Last year, Lenovo announced the budget TAB3 tablets, making options for business use and family use. They’re back at it with the Tab 4 series, but the company is taking a different tack this year, doubling down on home use.
The TAB3 7 and 8 were pitched as family-friendly options at Mobile World Congress 2016, with the TAB3 10 getting loaded up with enterprise features that made it good for use as a point-of-sale device. At MWC 2017, Lenovo is narrowing down the options to the Tab 4 8 and 10, with both getting slightly fancier Plus models.
The smaller Tab 4 8 runs Android 7.0 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC with a quad-core 1.4 GHz CPU, plus 2 GB of RAM and either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage (plus a microSD card slot). There’s also a 1280 x 800 display, a 5 MP rear camera, a 2 MP front camera, and dual speakers with Dolby Atmos audio, an unexpectedly premium audio feature for a cheaper tablet. Powering all of this is a 4,850 mAh battery. The Tab 4 10 has nearly the same specs, but with a larger 7,000 mAh battery.
The Plus models will bump the chipset up to a Snapdragon 625 SoC with an octa-core 2.0 GHz CPU. Memory configurations are improved to 3 GB RAM/16 GB storage and 4 GB RAM/64 GB of storage. The rear camera has an 8 MP sensor plus autofocus, while the front camera has a 5 MP sensor, while the display is improved to 1920 x 1200. Both Plus models will also get a fingerprint sensor and a glass build for the front and the back. But, the battery sizes are the same, so expect battery life to be a bit shorter on these Plus models.
As you might imagine, Lenovo is less keen on putting forward the all-glass Plus tablets as kid-friendly. But, they still can be — this year, instead of stocking the tablets with kid-friendly features, they’re letting customers choose what they want to do with the tablet before they buy it by offering additional kids and productivity packages.
The kids package comes, most importantly, with a child-safe rubberized case for the tablet. Lenovo is also including 3M screen protectors to prevent scratches, along with a blue light filter on the display to help make sure the tablet doesn’t disrupt sleep cycles with all that nighttime use. They’ll also load up their parental control software, which enables web filters and time limits on usage.
The productivity pack is centered around a detachable Bluetooth keyboard case, which has a little pop-out kickstand on the back. Using the case will shift the tablet into productivity mode, which enables a custom taskbar for Android apps and windowed apps, along with some optimization tweaks for the touchpad.
But, at heart, these are family tablets — the kind you leave on the coffee table for everyone to use. The kids package probably makes the most sense here — while there’s nothing wrong with the productivity package, chances are you’re going to look elsewhere for a go-to work device. Then again, part of the charm is the price.
The regular and Plus models will all be available in May. The Tab 4 8 and Tab 4 10 start at $110 and $150, while the Tab 4 8 Plus and Tab 4 10 Plus start at $200 and $250. They’ll all come in black or white.