Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of testing out the Lenovo Tab 4 8, and now it’s time for me to share my thoughts. I’d like to take a moment before we dig in to thank the folks at Lenovo for sending this spiffy little tablet our way and giving us the opportunity to try it out. It’s definitely been a lot of fun.
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 was first announced at Mobile World Congress in February of 2017, and it became available in July of the same year. There’s also a 10.1-inch version, the Tab 4 10, which we’ll be reviewing separately in the near future. The Tab 4 8 runs $129, and here’s a spoiler alert before you read my entire review: it’s worth every penny of that, and then some.
Lenovo Tab 4 8 specs & design
The Tab 4 8 comes rocking a 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 64-bit processor, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, expandable to 128GB by way of MicroSD card. It has an 8-inch 1280×800 IPS LCD display, a 4850mAh non-removable battery, a 5-megapixel primary camera around back and a 2-megapixel front shooter for snapping selfies. Size-wise, it measures 211.00 x 124.00 x 8.20 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 310.00 grams.
As for connectivity, it has WiFi and Bluetooth. It also has a Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, and Ambient light sensor, but lacks NFC, which is no surprise at this price point. For me, not having NFC isn’t a deal-breaker, because I don’t use it for too much, outside of the occasional Android Pay purchase.
Also worth mentioning, the tablet we tested doesn’t have a SIM card slot. I believe there are variations that do include one, but you’d have to do some research for specifics on that to be sure, if you’re looking for LTE capability.
In the OS department, we’re looking at Android 7.1.1, at the time of this post. It came with Android 7.0 at launch but has since been updated. In reaching out to Lenovo in regards to a potential Android 8.0 update for the Tab 4 series, I was told there are no plans at this time, but that there’s still hope for the future.
The tablet is thin and lightweight, and the back of the device has a svelte finish, which reminds me ever so much of the second-generation Nexus 7 tab.
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 UI is very similar to that of the pure Android Open Source Project (AOSP) look and feel. If you’ve ever used a Nexus device before, you’ll be right at home here. Sadly, it doesn’t get operating system updates immediately, like Nexus and Pixel devices do, but the fact that it’s on Android 7.1.1 means it isn’t all that outdated.
If I was a Tab 4 owner, I would only make two changes, with regards to the UI. First, I’d install Nova Launcher – which I’d do on any device I own anyway, so no hard feelings, Lenovo. Second, the TouchPal keyboard that comes pre-installed? I’d ditch it. There are tons of better options out there. I use Gboard and swear by it.
Outside of that, I have no issues at all with the user interface. It’s quite nice, actually.
I can’t stress how well the Tab 4 8 performs for its price tag. $129 gets you lots of nice specs that live up to expectation in real-world testing. Everything is smooth and snappy, even when running memory-intensive apps and games. I didn’t come across anything that slowed the tablet to a crawl in my testing. Of course, results will vary here, depending on what you install, but most users will be just fine with this device.
In my opinion, the speakers are the real star of the show here. That’s not to knock any of the device’s other features, but the audio sounds really good on this tablet. The dual-speaker setup gives a rich, surround sound-like experience, which is plenty loud enough for small/medium-size rooms, thanks to Dolby Atmos®.
In fact, I’ve been using the Tab 4 8 as my main source of music here at the Android Unfiltered review desk. I’ll be sad to see it go when I return it to Lenovo in the coming days.
The Tab 4 8’s battery life is pleasingly solid, especially if you’re not a hardcore user. I’ve regularly gotten close to a full 8-hour shift’s worth of Netflix and screen-on time, and as you saw in the system screenshots above, it’ll last forever in standby. 4850mAh really goes a long way on this tablet, unless you install a ton of battery-sucking apps.
Speaking of which, this is the perfect time to point you towards our post on how to get some extra mileage out of your Android device’s battery. You should give it a look sometime, as there’s a lot of good information in that article.
One thing that’s really cool about the Lenovo Tab 4 8 is that there aren’t many pre-installed apps or bloatware on it. 16GB of storage leaves you fairly limited, so it’s a plus that there isn’t a lot of garbage you won’t ever use and can’t uninstall (without some hackery). In fact, there are only 33 apps out of the box, with the majority of those coming from Google. Personally, I use just about all of them, so I’m satisfied with the pre-installed selection.
The only Lenovo app pre-installed on the tab is called SYNCit HD, and it backs contacts up to your internal storage, SD card, or the cloud. Of course, Google already does this, so unless you’re sure you’re never going to switch to a device from a different OEM, you might be best to let Googs handle it.
The Tab 4 series is built with families in mind. And as a parent, I especially appreciate this. This isn’t the first device to come with multiple user support, but it’s definitely a feature Lenovo wants you to be aware of. As such, everyone in your family can have their own account with individual passwords, settings, and social media accounts on the same tablet.
Wrap-up and final rating
If you’re in the market for an 8-inch tablet and you don’t want to break the bank, look no further than the Lenovo Tab 4 8. It’s an amazing device in many ways, and you won’t regret your purchase. In fact, you won’t likely get a better deal elsewhere for $129. If you’re looking for something with a bit more real estate in the screen department, the Tab 4 10 is also a great option at $199. It’s coming soon to the review table, so stay tuned for that.
For more info on the Lenovo Tab 4 8, be sure to check out the manufacturer’s website. And if you’d like to take my advice and add the tablet to your device collection, I’ve included a link to it on Amazon below. It’s actually $2 cheaper there right now, at $127.99