Dec 8th, 2020

With so many Android tablets out there these days, it’s hard to find a device that stands out, especially if you’re on a tight budget. The new Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD isn’t anything special to look at, but the included charging stand allows it to double as a smart display using the Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode functionality, transforming a forgettable device into something that’s quite appealing.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD Specifications

  • Processor: MediaTek® Helio P22T, Octa-Core, up to 2.30 GHz
  • Operating System: Android™ 10
  • Display: 10.1″ HD (1280 x 800) IPS, LCD, touchscreen, 400 nits
  • Memory: 2GB LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 32GB eMMC
  • Battery: 5100 mAh
  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Cameras : Rear: 8 MP main camera, 5 MP front-facing camera
  • Wifi: 802.11AC
  • Charging Stand
  • Price: $129

The tablet experience

When buying a tablet, you really need to ask yourself what you’re expecting out of it. By simply looking at the spec sheet, you can immediately tell that the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD isn’t anything special. In this day and age, 2GB of RAM is far from ideal for those looking for a decent multi-tasking experience and the 32GB of internal storage means you’ll be deleting games and apps after just a few weeks in order to keep the tablet running smoothly.

As for its performance, the octa-core MediaTek Helio P22T is a bit sluggish, even when you compare it to chipsets found inside budget-friendly smartphones from 2018. That being said, it still does a decent job with casual games and can even handle PUBG Mobile if you don’t mind turning all the settings down to their lowest levels.

The main drawback for me is the 10.1 “HD” display. I’ve criticized smartphones with 5.5-inch displays featuring 720p resolutions, but only having 1280 x 800 pixels on a screen this size is hard on the eyes. Even if you hold the Tab M10 HD at arms-length, you can still see the individual pixels when reading text.

The display’s slow refresh rate is also painfully obvious when scrolling through content in Chrome or even Facebook. Things get a little better when using the tablet to watch videos. The color reproduction and viewing angles are pretty good, though having a higher resolution panel would allow for a sharper image, but it’s not a bad experience.

The smart display experience

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD’s best feature is the including charging dock that enables the tablet’s Google Assistant smart display experience.

With the Google Assistant, Ambient Mode enabled, the Smart Tab M10 HD can control your smartphone home devices, show off the weather, play your music and show off your favorite Google Photos albums.

The experience isn’t quite as cohesive as a dedicated Google Assistant smart display, but if still get the job done. Asking the Google Assistant for a recipe will pull up web results that open in Chrome and manually adjusting smartphone devices will require the tablet to be unlocked, but you can still bark your voice commands to it from across the room and the stereo Dolby Atmos speakers do a decent job blasting your favorite tunes.

Google new Kids Space is amazing

There are dozens of Android tablets that are built for kids, but the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD is the very first tablet to ship with Google’s new Kids Space UI, transforming the tablet with a curated experience that offers “teach approved” free content that includes games, apps video and books.

The first thing you’ll notice when you set up Kids Space is that the user interface of the tablet completely changes. The home screen launcher is relaced with a content dashboard with large Home, Play, Read, Watch & Make buttons at the bottom, making it simple for your children to find the content they want.

The main Home dashboard shows an avatar that can be customized with hundreds of different features and content recommendations that range from a joke and fun fact of the day, new videos and games and more

From the Play section, kids can access apps you give them permission to use or easily install new ones that have been “teach approved” without worrying about them making a purchase or finding a game that’s violent or inappropriate. Within the settings, parents do have the option of setting up additional restrictions so that approval is needed first for every app or game install. The approval can be done on the tablet itself or through the Family Link app installed on the parent’s device.

Within the Read section kids have direct access to more than 400 illustrated kids books, many of which have audio reading tracks and the Watch and Make sections feature curated education and craft-related videos from YouTube.

Final thoughts

When paying $130 for a tablet, you know you’re not going to be getting best-in-class features or cutting edge tech. That being said, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD offers exceptional value, giving you a budget-friendly tablet that can also double as a smart display.

The dual functionality and the integrations of Google’s new Kids Space make the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD a great buy if you’re looking for a versatile tablet on a budget.

 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD Rating: star_fullstar_fullstar_fullstar_50star_empty (3.5 / 5)

The Good

  • Dual tablet & smart display functionality
  • Good audio
  • Kids Space

The Bad

  • Underpowered
  • Low-resolution display

The Bottom Line

There are much better Android tablets to be had, but the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD is good enough for casual media consumption for those who also want a device that can double as a smart display.

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