Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus review: An excellent tablet with serious storage woes

Last year we reviewed the Lenovo Tab 4 10, which was, all in all, a very good tablet, especially for light productivity and media consumption. Lenovo still offers a Plus version of the same tablet which sports an upgraded processor and LTE connectivity, presumably for an even better productivity experience without breaking the bank.

Are the upgrades worth spending the extra cash, and is it still a good tablet to buy in 2018? Let’s find out.

Design

If you check out our review of the non-plus Lenovo Tab 4 10, you’ll get a pretty good feel for the basics of the Tab 4 10 Plus. The design is identical between the two, which isn’t a bad thing.

The tablet sports a 10-inch display with a pretty plain black design, although you’ll notice the power button is textured and colored a bit differently to make it stand out. The back is a grippy, textured plastic, specifically designed to be a little easier to hold on to.

The camera and LED notification light sit above the screen in horizontal orientation, and the right side of the tablet houses the USB-C charging port and a 3.5mm headphone jack, plus a microSD card slot. The left side is where you’ll find the power button and volume buttons. Nothing on the top or bottom sides, when held in landscape.

That USB-C port is a key difference between the two models, as the cheaper variant uses microUSB to charge.

Below the screen you’ll get a fingerprint scanner, which was noticeably absent in the previous review. Basically everything there was to complain about the design of the Tab 4 10 is fixed with the Plus version. Although both tablets scream to be used in landscape mode, not portrait mode, so keep that in mind.

Hardware

 Lenovo Tab 4 10
AnnouncedFebruary 27, 2017
ReleaseJuly 2017
Display10.1-inch (1920x1200) IPS LCD
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 626
RAM2GB / 4GB
Storage16GB / 64GB with microSD card slot
Rear Camera8MP
Front Camera5MP
Battery7000mAh (non-removable)
ChargingUSB-C
SoundDolby Atmos speakers
SoftwareAndroid 7.1 Nougat
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
SensorsAmbient, proximity, accelerometer, gyro, compass
Measurements247 x 171 x 8.3mm
Weight475g
ColorsBlack

Performance

The Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus utilizes a Snapdragon 625 CPU, which isn’t exactly cutting edge anymore but still offers a pretty good experience for most applications. You won’t notice much slowdown while navigating the tablet, and the mid-range CPU sips power to keep you unplugged from the wall for longer.

The better processor allows the Plus tablet to pick up a full HD screen, which was lacking in the regular Tab 4 10. It’s a 1920 x 1200 IPS display and is overall a pretty great screen, especially if you’re heavy into video content. It’s hard to be happy with anything less than full HD on a 10-inch display, you know?

Gaming performance is decent, and multitasking isn’t the worst with 2GB of RAM in the tablet. Extra RAM is probably my biggest specification complaint, but I understand you have to cut corners to hit certain price points.

Well, I say RAM is my biggest complaint, but it’s actually the internal storage. You’re only getting 16GB of storage, and half of that is used up right out of the box. It’s really hard to deal with such little storage anymore unless you’re all-in on streaming services and cloud storage for your productivity. Games are going to eat that space up immediately, and even getting multiple video streaming apps going will put you in a pretty uncomfortable position.

 

Storage complaints aside, this really is another phenomenal media tablet. The screen looks great now that it’s 1080p, and the Dolby Atmos speakers are just fantastic. I’m more particular about my sound quality than a lot of people, and I really love the speakers on this tablet.

Battery

Battery life is great on the tablet thanks to its larger size and the conservative Snapdragon 625 CPU. We typically see great battery life out of Qualcomm’s 600 series CPUs, and this is no exception.

Gaming is one of the biggest offenders of battery drain, so just basic streaming and productivity work shouldn’t keep you glued to the wall. You’ve got a 7000mAh battery to try and drain, and that’s much easier said than done.

With that being said, the tablet does have LTE capabilities, and if you pop a SIM card in you’re going to see a battery life hit. On the trade off, though, you’ve got a data connection everywhere.

Software

You won’t find a heavy skin here, but Lenovo has added some pretty key enhancements to the software of the Tab 4 10 Plus that really make it stand out.

The biggest addition is called productivity mode, and it basically creates a Windows-esque interface to use your apps. It moves the navigation keys to the bottom left of the screen, adds an always-available app drawer button, and creates a dock of your recently used apps. This entire bar never goes away, even as you do other things on the tablet.

This means you can quickly jump into your app drawer to find your file manager while you’re browsing the internet, and you’re literally a single tap away from accessing other apps that you currently have open. Want to jump over to Spotify to choose a new song while you’re writing up an email? Easy.

You can also split apps side by side for true multitasking, which works well most of the time. The device only has 2GB of RAM, so trying to pair Chrome with literally anything can cause some slowdown, but it’s great in a pinch.

On the media side of things, Lenovo has worked with Dolby to bring Atmos surround sound to the speakers of the device, and they’ve included an app to create custom listening modes with different equalizers. By default there are modes for music, movies, games, and speaking, but you can create your own modes and adjust the graphic EQ how you see fit. There are some nice tweaks for those modes, too, like toggles to enhance dialog clarity, virtualize surround speakers, and level out volume.

 

Amazon is now including Alexa in the tablet, too, so you’ve got the option to integrate this device into your Amazon Fire ecosystem. Personally, I’m sticking with Google Assistant, but you can’t complain about options. Lenovo also sells a Home Assistant Pack for the tablet that will allow you to turn your tablet into a makeshift Echo when you’re not using it, which is kind of neat. It responds to voice commands with no touch interaction and everything.

Lenovo also brags about the tablet’s ability to support up to 7 different users that you can move around between so everyone has their own portion of the tablet to play with. It’s a stock Android feature, so that’s not really Lenovo specific, but it is very useful on a tablet.

However, the device only has 16GB of internal storage, and right off the bat you’re going to lose most of it to internal system stuff and pre-installed apps. After updating what was on the tablet, installing DirecTV Now, Netflix, and HBO, I was down to about 6GB of free space. For a single user that’s not using the device as a phone replacement, that’s okay, but I can’t imagine managing 7 users with less than 1GB of space among every single person.

Closing

The Lenovo Tab 4 10 was a great tablet for the price, and the Tab 4 10 Plus only adds to that. That 16GB of storage is really painful, but if you’re planning on relying on cloud storage and streaming services (and you don’t mind buying an SD card) this is a really great option for a lot of users. $279 gets you a lot of tablet, and in this price range I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better portable Netflix experience.

Productivity on the base tablet is, once again, good but not great. You’re still going to want to buy Lenovo’s Productivity Pack to get the keyboard, for example, and juggling multiple browser tabs and big files can get bogged down thanks to the relatively small amount of RAM.

But for the price? It’s tough to beat.


About the Author: Jared Peters

Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo's Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.