Lenovo Tab3 Tablets Prove Cheap and Cheerful

BARCELONA — Former Top Gear presenter and sometimes prophet Jeremy Clarkson once said “There's no such thing as cheap and cheerful. It's cheap and nasty and expensive and cheerful.” But based on three new tablets from Lenovo that made their debut at Mobile World Congress, I’m not so sure.

Lenovo’s new family of Tab3 tablets consists of two tablets for every day use — $79 Tab3 7 and the $99 Tab3 8 — and a slightly more sedate slate for work called the Tab3 10 Business. During my hands on time with all three, I was pleasantly surprised by their quality, which belies their low price. 

MORE: Best 2-in-1s (Laptop/Tablet Hybrids)

The Tab3 7 and 8 are pretty much the same device but in slightly different sizes. While their bodies are made out of plastic, both devices felt well-constructed. Both can be upgraded with built-in LTE modems so the fun doesn’t have to stop when you leave the house. And both come in a range of color options.

Both the Tab3 7 and Tab 3 8 feature an easy-to-use kids mode that lets parent quickly set which apps children are allowed to use, and for how long. Both tablets also feature adaptive display tech that filters out harsh blue light so parents and children can sleep more soundly. The durability rating of IP-52 means these new devices won’t conk out after a small tumble or two.

Both the Tab3 7 and Tab3 8 feature a 1-GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, microSD expansion, 5-MP rear cameras and 1-MP shooters. The Tab 3 8 has a higher resolution, 1200 x 800-pixel screen (1024 x 600 for the Tab3 7), double the starting storage at 8GB, and slightly larger 4,290 mAh battery.  

The Tab3 10 Business on the other hand isn’t quite a chipper, but with its goal to make shop keepers more mobile, I think it’s as cheerful as business gets. It starts at just $199 and features IP-52 durability, but it has additional protection in the form of a Gorilla Glass 3 display. Its sound is also pretty booming, as the Tab3 10 also comes with dual Dolby Atmos speakers. Other specs include a 1.3-GHz CPU, a full HD screen, 2 or 3GB of RAM, up to 64GB of built-in storage and microSD slot.

Sometimes it can tough to make tablets fun, but if you make a solid product with a decent price and enough power to get the job done, that’s enough to make me happy. All three tablets should be out sometime in June.