As smartphones have grown in size in recent years, the tablet market has stagnated. In Europe it is currently impossible to find a tablet with decent hardware, unless you pay more than 400$ for the device; or rather: for a second device. Lenovo currently dominates the market for 8-inch tablets with its P8 (Tab 3 Plus). The compass with GPS support, the fast Snapdragon 625 processor and the extremely low price of only 100$ especially make the Lenovo tablet alternative-free. The Lenovo TB-8804F tested here can be regarded as a facelift for the Tab 3 Plus and brings a few innovations. Whether it is still worth the surcharge of currently 100$, you have to decide for yourselves.
Qualcomm continues to provide the foundation for the best tablet on the market with the Snapdragon 625 processor. In the case of Lenovo Xiaoxin, it is supported by 4/64GB of memory and the system is now Android 7.1. This version is still up to date for a tablet, even though the smartphone area only talks about Android 8 and 9.
Design and build quality
The design has not changed much. The tablet is made entirely of plastic except for the glass front. However, the plastic casing does not look cheap, but is torsion-resistant and does not creak either. With the 8-inch size, Lenovo Xiaoxin lies wonderfully in one or two hands. The two stereo speakers above and below the display are directed precisely towards the user. The quality is simply excellent and can be adjusted to personal preferences via Dolby Atmos in the options menu. Also the good old jack connector finds its place at the top and provides excellent sound.
The Lenovo tablet is 213mm long, 123mm wide and 7.7mm thick. The bezels are quite large at 6.5mm left and right and 18mm above and below. Thus, the tablet offers enough space to place the fingers next to the display during use. Due to the plastic casing , the tablet is really light with 330g and lies excellently in the hands. This is also an excellent value in terms of the 4850 mAh battery. However, there is no premium feeling like you have with Mi Pad 3. The build quality is flawless and there are no gaps.
On the left outside, a Micro-SD up to 200GB can be inserted below the Lenovo LOGO. The power button is located below the volume control on the right and also includes a fingerprint sensor. However, the latter is quite sluggish (2 seconds to unlock) and even only 7/10 attempts are successful. A current USB Type-C port is not missing here, as well as a notification LED and also a microphone for Skyping can be found below. The design, build quality and equipment of the current Lenovo Xiaoxin are completely inspiring.
The 8-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (FHD), resulting in a sharp 275 pixels per inch. If you take a close look, you will find individual pixels, but at a normal distance to the display you will not see them. The display is very sharp and the colours are also accurate. The only point of criticism is the lack of automatic brightness control, which must always be adjusted by the user. The display is very bright and can also be used outdoors. At the same time, the low brightness level is also ideal for use in dark rooms. The viewing angles are also stable.
The 10-point touch screen processes all inputs extremely quickly and just as accurately. Gorilla glass or other glass protection is not mentioned, but the tablet is completely laminated and the surface slides nicely. With our screwdriver test we could not damage the display. If you are looking for a tablet with a very good display without performance being impaired by high resolution, the Lenovo TB-8804F is the best choice.
System and performance
The Lenovo Xiaoxin runs on an up-to-date Android 7.1 system and updates should not be expected. Whether there will be custom ROMs in the near future is also questionable. The pre-installed shop ROM with Playstore and all Google services makes you stuck on the system and no OTA updates are possible. Some bloatware like Yahoo, Yandex and a SHAREit app are also available, but can be easily uninstalled. Malwarebytes confirms a clean system and except for the missing updates nothing negative can be said about the Android 7.1 system.
With the built-in Snapdragon 625 processor, the tablet is unparalleled in terms of performance. In the current Antutu 7, Xiaoxin scores a good 76000 points. Also the internal 64GB eMMC memory can convince with a reading/writing speed of 203/121 MB/s. 50GB are available for apps and files. An optional memory expansion with a Micro-SD up to 200GB is also possible. 4GB of RAM are also suitable for extensive multitasking. And the system reliably keeps the apps in the cache and opens them fast without delays. All in all, the system runs very smoothly and bug-free, scrolling in the chrome browser works also excellently.
The Adreno 506 GPU provides a good gaming performance. Even the most demanding games from the Playstore can be played and the tablet does not get warmer than 38° at the hottest spot. Asphalt 8, for example, does not run absolutely smoothly, but can always be played properly. The system did not pose any problems during daily use. I use the tablet for reading on the couch, for controlling my Xiaomi Smart Home System and for the Google Chromecast (WaipuTV, Youtube and Netflix).
Abusing a tablet as a photo camera is actually left to the Chinese, but the cameras Lenovo uses here are simply first class. First, the front camera, which should be important to many people when using Skype and other video telephony. The quality is absolutely excellent for a tablet, as is the sound quality. The voice is transmitted without noise and very clearly and the picture is sharp and colourfast.
The rear camera shoots acceptable pictures and the videos also look decent. However, the automatic focus thwarts the fun, because it zooms in and out all the time. Nevertheless, we are extremely satisfied with the camera – Lenovo delivers a tablet of the extra class .
Connectivity and communication
As mentioned above, the voice quality is very good while using Skype and the speakers are also great. AC-WIFI with 5 GHz support is also available, and the range and data throughput are very good. Bluetooth 4.0 is also available and works without problems. Lenovo has even made sure that FM radio fans get their money’s worth. Unlike the Tab3 Plus (P8), however, there is no compass, but GPS reception is good instead. Navigating in the car does not cause any problems, but as a pedestrian it is difficult due to the missing compass.
Last but not least, let’s talk about the battery life. It is exceptionally good for an 8-inch tablet with FHD resolution. In the PCMark battery test, the tablet runs for 11.5 hours with medium display brightness. The standby consumption of 8% in 24 hours is also impressive. During the test time, the tablet lasted 5 days in a row with 1-2 hours of display-on time per day. So even intensive users should make it through the day without any problems. It takes only 45 minutes to charge from 0 to 50% with a 5V/2A adapter, then 2 hours and 15 minutes to fully charge the battery. These are very good values, even if Quick-Charge is not officially supported here. The tablet heats up noticeably to “cool” 38° at the warmest spot during charging.