Lenovo Tab 4 10 review: Productivity and entertainment on a budget

The Lenovo Tab 4 10 is the company’s (unfortunately named) newest tablet in the Series 4 family. It’s the larger of the two, packing a 10-inch screen next to the smaller 8-inch tablet, and focuses on productivity and entertainment without causing too much damage to your wallet. On paper, it sounds great, but there’s no shortage of downright terrible Android tablets in the market, so Lenovo isn’t exactly playing with favorable odds.

They’ve done a pretty decent job with phones lately, though, so let’s see how it fares.

Design

The Tab 4 10 takes a “less is more” approach to design, and even if it won’t turn any heads, you definitely won’t find anything wrong with it, either. It’s a black slab with a 10-inch screen. Enough said.

Above the screen (in horizontal orientation) you’ll find a camera and LED notification light, but otherwise the entire face is simple and clean.

On the left side, you’ll find the textured power button and volume buttons, and the right side houses the microUSB charging port, headphone jack, and microSD card slot.

Placement of all of the ports and buttons makes a lot of sense, so if you’re using the tablet while charging it or listening to music, for example, you’ll have all of the cables above your hand and out of the way. However, it is very clearly designed to be used in landscape mode, not portrait, so if you’re the type to want a tablet that’s really just a larger phone screen, this might be a bit uncomfortable to use. I’m a landscape orientation guy, so I don’t mind it, but it’s something to keep in mind while considering the device.

Noticeably absent anywhere on the device is a fingerprint scanner. I’m sure that’s a savvy cost-cutting measure, but it’s still a slight disappointment with how many cheaper phones are adopting biometric security these days. I wouldn’t say it’s a deal breaker, but with Lenovo’s focus on multiple users, it would’ve made the device that much better to have it somewhere.

Hardware

 Lenovo Tab 4 10
AnnouncedFebruary 27, 2017
ReleaseJuly 2017
Display10.1-inch (1280x800) IPS LCD
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 425
RAM2GB
Storage16GB / 32GB with microSD card slot
Rear Camera5MP
Front Camera2MP
Battery7000mAh (non-removable)
Chargingmicro-USB
SoundDolby Atmos speakers
SoftwareAndroid 7.0 Nougat
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
SensorsAmbient, proximity, accelerometer, gyro, compass
Measurements247 x 171 x 8.3mm
Weight500g
ColorsWhite, Black

Performance

Lenovo opted for the slightly older Snapdragon 425 CPU in the tablet, which sounds pretty bad at first. Other Snapdragon 400-series devices have been very hit or miss, but thankfully the Tab 4 10 squeaks into the hit category. That’s probably due to Lenovo using a 1280×800 resolution screen instead of a full HD screen like some other OEMs, so the tablet simply has fewer pixels to push.

It’s no speed demon by any stretch, but the Tab 4 10 handles pretty much any daily task you can throw at it. Gaming is just okay, but web browsing was decent, watching videos was generally a good experience, and the interface never seemed to get bogged down.

With that being said, Lenovo’s decision to only use 2GB of RAM in a device that seems to tout its productivity chops is puzzling. For most things, 2GB is plenty, but when you kick into the specialized productivity interface it’s not uncommon to see apps get booted out of memory when you heavily multitask. Or, even worse, you’ll just see a bunch of lag.

The screen itself is serviceable, but it’s not full HD. It is paired with some relatively impressive Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers, so you’re honestly going to have a situation where your movies sound better than they look.

Oh, also, the cameras are probably the worst I’ve used on any device in the past few years. Don’t use your tablet to take important pictures, folks.

Battery

Battery life on the tablet is great thanks to a combination of factors; you’ve got a chunky 7,000mAh battery, Android Nougat’s Doze feature, and a processor that’s much more conservative than what you find in flagship devices. It’s also not a cellular device, opting instead for just WiFi connectivity, so you can pretty reasonably get away with charging this thing once a week if you’re not hammering it with videos and games.

It all depends on usage, and it’s much, much harder to pin down usage on a tablet as opposed to a phone, but Lenovo’s Tab 4 10 sits near the top of the pile for all but the heaviest of users.

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 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.

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

Lenovo’s Tab 4 10 isn’t the iPad killer of 2017, but that’s obviously not what you’re looking for if you’re in this price range. For less than $200, however, you get a device with top notch battery life and pretty decent specs across the board, and a few neat tricks that are hard to come across.

If you’re primarily using the tablet to stream videos, it’s really hard to recommend anything else. Above average screen and great battery life mean this is a phenomenal Netflix and Sling TV companion, and I bet even audio junkies can appreciate how good the speakers are.

On the productivity side, it’s a slightly less definitive yes. The productivity mode that Lenovo included is really cool and makes the tablet function more like a traditional Windows workspace, but the low amount of RAM might put off the heaviest users. With that being said, someone that’s planning on running a home business with a primary tablet is also probably shopping in a higher price range.

Even with its faults, it’s hard not to recommend the Lenovo Tab 4 10 as one of the best budget-friendly Android tablets on the market.

Buy it now: Lenovo, Amazon


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.