I have been using the Lenovo Tab line of tablets since the first edition and each version has improved the overall experience of the tablet. The latest Tab 3 is by far their best consumer version yet, but is it perfect? Coming in at just $170, the Lenovo Tab 3 has superb build quality and features than any other tablet on the market under $200.
The Tab 3 features the standard tablet-esque 8-inch LCD IPS Multi-Touch display with large black bezels around it and a resolution of 1280×800. The initial design of the Tab 3 hasn’t changed as it still features the cylinder housing on one side of the tablet which holds all of its major components. On one end you find your power/sleep button, MicroUSB charging port, the other holds the dual headphone/mic jack and volume rocker. One of the unique design additions to the Tab 3 is the 8-megapixel rotable camera. Instead of offering two seperate cameras, Lenovo allows you to use the same camera for photo and even selfies, which I enjoyed very much and hope they continue to implement this to future designs.
Internally, we’re looking at a 1.10GHz Qualcomm APQ8009 processor, 1GB of LPDDR2 memory, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi compatibility, a 16GB eMMC hard drive for storage (SD Card slot expandable up to 128GB) and a 6200mAH battery. Since this is an Android tablet, Android 5.1 is installed on the Tab 3 with Lenovos UI skin over it which has toned down on bloatware but we will talk about that a bit later.
The display on the Yoga Tab 3 is decent. Good viewing angles and colors are warmer and not overly saturated. Though the clarity isn’t there for Lenovo. With a 1280×800 resolution, pixels are very noticeable throughout your use from app icons, text and more. Coming from a smartphone where UHD displays make everything crisp and clean, this is just a downgrade for your eyes and while I’m not asking for UHD on a budget tablet like this, 1080p is more than welcomed on the next version.
The Tab 3’s Multimodes are what makes this tablet stand out for Lenovo. Allowing you for multiple positions we’ve seen before like Hold, Tilt, and Stand. Hang is added and while I never used this angle, I could see the potential use for media or even a chef looking at a recipe or something. I found the Hang position to be much better on the larger 10-inch offering of the Tab 3.
Media consumption is essentially what this tablet is for. The battery life for the Tab 3 surpassed anything I ever experienced. Watching videos on YouTube or viewing movies on Netflix for hours barely drained the battery of the tablet. Standby mode is also very impressive. I left the tablet on my night stand for a few days and it was still with over 20% battery life left, kudos to Lenovo for that. The Dolby speakers also do a great job with the media side of things.
Now, the Tab 3 handles average tasks well, but once you put the tablet to work a bit it definitely shows its flaws. Major stutter and lag is noticeable when opening multiple windows, apps, or just scrolling through the tablet quickly. Also, if you plan to play games on the Tab 3, be aware it can lag a bit with heavier intense games but handled lighter ones with ease.
The 190-degree rotating camera is a great feature to have but the camera quality just doesn’t do it. it gets you by on capturing simple moments, but don’t expect anything superb. The added button for the hinge release is also a personal favorite addition for me and the Dolby Atmos speakers on the Tab 3 get very loud which makes watching movies very enjoyable, though I wasn’t able to take full advantage of the Atmos audio experience.
The Yoga Tab 3 is a great tablet for the price and for Lenovo. They keep building on what makes their Yoga line great but some things still need some fine tuning and we hope to see them knock it out of the park with the next version of the tablet. This is a great media tablet and even the perfect tablet for older folks who just want to place the tablet down in certain positions for reading or web browsing. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 retails for just $170 on Lenovo.com or other major retailers.
- Ridiculous battery life
- Design still one of the best
- Lackuster display
- 1GB of memory isn't enough
- Lenovo's UI is still a mess