There are a lot of Android tablets on the market, but some of the brands that stand out are Samsung and Amazon. They make some of the best Android tablets out right now, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a competent competitor. That's where Lenovo comes in. Its tablets are available in popular price points and sizes, but can it compete?
That brings us to the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen. It's a solid device, with an excellent design and beautiful finish. The same level of praise also extends to the display, which provides crisp visuals, excellent viewing angles, and great colors. However, the tablet struggles with its performance. While it's not a sluggish tablet, you'll have to get used to it stuttering on a regular basis, even when scrolling through webpages. We can't recommend it if you're a power user or if you just want a smooth experience.
However, you can't find many Android tablet options at this size and price point, especially from a well-known brand. Of course, you'll find much cheaper devices from smaller brands, but they won't have the best support. With the added cost from Lenovo, you'd hope to get better support. While many would consider the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen a budget option, you just won't get a great experience, even for around $200.
About this review: Lenovo sent XDA the model with 64GB of internal storage and 4GB RAM for review. The company did not see the content of this review.
Lenovo Tab M10 Plus (Gen 3, 2022)
While the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Gen 3 looks, sounds, and feels good, and there isn't much competition when it comes to specs and price, it doesn't perform as well as we expected.
- Up to 128GB
- MediaTek Helio G80
- Up to 4GB LPDDR4X
- Operating System
- Android 12
- 7,700 mAh
- USB-C port
- Camera (Rear, Front)
- 8MP rear, 8MP front-facing
- Display (Size, Resolution)
- 10.6-inch 60Hz IPS LCD, 2000 x 1200, up to 400 nits, TÜV Low Blue Light-certified
- Starts at $210
- Wi-Fi 5 802.11AC, 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band
- 251.2 x 158.8 x 7.45 mm (9.89 x 6.25 x 0.29 inches)
- Headphone jack
- Storm Grey
- Excellent look and feel
- Great display
- Robust sound
- Good battery life
- Frequently priced below MSRP
- Performance issues
- Slow to charge
- Limited software updates
Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen: Pricing and availability
- The Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen is available from Lenovo, Best Buy, and Amazon
- This model review has 4GB RAM, 64GB of internal storage and costs $210
The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen released in February 2022. There are different models, with the 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage model costing $190, and the higher end 4GB RAM, 128GB internal storage model costing $230. Additionally, you can often find heavy discounts directly from Lenovo, which runs multiple sales on its products, or even third-party sites like Best Buy and Amazon. At these discounted prices, it makes it easier to look past some of the tablet's flaws and can become a bit more of an intriguing purchase when compared to other models in its class.
Design and display: The highs
- Minimal and muted two-tone design
- Display is crisp, and the colors look natural
The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen has a relatively muted look, with its two-tone gray color scheme on the back and a 10.6-inch display on the front that's surrounded by a black bezel. This isn't a tablet that's going to stand out, but it fits right in with other tablets on the market in this price range. There's nothing wrong with a more restrained look.
Most of the back panel is metal, with the top section made of plastic, presumably for better radio penetration, and the bottom portion is made of metal. The plastic area feels soft and has a few reflective flakes that give off just a bit more character when the light hits it just right. The plastic area also has a Lenovo badge in silver with black lettering that provides a nice color accent.
On the left side of the tablet, you'll find two speakers, one on the top and another on the bottom, with a power switch located near the top speaker. On the right side, you'll get a similar design with a two-speaker setup, along with a centered USB-C port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the top, you'll get volume buttons, along with a card slot for expanded storage. This is also where you'd find the SIM card slot if you purchased that model.
Overall, the device feels comfortable to hold thanks to its thin profile and rounded corners. It also weighs just 465g, which is the sweet spot compared to other tablets on the market. If there is one thing to complain about, it's the feeling of cold metal in your hands when grabbing the metal back panel. It isn't the best experience, but it's a relatively common one when it comes to tablets.
At the end of the day, this looks and feels like any other tablet on the market, but it's refined and it works. Sure, there's always something more that can be added, but when you're aiming for a certain price point, you have to accept that a premium design or materials won't be included. Heck, even if you opt for the more expensive Lenovo model, you're looking at pretty much the same exterior hardware.
Display: Good but not great
- Colors look good but aren't vibrant
- It could be brighter
- Resolution isn't great, but visuals still look crisp
When it comes to the visuals, it gets bright enough when watching content with its 400 nits of brightness, but it does leave you wanting just a little bit more. It doesn't look bad for an LCD panel with 2000 x 1200 resolution, but there are times when you want to turn up the brightness a notch and you just can't. A contributing factor to this is that, by default, the colors out of the box look relatively accurate. So if you're used to seeing more punchy colors from, say, an OLED screen on a smartphone, it will take some time for your eyes to adjust.
But since this is an IPS panel, you get great viewing angles, and the 10.6-inch screen is more than enough when using the tablet by yourself. There's also just enough bezel around the display that prevents you from accidentally tapping something when holding it, and the evenness of the bezel around the screen makes the device look sleek.
Since this is a 60Hz panel, you can't expect the smoothest animations or when scrolling, but for just general everyday use, it didn't bother me. You can't do a lot to adjust the display, although there are color setting adjustments in the display menu that allow you to change the color temperature, along with a Bright mode. But the difference is so subtle when turned on that it was really hard to tell it was making that big of an impact.
But for the most part, the tablet looks good as long as you use it indoors. While you can try and use this outdoors, I'd recommend another product with a brighter display or an OLED panel. Otherwise, you might try a matte screen protector if you're set on this tablet.
Performance and battery: Mixed bag
- Has a MediaTek Helio G80 processor with 4GB RAM
- Battery life is great
- Struggles in a lot of areas when it comes to performance
Unfortunately, despite a lot of good, the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus just doesn't run as expected, especially for being a new tablet. While it can tackle most applications you throw at it, it isn't the most elegant experience. For example, you can expect a slightly choppy experience navigating and scrolling through a website. Images and other media were often missing or took some time to load.
This same kind of behavior also applies to YouTube, with the UI not flowing all that seamlessly when expanding and minimizing video. Comments are slow to load or just pop up when the tablet has processed them. I also saw similar behavior with games. I got small hiccups while playing Marvel Snap and scrolling through menus, and pretty pronounced lag when playing during a match. Truth be told, I didn't even try more intense games because, well, I didn't think it'd be able to handle it.
On the plus side, when you're actually set into an activity, like watching a video, there aren't any problems with the stream itself. You won't see the video pause or stutter, which is a relief.
I've left some benchmark numbers from Geekbench 6 and PCMark below. The Geekbench 6 scores show the SoC performance, while the PCMark gives you information about the internal memory. But long story short, the MediaTek Helio G80 isn't the best chip on the market by any means, and the numbers reflect that. The numbers here are equivalent to a top-tier smartphone SoC that came out five to six years ago. As far as the data for the onboard storage, these numbers are also quite low, and could be contributing to some of the sluggishness we see from the tablet.
However, the upside to low performance is great battery life. It also has a large 7,700mAh capacity unit, so you'll easily be able to get over seven hours of video watch time if you're streaming through YouTube, and even more if you're watching it from a local source. One thing to note is that the charging time of the unit can be quite long when charging at its maximum 20W capacity. Going from zero to 100% did take close to three hours. If you're using the included 10W adapter, this time will be much longer so make sure to never forget to charge this tablet overnight.
Software: Simple and uncluttered
- Pretty close to stock Android
- Upgrade path is limited
There's not much to say regarding software. You'll get a relatively stock experience on Android 12, with minimal clutter regarding third-party apps. There are some additional apps like Amazon Music, Netflix, Lenovo's Instant Memo, and Tablet Center, but these are minor additions that don't intrude much on the experience.
While it does come loaded with Android 12, Lenovo does state that it will upgrade the tablet to Android 13 sometime in 2023. Unfortunately, Lenovo only updates its tablets for one OS upgrade cycle, meaning you won't get another update once Android 13 lands on this device. This isn't a bad thing, as devices can work for years on older versions of software, but I expected better from a company like Lenovo.
Should you buy the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen?
You should buy the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen if:
- You want a simple experience for watching videos or using basic apps
- You can find it on sale
- You don't want to spend a lot on a tablet
You should not buy the Lenovo Tab M10 Plus 3rd Gen if:
- You want an excellent tablet experience
- You're looking to play games
- You want extended software support
I think when it comes to a tablet, the formula is relatively easy. For the most part, Lenovo nails many aspects that have become familiar to Android tablet users, including the design, materials, and display. It even packs a little extra "punch" with its quad-speaker design.
Unfortunately, I think Lenovo compromised a lot here with this tablet. The device's lackluster performance was quite jarring. I didn't expect something built recently to have such a glaring performance issue when just swiping through menus and webpages. I even reset the tablet and started fresh to ensure it wasn't a software issue, but the problems still persisted.
All that said, it might not be a bad buy if you need a basic tablet. Before you buy this tablet, head to a local store and see if you can give it a test drive. Only then will you know if these types of problems will affect your workflow.
Lenovo Tab M10 Plus (Gen 3, 2022)
The Lenovo Tab M10 Plus Gen 3 looks, sounds, and feels good, but it doesn't perform as nicely as we'd hoped. Try it before you buy it, and make sure to test in-store if you can.