Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus full review
Lenovo has a great history of producing solid devices combined with great specs. The Tab 3 8 Plus tablet is no exception. The matte plastic shell gives the device a sturdy feel without making it look cheap, and it runs some of the best specs you’ll find on budget- and even mid-range tablets.
Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus UK Pricing and Availability
The Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus was supplied to us for review by GearBest, which confusingly refers to it as the Lenovo P8. It currently lists the device for £115.83 ($159.99/136.09€).
There is an option for free delivery to the UK, but keep in mind that you may need to pay import duty which is calculated at 20 percent of the value printed on the shipping paperwork plus an admin fee of around £11. You can read our advice on buying Chinese tech in our separate guide.
Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus Design and Build
At 208x123x8.8mm and 326g, the Tab3 8 Plus is neither too large nor too heavy. It will easily find its place in your bag without adding extra weight, and is reasonably easy to use. Its size does make it a little hard to hold with just one hand, but the tablet’s round corners make for a comfortable holding experience.
Its dimensions allow for a nice 8in screen, with acceptable bezels for such a device. The screen to body ratio is of 70%, suggesting the tablet could have been a little smaller, but it’s not a major setback.
The button layout is standard. The volume and power/lock buttons are both on the right side of tablet, but their difference in size ensures you won’t mistake one for the other. At the top of the left side, you’ll find the microSD card slot, which also allows you to add a memory card to expand storage up to 64GB.
The headphone jack is located on the top left and the micro-USB slot on the top right. Of course, the phone also has a selfie camera on the left of the top bezel. The primary camera and LED flash can be found in their regular positions at the back.
It is made of a plastic shell with a soft, matte finish which gives the tablet a nice look, well complimented by the metal frame. The material does feel a little slippery, so you might want to invest in a case to get a better grip on the tablet, depending on how you plan to use your device.
The screen is not protected by the usual Corning Gorilla Glass and as mentioned, the tablet’s body is made of plastic, so be aware it might need extra protection if you plan to lend it to your kids, or travel with it. The plastic shell is, however, water resistant and said to be ‘dirt-proof’ though we tend to disagree with that last affirmation. Both the screen and back of the tablet are subject to fingerprints marks.
Overall, the Tab3 8 Plus design is satisfactory. It is light enough to be carried around easily, and the chosen materials make it look better than most budget tablets. It never feels like a cheap device, and has a reassuringly sturdy look.
Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus Features and Specs
Lenovo’s Tab3 8 Plus features much higher specs than what we usually find on budget tablets. It is powered by a Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625 chip, with an 2.0 GHz Octa-core CPU and an Adreno 506 GPU. It is available with 3GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage, though as mentioned, this can be expanded up to 64GB with a memory card.
These are the sort of specs you’d expect to find on a mid-range tablet, which the following benchmark results reflect:
Despite those promising features, the Tab3 8 Plus struggles to complete simple tasks, especially when they demand internet usage. Browsing the web and scrolling on any social media feels extremely sluggish and slow. This is something to keep in mind if you considered using this device in a professional environment.
The tablet performs much better when used for entertainment. It is quick to load videos and makes gaming a pleasant and much faster experience, even with demanding games such as Asphalt 8. You can also use it to read eBooks, listen to podcasts or watch movies without ever feeling like it is underperforming.
The screen quality is IPS certified, with 1920*1200p which provides high density resolution, and 283ppi (more than the average 220ppi you can find on most budget tablets). You will be able to enjoy films and video content with sharp colours and adequate brightness, a very positive feature of the Tab3 8 Plus.
Four display modes are available on the device: Media, which improves the colours to provide a better visual experience; Reading, which reduces the tablet’s brightness; Kids, which alters both colours and brightness to enhance eye protection, and a custom mode.
The primary and front cameras are respectively 8Mp and 5Mp which, again, is higher than average. The overall quality is acceptable, but no-one buys a tablet because it takes great pictures.
It is equipped with a 4250mAh battery, which is smaller than what we find on most tablets, but should last more than a day under regular usage. Note that the Tab3 8 Plus does not enable fast charging, but charges at a very reasonable speed (the battery will get back to 100% in about 2 hours).
Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus Software
Unlike Amazon’s budget tablets, the Tab3 8 Plus runs Android Marshmallow (6.0.1), giving users access to Google Apps and Google Play. On screen, the app display is similar to what Android users are used to and the commands don’t present any particular challenges..
The software design is pretty standard: the app menu is accessed by pressing the round-shaped white button, swipe down once to access notifications and the notification bar, swipe down twice and you’ll see the notification panel, with a shortcut to the settings menu. The three touch buttons give you access to the usual commands: the middle one returns to the home screen, the left one goes back and the right one opens recently used apps.
You’ll also find the apps Android users are used to and a few interesting novelties. The Tab3 8 Plus offers a ‘Parental Control’ app which includes a ‘Kids Mode’. This will enable you to set up a personalised profile for each child, choosing what apps they’ll have access to, activating safe browsing, whitelist certain websites and even limit the time they’ll be allowed to spend on the tablet.
Google’s vocal assistant is available as a shortcut on the home screen, along with some apps added by Lenovo. You will be provided with ‘SHAREit’, a file transfer app and ‘SYNCit’ which enables you to backup your device. If these don’t represent a major interest to you, you’ll easily be able to remove them.
Of course, the tablet is compatible with WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth, and some models offer the possibility to add a SIM-card, though that is not the case of our review one. Note that the Tab 3 8 Plus does not have a fingerprint sensor, nor does it support NFC.
Lenovo Tab3 8 Plus: Specs
- 210 x 125 x 8.9 mm
- 8in IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
- 1200 x 1920 pixels (~283 ppi pixel density)
- Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow)
- Qualcomm MSM8953 Snapdragon 625
- Octa-core 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53
- Adreno 506
- MicroSD, up to 64GB
- 16 GB, 3 GB RAM
- 8 MP camera
- Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
- Video [email protected]
- 5 MP secondary camera
- MP3, WAV ringtones
- 3.5mm jack
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
- Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP
- microUSB 2.0, USB On-The-Go
- Non-removable Li-Po 4250 mAh battery
- Black, White