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Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (2020) review

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is a colorful tablet that doubles as a smart display

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus
(Image: © Future)

For

  • Comes with charging dock
  • Transforms into a smart display
  • Colorful screen
  • Engaging software
  • Slim bezels

Against

  • Below-average battery life
  • Performance could be better
  • Outdated Android OS
  • Not ideal for productivity

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (starting at $169.99, reviewed at $229.99) is the significant other you thought was the best fit for you, but when you explored the dating field and found better options, you became more cognizant of your partner’s inadequacies. This was my experience with the Smart Tab M10 Plus. 

At first glance, you’re enamored by this tablet’s slim bezels, colorful display and engaging interface, but when you compare it to other tablets on the market, you realize other slates offer more bang for your buck. Still, I can’t deny that the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus provides beneficial features that its rivals can’t offer. For example, the Smart Tab M10 Plus supports Google Assistant Ambient Mode, which lets you use it as a smart display.

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus falls short in many other areas, including battery life and overall performance, but this tablet will likely appeal to budget-conscious users seeking a colorful, engaging, assistant-powered device.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus specs

Price: $229.99
CPU: MediaTek Helio P22T
GPU: Integrated IMG GE8320 GPU
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB of eMMc flash storage
Display:  1920 x 1200 FHD display
Battery: 08:55
Size:  9.5 x 5.8 x 0.3 inches
Weight:  0.7 pounds  

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus price and configuration 

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus has a starting price of $169.99 and comes with a MediaTek Helio P22T CPU, an integrated IMG GE8320 GPU, 32GB of eMMc flash storage and 2GB of RAM.

For $229.99, you can snag our review unit, which upgrades you to 64GB of eMMc flash storage and 4GB of RAM.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus design 

Lenovo slimmed down the bezels on the new Smart Tab M10 Plus now the tablet looks its sexiest.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

 The side and bottom bezels are impressively thin while the top bezel is slightly thicker to accommodate a 5-megapixel camera. The tablet’s rounded-edge, metal body has a slender profile that fits snugly inside the inner pocket of my favorite backpack.

The all-aluminum, slate-gray back cover features a round, 8-megapixel camera module on the upper-left corner of the slate. On the upper-right corner, you’ll find a small Lenovo badge. Though the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is a budget-friendly tablet, it certainly doesn’t feel or look cheap. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

On the right side of the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (in portrait mode) is a power button and volume rocker; speaker grills can be found on both the top and bottom edges. On the left side of the tablet, you’ll find pogo pins to connect the Smart Tab M10 Plus to the Lenovo Smart Charging Dock, which ships with the tablet.

At 9.5 x 5.9 x 0.3 inches, the 0.6-pound Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is similar in thickness, but lighter than the Amazon Fire HD 8 (0.4 inches, 0.8 pounds) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (0.3 inches, 1 pound). 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus ports  

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus has a decent variety of connectivity options for a tablet. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

On the top, you’ll find a headset jack. On the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port. On the right side, you’ll find a microSD card slot. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus display 

The vivid, rich colors of the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus’s 10.3-inch, 1920 x 1200-pixel display is what first caught my eye when I turned on the tablet. The slim bezels, offering an 87% screen-to-body ratio, are also visually satisfying.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

When I watched the No Time to Die trailer on the Smart Tab M10 Plus, the colorful strobe lights from a club scene popped and the rich mocha complexion of actress Lashana Lynch caught my eye. However, I found it difficult to spot finer details such as Daniel Craig’s pores and skin texture. Still, considering the budget-friendly price of this tablet, the display is satisfactory.

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus’s touchscreen was buttery smooth. The display responded to all my swipes with ease, whether I was scrolling through a long-form article on the internet or zipping through several pages of apps on the home screen.

When I said that the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus’s display is colorful, I wasn’t kidding. Its screen covers 99% of the sRGB color gamut, which makes it more vivid than the Amazon Fire HD 8 (80%) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (98%). However, brightness isn’t the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus’s strong suit. It can only reach a maximum of 322 nits of brightness while the Amazon Fire HD 8 (444 nits) and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (435 nits) have more radiant displays.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

The Smart Tab M10 Plus has a Delta-E accuracy score of 0.25 (the closer to zero, the better). The colors emanating from the Lenovo tablet are more accurate than those on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (0.31), but not the Amazon Fire HD 8 (0.19).

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus audio 

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus’s dual-speaker system delivers a well-amplified sound that fills my large living room. I listened to “Panini'' by Lil Nas X, and while the snappy tune was crisp and clear, it sounded unsurprisingly flat — I wasn’t expecting sweet-as-honey-to-your-ears audio from a sub-$300 tablet, anyway.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus has a Dolby Audio tuning app with three presets: Dynamic (default), Movie and Music. After experimenting with all three, I prefered the Movie preset the most. The Music preset placed too much emphasis on vocals while the Movie preset sounded more balanced and well-rounded.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus performance

If the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus, equipped with an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22T CPU and 4GB of RAM, was hired as a juggler to impress a noble court, it would be banished to the dungeons for its poor performance. I challenged the Lenovo tablet to juggle 25 Google Chrome tabs, and when I pulled up the Daily Mail, it took about 20 seconds for the site to fully load. When I tried to close some tabs, there were a few seconds of freezing, but it didn’t last long enough for me to be too concerned.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

(Image credit: Future)

On the Geekbench 5.0 overall performance benchmark, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus achieved a score of 966. Despite being cheaper, the Amazon Fire HD 8 smoked the Lenovo tablet with a score of 2,437. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite also outpaced the Lenovo slate (1,291).

When we ran the JetStream 2.0 test, which examines web-browsing performance, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus offered a score of 17.6. This bested the Amazon Fire HD 8 (15.21), but unsurprisingly, the pricier Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite blew the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus out of the water with a score of 27.8.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus battery life

The battery life on the Smart Tab M10 Plus is unremarkable compared to other tablets we’ve tested. The Lenovo slate lasted 8 hours and 55 minutes on a charge (continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits) while the Amazon Fire HD 8 (13:49) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite (12:39) offered longer battery-life endurance. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus webcam

As I mentioned earlier, the 5-megapixel camera can be found on the top bezel while the 8-megapixel camera sits pretty on the back cover of the Lenovo tablet. The quickest way to activate the camera app is to press the power button twice. From there, you can take a picture by pressing on the power button once.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

The camera quality of both cameras is unnoteworthy. The definition is poor and lacks crispness, and on top of that, the images tend to be oversaturated. I took a picture of two faux red flowers on my nightstand and the colors appeared unnatural and garish. The flower petals seemed to blend together and lacked distinction. Both cameras do not perform well in low-light settings, either.

On the plus side, the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus camera also provides facial recognition, which worked like a charm whenever I had to awaken my tablet from its slumber.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus and Google Assistant

One of the greatest selling points of the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus is Google Assistant Ambient Mode, which transforms the tablet into a smart display. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

My only grievance is that I wish Lenovo had made Ambient Mode activation easier and more convenient. In order to turn on Ambient Mode, you need to head to Settings, tap on Google, select Account Services, tap on Search, Assistant and Voice, navigate to Google Assistant, select Tablet, and lastly, toggle on Ambient Mode. Whew! If only Lenovo added a simple one-tap Ambient Mode button. For the final step, you’ll have to prop the Smart Tab M10 Plus onto the Lenovo Charging Dock (which comes with the tablet). 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

Once you get Ambient Mode up and running, you can turn the tablet into a digital photo album to display your favorite memories. You can also control music with your voice, manage smart home devices, and access important updates while it’s charging. I enjoyed commanding the tablet to play nighttime ambient music and telling it to set my morning alarm for the next day. Google Assistant was responsive to all my requests and even displayed important notifications on the screen, such as new emails and weather updates.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus software and warranty

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus runs on Android 9, which is outdated. I would have preferred Android 10, the latest version of Google’s mobile OS. On the plus side, the pre-installed apps are useful. Parents will love the Kid’s Mode app, which lets users restrict their tablet to kid-friendly software filled with toddler-targeted games, videos and learning content. 

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

Other pre-installed apps on the Smart M10 Plus are Bing Wallpapers, Google Calendar, FM Radio, Google Duo and Google Chrome.

You’ll also be able to use the Google Play store to download all of your favorite apps. I used the Google Play store to download PUBG Mobile, a popular shooter that played smoothly on the Smart Tab M10 Plus tablet.

I enjoyed the Google News Feed, which can be accessed by simply swiping right on the home screen; I was immediately whisked away into reading an article about one of my favorite shows, “The Office.” The Google News Feed is a stand-out feature you can easily get lost in as it is regularly updated with the most eye-catching, popular stories of the day.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

Also on the home screen is a small tab that sticks out from the left bezel. Out of curiosity, I swiped at it and it offered instant access to the YouTube homepage — very cool!

The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus ships with a one-year warranty. See how Lenovo fared in our Best and Worst Brands and Tech Support Showdown special reports. 

Bottom line 

Yes, the Smart Tab M10 Plus is, indeed, a budget tablet for money-conscious users, so I understand that I can’t be too tough on this Lenovo slate. But looking at other wallet-friendly tablets we’ve reviewed, I can’t help but feel that there are better devices on the market, especially if you’re seeking a tablet that has long battery life and zippy performance.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus (Image credit: Future)

The Amazon Fire HD 8 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite both offer over 12 hours of battery life and served up better performance scores than the Smart Tab M10 Plus. However, both of these competitors have their own setbacks — we’re not a fan of the Amazon Fire HD 8’s ad-heavy software and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite’s facial recognition is hit-or-miss.

The Smart Tab M10 Plus, on the other hand, has a highly engaging user interface with quick-and-easy access to the YouTube homepage and the Google News Feed with a single swipe. Its facial recognition feature is seamless and it has a super colorful display. Lastly, the biggest selling point is its ability to transform into a smart display thanks to Google Assistant Ambient Mode.

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 Plus

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (Image credit: Future)

The Smart Tab M10 Plus is best for folks seeking a vivid tablet for content consumption that can be propped onto a charging dock for cool, smart-display effects. However, if you’re seeking a productivity device, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite might be a better option.