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Playing with a Lenovo TAB3 8 Plus

Lenovo TAB3 8 PlusI’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Googling the firmware it’s running brings up only one page, which is translated here, and contains a newer version of the firmware which can be installed in recovery if the translation is to be trusted.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.

Lenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 Plus

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

  • IP52
  • 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.

Lenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 PlusLenovo TAB3 8 Plus

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

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

Avatar of Paul E King

39 thoughts on “Playing with a Lenovo TAB3 8 Plus

  • This is similar to the 2013 Nexus 7 which also has a 1200 x 1920 resolution. But one feature it has that the 2013 Nexus 7 is FM Radio and expandable storage

    Reply
    • Similar in that it’s an Android device at Marshmallow and square maybe, under the hood no.

      Nexus 7 (2013) vs this tablet:

      Quad core 1.5 GHz / Octo Core 2 GHz
      Adreno 320 / Adreno 506
      2GB RAM / 3 GB RAM
      5MP/1.2MP cam / 8MP/5MP cam
      LED Backlit / IPS TFT
      32212 Antutu (on AOSP) / 61666 Antutu (on stock) – although they may have changed Antutu testing methodologies in the past few years

      Assuming specs here are correct: http://www.gsmarena.com/asus_google_nexus_7_(2013)-5600.php

      Not bashing the Nexus 7, just it doesn’t appear to be close. Specs and Antutu appear to indicate this is at the very least about twice as fast.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Johnny69

        Don’t even bother replying to such ppl ;)
        Hey, did you play with this tablet a little bit more? Is it really smooth and freeze-free? I hate lagging devices. Also, how’s the battery life? Especially while watching movies – is it capable of displaying two ~2hrs movies in a row on a single charge at let’s say half brightness? And is the display any good or it’s kinda bad?
        Thanks for a quick overview – looking forward to hearing from you more :)
        Cheers.

        Reply
        • Smooth yes, feels AOSP-y which means generally smooth, slower than some . Display I’m not underwhelmed, I’m not impressed, it’s good for a tablet but nothing to write home about.

          I’ll find an hour long netflix episode tonight and play it at full brightness and see how much battery it goes through.

          Reply
          • If I remember correctly we ended up with about 30% battery left. Had an issue unrelated and abandoned the test, when I came back there was 28% battery left (that was hours later though)

            Display is ok, I’m not annoyed by it. Keep in mind I’m a colorblind guy so I can’t comment on color reproduction.

          • Hmmm, so the one hour netflix video consumed 70% of battery at full screen brightness? That’s awful

          • no, it was about three and a half hours… I mean I put the tablet down on movie 2 and left to deal with something else. When I came back 8ish hours later the thing was at 28%

            I’ll attempt to re-do the test and get you how much it consumes per hour tonight.

          • I’d appreciate that sir. Looking forward to your revision as I’m torn between this tablet and the Yoga Tab 3 which unfortunately is stuck on Android 5 because users are complaining bitterly about the android 6 release

          • ok, here’s what I got before I go to bed

            Started at 98%. Turned on Netflix and started playing trolls. At one out reached the low end of 88% – so say 11% an hour battery drain netflix.

            I’ll do another test tomorrow, but it’s late. I’d say unless there’s a curve in the draw you could probably expect a good eight hours. That said, there could be a curve somewhere and I’ll see if I can locate that tomorrow.

          • Yippee. 11% an hour at full screen brightness is awesome as I actually don’t stream Netflix (I download & watch offline) and I mostly watch movies on my devices at 50% brightness so the battery life should be better for me.

            Thanks a million for your patience sir. I’m definitely getting this ????????

          • Day 2 – 20 hours since last test, no charging

            Battery at 79% 7:22pm CST restarting Trolls (~1:32) from beginning. 10:05pm 51%. Assume it played another hour and a half, lost 5% of battery from sitting around. No charging.

            Will run another test tomorrow. Was not monitoring this one as I had ticked off two year old to deal with and have to assume Netflix ran properly.

          • It most definitely still tallies with your previous Trolls test. I’ve ordered the device already but it looks like there’s a long waiting time for it to ship

          • Avatar of Kyron M. Hayes

            4-6 weeks after initial order. I got mine after 4. I like mine, it runs pretty smoothly. No issues with gaming or movies.

          • @kyronmhayes:disqus Is Mediaserver showing up under Settings >> Battery after watching movies?

          • Avatar of Kyron M. Hayes

            Sorry for the late response. Didn’t run into that issue.
            However, OTA update last night has me in a bootloop right now. Uggghh!

          • Avatar of Kyron M. Hayes

            I tried wiping cache. Drained the battery completely then restarted. I want to avoid using factory reset, but it looks inevitable now. Lenovo support doesn’t even recognize the S/N number. We are on our own with this one.

          • Lenovo has very terrible support when it comes to Android updates. Just do the reset and hope future updates won’t require the same again

          • Avatar of Kyron Hayes

            It was coming out of India, if that makes a difference. But I did the wipe, and it’s working again. Keeping an eye out for more bugs.

          • That’s probably because you called Lenovo US support most likely. As stated above this appeared to be an overseas version of the tablet with a US firmware loaded on it by a third party. Said third party is probably the releaser of the modified firmware updates.

            I believe this is Lenovo Russia/UK hardware with a modified UK/International firmware.

            Could be mistaken though

          • Sir, have you tried wiping cache in from recovery to see if that fixes the bootloop?

          • So I took the risk and updated and got stuck in Android is upgrading preparing Google. Wiping cache didn’t help at all so I ended up factory resetting via recovery and that fixed it.

            To boot into recovery shut down the tablet by holding the power button till it switches off. Then hold down the power and volume up button at the same time. When the screen lights up release both buttons and you’d be taken to recovery mode

  • Avatar of Ian Black

    I’ve had one of these for a couple of weeks now and I’m quite happy with it.
    It’s worth mentioning that it’s sold on Gearbest and other Asian markets as the Lenovo P8. Despite that, (and the ‘Chinese Version’ listing on GB when I ordered mine), aside from the Chinese ID sticker on the tab and a Chinese language manual it’s pure Tab3 8Plus.
    Mine automatically downloaded two firmware updates (total about 500mb) as soon it was connected via WiFi.
    I like that it arrives with minimal bloatware over the Android 6.01 OS, and that it’s one of the few mid range Android tabs able to run DJI’s Go4 drone app without problems. It’s GPS makes it even more useful for that.
    Otherwise it’s a well made tablet with a good screen and speakers with better cameras (8mp R, and 5mp F) than most tablets in this class.
    Like the US there’s not much chance of finding local support for the Tab3 8 Plus from Lenovo here in Australia.

    Reply
  • Avatar of crazyvag

    Actually, Tab4 8 is out and Tab4 8 Plus comes out next month. The latter add USB-C, so I’ll be able to use the charger as my phone and I think it adds LTE, but details are sparse on that.

    Looking forward to a review of both!

    Reply
    • Tab4 8 Plus came out in July according to GSMArena, may be releasing where you’re at later – same GPU and CPU as this. Adds LTE/HSPA/GSM

      Looks like the Tab4 8 Plus does not have GLONASS, adds fingerprint sensor, MMS/SMS as it’s a Phablet, and comes at a price tag of ~300-350. Looks like from comments that the compass sensor is missing.

      So same product, makes phone calls, has an unlock sensor, probably benches the same, different USB connector.

      Reply
  • Avatar of Stefano Marelli

    hi, how can you know that the gearbest’s rom is bloatware and spyware free?
    thanks

    Reply
    • The same way you know that HTC and Samsung don’t have backdoors and spyware on your devices. You can’t unless you want to monitor all your network traffic and then are completely sure it’s not sending data over your cell.

      Things like Carrier IQ (Sprint spyware,) was only discovered because it kept logging data nonstop. Data that could be retrieved at a command later.

      You can remove the bloatware without root pretty easily on any device these days though (although you will need a computer or an ADB app). I’m not really noticing anything bloaty.

      That said, I’m just playing with the tablet, I don’t know enough check all the startup apps and verify they’ve not been tampered with and I think that if anyone tells you for certain something doesn’t have spyware they’re probably trying to sell you something.

      Or you can wipe the device and install a ROM of your choosing, with the same thing of having to trust that none of the thousands of code contributions they’re probably pulling from have any malicious designs.

      Reply
      • Avatar of Stefano Marelli

        thank you very much for the reply.
        I am pretty newbie on android, i’ve ordered this tablet from gearbest a few days ago from, and now i’ve found some people online complaining about gearbest’s custom roms.
        i’d like to install an official lenovo rom but as of now i’ve been unable to find it, and i’ve also failed at finding a renowned custom rom that’s compatible with this tablet
        anyhow i guess i’ll wait to have it in my hands and, in the worst case i’ll mail lenovo directly

        thanks again!

        Reply
        • I’ve heard quite a number of sorry tales about gearbest and that’s why I always avoid them. I buy from AliExpress where I can easily raise a dispute if a merchant decides to play foul.

          Reply
          • Avatar of Stefano Marelli

            at least i payed with paypal, i surely can get a refound if needed

          • If you do have any issues let me know. While I am happy they gave me a tablet and some spinners to play with if they treat anyone wrong we just won’t deal with them any more.

  • Avatar of apertotes

    We got this tablet about 2 months ago. We bought it mainly because of the micro-sd slot. Turns out that the tablet, at least our unit, corrupts almost anything we copy in the micro-sd card. We tried copying over wifi and also plugging the card in the PC. Both times most of the copied content disappeared after a few days and ended in the LOST folder in an unrecoverable format.

    Other than that, the tablet works really well.

    Reply
    • I’ll check that out on mine tonight – sounds like a bad micro SD card (I’ve gone through 7 that sounded similar to your issue since 2010)

      Reply
    • Sorry for the delay. I’m thinking it’s your SD card or that particular tablet is messed up. I could not recreate the issue in 5 days, but then again I’ve been banging my head against a stubborn kid most of my waking hours.

      I’d try another SD card (they’re like $12 for 32gb now) http://amzn.to/2fB1ZcF – probably can find it for better, that’s just the cheapest I found. Worst case you have a spare SD card.

      You’re really describing my first Micro SD card fail that also occurred right as I got into rooting phones. Random SD corruption, worked fine for a while, sudden disappearance. Would appear to work great on Windows, fail on Android, movies would be somewhat corrupted but still appear to work, then disappear.

      Reply
  • Good day sir. I finally got the tablet and it runs pretty smooth….even smoother than my 4GB RAM Xiaomi Mi Max 2.

    The only problem I’m having now is that MediaServer keeps consuming battery each time I watch a video be it via Netflix, mx player or what have you.

    Please does Media Server show up on your device too when you’re done watching videos?

    See Settings >> Battery. Thanks

    P.S: I’m not using an SD Card on the device yet.

    Reply
  • Avatar of apertotes

    Tonight, I updated the tablet and now it is stuck in the boot. Anyone else had this problem?

    Reply
    • Look in the comments nine days ago. Update buggy. I believe factory reset required but not seeing it at the moment.

      Reply

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