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Lenovo Tab Plus review: go-anywhere tablet meets home entertainer

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Lenovo Tab Plus review lead

Stuff Verdict

This multi-purpose slate is impressively versatile. The Lenovo Tab Plus is also far more value-minded than rivals like the Pixel Tablet – and all the better for it.


  • Screen, speakers and kickstand make this an entertainment champ
  • Consistently great battery life
  • Slick design and strong build


  • Performance is merely OK, even at this price
  • Only two more Android generations promised


This isn’t the first tablet to launch with a built-in kickstand – or even the first from this particular brand – but after living with various smart displays for the last few years, the Lenovo Tab Plus makes sense to me in ways earlier efforts simply didn’t. This slate can sit stationary at home, or brought out on the move when needed – no accessories or third-party kit required.

It’s a whole lot cheaper than a Google Pixel Tablet and dock, at just $290/£280/€280, yet can pull off similar ambient mode tricks. JBL has leant a hand to tune the eight speakers, which are bigger than any you’ll find on a rival tab – yet not so bulky you can’t still slip it in a bag for travel. And performance is on par with the equally affordable OnePlus Pad Go.

As affordable tablets go, then, is this the best of all worlds?

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Design & build: make space for speakers

Front the front, there’s little that gives the Tab Plus away as anything other than an affordable tablet. The screen bezels aren’t exactly skinny, and the gunmetal grey frame feels very much like polycarbonate plastic. Flip it to one side, though, and you’ll spot this slate is packing some extra junk in the trunk.

The bottom half of the tablet is twice as thick as the top half, to make room for a generous number of speakers and that integrated kickstand. This part is machined from metal, and felt impressively sturdy throughout my testing. If anything, the hinge was a little stiff – though I expect that’ll loosen slightly with use.

You can fold it out slightly to stand the tablet up in landscape view; this was perfect for placing the screen on a desk and using it like a mini monitor for my social media feeds, as well as catching up on my YouTube subscriptions while cooking in the kitchen. It also flips back further, letting you lie the Tab Plus down at an angle like a graphics tablet. Note-takers and doodlers will be happy to hear it supports Lenovo’s Tab Pen Plus stylus, though I didn’t have access to one for this review.

It might be thicker than almost every rival at one end, but the Tab Plus is a reasonably svelte 7.7mm thick at the other. It was easy to slide in a bag to take with me on the move, and that kickstand earned its keep during longer train journeys. It’s not exactly a featherweight at 650g, though. That’s almost a third more than a 10th gen iPad – albeit before you put it in a case, should you want to add a kickstand to one.

Seeing how a Google Pixel Tablet is no different from any other tab once you take it off its dock, and an Echo Show 10 can’t be taken on the move, I think the Tab Plus justifies its proportions.

Screen & sound: let me entertain you

I can’t bemoan Lenovo for using an LCD screen here, given the Tab Plus costs a lot less than any OLED Android tablet I could find at the time of writing. The 11.5in panel still looks colourful and vibrant for its class, with ample brightness for indoor use. A modest peak 400 nits meant I couldn’t see darker images all that well when outside in bright sunshine, but even the dingiest scenes in House of the Dragon were watchable from my living room sofa.

A 2000×1200 resolution made images and text look perfectly crisp at arms’ length, and hold up fairly well to closer scrutiny. I appreciate Lenovo adding a 90Hz refresh rate, too; while the underlying hardware can’t always guarantee smooth motion, at least the screen isn’t a limiting factor. I found the dedicated reading mode handy for ebooks, too. It can’t best an e-ink display, but the dropped colour saturation and dimmed backlight definitely made reading easier on my eyes at night. It can even go completely grayscale if you like.

Really though, it’s the sound system where the Lenovo Tab Plus stands out from its peers. There are eight JBL-supplied speakers (four woofers, four tweeters) stuffed inside the tablet’s portly bottom half, with enough volume to put some cheap Bluetooth speakers to shame. It can actually act as one, playing tunes from any paired smartphone. Dolby Atmos tuning provide a wider sense of space, and there’s even a 3.5mm headphone port for private listening through wired headphones.

The amount of volume on tap is genuinely impressive, given this is still a relatively slim device. It put my desktop PC monitor’s built-in speakers to shame, and delivered a surprising amount of low-end oomph. As long as you aren’t expecting room-rattling bass, the Tab Plus is very listenable for movies and games.

Properly crank the dial and the high-end frequencies nudge into sibilance and sharp territory; it’s more noticeable when playing music, and in certain genres more than others, but drops off significantly below 80% volume. Stick to sensible levels and you won’t need to invest in a Bluetooth speaker. That said, if you’ve got a decent one lying around already, this isn’t going to best it.

Software experience: Zed in the clouds

Lenovo’s ZUI interface isn’t all that different from vanilla Android, save for a few new icons and a toolbar or two. A swipe to the left of the homescreen opens an entertainment space instead of Google Discover; it’s a neat way to find content from your installed video, music and game apps in one place, but can easily be disabled if you’re not a fan.

Android’s now familiar tablet toolbar makes an appearance, as do useful picture-in-picture and split-screen shortcuts when you tap and hold on an app’s icon. Dig into the Settings menu reveals a bit more customisation including a PC mode, which uses desktop-style floating windows. These are easier than a touchscreen once you’ve paired a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, but don’t expect an entirely smooth experience given the hardware being used here.

The other major addition is standby mode, which tries to mimic the Pixel Tablet’s Hub mode. It can cycle through photo slideshows or display the time, with a few different clock faces to pick from. There’s no way to add Google Home shortcuts to the display, cast content from another device, or use Google Assistant without swiping out of Standby mode first. It also only works when the tablet is connected to a power source, with no way to force it on while on battery power.

It’s a decent first step, but I’m hoping Lenovo will develop it further; the firm has committed to two generational Android upgrades and four years of security patches, so there’s plenty of time.

Lenovo has kept bloatware and pre-installed apps to a minimum – not always a given for an affordable Android device – and relies on Google for most default apps. The firm supplies its own app for the pair of 8MP cameras – one front-facing, one at the rear with autofocus – but they’re not great performers. Document scanning and video calls were OK for the cash, but any recent smartphone will take a better snap.

Performance & battery life: budget roots

One look at the internal hardware is enough of a clue the Lenovo Tab Plus lives at the affordable end of the tablet spectrum. Its MediaTek Helio G99 chipset is pretty old at this point, and wasn’t exactly a powerful performer at launch. Paired with 8GB of RAM, there’s just enough pep for most Android apps, but even jumping between homescreens isn’t totally skip- or stutter-free. Certain apps would chug when opening or logging into accounts.

It can still manage 1080p playback from YouTube, Netflix and the rest; it’ll stream Spotify tunes while you browse the web; and it’ll manage side-by-side split working if the apps aren’t too demanding. Heavy multitasking isn’t all that fun, though.

Gaming is a similar story. Stick to low graphics settings and 3D games can manage passable frame rates – just don’t expect perfectly smooth performance in Call of Duty Mobile or Genshin Impact. Simpler 2D titles play just fine, at least.

128GB of on-board storage is pretty standard at this price point, but it’s great to see Lenovo include a microSD card slot for adding more capacity later.

I can’t fault the Tab Plus for battery life. Its 8600mAh cell is good enough for up to 12 hours of continuous video playback, which for me translated into four or five days of frequent use for YouTube and Spotify streaming, web browsing and social media scrolling. That’s on par with simiarly-priced rivals. 45W charging from a beefy enough power brick is faster than the competition can manage, although Lenovo doesn’t include one in the box.

Lenovo Tab Plus verdict

Lenovo Tab Plus review verdict

If you’re after a tablet that can entertain while you’re on the move and also free up your hands at home, the Lenovo Tab Plus ticks lots of boxes. It’s just as potent as a OnePlus Pad Go, only in a more fun-friendly form factor and with much louder speakers. And unlike the Pixel Tablet, it doesn’t have a silly asking price.

This isn’t a performance powerhouse by any means, and Lenovo’s ambient mode isn’t nearly as useful as Google’s own, or that of an Amazon Echo Show. Sound simply isn’t a match for a quality Bluetooth speaker, either. And there’s nothing stopping you from buying any other tablet and simply putting it in a case with a kickstand.

But consistent battery life, expandable storage and a detailed screen make this an affordable tablet worth owning even before you take its unique features into account.

Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5

This go-anywhere entertainment slate is impressively versatile. The Lenovo Tab Plus is also far more value-minded than rivals like the Pixel Tablet – and all the better for it.


Screen, speakers and kickstand make this an entertainment champ

Consistently great battery life

Slick design and strong build


Performance is merely OK, even at this price

Only two more Android generations promised

Lenovo Tab Plus technical specifications

Screen11.5in, 2000×1200 LCD w/ 90Hz
CPUMediaTek Helio G99
Memory8GB RAM
Cameras8MP rear w/ autofocus
8MP front
Storage128GB on-board, microSD card slot
Operating systemAndroid 14
Battery8600mAh w/ 45W wired charging
Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming