CES is a yearly trade show where companies near and far come together and introduce new products. Lenovo showed up to this year’s event with a fresh two-in-one Android tablet that doubles as an Amazon Echo Show. Called the Smart Tab P10, the unique device allows you to carry around a fully-functional Android tablet and also dock it so it can act as a smart display while it charges.
Now that the device is available to purchase, is it worth $350? This is Android Authority’s Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review.
Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review: The big picture
Lenovo partnered with Amazon to build an Android tablet that is still useful during the countless hours that it isn’t being used. Instead of leaving the device to collect dust throughout the day, why not put it on display?
That’s exactly what the two companies were able to accomplish. While docked, the Smart Tab P10 offers Amazon’s visual Alexa smart display experience found on the Echo Show. This means that the display is always scrolling through news alerts, the weather, and is capable of answering basic queries and controlling other smart home tech.
Although the concept is the first of its kind and should be an instant success, Lenovo kept the device’s price down by including mid-tier specs. This decision alone could be the Smart Tab P10’s downfall, as it often leads to poor performance.
What’s in the box
- Lenovo Smart Dock
- Power adaptor for dock
- 3-ft USB-C cable
- MicroSD card ejection tool
The unboxing experience doesn’t hold any surprises. Open the box and you will be greeted with the Smart Tab P10. The Lenovo Smart Dock and power adapter can be found below a piece of cardboard alongside the quick start guide.
Lenovo also threw in a microSD card ejection tool and a USB-C cable. The tool can be inserted into the right side of the tablet to pop the memory card tray out of the device. The USB cable can be used to charge the Smart Tab P10 directly if you don’t want to place the tablet on the dock. Unfortunately, Lenovo doesn’t include a wall adapter, so you’ll have to provide your own.
- 242 x 167 x 7mm
- Glass build
- Fabric-covered plastic dock
- Single rear and front camera
- Front-facing fingerprint sensor
- Four speakers tuned with Dolby Atmos
- 3.5mm headphone jack
At $350, the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 feels premium. As with high-end flagship smartphones, this tablet is two slabs of glass sandwiching a metal frame. The combination makes it feel like a much-more-expensive product.
The tablet is light enough that holding it for an extended period shouldn’t be a problem. The Smart Tab P10 comes in at roughly two times the weight of the average smartphone, but its size spreads that out evenly.
There is enough flexibility in the device that I worried about accidentally snapping the tablet
The thin nature of the tablet is concerning. Out of the box, the review unit already had a slight bend in the frame. I found that I could easily flex the entire slab without exerting too much pressure. I worry that the Smart Tab P10 could easily be broken with rough use in a family setting.
You will find the tablet’s two ports at the top of the Smart Tab P10’s right edge when holding the device in landscape. The location is convenient if you want to listen to audio via the headphone jack, but the USB-C port feels out of place.
The power button and volume rocker are stacked on top of one another on the left edge of the tablet. The Lenovo Smart Tab P10’s fingerprint sensor is located under the display on the face of the device. I found the buttons to be clicky and the sensor to be reliable 98 percent of the time. The fingerprint sensor can be used as a back button while using apps on the tablet.
As the tablet is meant to be docked when not in use, the Smart Tab P10 features two pogo pin pads and dual slots on the bottom edge that match the receiver on Lenovo’s Smart Dock. The device immediately starts the pairing process with the dock over Bluetooth the moment the tablet is dropped into place.
The Smart Dock itself is made out of a plastic that doesn’t quite match the premium look of the tablet. Fortunately, the outside edge is wrapped in fabric which makes the dock look more at home wherever you decide to place it.
Just like other smart displays, the dock features three buttons: Bluetooth, volume rocker, and mute. It also includes a kickstand that rotates out of the base of the dock for stability. The added support is necessary if you plan to interact with the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 while it’s on the accessory.
- 10.1-inch LCD IPS display
- 1920 x 1200 Full HD resolution
We’ve been spoiled over the last couple of years. Mid-tier and even some budget smartphones now feature high-quality LCD or OLED displays with pleasing resolutions. It’s pretty clear that Lenovo chose to save a couple of bucks by skimping on the Smart Tab P10’s LCD panel.
Watching content on the tablet is bearable, but the colors tend to be washed out. The viewing experience isn’t disrupted, but there is a clear difference between this tablet and almost any other device with a large display.
You might have noticed that the Smart Tab P10 also has significant bezels surrounding the display. As someone who isn’t a fan of the ever-growing trend of bezel-less devices, I found the size of these bezels to be nearly perfect. Score one for Lenovo.
The extra space could probably be toned down a hair, but the wider bezels allowed me to easily hold onto the tablet while watching videos in landscape or reading an ebook in portrait.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 450
- Octa-core, 1.8GHz
- 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
- MicroSD card up to 256GB
The Lenovo Smart Tab P10’s Android experience begins to fall apart when it comes to performance. While it’s nice to have 4GB of RAM, the budget Snapdragon 450 processor is just not up to snuff.
The processor handled single tasks just fine, with only a small amount of stuttering and slightly extended load times. Throw more complex tasks like graphic-intensive games such as Asphalt Xtreme at the tablet, and things start failing.
Treat the Smart Tab P10 as a extremely basic tablet and you shouldn’t run into too many problems. If a family were to leave the device sitting in their living room, everyone should be able to pick it up on occasion and enjoy streaming Netflix, playing basic learning games, or doing some online shopping.
I tested the top Smart Tab P10 model, which includes 64GB of storage. As the tablet is meant to be the center piece of a home and used by an entire family, it would have been nice to see more built-in storage for games and other offline content.
Fortunately, Lenovo did include a microSD card slot so you could add up to 256GB of additional storage.
- All-day battery life
- Charges through dock
Despite its slim profile, the Smart Tab P10 has a rather large 7,000mAh battery. Larger cells don’t always equal longer battery lives, but Lenovo did a good job optimizing the tablet’s software.
I was getting roughly 10 to 12 hours of screen-on time during my testing, and my use included scrolling through social media, watching random YouTube videos, and occasionally refreshing my Feedly list.
Most will put the tablet back on the charger well before the battery is depleted
Other than when I was explicitly trying to run down the battery, I never left the Smart Tab P10 off of the dock for more than two to three hours. I expect most customers will probably follow in my footsteps and only pick up the device for short periods.
- Rear: 8MP with autofocus
- Front: 5MP with fixed focus
Tablet cameras have never been good. People occasionally try to use tablets to take photos, but the images don’t turn out well. The person holding up the large display also typically ends up looking funny to onlookers.
As you can see from the sample photos below, the rear and selfie sensors should never be used to capture pictures.
The only good use that I found for the Lenovo Smart Tab P10’s cameras was for video conferencing and Amazon’s Drop In feature. The sample photos show how poor the two sensors are, but they work just fine for quick “face-to-face” chats.
Whatever you do, please don’t be that person at an event holding up their tablet to snap a photo. No matter what phone you have, it will likely capture a better image.
- Android 8.1 Oreo
- Lightly skinned software experience
- Show mode
- Productivity mode
Android tablets are known for underperforming and being neglected by both the manufacturer and Google. Lenovo launched the Smart Tab P10 with Android 8.1 Oreo — a version of the mobile operating system that is almost two years old — and I don’t have high hopes that this device will ever run modern software (Android P or Q).
The tablet received one bug-fixing software update while I was reviewing it. The Smart Tab P10 is still on the February 2019 security patch. You should not expect to see timely system updates from Lenovo.
But the reason why we’re talking about the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 is because of a feature called Show mode. The feature effectively turns the tablet into one of Amazon’s Echo Show devices. It can be automatically enabled by placing the Smart Tab P10 into the Smart Dock or by manually turning it on from the notification shade.
When Show mode is enabled, Amazon’s software runs on top of Android. This allows you to continue receiving push notifications and quickly jump back into the tablet experience by swiping up or down on the tablet while it’s docked.
While running, your tablet responds to commands given to Alexa. These include basic queries, requests to control other smart device such as a Ring video doorbell, and more. As its replicating an Echo Show experience, news stories, the weather, and other cards will rotate around the display throughout the day.
As the custom mode is running on top of Android, Amazon had to move Show mode’s settings to within the tablet. On traditional Echo Show hardware, users could manage the smart display by swiping up or down from various areas of the home screen. On the Smart Tab P10, these settings can be found within the tablet’s settings menu.
As someone who has spent some time with an Echo Show, I found it rather difficult to find these options. Because of that, I believe Show mode could use some refining in order to be more user friendly. But besides that, everything else can easily be controlled by the Alexa app.
If there is one feature that Lenovo included that I love, it’s Productivity mode. As seen above, the function turns the tablet into something that resembles a Chromebook or Windows machine.
First, the software navigation buttons are shifted over to the left side of the display. Next, Lenovo brings up the icons of recently-used apps. The company markets this mode for those who want to switch between tasks quickly.
As the Smart Tab P10 lacks processing power, the experience of jumping between several running apps was less than optimal. Productivity mode would be a great thing to see Lenovo bring to a higher-end tablet.
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Four front-facing speakers with Dolby Atmos
- Three far-field mics and two 3W speakers in the dock
The speakers on the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 let me down. After learning that the four front-facing speakers include Dolby Atmos, I expected loud, clear audio while watching a show or listening to music. Instead, the tablet delivers an unimpressive audio experience that you might expect from a budget smartphone.
Lenovo preinstalls a Dolby Atmos app on the Smart Tab P10, but there’s only so much adjusting you can do to fix the flat sound that comes from the tablet’s speakers.
Your best bet is to pair the tablet to Lenovo’s Smart Dock over Bluetooth, which can be done while it’s removed from the accessory. The unit includes two much larger drivers and produces loud and more pleasing audio. It lacks in the bass department, but it would have been hard to fit a small subwoofer into the plastic dock.
Lenovo Smart Tab P10 specs
|Lenovo Smart Tab P10|
|Display||10.1” FHD (1920 x 1200) LCD IPS display|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 Octa-core. 1.8GHz|
|MicroSD||Yes - Up to 256GB|
8MP with autofocus
5MP with fixed focus
|Speakers||Four front-facing with Dolby Atmos|
|Security||Front-facing fingerprint sensor below the display|
|Software||Android 8.1 Oreo|
|Dimensions and weight||242 x 167 x 7mm|
Value for the money
- Lenovo Smart Tab M10 with 2GB/16GB — $199.99
- Lenovo Smart Tab M10 with 3GB/32GB — $249.99
- Lenovo Smart Tab P10 with 3GB/32GB — $299.99
- Lenovo Smart Tab P10 with 4GB/64GB — $349.99
Although we reviewed the top Smart Tab P10 model with a glass back, Lenovo also sells the Smart Tab M10 which features a plastic build (perhaps better for families with small children.) The four variants available are largely the same under the hood, with only slight differences to reach different price points.
After experiencing the performance issues on the most-capable (4GB/64GB) variant of the Lenovo Smart Tab P10, I wouldn’t recommend any of the three slower models. This is even more true if you plan to use the Android aspect of the device.
Don’t buy the cheaper variants if you want to enjoy the Android experience
As for value, you get two different devices with the Smart Tab P10: an Echo Show and an Android tablet. Amazon’s latest-gen Echo Show retails for $230. Compared to the Tab P10’s $349 price, and you start to wonder if the Android experience is worth the extra $120.
If you want a pure Android tablet, I’d recommend you check out something like the Samsung Galaxy S5e. It’s slightly more expensive, but it comes with a better display, more powerful processor, and smoother user experience. If you want just the Echo Show experience, check out the cheapest Smart Tab M10 model. It’s more affordable than an actual Echo Show.
Lenovo runs sales on its Smart Tab lineup all of the time, so chances are you can pick up the tablet for a slightly reduced price. Saving a couple of bucks helps with the value proposition.
Lenovo Smart Tab P10 review: The verdict
Lenovo introduced a unique device with the Smart Tab P10 that attempts to blend the Amazon and Google tablet experiences. Having the two-in-one functionality was convenient, but the poor performance made me never want to remove the tablet from its dock.
When I did use the P10 as a tablet, I was reminded why Android has mostly failed on the larger form factor. Apps are sluggish and rarely optimized for the bigger screen. It’s just not fun to use.
If you want an Echo Show, I’d recommend saving a few bucks and buying a dedicated unit directly from Amazon. The feature set is identical to what’s offered in Show mode, plus you will be able to go directly to Amazon for support if your device starts acting up.
Here’s hoping that Lenovo builds Show mode into a future tablet with premium specs and a more current version of Android.
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