Lenovo is hoping to catch the attention of tablet buyers with an 8-inch model that will sell for a price typical of 7-inch ones. The newly-announced Tab 2 A8 is going to start at $129, and will be Lenovo’s first with Android 5.0 Lollipop.
We had the opportunity to try out a prototype of this tablet at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and bring you these first impressions.
Build & Design
Companies don’t put cutting-edge designs into budget tablets, and the second-generation A8 will be no exception; it’s going to have a typical all-plastic design. Still, the bezels on the sides of the display are relatively thin, and Lenovo is going to offer this device in a range of colors: Pearl White, Ebony, Midnight Blue, and Neon Pink.
Overall, it will be 8.3 x 4.9 x 0.35 in. (210 x 125 x 8.9 mm) and 0.8 lbs. (360g), so it won’t be all that thin, and it’s weight will be about average for a mid-size tablet.
Although Lenovo describes this upcoming model as a “Mobile Multimedia Companion”, it won’t have a particularly great display. Still, it won’t have a bad one, either. At 1280 x 800 pixels, its 8-inch screen will be the same size and resolution as the one in the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8.0, and the same 189 ppi pixel density.
As with its big brother, the Tab 2 A10-70, which was also unveiled at MWC, the A8 will have Dolby ATMOS 3D Cinema Sound Technology, which is capable of tricking the ear into thinking that sounds are emanating from different directions. And the 8-inch model will sport something the 10-inch version doesn’t: front-facing speakers.
The Lenovo Tab 2 A8 will have a 1.3GHz, quad-core, 64-bit MediaTek processor and just 1 GB of RAM, which should give it good, but not outstanding, performance. Benchmarks will have to wait for a full review, but our very preliminary testing of the device showed that prototypes are capable of handling day-to-day tasks without noticeable slow-downs.
This tablet will come with either 8 GB or 16 GB of built-in storage, and Lenovo says its microSD memory card slot will support 32 GB cards but not higher-capacity ones.
This will be Lenovo’s first tablet to debut running Google Android 5.0 Lollipop, which was introduced late last year. What’s more, the company has committed to making this a “stock” version of the operating system, without any proprietary tweaks.
In addition to a WiFi-only version, there will also be one with dual SIM slots and support for GSM voice calls, plus 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE – the latter is likely to be available only in Asia where there are many who prefer to use a small tablet as their phone, rather than buy separate devices.
The second-generation A8 will have dual cameras: a 2MP front-facing one and a 5MP rear-facing one. The camera on the back is a fairly token offering reflecting the fact that tablets aren’t often used for taking pictures, but the one on the front should be easily up to video chatting, a task that is common for this type of device.
Lenovo says the 4200mAh battery in this model will be able to power it for up to 8 hours on a single charge. Only a full review can confirm this, however.
Every tablet maker needs a low-cost offering to catch the eye of budget shoppers, and the Tab 2 A8 is going to be Lenovo’s. This model will have some features just a bit better than its $129 price would indicate, and is therefore shaping up to be a good bargain.
The wait for this product is going to be extended, however, as its not scheduled for release until June.