Playing with a Lenovo TAB3 8 Plus
I’m going to preface this with the tablet is offered by a company called Gearbest and appears to be a primarily non-US deployed tablet that is being sold to customers in the United States.
We’ve reviewed a few products Gearbest has sent our way in the past and have also refused to do some reviews based on what I’d consider potentially warranty-voiding modifications.
This is not a full on review of the tablet, this is playing with it, seeing what was done to it prior to it showing up, taking it out for a test drive, etc.
If you want to be cynical you can think of it as a Gearbest advertisement in which I was paid one tablet that will probably end up on my kid’s hands.
Enough preface, on with the show
What we’re looking at today is a tablet reporting as Model number: Lenovo TB-8703F (Android system about, sticker on back,) and in a box that says ‘TAB3 8 Plus 8″IPS 1920×1200’ with Lenovo on the side.
This appears to be a European release firmware, although all I can find on it appear to indicate it’s a Russian firmware distro and a Russian tablet. In other words, you’re probably not getting a warranty repair from Lenovo US.
Googling the firmware it’s running brings up only one page, which is translated here, and contains a newer version of the firmware which can be installed in recovery if the translation is to be trusted.
Choosing system->update in Android appears to always return a failed connection, so I’m betting on modified firmware, which may or may not void Lenovo’s warranty. Started working about six hours after I posted it wasn’t working and got two or three updates in a row.
You’ll notice there are translation errors on some of the included Lenovo software such as the Lenovo ID registration so it’s a pretty good bet at this point you’re not dealing with anything that came from Lenovo US or through the English speaking channels. That’s ok though as it’s just one app with a spelling issue that raised my hackles.
What might not be ok with this is you most likely are not going to see an update from the Android 6.0.1 software without active research so let’s look at this as only what it is and not expect anything more in terms of bug fixes, performance increases, etc.
Sort of like my Sony tablet, my Nook, a couple of other tablets I now exclusively use as music players.
Here’re the useful specs from GSMChoice.com
- 209.5×123.5×8.6mm (8.24″x4.86×0.34″)
- 333grams (11.75 ounces)
- IPS TFT 16M colors 1200×1920 283ppi
- 4250mAh battery with expected 8 hour use time
- 16GB storage expandable to 128GB
- Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 8943 8 cores at 2GHz 3GB RAM
- Adreno 506 GPU
- 8MP main, 5MP front cam. 3264×2488/2592×1944
- Accelerometer, Proximity, Light, Magnet, Gravity, Hall-effect sensor (lid?,) GPS, GLONASS (Russian GPS,) FM Radio
- USB2 OTG
Testing this it appears to be locking on to satellites in GPS Toolbox (I didn’t originally believe the specs as I’ve never had a WiFi only tablet with GPS,) gets a 61,666 in Antutu, and overall feels pretty snappy for a little tablet.
The size is great for an e-reader, and it’s got more than enough oomph to do streaming video. It falls a little short on the GPU front for gaming, but every tablet I’ve played with has. Based on the processor specs it’s capable of decoding 4K, however there’s no way for it to display it on that screen.
That processor also claims it’s capable of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, however my volt/amp cable is unfortunately missing. I can tell it’s going faster than standard having charged 2000mA or so in an hour, but I’m not sure if it’s 2Amp charging or better as I’ve been doing other things.
The Lenovo TAB3 8 Plus appears to have been released earlier in the year into the Russian market, I’m not seeing a lot of good comparisons for it. For the price Gearbest is asking you can get something that looks like it, but with Kitkat and a much slower processor on Amazon. Feel free to correct me if you find a better one.
Quick rundown of the TAB3 prices on Amazon a quad core 8inch 1ghz they’re selling for $118, different model with MediaTek processor $45. From what I can tell from somewhat similar models you’re looking at saving about $50-70 off of the speculated $200-230 price tag.
It’s a good deal as far as I can tell, but I wouldn’t purchase it expecting any updates or warranty support past Gearbest.
You can grab one at Gearbest for $159.99