Good for media consumption and light productivity, Lenovo's 8-inch Tab 4 8 provides long battery life and smooth performance at an affordable price. And unlike the competing Amazon Fire HD 8, the $128 Tab 4 8 comes with the real Android operating system and a full suite of Google apps, which make it one of the best tablets and best kids tablets for those who need a ton of apps.
Measuring 8.3 x 0.3 x 4.9 inches and weighing 0.7 pounds, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 has a no-frills design. Its back is covered with a smooth charcoal material that gives the Tab 4 8 an almost velvet feel, while gunmetal-gray plastic sides provide a sturdy grip. The bezels are of moderate size, with the top one featuring a 2-MP front camera. The rear houses a 5-MP shooter.
The Tab 4 8 has dual speakers nestled at the top and bottom edges. The slate also has room for a micro USB charging port, a 3.5mm headphone jack and an unassuming microSD slot hidden under a Lenovo port cover on the left-hand side. On the Tab 4 8's right side lie the volume and power buttons.
Display: Great for the price
The Lenovo Tab 4 8's 1280 x 800 display is more than capable of facilitating comfortable web surfing, gaming and light video viewing. Colors aren't the most vibrant compared to those on premium tablets, but they appear much better than its competitors in this price range. When I watched the Love Yourself: Her Serendipity trailer from BTS, the Tab 4's resolution made Jimin's features less sharp than they appear on other screens. Despite this, the panel was still able to show fine details, like the specks in Jimin's contact lenses during an extreme close-up and individual strands of his blond hair.
According to our colorimeter, the Tab 4 8's screen reproduced 89.5 percent of the sRGB color gamut. That number is higher than scores from the Lenovo Tab 4 10 (87 percent) and Amazon Fire HD 8 (79 percent). Though the Tab 4 8's display is not as colorful as the category average (97.39 percent), I found it to be more than adequate for my YouTube streaming.
Compared to its similarly priced competitors, the Tab 4 8 is on the brighter side, at 429 nits. This score surprisingly beat out showings from the Lenovo Tab 4 10 (307 nits) and Amazon Fire HD 8 (380 nits), as well as the category average (392 nits). The Apple iPad (470 nits) is brightest, but it's impressive that Lenovo's $128 tablet fell only 41 nits below that mark.
Audio: Atmos enabled
With dual Dolby Atmos stereo speakers at the top and bottom edge of the tablet, the Tab 4 8 produced loud audio. When I listened to Jessi's "Spirit Animal," I could clearly hear the bass and vocals, with hardly any distortion. Reproduction also had enough boom to fill a small conference room. The Tab 4 8 comes with a Dolby app installed so you can adjust its audio to your liking, a feature I really appreciated because it's so robust.
There's a built-in microphone hidden at the very bottom of the Lenovo Tab 4 8. If you're filming video or recording an event, make sure the Tab 4 8's microphone is pointed in the right direction, which may require you to flip the tablet upside down to capture the best sound. I recorded a few short voice notes to see how the microphone picks up sound, and the playback sounded accurate.
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor and 2GB of RAM, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 provides reliable speed for most of your media needs. I could surf the web and use social media apps with ease in between playing a few rounds of Candy Crush. Netflix ran smoothly even when I had 10 tabs open in Google Chrome.
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 scored 1,847 on the Geekbench 4 app, a benchmark that measures overall performance. This result isn't as as strong as the Lenovo Tab 4 10's showing (1,891) or the category average (3,162), but it's much better than the Amazon Fire HD 8's result (1,785).
Lenovo's 8-inch tablet also turned in an underwhelming 6,029 on the Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test, which measures graphics performance. That score is better than the Amazon Fire HD 8's result (6,015), but only by a slight margin. The Lenovo Tab 4 10 (6,112) fared slightly better, though the category average (13,842) blows out both Lenovo tablets' scores. But take note -- this is a sub-$200 tablet we're talking about.
Battery Life: Pretty good
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 may not be the longest-lasting tablet, but it offers good endurance. The tablet lasted 10 hours and 7 minutes on the Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing at 150 nits), beating out the category average of 9 hours and 56 minutes.
However, Lenovo's Tab 4 10 lasted significantly longer, clocking in at 11 hours and 17 minutes, while the Amazon Fire HD 8 lasted 10 hours and 58 minutes.
Interface and Software
Lenovo's Tab 4 8 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat and comes preloaded with Google Apps and Google's Gboard virtual keyboard. One feature that turned out to be really handy was Nougat's split-screen view, which made it possible to check my email while I surfed the web.
The interface is very simple, featuring the standard navigation buttons found on Android devices at the bottom of the screen: back, home and overview. Right above the home button is an app manager that lets you see all of the Tab 4 8's installed apps. At the top of the screen lies a search button that works with Google Chrome or OK Google.
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 comes preloaded with useful apps like Microsoft Office and Lenovo SHAREit. These app transfer files easily to other devices over Wi-Fi, proving that this tablet can be helpful in work settings. There's also the SYNCit app that aggregates your contacts, SMS messages and photos.
The cameras on the Lenovo Tab 4 8 aren't the best, but they're much better than those found on other tablets on the market. The rear-facing camera is 5-MP and shoots relatively clear shots, while the 2-MP, front-facing camera is significantly blurry in comparison. Combined, these specs resulted in grainy and shaky video.
Colors were also undersaturated, giving my tan skin a gray tinge that looked sickly. Though this tablet wouldn't be a photographer's top choice, it can handle a Skype call in a pinch.
The Tab 4 8's 16GB model comes with 2GB of RAM, and is available for $128. There's also a 32GB configuration available, along with a "Plus" version that comes with a built-in fingerprint scanner. The Tab 4 8 Plus also comes in 16GB and 64GB configurations, which also feature more RAM (3GB and 6GB) and higher-resolution cameras (5-MP front, 8-MP back), all for an additional cost.
Or for $180 you can opt for the Lenovo Tab 4 10, which packs in many of the same specs as the Tab 4 8, but with a larger screen. There's a Plus version for the Tab 4 10, which sells for $340. All of the Tab 4 configurations feature microSD slots that let you expand your storage to up to 256GB, so you can take that into consideration before shelling out more cash for a larger storage size.
Lenovo provides several accessories to keep your Tab 4 8 in pristine condition. These include a $25 folio case, a $30 case rugged enough kids and an $80 keyboard case. The Tab 4 8 will also work with an Alexa-enabled speaker, so you can use a Home Assistant for hands-free tasks.
The $128 Lenovo Tab 4 8 is a great tablet for the price because it delivers on everything it promises to be. It's an affordable Android tablet that provides a bright display, good audio and reliable performance.
Shoppers who prefer a slate with a slightly larger screen and better performance for a modest price should look toward Lenovo's $180 Tab 4 10. If you'd rather get your hands on a decent tablet at bargain prices, Amazon's $80 Fire HD 8 is more than enough. However, if you want a true Android tablet, complete with Google apps, that sells at an affordable price, the Tab 4 8 is a great choice.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag