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
Runs nearly stock Android
Solid build quality
Decent media streaming performance
Screen is unpleasant to touch
Slow performance outside basic functions
Test unit had dead pixels
With near-stock Android 10 and decent streaming performance, Walmart has built a solid competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of affordable Android tablets.
We purchased the Walmart onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is a budget tablet from Walmart that’s aimed at roughly the same market as Amazon’s line of Kindle Fire tablets. Unlike Amazon’s tablets, Walmart ships the onn. line with a very near stock Android experience, and this one comes equipped with Android 10. With an octa-core Mediatek processor and 2GB of RAM, this is a tablet that’s designed for activities like streaming Netflix and Disney Plus, reading ebooks, and surfing the web.
This is Walmart’s second shot at the low-end tablet market, with the Tablet Pro line bringing some improvements and an increased price tag over the first generation, so I was interested to see exactly what it’s capable of. I carried an onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro with me everywhere for about a week, using it for everything from email and web browsing during the day to watching movies at night, and even a little video chatting. I tested overall performance, internet connectivity, the camera, and everything else to see if the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is worth the increased price compared to the previous model.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is the second iteration of this hardware, preceded by the onn. Tablet 8-inch by about a year. The first version of the hardware was cheaper, which made it easier to recommend, but the Pro has enough upgrades to justify the price increase. It’s more powerful, has much better cameras, includes USB-C instead of micro USB, and features metal construction instead of plastic. It has been improved in almost every way.
Walmart’s first slate of onn. tablets looked and felt as cheap as they were, but the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro breaks from that tradition. This looks and feels, at least at first glance, like a more premium device than it really is. The body is metal instead of plastic, imparting a solid, heavy feel that helps set this tablet apart from a lot of the other options you’ll find in the world of budget Android tablets.
The front of the tablet features an 8-inch IPS LCD display surrounded by thick bezels, with the front-facing camera placed in the center of the top bezel. The top edge features an SD card drawer and a 3.5-millimeter audio jack, the bottom edge sports a USB-C port and speaker grills, and you’ll find the power button and volume rocker around the right side.
The back is largely featureless, with a single rear-facing camera in the upper left, the Onn logo centrally located, and the model number and some specifications printed in the bottom right corner.
The overall design of the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro feels solid enough, and it looks nice considering the low price point. It’s a bit heavy for an 8-inch tablet, but that’s because the case is made of metal instead of plastic.
The biggest problem is that the whole thing is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. That might seem like a given, since most tablets and phones tend to attract fingerprints and smudges, but the lower quality materials and lack of an oleophobic coating on the display make it impossible to keep this tablet looking nice. It isn’t just the screen, either. The metal back ends up mottled and smudged just a few minutes after meticulously wiping it down.
The 8-inch IPS LCD panel is pretty basic fare for a budget-priced Android tablet. It features a resolution of 1280 x 800 that’s a little on the low side, but it’s a small enough display that I didn’t find it overly distracting.
The display is bright and colorful, and it looks good in most lighting conditions, but it lacks any kind of oleophobic coating. That means it attracts fingerprints very easily, is harder to clean than you might be used to, and also feels slightly unpleasant to touch. Instead of effortlessly gliding over the screen, your finger will tend to stick and rub.
The main issue with the display is that it has a tremendous amount of light bleed around the edges that’s impossible to ignore when you use the tablet in the dark. When streaming movies on Netflix, dark scenes seemed a bit blown out, and black scene transitions revealed massive, unevenly spaced backlight bleed. It isn’t as noticeable during the day in bright environments.
The display is bright and colorful, and it looks pretty good in most lighting conditions, but it lacks any kind of oleophobic coating.
My test unit also had several dead pixels that I wasn’t able to shake loose despite multiple attempts. That may just be a fluke, but it’s right in line with the less than stellar performance of the display.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro packs an octa-core MediaTek MT8768 chip with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of onboard storage. About 8GB of that storage is taken up by the operating system and pre-installed apps, but you can always plug in an SD card if you need extra space.
The MediaTek chip and 2GB of RAM aren’t exactly impressive. That’s to be expected from a budget tablet like this, but it’s important to note that you aren’t going to be playing a lot of games on this, and you may even have some issues with productivity software. I even noticed a little slow-down, hesitation, and a few hiccups when navigating menus in Android 10 without even launching any apps.
To get a good baseline of what you can expect from this tablet, I ran a few benchmarks. First up, I installed the PCMark app and ran its Work 2.0 benchmark. It’s a benchmark that tests how well a device handles basic productivity tasks like word processing, and the onn. Tablet Pro turned in pretty middle-of-the-road results. It scored 4,730 overall. That’s a bit on the low side, but nothing out of the ordinary for a tablet in this price range.
For a couple of more specific benchmarks, it scored just 3,823 in web browsing, and a slightly higher 4,184 in writing. These scores indicate this tablet is best suited to light web browsing, email, and other similar tasks. That lines up with my experience, as I didn’t have any issues streaming media on apps like Netflix, surfing the web, and reading emails. Performance wasn’t quite up to snuff for more advanced tasks, and gaming is another matter altogether.
I ran a couple of graphics benchmarks from GFX Bench that are intended to show how well a device can be expected to run games. First up, I ran the Car Chase benchmark, which is a game-like benchmark that tests a device’s capabilities for rendering 3D objects, lighting, and more. It managed just 5.8 FPS during that test, which would be utterly unplayable in a real game. In the less-intense T-Rex benchmark, it scored 29 FPS. That indicates you’ll want to stick to pretty basic games, if you play any at all.
Although I wasn’t expecting much after the benchmarks, I did download Asphalt 9 and ran a few races. While it was playable, and I was able to complete a few races, I noticed an unacceptable level of screen tearing and frame drops.
Walmart’s tagline for this device is “surf onn,” and that’s a pretty good descriptor for its productivity capabilities. From the small display, to the low resolution, to the anemic processor and low amount of RAM, this tablet isn’t really designed for getting work done.
What it does do well is stream media, surf the web, and other basic tasks. I had zero issues watching videos on Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney Plus during my time with the tablet, and I also used it to answer emails and check stuff on the internet during the day.
When I paired the tablet with my Bluetooth Logitech keyboard and tried to get a little writing done, the results were less than stellar. This just isn’t a tablet I’d recommend for anything beyond the most basic productivity tasks. It’s much better as a bedside streamer, and a barely-pocket-sized email and web device.
The bottom edge of the tablet includes two speaker grills, but it isn’t clear whether it actually has two speakers. Even if it does, there is no stereo effect here due to both grills being on the same side of the tablet. When watching the tablet in portrait mode, the sound clearly hits one ear louder than the other as it does with any mono tablet or phone.
The sound itself isn’t bad for a budget tablet. It gets loud enough to fill my office, although it’s on the tinny side and the high tones are ragged enough to make full-volume listening more than a little unpleasant. It’s less ear-tearing at about three quarters volume, which is sufficient for solo listening in a moderately noisy space.
The good news is it includes a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, so you don’t need to rely on the built-in sound if you don’t want to. I plugged in my favorite set of earbuds for my before-bed Netflix and YouTube streaming sessions for a much more pleasant experience.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro supports 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for wireless networking, and I didn’t have any real issues with either. I was able to connect to my Wi-Fi network and stream video without any hiccups, and I paired a few devices like a Bluetooth speaker and a Logitech keyboard and everything worked as expected.
In order to test the networking capabilities of the tablet, I installed the Speed Test app from Ookla and checked the connection speed at various distances from my router. For these tests, I used my 1 Gbps Mediacom internet connection and an Eero router with the beacons disabled.
When measured in close proximity to the router, the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro managed a meager 39 Mbps download speed. That’s one of the lowest speeds I’ve ever seen on my network from any device. Higher end devices typically register speeds of 300 to 400 Mbps.
After that initial disappointing test, I moved into a hall about 10 feet from the router and measured a slight drop-off to 31 Mbps. I then took the tablet into another room at a distance of about 60 feet, and the speed dropped to just 13 Mbps. At a distance of about 100 feet, out in my garage, it dropped to 12 Mbps.
These speeds were universally disappointing and significantly lower than I’m used to seeing, but it’s important to note that I never noticed this issue in actual use except for when downloading apps. Streaming video on a fairly low resolution display like this doesn’t take that much bandwidth, so I wouldn’t have even known the connection was so slow if apps didn’t take so long to download. If your internet connection download speed is around 30 Mbps to begin with, then this is an issue you won’t notice at all.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro includes a 5MP camera on the back along with another 5MP camera around front for selfies and video chat. Neither camera is very good. The rear camera turns in universally disappointing shots regardless of lighting or composition, with outdoor shots looking blown out and lower light indoor shots being noisy and dark. It’s there if you absolutely need it, but you probably won’t be satisfied with the results.
The selfie cam turns in similar results to the rear one, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s primarily there for video chat, and I found it will do in a pinch. Shots tended to look soft and blown out given adequate light, and noisy in lower light. Video chat worked fine, but it doesn’t exactly turn in professional-level results. It’s more of a chat with friends or family when you don’t have any better camera options sort of deal, and less of a business-ready situation.
Walmart doesn’t give an mAh specification for the battery, instead opting to advertise it as a “10 hour battery.” The battery testing app I installed said it was a 1,000mAh battery, but that seems low based on my experience with the tablet. I found that I was able to get several days of use out of the tablet between charges, with daily use for checking email, light web browsing, and an hour or two of streaming video.
To test the battery, I charged it up, connected to Wi-Fi, and set it to stream non-stop YouTube videos. In that state, it lasted just under 9 hours before shutting off. Given different use conditions, I can see it lasting 10 or more hours.
Load some videos into memory, shut off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and maybe turn down the backlight a bit, and this tablet could easily provide entertainment, or keep a kid occupied, on a flight or road trip.
Android is open source, so a lot of phone and tablet manufacturers feel the need to pile their own stuff on top of the stock operating system. Others, like Amazon, completely retool Android into their own walled garden. Walmart has gone in the opposite direction with the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro, which ships with something that is very close to stock Android 10.
The only difference between stock Android 10 and the version that ships with this tablet is that it includes a handful of Walmart-centric apps and a dedicated “favorites” button in the interface. Tap the favorites button, and it brings you to a screen that’s auto-populated with the Walmart app, Sam’s Club app, VUDU, and Walmart Grocery app. These apps seem to be baked in, as I was unable to remove them, but you can add your actual favorite apps for easy access.
If you want to ditch the so-called favorites button, all you have to do is turn on gesture navigation. That gets rid of the bottom navigation bar altogether and enables Android 10’s default gesture-based navigation system.
The only difference between stock Android 10 and the version that ships with this tablet is that it includes a handful of Walmart-centric apps and a dedicated 'favorites' button in the interface.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro has an MSRP of $99.00, but it’s typically available for a bit less than that. That’s a pretty good price when you consider the overall level of performance and the competition. It isn’t very hard to find a significantly better tablet than this, but not for the price.
The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is clearly positioned to compete with the Kindle Fire HD 8, as it is essentially Walmart’s take on Amazon’s popular budget tablet, and it does a solid job. They’re similarly priced, with the onn. being a bit cheaper than the ad-free Kindle Fire, and offer a similar level of performance.
The onn. Tablet Pro 8-inch is clearly positioned to compete with the Kindle Fire HD 8, as it is essentially Walmart’s take on Amazon’s popular budget tablet, and it does a solid job.
The biggest difference between these tablets is that the Kindle Fire runs Amazon’s bespoke version of Android and uses the Amazon app store instead of Google Play. The onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro runs Android 10 and includes the Google Play Store. If you want access to everything Android has to offer, without the hassle of side-loading, the onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is a solid option. If you’re happy living in Amazon’s ecosystem, then the Kindle Fire HD 8 is a great little tablet.
Temper your expectations with this bargain-priced Android 10 tablet.
Walmart’s onn. 8-inch Tablet Pro is a budget tablet that’s positioned as an alternative to the Kindle Fire, and it hits that mark. Despite a few stumbles, like the lack of an oleophobic coating on the screen, this is a great tablet for streaming media, email, and surfing the web. It also has Android 10 with only the slightest of modifications from Walmart, and full access to the Google Play Store.
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