Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus

Price: £299 inc VAT from fave.co/2vcBPot

Android Advisor - - Contents -

If you are look­ing for a tablet that costs less than an iPad, has a great screen and good per­for­mance then the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus is well worth a look de­spite the ter­ri­ble name and odd de­sign.

It has a built-in stand that gives it a lop­sided look when in por­trait, but pro­vides a spine to hold onto one-handed. Turned land­scaped it be­comes sym­met­ri­cal and the pop-out stand solves an is­sue many with reg­u­lar shaped tablets have to buy cases for. You can even hang it on a hook to watch it in land­scape, if you want.

With a de­cent screen and above-av­er­age speak­ers, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Plus is a noth­ing if not ver­sa­tile. We re­view it here to see if its quirks are enough to rec­om­mend it on its own mer­its and above other tablets on the mar­ket.

De­sign

The Tab 3 Plus is de­fined by its out­landish de­sign. It is based around the built-in stand, a fea­ture you might not know you needed un­til you use it.

For us, it’s still some­thing we could live with­out. But if you use your tablet a lot in land­scape mode on a ta­ble or in bed to stream TV or films, then this is the tablet you’ve been wait­ing for.

The stand is built into the near-cylin­dri­cal base of the tablet and is re­leased with the push of a but­ton. The hole on the stand can double up as a hook hole if you want to hang the tablet for use in the kitchen,

say. It’s very sturdy and is ad­justable to 180 de­grees, mean­ing you don’t have to bal­ance it or fork out for a stand case like you might with the classic slate tablet de­sign. This in­evitably adds weight, and the tablet weighs 637g com­pared to the iPad’s 469g and the Fire HD 10’s 500g.

It’s quite no­tice­able and means it isn’t the best tablet for one-handed use, where you have to ro­tate it and grip the curved edge like the spine of a folded mag­a­zine. On one end of the stand section is a cir­cu­lar power but­ton that we ac­ci­den­tally pressed sev­eral times when mov­ing the tablet dur­ing a video, an­noy­ingly lock­ing the whole de­vice.

The spine con­tains the 13Mp cam­era and the tablet’s four speak­ers, ev­i­denced by the dot­ted grille. The heavy spine means the rest of the de­vice is pleas­ingly slim and it’s cov­ered with a nice-to-thetouch faux leather em­bossed with the Yoga logo.

Around the front is a bright and sharp 2K dis­play with de­cently slight bezels that are only in­ter­rupted at one end by the front-fac­ing cam­era and the other by a Lenovo logo.

If the tablet is a tad bulky to use in por­trait mode, it comes into its own land­scape, where it never once top­pled over thanks to the weight dis­tri­bu­tion. It’s also splash­proof for use in the kitchen, though it doesn’t have an IP wa­ter­proof rat­ing.

Dis­play

For a tablet mar­keted as ‘the ultimate TV and movie tablet’, the Tab 3 Plus pretty much de­liv­ers. The screen is a 10.1in Quad-HD panel with a res­o­lu­tion of

2,560x1,600 and 299 pix­els per inch. Ba­si­cally, it looks great. Pro­vided your In­ter­net con­nec­tion is al­low­ing stream­ing at the high­est res­o­lu­tion from ser­vices like Net­flix, this dis­play looks great. Bright­ness is good, and the pixel den­sity is ac­tu­ally bet­ter than the 2018 iPad – great to see when the Lenovo’s dis­play is larger.

View­ing an­gles are good and scrolling through web pages or so­cial me­dia is smooth.

Pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and stor­age

While the Tab 3 Plus isn’t as fast or as ca­pa­ble as tablets like the iPad Pro, it is has de­cent specs con­sid­er­ing the wan­ing An­droid tablet mar­ket in 2018.

It has a Qual­comm Snap­dragon 652 pro­ces­sor in the Wi-Fi model, and the 625 if you go for the 3G/ LTE model. We re­viewed the Wi-Fi only model and

un­less you re­ally need mo­bile data away from a Wi-Fi router it’ll be the one you’ll go for too.

In this age of stream­ing you might be less con­cerned with how much me­dia you can fit on the Tab 3 Plus, but there is 32GB on board, with 3GB RAM to keep things tick­ing over. For movies and TV on the go, 32GB is more than enough stor­age to down­load a few episodes of some­thing for the train or plane.

If you’ve got a big­ger me­dia col­lec­tion on a com­puter or hard drive you can of course move videos across to the tablet, too. There’s also a mi­croSD card slot al­low­ing for ex­pan­sion up to 256GB for the truly me­dia-heavy users who might want to put all their mu­sic and video on it.

As you can see from our bench­marks, the 2018 iPad is the more pow­er­ful per­former. It may lack a stand, but its speak­ers are ac­tu­ally just as good as the Lenovo’s, even if they lack Dolby sup­port.

The iPad is far bet­ter in graph­ics per­for­mance and so is bet­ter for gam­ing. The Tab 3 Plus can cope with ba­sic games, but any­thing high-end and it can’t cope with the frame rate. Its form fac­tor is also not de­signed with gam­ing in mind, and means if you do want to play games on a tablet then this is not the one.

Connectivity and au­dio

Wi-Fi connectivity on the Tab 3 Plus is ex­cel­lent with dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac con­nec­tions all sup­ported. Blue­tooth is ver­sion 4.0, not the lat­est 5.0, but we found con­nec­tion to wire­less head­phones and speak­ers ab­so­lutely fine. The speaker grille on the Tab 3 Plus is ad­e­quate and pro­vided by au­dio spe­cial­ist

JBL. With Dolby At­mos they cre­ate a well-bal­anced sound, but don’t let the mar­ket­ing fool you – this is not sur­round sound. We also found that they didn’t go quite as loud as we’d like.

Wired head­phones sound ex­cel­lent and you can tune to your tastes with the Dolby At­mos set­tings that are baked into An­droid on the Tab 3 Plus.

The cam­eras on the tablet are merely fine – you’ll be okay us­ing the front-fac­ing one for video calls, but you won’t want to use the rear cam­era for any­thing as it’s grainy and aw­ful.

Bat­tery life

Bat­tery life is quoted at 18 hours, and we found this pretty much bang on. The Tab 3 Plus man­ages to eke a lot of juice out of its huge 9,300mAh cell and this bodes well for long haul flights and jour­neys with a box set lined up. It also fast charges with the in­cluded wall charger which is great to see on a tablet

now that most high-end phones are ca­pa­ble of it. You can even use the tablet to charge your other gad­gets like a huge power bank.

Soft­ware

The tablet runs An­droid Marsh­mal­low out of the box, but we were im­me­di­ately di­rected to up­date the soft­ware to An­droid Nougat 7.1.1. This is good for an An­droid tablet as un­for­tu­nately not many have the lat­est Oreo build, con­cen­trat­ing as man­u­fac­tur­ers do on phone up­dates be­fore tablets.

Lenovo has added the good Dolby At­mos fea­tures along­side so-called quick ges­tures that we turned off as they didn’t add any­thing to the ex­pe­ri­ence and were merely to go for­ward or back­ward in the OS. A

tablet is not used like a phone, and you prob­a­bly won’t need or want to do much cus­tomiza­tion.

It comes with a lit­tle bloat­ware in­stalled. The Lenovo app is com­pletely use­less and only con­tains a trailer and spec sheet for the tablet, and you can’t unin­stall it. Far bet­ter is Me­dia Cast that lets you beam mu­sic from your phone out of the tablet’s speak­ers, or cast a phone screen onto the larger 10.1in dis­play.

Ver­dict

In many ways the Lenovo Tab 3 Plus is su­pe­rior to the reg­u­lar iPad. It has a larger screen, bet­ter speak­ers and com­pa­ra­ble bat­tery life, and if you like and will use the stand, it solves an on­go­ing tablet prob­lem by let­ting you use it hands-free. But the iPad is only £20 more, has bet­ter per­for­mance and a brand fa­mil­iar­ity that is hard to beat. For oth­ers, the Tab 3 Plus’s de­sign will be off-putting and ugly, and it is a lit­tle an­noy­ing to use in one hand or on a lap in por­trait mode given its strange di­men­sions. But a hi-res dis­play, great speak­ers with Dolby At­mos and out­stand­ing bat­tery life make this a left field good choice of tablet best if you watch a lot of Net­flix. Henry Bur­rell

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 10.1in (2,560x1,600, 299ppi) IPS LCD dis­play • An­droid 6.0, up­grade­able to 7.1.1 • Octa-core Qual­comm Snap­dragon 652 (Wi-Fi only) • Adreno 510 (Wi-Fi only) • 3GB RAM • 32GB stor­age, mi­croSD up to 256GB • 13Mp main cam­era

• Front-fac­ing cam­era; 5Mp • 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.0 with A2DP • 9,300mAh non-re­mov­able bat­tery • 247x179x4.68mm • 637g

The Lenovo’s stand is very sturdy and ad­justable to 180 de­grees

Geek­bench 4

The speaker grille on the Tab 3 Plus is pro­vided by au­dio spe­cial­ist JBL

The Lenovo’s 18-hour bat­tery life make this a great choice if you watch a lot of Net­flix shows

The screen is a 10.1in Quad-HD panel and looks great

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