Dolby Atmos technology is used in top-end soundbars to bounce sound off your ceiling and deliver a spacious surround sound effect, a surprising and impressive feature of the Lenovo Tab 4 Plus 8.
It’s also equipped with a fingerprint reader, has an octa-core CPU, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, and a crisp 1,200 x 1,920 8" display. It's all looking good so far, a reasonably priced tablet with these exciting additions in this price range. It’s nicely designed and that fingerprint reader is not what we would expect to find in a mid range priced tablet. However, you can't ignore the competition, in particular from Amazon’s Fire HD tablets. But can it keep up with them, read more to find out.
The Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus’ has two forward-facing speakers and the ability to support Dolby Atmos adds a real touch of class, it boosts the quality of the tablet’s audio output no end.
Movie, Music, Game and Voice are the four sound profiles to choose from with customisable sound options. Presets rarely make much difference when selecting them on a tablet but this is not the case with the Tab 4 8 Plus. There is a noticeable and distinct change in the output which came as another unexpected and pleasant surprise; a tick in the box for Lenovo.
I found when flicking through the modes that music sounded richer, movies and games benefited from a fuller sound, but you can't expect any real bass from a tablet, that said its audio output is impressive.
Now to the design, the Tab 4 8 Plus is elegant, very thin and lightweight. Weighing only 300g with a thickness of 7mm, its smooth edges make it comfortable to hold and its dual-glass design gives it a premium look.
One of its key features is its fingerprint reader, built into the power button, which sits alongside the volume rocker on the right-hand side of the tablet. I found the location to be the ideal place for unlocking the device, reliability is an issue though and as it rarely read the fingerprint first time round and may well take a attempts to work. Having it is a definitive plus but it needs to be more reliable.
For connectivity, there’s a USB Type-C port for data transfers and power. A 3.5mm headphone jack sits alongside it, located at the top of the tablet. The tablet has dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2. On the left-hand side, a microSD card slot sits under a plastic flap.
The picture quality isn't anything to shout about, but there are front 5- and rear 8-megapixel cameras and a flash on the rear to help out in low light, with the ability to record video at 1080p at 30fps.
The tablet has an 8" 1,200 x 1,920 IPS display, which gives it a 283ppi pixel density. During testing, I observed a 59.2% sRGB gamut coverage, which is rather below par and the colour accuracy was left wanting.
It does have a good contrast ratio of 728:1, movies and photos still look reasonable sharp onscreen and with a peak brightness of 417.6 cd/m2, the display will remain readable in the majority of light conditions.
The Tab 4 doesn’t run stock Android but its installation of Android 7.1.1 is pretty clean and with only a few pre-installed apps – such as SHAREit, an app used to send and receive files between devices, and SYNCit, which is used for synchronizing files across devices, plus the Microsoft Office apps – it runs smoothly.
Inside, you’ll find a 2.0GHz octa-core Cortex-A53-based Snapdragon 625 processor and 3GB of RAM. This provides enough horsepower to churn through intensive processes and multitasking. In the multi-platform Geekbench 4 benchmark, the Tab 4 8 Plus achieves a 873 single-core and 4,220 multi-core score. The Vodafone Smart Tab N8 only manages a score of 461 and 1,319 respectively – a sizable difference in multi-core performance.
Playing basic games like Candy Crush isn’t a problem, but don’t expect to run more demanding titles such as Asphalt 8 smoothly. In the GFXBench Car Chase benchmark, the Tab 4 8 Plus manages to run at 3.4fps. In the less intense Manhattan 3.0 benchmark, it achieves a slightly more respectable score of 9.3fps, but that’s still not wonderful.
A non-removable 4,850mAh battery is housed inside, and this ran for 9hrs 43mins. That’s fine for a tablet like this, but it does lag behind the impressive 14hrs 49mins achieved by the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3.
Price and competition
At first glance, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus seemed to be a fantastic device. With an integrated fingerprint reader, two front-facing Dolby Atmos speakers and splendid design, I had high hopes for it.
But with a rather finicky fingerprint reader, sluggish performance in games and middling battery life it’s not the best way to spend your £200. If you’re after a cheap tablet, the Amazon Fire HD 8 is far cheaper and offers almost as much for your money.