Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Premium metal build quality
Attractive full HD display
Cameras aren't great
Smart dock isn't available separately
The Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus combines a great 10.3-inch display with decent overall performance and an excellent price tag, making it an attractive front-runner in the crowded budget Android tablet field.
We purchased the Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) is one element of the second generation of Lenovo’s M10 budget-priced Android tablet line. It features a big 10.3-inch full HD display, a huge battery, decent cameras for a tablet in this category, stereo sound with Dolby Atmos, and all at an affordable price point. It can also be used as a smart display when connected to an optional charging dock, but only if you buy it together with the dock.
I recently had the opportunity to pack along a Tab M10 FHD Plus as part of my daily carry, using it for everything from email to streaming video and even some video conferencing over the span of about a week. I tested everything from overall performance and battery life to camera quality and wireless connectivity to see if this budget Android tablet rises above the crowd or disappears inside it.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) is one successor to 2019’s Tab M10. It packs a slightly more powerful processor, bigger battery, and batter cameras. The display remains unchanged in resolution, but the Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) does have a slightly bigger display. The price tag of the Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) is also a bit smaller.
The second gen Tab M10 FHD Plus has a premium look and feel that helps set it apart from a lot of budget Android tablets. The big 10.3-inch display dominates the front of the tablet with an expansive 82-percent screen-to-body ratio, with fairly thin side bezels and chunkier top and bottom bezels to accommodate the selfie cam on one end and provide balance on the other.
I love that Lenovo included stereo speakers here, and that they are on opposite ends of the tablet when you hold it in portrait mode.
The body is metal and uniformly gray, with cutouts on either end to house the inputs and speakers that are a slightly different tone of gray. It feels solidly built, and while the all-metal construction makes it a bit heavy, I never found it uncomfortable to hold.
The top edge holds a speaker grill and a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, while the bottom has a second speaker grill and a USB-C port. I love that Lenovo included stereo speakers here, and that they are on opposite ends of the tablet when you hold it in portrait mode. The USB-C port is also a nice touch, as a lot of budget Android tablet makers are still clinging to their outdated microUSB ports.
The right edge of the tablet holds the power button and volume rocker, along with a micro SD card tray that you can use to expand onboard storage. If you opt for the LTE model, the same drawer also has a slot for a SIM card.
The left edge is less interesting, as it’s bare aside from Lenovo’s dock connector. Unless you buy the version of the tablet that includes a dock, this connector is useless. You can’t buy the dock separately, and the version of the tablet that doesn’t ship with a dock has different firmware that locks out most of the dock functionality anyway.
The back of the tablet has the aforementioned cutouts on the top and bottom, and the single rear-facing camera in the upper left corner. Aside from the Lenovo logo, Dolby logo, and an informational sticker that you’re free to remove, that’s it.
Like the first generation of Lenovo’s M10 hardware, the Tab M10 FHD Plus features a full HD display. The 10.3-inch IPS LCD panel has a resolution of 1920 x 1200 for a display ratio of 16:10 and a pixel density of about 220 ppi. The result is a bright, colorful, beautiful display that looks great even when viewed from right up close.
I watched a number of movies and TV shows on Netflix and HBO Max, videos on YouTube, and played a few games like Asphalt 9, and I was almost universally impressed with the display. The colors look great, the image is nice and crisp without visible pixelation, and it has great viewing angles thanks to the IPS panel.
One issue I ran into is that this tablet supports only Widevine L3, which means some apps aren’t able to display high definition content. For example, everything I watched on Netflix was a bit blurry since Netflix is locked to SD resolutions on devices that don’t support Widevine L1 or L2. Other apps, like HBO Max and YouTube, look great in full HD.
The colors look great, the image is nice and crisp without visible pixelation, and it has great viewing angles thanks to the IPS panel.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus is powered by an octa-core Mediatek MT6762 Helio P22T chip, and it’s available in a handful of RAM and storage configurations. You can get it with 32GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, 64GB and 4GB, or 128GB with 4GB of RAM. My test unit was the 128GB / 4GB model.
While this processor is a bit on the weaker side, I found the Tab M10 FHD Plus to run just fine for a tablet in this price range. I didn’t notice any real slowdown when navigating menus in Android 10, which is a problem I have run into with other low-priced Android devices, and most apps launched pretty quickly. I did notice that it isn’t really cut out to run a lot of games, and I wasn’t even able to install my go-to test game, Genshin Impact, at all, but basic tasks like email, web browsing, and streaming video were all smooth as can be.
To get a solid baseline of what you can really expect from this hardware, I ran a handful of benchmark tests. The first test I ran was the Work 2.0 benchmark from PCMark, which is designed to simulate a variety of productivity tasks. In the Work 2.0 benchmark, the Tab M10 FHD scored 5,316, which is pretty good for this hardware configuration.
For more specific benchmarks, the Tab M10 FHD Plus scored 5,266 in web browsing, 4,360 in writing, and 3,851 in data manipulation. That’s a great web browsing score, but the writing and data manipulation scores are a bit disappointing. The Tab M10 HD, which is a second generation M-series tablet that’s priced lower than the Tab M10 FHD Plus, scored a bit better in those areas.
I also ran a couple graphics benchmarks from GFXBench. The first one I ran was Car Chase, which is a game-like benchmark that tests how well a device handles lighting, physics, and other things. It hit just 5.9 FPS in that benchmark, which is significantly better than the 3.4 FPS I saw from the less expensive Tab M10 HD, but still very unimpressive. It did better in the less intense T-Rex benchmark, registering a playable 31 FPS.
With its big 10.3-inch display and decent overall performance, the Tab M10 FHD is positioned better as a productivity device than a lot of other tablets in this class. It excels at basic productivity tasks, like email and web browsing, and it’s a great little tablet to have on hand as an auxiliary or secondary device.
Due to slightly slugging performance in some areas, however, it’s tough to recommend for any real work. I did pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard to do a little writing when I was away from the office, but that isn’t a usage scenario I’d really recommend.
I also used it for a handful of Discord video calls, but the low quality selfie cam failed to impress in that department. It works well enough in a pinch, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a primary device for word processing, video conferencing, or anything along those lines.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus includes stereo speakers located on opposite ends of the device and support for Dolby Atmos. While it isn’t the best-sounding tablet I’ve ever tested, it's great for a device in this price range. There isn’t a whole lot of bass, but everything sounded quite clear without any harsh tones or strange vibrations.
When I loaded up YouTube Music and turned up the volume all the way, I found that the Tab M10 FHD Plus was loud enough to easily fill a large room. I didn’t notice a whole lot of distortion at the highest volume, but it was loud enough that I found it more comfortable to listen to at three quarters volume or less.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus supports dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, with additional support for low energy Bluetooth. There is also a version that includes LTE support, but my test unit did not include that functionality.
During my time with the Tab M10 FHD, I primarily used it in concert with a gigabit cable internet connection from Mediacom and an Eero wireless network. I used it for email, web browsing, and video streaming, among other tasks, from a variety of locations, and I never had any problems with dropped signals or poor connections.
In order to put the Tab M10 FHD to the test, I downloaded the Speed Test app from Ookla, disabled the beacons in my Eero mesh Wi-Fi system, and checked connection speeds at various distances from the router.
When measured at about 3 feet from the router, the Tab M10 FHD registered a top download speed of 249 Mbps and an upload speed of 71.5 Mbps. That’s pretty decent for a device in this price range, although I’ve seen significantly higher speeds from other devices. At the time of testing, I measured a download speed of 980 Mbps at the router, but the fastest wireless speed I’ve seen on the network is closer to 400 Mbps.
Next up, I took the Tab M10 FHD Plus into a hallway around the corner at a distance of about 10 feet from the router. At that distance, the connection speed dropped to 184 Mbps. I then took it about 60 feet from the router into another room with walls and other obstructions in the way, and the speed dropped only to 182 Mbps. Finally, I took it out into my garage, at a distance of about 100 feet, and the speed dropped to 26.5 Mbps.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus has better cameras than the first generation of the Tab M10 hardware, but the results still aren’t that great. It has the same 8MP sensor on the back and 5MP selfie cam that you get in the less expensive Tab M10 HD. These cameras are more acceptable in the less expensive version of the hardware than they are here.
The rear camera turns in uniformly disappointing results. Even given perfect light outdoors, shots tended to look washed out, unfocused, and lacking in detail. In less-than-perfect light, I found it very difficult to avoid blown-out photos, tons of noise, or even both in the same shot.
The selfie cam is sufficient for video calls, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Video looks washed out and flat, with excessive noise depending on the lighting conditions. Photos look like artifacts from a different time.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus includes a 5,000 mAh battery and supports up to 10W charging. The battery is the same one found in the less expensive Tab M10 HD, and it should really be bigger due to the increased power consumption of the bigger display. When using the tablet during the day for email and web browsing, and at night to stream videos, I found myself needing to put it on the charger every day.
To test the battery, I connected to Wi-Fi, opened YouTube, and streamed HD videos nonstop until the tablet died. Under those conditions, I found it to last only about four hours. You could get more time out of it by shutting off Wi-Fi or lowering the screen brightness, but it still isn’t that great a battery life, and this tablet could definitely use a bigger battery.
The battery is the same one found in the less expensive Tab M10 HD, and it should really be bigger due to the increased power consumption of the bigger display.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus originally shipped with Android Pie, but my test unit came equipped with Android 10 from the factory. There are a couple important takeaways from that.
First, make sure which version of Android the tablet has before you buy it, as you may come across old stock with Android 9. The update may be available immediately in that case, or you may have to wait. Additionally, it’s unlikely the tablet will receive any further OS updates since it’s already technically received one.
Lenovo’s implementation of Android 10 is essentially stock, and I found it to run quite well. There are no unnecessary changes, additions, or cumbersome UX tweaks layered on top. You get pretty close to a stock experience, with the notable addition of Google Kids Space. This is a welcome addition, as it’s totally optional. You can ignore it if you bought the tablet for yourself or an older teen, or open the app and set it up if you want to provide tons of pre-approved apps, books, and other content for a younger child.
The Tab M10 FHD has an MSRP of between $149.99 and $209.99 depending on the configuration you choose, with the version that includes a dock being a bit more expensive, and those prices are pretty reasonable. I’ve also seen it on sale for a bit less than that, at which point it makes the move from adequately priced to a great deal. If you find the configuration I tested, with 4GB of RAM, it'll be priced closer to $149.99—a fantastic value.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus and Tab M10 HD are similar tablets that share the same processor, similar RAM and storage configurations, and look almost identical to each other. The Tab M10 FHD Plus is a bit bigger thanks to its larger display, and it also has a higher resolution.
For those reasons alone, the Tab M10 FHD Plus gets a stronger recommendation despite the more affordable price tag of the Tab M10 HD. The only exception is if you’re buying a tablet for a younger child who may not care about being able to make out the individual pixels on the screen, in which case the more aggressive pricing of the Tab M10 HD makes it a good choice.
Great little tablet for the price, but make sure you don't need the dock.
The Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus (2020) is a great option if you’re looking for a basic Android tablet for less than $200. It can’t stand up to more expensive tablets, but it’s great for basic tasks like email, web browsing, and streaming media. The only issue is that you can’t get the dock separately, so make sure to grab the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus that includes the dock if you want that functionality.
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