New Accessory Turns Lenovo Tablets Into Alexa Assistants

Lenovo’s latest accessory for its Tab 4 series of tablets makes it a whole lot smarter, thanks to Amazon’s Alexa. The device, which plugs into the Tab 4 8 and 8 Plus and Tab 4 10 and 10 Plus will cost $69.99 when it releases in October.

When it’s plugged into a tablet with either USB Type-C or micro USB, users can open a Lenovo-built Alexa app to turn the whole setup into essentially an Amazon Echo with a screen. If you ask Alexa how the weather is, it will show forecasts, and the tablet will also show you what songs Alexa plays.

But it’s nowhere near as full featured as an Echo Show, Amazon’s own version of Alexa with a display. For instance, when I asked what movies were playing, it didn’t show any movie posters or a map with theaters. While we were dealing with what may have been an unfinished product, it appears Lenovo hasn’t prepared for every possible use case when creating graphics.

The speaker was pretty loud, though we want to test it in our own lab before making any conclusive statements. Lenovo claims that the Home Assistant’s two far-field microphones can hear you from up to 9.8 feet away.

Depending on how you use Alexa, you may need a subscription to music streaming services (like Spotify), but this is the case for any smart assistant. The real curiosity is that Lenovo is pushing an assistant for just four tablets.

Earlier this year, Lenovo announced its $129 Smart Assistant, a standalone Alexa speaker, though Lenovo’s website still lists it as “coming soon.”

Photo: Andrew E. Freedman/Laptop Mag

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