life and capable performance at an affordable price, the Lenovo Tab 4 10 is your best choice.