Computer & Laptop Reviews & Buying Guides
Summary: We purchased the Apple M1 iMac so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
The Apple M1 iMac (2021) represents the first major update to the line since 2016. It’s forward-looking as the first iMac to sport Apple silicon under the hood, but it also hearkens back to days gone by with a fanciful selection of color options.
This iteration of hardware has a bigger display, an upgraded microphone, speakers, and camera, and an optional TouchID-enabled Magic Keyboard, in addition to a number of other upgrades and design tweaks compared to the last Intel iMac.
Having already spent a lot of time with the M1 MacBook Air and Mac mini Apple released in 2020, I was quite curious to see how similar hardware might be implemented in the iMac line. I chose the entry-level model for testing, decked out in a soothing two-tone metallic blue, cleared some desk space, and replaced my regular work rig for about a month.
Over the course of my month with the M1 iMac, I specifically tested things like network performance and gaming benchmarks, but I also used it for work, media, voice and video calls, and gaming. There were a few instances where I had to fall back to my Windows rig, specifically for unsupported games, but the M1 iMac handled just about every other task without issue.
Apple could have taken the easy route and just swapped the M1 hardware into the existing iMac line, but the M1 iMac represents a total redesign from the ground up. The basic look is fairly similar, but the new design has cleaner lines, a uniformly thin body, thinner screen borders, and comes in a variety of attractive colors.
The latter represents a bit of a return to form, as the iMac line was once known for its bright, friendly color options, but the last few iterations have been available only in shades of white, silver, and grey.
While the front of the new iMac looks fairly similar to the last version, with a thick bezel and big chin, the similarity fades when you view the machine side-on. Instead of a big bulge on the back to house the internals, the M1 iMac is flat like a tablet. The guts are all located in the chin, which is why it’s still so big.
The stand has also been re-envisioned, as it no longer flares out at the base. It actually looks a lot like the $999 Pro Stand, although it has only a simple hinge to tilt the screen forward and back instead of allowing you to raise and lower it a bit as well. Even without the flare, it provides a rock-solid base.
The USB ports are located on the back of the M1 iMac on the left side. The base model is limited to two USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, while the upgraded version adds two additional USB-C ports. There’s also a microphone jack located on the left side of the chassis, and some models include an Ethernet port built into the power supply. The base model I tested had only the two Thunderbolt ports and no Ethernet port.
Regardless of which model you’re looking at, the bottom line is the 2021 iMac doesn’t have enough ports. The four Thunderbolt and USB-C ports found on the higher-end model aren’t enough, and the paltry two ports you get with the lower-end model definitely fall short. Expect to invest in a USB-C hub if you don’t already have one.
While the jump to Apple silicon is the biggest story here, Apple really hit the design out of the park as well. This is an all-in-one that looks great from every angle. It’s a shame it’s held back by a few small issues, like a baffling lack of ports, but that doesn’t stop it from looking great on your desk.
Apple bumped the screen size from 21.5 inches to 24 inches for the M1 iMac refresh, and the difference is remarkable. Apple refers to the panel as a 4.5K Retina display, which translates to a resolution of 4480 x 2520 and a pixel density of 218ppi in terms of hard numbers.
Colors also look fantastic, as the display covers the entire DCI-P3 gamut, and it’s quite bright as well. I found myself running it at about 60 percent most of the time, despite the big, south-facing windows in my office.
The 2021 iMac packs in the same M1 chip first seen in the 2020 Mac mini and MacBooks, and it’s just as impressive here. The version of the hardware I tested came with an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU, but you can also get the 2021 iMac with an 8-core GPU if you need the extra performance.
Like other M1 Macs, the CPU here is split into four high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores. This means it’s more energy efficient than a lot of the competition, and single-core performance is remarkably strong, but multi-core performance is only middling.
To get a performance baseline that you can compare to other hardware, I ran a handful of benchmarks. I started off with Cinebench, which has both single and multi-core tests. As expected, the M1 iMac performed exceptionally well in the single-core test and not as great in the multi-core test.
The M1 iMac scored 1492 in the single core Cinebench test, which is only a bit shy of the 1532 scored by an 11th gen Intel Core i7. In the multi-core test, it scored a lower 6893. These numbers are both a bit lower than I saw from the M1 Mac Mini, which put up a single core score of 1521 and a multi-core score of 7662.
After Cinebench, I loaded up GFXBench Metal to run a few gaming benchmarks. The first one I ran was Aztec Ruins (High Tier), which simulates a high end game with real-time lighting and other effects. In that benchmark, the M1 iMac managed to run at about 22 FPS. That’s less than ideal, but on the edge of being playable.
Next up, I ran the Car Case benchmark that simulates a high-speed racing type game. In that benchmark, the M1 iMac managed about 21 FPS. That’s a bit low, but I saw a better result when I ran the less-intense T-Rex benchmark. In that benchmark, the M1 iMac hit 60 FPS.
It’s important to note I tested the entry-level iMac that comes with a 7-core GPU. When I tested the M1 Mac mini with the 8-core GPU last year, it hit about 60 FPS in the Car Chase benchmark, so I expect that an iMac equipped with the 8-core GPU would turn in similar results.
While I had to go back to my Windows machine for most of my gaming due to a lack of compatibility, the iMac performed surprisingly well in the games I did play. I was particularly impressed with how well it ran Final Fantasy 14, which doesn’t have a native M1 client. I was able to squeeze out 30 FPS with relatively high settings and main tank runs of both Tower at Paradigm’s Breach and Delubrum Reginae without incident.
Apple’s powerful M1 chip and a big 4.5K display combine to turn the 2021 iMac into a productivity powerhouse. I used it for my main work machine for about a month without incident, primarily for word processing, image editing, and other productivity tasks. I especially appreciated the size and resolution of the display for image editing. Although I don’t have any specific need for the pro-level wide color gamut, it’s there for those who do require it.
The M1 iMac comes with the latest version of the Magic Keyboard and the Magic Mouse 2, both appropriately color-matched. The Magic Keyboard offers full-sized keys for fairly comfortable typing, but the key travel is a bit shallower than I like. The biggest feature here is that the keyboard comes with an optional TouchID button.
While the TouchID option isn't available with the base-level model I tested, I know from experience with the M1 MacBook Air that the inclusion of TouchID is a big productivity boost as it allows you to skip entering passwords and easily swap users. The base level Magic Keyboard swaps in a lock key for the TouchID button, which is less useful.
The Magic Mouse 2 that comes with the M1 iMac is the same mouse that’s been around since 2015, with one minor tweak. The glass top is still while, but the sides and bottom are color-matched to your iMac. The lightning charger connector is still inexplicably located on the bottom, so you can’t use it while charging, and it feels uncomfortably small in my hand.
The 2021 iMac packs in a surprisingly competent six-speaker system, with support for spatial audio, into its thin frame. I’m a habitual headphone-and-earbud user, but I found the built-in speakers to be more than adequate in a pinch.
The speakers are loud enough to fill a large room, and I didn’t notice so much as a hint of distortion even at high volumes. There’s even a bit more bass there than I expected, though a decent set of bookshelf speakers or headphones still provide a superior listening experience.
If you do want to use headphones, the 2021 iMac features an audio jack on the left side of the frame. It also has built-in Bluetooth connectivity, so you can hook up your favorite pair of headphones.
The 2021 M1 iMac doesn’t have a built-in Ethernet connection, but some models do come with an Ethernet connection in the power brick. Every version supports Wi-Fi 6 though, with backwards compatibility to Wi-Fi 5 if you haven’t upgraded your router yet. I spent most of my time with the iMac connected to an Eero Wi-Fi 5 network that I use because range is more important to me than speed, but I also tested it on a Wi-Fi 6 network and with an Ethernet adapter.
Network speeds were excellent, across the board, compared to other devices I’ve used and tested.
In addition to Wi-Fi and wired connections, the M1 iMac also features Bluetooth 5.0. The Bluetooth connection is primarily used to connect the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, but I also used it with a pair of AirPods Pro and my Avantree Ario Podio headphones. Sound quality and range were both excellent thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 support, and I was able to listen to music and podcasts throughout my house.
The M1 iMac packs in a 1080P full HD FaceTime camera that’s backed up by Apple’s M1 image signal processor. In practical terms, the camera turns in a uniformly decent image in a variety of light conditions—including low light where a lot of webcams really struggle. It’s a big improvement over the camera included with the MacBook Pro, although the image can look a bit soft or washed out in some lighting conditions.
Paired with the improved camera, the M1 iMac also includes a massively improved built-in microphone array. The three high-quality microphones leverage directional beamforming and a high signal-to-noise ratio to turn in surprisingly good results.
Like the first round of M1 Macs, the 2021 iMac ships with macOS 11.4 Big Sur. Apple built this version of macOS with the M1 hardware in mind, and each update has come with M1-only improvements. First and foremost, it has the ability to run iPhone and iPad apps natively, and the ability to run legacy Intel Mac apps via Rosetta 2.
Support for mobile apps is a little spotty, as a lot of apps don’t show up in the Mac App store. For example, smash hit Zelda-clone Genshin Impact isn’t available despite the fact it now supports controllers. Legacy Intel Mac app support is a lot better, and I didn’t run into any trouble running apps through Rosetta 2. Most notably, Photoshop ran without a hitch, and the Final Fantasy 14 client also ran surprisingly well.
Photoshop and other popular apps are slated to eventually get M1 support, but I’ve found Rosetta 2 to deliver more than acceptable performance in the meantime.
The iMac (2021) has received a laundry list of changes and updates since the last entry in the line back in 2016. The biggest news is the inclusion of Apple silicon in the form of the M1 chip, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The overall design of the M1 iMac has been significantly revamped. Colors are back, and it has a 24-inch display, increased from 21.5-inch, despite the overall form factor being very similar. The speakers, microphone, and camera have all received big improvements as well, with the camera having been updated from a mediocre 720p shooter to a full HD 1080p sensor backed up by advanced image processing.
With an MSRP of $1,299.00 for the base model, and prices just going up from there, the M1 iMac is undeniably expensive. You can get a 24-inch Windows all-in-one for a lot less than that, but the iMac justifies its price with superior capabilities and styling. The combination of convenience and power makes this well worth the price tag.
This might seem like an odd comparison, but it’s an important one. The 2021 iMac and 2020 Mac mini have very similar hardware, with the major difference being the iMac is an all-in-one with a beautiful display, while the Mac mini doesn’t have a built-in display.
The reason this is an important comparison is the base 2020 Mac mini has an MSRP of $699.00, while an iMac with the same CPU and GPU has an MSRP of $1,499.00. That means you could feasibly pair a Mac mini with a 28-inch 4K display like the Asus VP28UQG and save about $500 compared to just buying an iMac.
While the M1 Mac mini is a powerful little machine with a great price tag, the iMac has a big advantage in its simplicity. It works right out of the box, without needing to shop for or set up any additional hardware, and it looks really nice too. It also has great speakers and a fantastic FaceTime cam, which you won’t get from a budget third party monitor.
Lenovo provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano promises all the productivity of a larger, heavier laptop is one of the thinnest, lightest laptops available today. It weighs just two pounds but packs Intel’s latest Core processors with Intel Xe graphics and a 13-inch display. That’s an impressive feat at a glance. Is the X1 Nano a featherweight champ, or does it give under pressure?
I’m surprised how effortlessly the classic ThinkPad look transitions to the ultra-modern, superlight ThinkPad X1 Nano. The laptop’s abyssal black finish, which seems to actively suck ambient light into another dimension, is unmistakable.
The dark exterior provides a look that’s at once workmanlike and luxurious. Lenovo wisely coats the carbon fiber and magnesium chassis with a grippy, soft finish that’s graced many ThinkPads throughout the years. It tends to scratch easily, but cleans up well and keeps the laptop from sliding out of your hand or an open bag.
The X1 Nano weighs just two pounds, and while technically 0.68 inches thick, the aggressively beveled design makes it feel thinner in hand. I was a bit shocked every time I picked it up. This is a 13-inch Windows machine, but it weighs half a pound less than my iPad Pro with keyboard attached.
Despite this, the X1 Nano is sturdy and slate-like when handled. There’s some flex in the display lid, and the chassis can be made to groan if you pick it up with one hand while open, but that’s the worst of it. It’s far more durable than LG’s Gram laptops or Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Nano is a new model. It’s similar to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon line, which is now half a decade old but is even more portable. The X1 Nano has all the ThinkPad-specific features that enthusiasts might expect including a TrackPointer, fingerprint reader, and the typical ThinkPad keyboard layout, which swaps the location of the Function and Control keys.
Lenovo offers a pair of display options for the ThinkPad X1 Nano: one is a touchscreen with a glossy coat, while the other is a non-touchscreen with a matte coat. I tested the latter.
Aside from support for touch input and the reflectiveness of the display, the two options are almost identical. Both have a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2160 x 1350. That works out to 195 pixels per inch, which is lower than a MacBook Air but slightly sharper than the 1080p screen you’ll find on the entry-level versions of most competitors, like the Dell XPS 13.
The matte display I tested was reliable but unexceptional. It achieved a contrast ratio of up to 1,370:1 and a respectable maximum brightness of 463 cd/m2 with good color accuracy and coverage of the full sRGB color gamut. It’s a pleasing and functional display, but not one that looks exceptionally sharp or vibrant.
This is a common theme among top-tier mobile ThinkPads. Lenovo’s problem is not a display that falls short but instead a failure to keep up with the cutting edge. The MacBook Air provides True Tone and coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut, while Dell’s XPS 13 is now available with an OLED display. The X1 Nano feels mundane by comparison.
Entry-level ThinkPad X1 Nano variants have an Intel Core i5-1130G7 quad-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive. My upgraded review unit had an Intel Core i7-1160G7 quad-core CPU with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Further upgrades can boost the processor to a Core i7-1180G7 and expand storage to 1TB.
The X1 Nano’s performance is typical of thin, light Windows laptops. GeekBench 5 turned in a single-core score of 1,463 and a multi-core score of 5,098, while PCMark 10 hit an overall score of 4,598. These figures are on par with competitors like the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 and Razer Book 13, but behind Apple’s most recent MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
Don’t forget the X1 Nano’s size, however. It’s smaller and lighter than any of these machines. Lenovo has also tamed the fans which, though not silent, keep calm under all but the heaviest load. The X1 Nano can easily churn through day-to-day productivity or tackle photo or video editing if you work with small file sizes.
While the processor performed as expected, the Intel Xe integrated graphics delivered a surprise. It hit a score of 4,258 in 3D Mark Fire Strike and scored 76.6 frames per second in the GFXBench Car Chase test.
These strong scores beat entry-level discrete graphics options like Nvidia’s MX350. This incarnation of Intel Xe also beats Radeon RX Vega graphics found alongside AMD processors.
It’s great to see this graphical power in a laptop that weighs so little. Demanding games like Watch Dogs Legion or Assassins Creed Valhallaremain out of reach without serious compromises to image quality, but popular games like Minecraft, Path of Exile, and even Grand Theft Auto V are playable at medium to high detail at 30 to 60 frames per second.
Your experience may vary, as the entry-level X1 Nano ships with an Intel Xe graphics implementation that has 80 execution units (EUs), 16 less than the 96 found in my review unit. I’ve tested other laptops with the slimmer, 80 EU variant, and found it’s about 15 to 20 percent slower in real-world gaming. That’s still enough for many older 3D games, however.
I came away extremely pleased by the X1 Nano’s performance. No, it can’t beat the MacBook Air or Pro. But it’s extremely quick for a compact Windows laptop.
Though light and slim, the X1 Nano’s footprint is hardly different from competing 13-inch laptops. That leaves enough room for a sizable, comfortable keyboard and a palm rest large enough to keep the hands of most (though certainly not all) owners off the table.
It’s a great keyboard. Key travel is short, but the crisp, linear key action makes this easy to overlook, and the spacious lay will keep hunting and pecking at a minimum. A simple white keyboard backlight is standard, though it offers only two levels of brightness. Lenovo also says the keyboard is spill-resistant. I decided not to put that feature to the test.
The TrackPoint, a small red nub that can be used for mouse input, dots the middle of the keyboard. Fans of this unusual input (like myself) will take to it instantly. The TrackPoint is useful because it lets you control the mouse without moving your hands away from a comfortable typing position.
The TrackPoint does compromise the touchpad. It's large enough at about 4 inches wide and 2 and a half inches deep, but integrated buttons are found only at the top of the touchpad. This is the perfect position for use with the TrackPoint but looks odd if you prefer the touchpad. However, you can still tap the touchpad to activate the right or left mouse button.
The X1 Nano is available with a touchscreen, but my model didn't have this feature. It’s important to note the Nano is a laptop, not a 2-in-1, so the touchscreen will be less useful than on Lenovo’s ThinkPad X12 Detachable or Microsoft’s Surface Pro line. The touchscreen adds about four ounces to the laptop’s weight.
The ThinkPad X1 Nano is the latest in a series of Dolby Atmos-certified laptops I’ve tested. It packs a pair of woofers and tweeters with a combined output of six watts. The result is a powerful, meaty sound that’s pleasing in most situations. It’s loud enough to fill a small room with sound and delivers crisp audio. Movies and music are enjoyable, too, though the speakers can become muddled or confused at higher volumes.
Although fast in most tests, the ThinkPad X1 Nano stumbles in network performance. It can hit maximum download speeds of over 800Mbps on Wi-Fi 6 when used in the same room as my router. This is true of nearly every laptop I test. However, it hit speeds no higher than 30Mbps in my detached office. That’s not great. Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 hit up to 103Mbps in the same area.
The X1 Nano has optional 4G and 5G connectivity. You pay a premium for it, however: variants with 5G are sold for over $3,000. My review unit didn’t have mobile data, so I wasn’t able to test cellular reception.
All ThinkPad X1 Nano models ship with a 720p webcam. It looks okay in a well-lit room but struggles with even moderate lighting. You’ll look grainy and blurry unless you’re augmenting your home office lighting with a ring light.
The laptop has an IR camera that is compatible with Windows Hello for login via facial recognition. This feature is fast and flawless even in a dark room. The IR camera also enables a feature Lenovo calls Human Presence Detection. This automatically turns off the display when you move away from the laptop, then turns it back on when you come back.
A privacy shutter is included to physically block the webcam. Activating it also turns the webcam off.
A 48 watt-hour battery is stuffed in the ThinkPad X1 Nano’s slim, light chassis, and surely makes the bulk of its weight. The efficient 11th-gen Intel Core processor puts it to good use.
I saw about eight to nine hours of battery life in day-to-day productivity including web browsing, document editing, and light photo editing. My automated testing benchmark (which simulates web browsing and browser-based productivity) reported nine and a half hours of battery life. Demanding workloads, like gaming or video editing, will drain the battery more quickly, but most people will find the X1 Nano’s battery capable of handling a long workday with few breaks.
This is a great result. The X1 Nano can’t match Apple’s MacBook Air or Pro, but it slightly beats Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 4 and is on par with Razer’s Book 13. You’ll also notice the X1 Nano, unlike the Laptop 4, does not aggressively cap maximum display brightness when used on battery. The X1 Nano is more enjoyable to use in bright rooms or outdoors.
Every ThinkPad X1 Nano runs Windows 10 Pro. It’s a vanilla installation almost entirely lacking third-party software. The few apps installed are used to control hardware features like the Dolby Atmos speakers. There’s no pre-installed antivirus aside from Windows Defender, which is included in all Windows installations.
The laptop ships with Lenovo’s Commercial Vantage software, a functional and intuitive control panel that can be used to update drivers, change camera settings, or alter the power plan. It’s mostly redundant with Windows’ own built-in features, but collecting these settings in one place is better for owners intimidated by Windows’ Settings menu. If you don’t like it, no problem; you can simply ignore it and use Windows’ own menus.
Pricing technically starts at an MSRP of $2,499 but, as with all Lenovo laptops, the real retail price is always much lower. The entry-level X1 Nano retails for about $1,450. My review unit, equipped with a Core i7-1160G7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive, retails for about $1,825.
This becomes the X1 Nano’s biggest flaw. A similarly equipped Dell XPS 13 has an MSRP of $1,499 and is often on sale for about $1,375. Apple’s MacBook Air starts at $999, which rises to $1,449 when equipped with the same amount of RAM and storage.
It’s hard to justify the X1 Nano’s premium. It has advantages, like its feathery weight and IR camera, but it also has disadvantages, like a mediocre display and low Wi-Fi speeds.
The X1 Nano and XPS 13 look almost identical if you glance at their specifications. They offer the same line of Intel Core processors, have similar quoted battery life, and go toe-to-toe in size and thickness. However, some key differences tilt the scales in Dell’s favor.
Display quality is a big win for Dell. The base XPS 13 has a 1080p display that’s inferior to the X1 Nano, but Dell offers two upgrades: an OLED display with class-leading image quality or a bright, sharp 4K screen. The X1 Nano can’t compete with either.
Dell’s XPS 13 is available with Intel Core 11th-gen processors up to the Core i7-1185G7, while the X1 Nano tops out at the Core i7-1180G7. You can snag an XPS 13 with the Core i7 processor at a much lower price than the Lenovo.
The X1 Nano is more portable. It’s over half a pound lighter, and you can truly feel the difference in-hand. I also think the X1 Nano is more durable, which is saying a lot: the XPS 13 is a finely honed machine.
In the end, price easily tilts the verdict in Dell’s favor. The XPS 13 can be configured with better hardware at any price point, squeezing more value from every dollar you spend. That’s worth putting up with the extra weight.
We purchased the Lenovo Tab M10 HD (2020) so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The Lenovo Tab M10 HD (2020) is one of a couple options in the second generation of Lenovo’s budget-priced M-series Android tablets. It features an attractive metal body, big 10-inch display, and the option to buy it together with a charging dock that turns it into a sort of smart display.
The charging dock, unfortunately, isn’t available as a separate purchase, so you have to decide whether or not you want that functionality before buying the device itself. The marquee feature is support for Google Kids Space, which allows parents to essentially child-proof the tablet with thousands of pre-approved games, books, and videos.
The budget Android tablet market is pretty crowded, but Lenovo did a solid-enough job with the first generation of the M-series that I was interested to see where it would go with the second generation.
I recently unpacked a second-gen Tab M10 HD and used it for about a week for everything from email and web browsing to video conferencing and streaming movies from apps like Netflix and HBO Max. During my time with the tablet, I tested overall performance, video and audio quality, wireless speeds, and a variety of other factors to see if this budget friendly Android tablet is worth the asking price.
The first-generation Lenovo Tab M10 hit shelves back in 2019. It shipped with Android 8.1 and an MSRP just shy of $200. Right off the top you can see that Lenovo decided to chase a more budget-friendly market segment with the second generation of the hardware.
Even with that choice, the second generation includes a processor that’s nearly 10 percent faster, and also more power efficient. The battery is also a bit bigger, and the cameras are slightly better.
Unfortunately, the second generation Tab M10 received a downgrade in screen resolution. Instead of the full HD 1920 x 1200 resolution offered by the first generation, the second gen Tab M10 has a resolution of only 1280 x 800.
The Tab M10 HD looks and feels great for a budget tablet, with solid metal construction and a big 10-inch display. The metal body is a uniform gray color, smooth to the touch, and broken up on the top and bottom with cut-outs that house various inputs and speakers.
The top includes a speaker grill and a 3.5-millimeter audio input, while the bottom features a second speaker grill and a USB-C input. The right side is where you’ll find the power button, volume rocker, and a drawer that can accept a microSD card along with a SIM card if you pick up a Tab M10 HD that includes the optional feature.
On the left side, you’ll find Lenovo’s docking port connector. Unfortunately, there’s no way to make use of this connector if you don’t buy the version of the tablet that includes a dock. Lenovo doesn’t provide the dock as an optional accessory to purchase later. This is a bit of a questionable decision on Lenovo’s part, and it’s likely to lead to some consumer disappointment.
It’s possible that it might work as a charging connector if you bought a second-hand dock, but Lenovo actually ships the two versions of this tablet with different firmware, locking out the extra dock functionality in this version. The bottom line here is that if you want the dock functionality, you need to buy the Smart Tab M10 HD that includes the dock in the box.
The rear of the tablet is mostly featureless, aside from the aforementioned cut-outs. The single rear-facing camera is located in the upper left corner, and that’s about it. Due to the metal construction, it does look and feel more premium than you’d expect from the price.
The 10-inch display is surrounded by fairly slim bezels for a budget Android tablet, offering a screen to body ratio of about 82 percent. The aspect ratio is 16:10, which is pretty close to the standard widescreen ratio of 16:9. It’s a good compromise between being great for media and usable for email and surfing the web.
While the display is bright and clear, and the colors are nice and vivid, the resolution is a bit on the low side for a screen this big. The first generation of the Tab M10 hardware had a full HD display, while this one gives you only a resolution of 800 x 1280 for an abysmal pixel density of about 149 ppi on the big 10-inch IPS LCD screen. It looks fine when held at arm's length, but move it any closer and you can make out the individual pixels like you’re looking at the tablet through a screen door.
The Tab M10 HD (2020) comes equipped with a Mediatek MT6767 Helio P22T processor that’s on the slow side compared to contemporary hardware, but it isn’t bad for a budget Android tablet in this range. You also get your choice of either 32GB of storage paired with 2GB of RAM, or 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.
My test unit came equipped with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, and that’s the version I’d recommend targeting. While I wasn’t able to go hands-on with the other configuration, I have tested other tablets with the MT6767 paired with 2GB of RAM and found the experience to be less than pleasant. If you do opt for the 2GB version of the hardware, keep in mind that all of my benchmarks and anecdotal experiences apply only to the 4GB version.
Overall, I found the second gen Tab M10 HD to be snappy and responsive when navigating menus and launching most apps. I was able to stream media on apps like YouTube and Netflix without issue, browse the internet, write emails, and even hop on a couple Discord calls.
The hardware isn’t really designed for gaming, and I wasn’t able to install Genshin Impact, which is my favorite go-to game for testing tablets and phones. I did install Asphalt 9 and ran a few races, and it played well enough. I didn’t have any issues nabbing nitro power ups and crossing the finish line ahead of my AI competition. It sounded great, and I never noticed any frame drops or other issues.
Aside from anecdotal experience, I also ran a handful of benchmarks to get some hard numbers. First up, I downloaded and installed PCMark and ran the Work 2.0 benchmark to test the Tab M10 HD’s chops when it comes to productivity tasks. It scored 4,753 overall in that test, which is OK for a tablet in this price range.
The score of 3,117 in web browsing was a bit on the low side, while the writing score of 4,508 and data manipulation score of 3,969 were both pretty good. While I didn’t notice any real issues when browsing the web, a score like that suggests you may encounter some slowdown with a bunch of tabs or resource-intensive sites open.
I also ran a couple graphics benchmarks from GFXBench that test how well you can expect a tablet to run games. The first one I ran was their Car Chase benchmark, which is a game-like benchmark that tests physics, lighting, and other capabilities. It scored a terribly low 3.4 FPS in that test, which is lower than a lot of other devices I’ve looked at in this category. It also scored pretty low in the second benchmark I ran, with a score of just 21 FPS in the T-Rex benchmark.
These results aren’t very surprising, but they do indicate that you’re unlikely to have that great experience playing complex games on this tablet. If you’re looking for a tablet to run in Google Kids Space, it will run most of those games pretty well. If you’re looking to play anything that’s demanding on a graphics level, keep looking. Even Lenovo’s similarly-equipped Tab M10 FHD Plus performs significantly better in this department.
There are two versions of this tablet: the Tab M10 HD, and the Smart Tab M10 HD. They are identical in terms of both internal hardware and external design. The difference is that the Smart Tab M10 HD comes with a dock, and the Tab M10 HD doesn’t. With its dock and integrated Google Assistant voice controls, the Smart Tab M10 HD gets higher marks in terms of productivity than the Tab M10 HD.
Taking the dock out of the equation, this hardware isn’t the best for productivity. It’s good for basic tasks like email and browsing the internet, but it isn’t really work-ready. The front-facing webcam will work for video conferencing in a pinch, but it isn’t the best option. This tablet is much better for basic tasks and streaming media than any kind of work usage. It’s also a great option for families with young children, since it includes Google Kids Space.
The Tab M10 HD includes stereo speakers and supports Dolby Atmos. It isn’t the best-sounding tablet I’ve ever listened to, but it sounds great for a device in this price range. I love that the stereo speakers are situated on opposite sides of the tablet, as that makes for a much improved listening experience compared to devices that put both speakers on one side.
The sound lacks bass and sounds a bit tinny, but that’s to be expected. It’s more than loud enough to fill a room, although I preferred to lower it quite a bit for a more pleasant listening experience. I was actually able to watch movies on Netflix before bed without plugging headphones into the audio jack, as I had no trouble making out dialog, and there wasn’t ever any unpleasant distortion.
On the subject of audio and headphones, the Tab M10 HD includes a built-in FM radio using your headphones as the antenna. I plugged in my favorite earbuds, loaded up an FM radio app, and I was able to pull down dozens of local FM radio stations with pretty decent reception. This is a feature that isn’t always enabled even when the hardware technically supports it, so it’s a nice little extra you’ll be able to rely on even if your internet goes down.
The second gen Tab M10 HD supports dual band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless networking. As an option, you can also get a version of the hardware that supports GSM, HSPA, and LTE for cellular connectivity. My model was the Wi-Fi only version, so I wasn’t able to check cellular performance.
I used the Tab M10 HD on my Eero wireless network with a gigabit cable internet connection from Mediacom. At the time of testing, I measured download speeds of 980 Mbps at the modem. To start my tests, I installed the Speed Test app from Ookla and checked the connection speed about three feet from my Eero router.
At a distance of about 3 feet from the router, the Tab M10 HD registered a top download speed of 246 Mbps and an upload speed of 69.1 Mbps. That’s more or less in line with what I’m used to seeing from budget-priced Android hardware on this network, but I’ve seen speeds in excess of 440 Mbps from more expensive devices.
After establishing that baseline, I took the Tab M10 HD around the corner into a hallway about 10 feet from the router. At that distance, the connection speed dropped just a bit to 230 Mbps. Next up, I took the tablet into another room, about 60 feet from the router, with walls and other obstructions in the way. It held pretty strong, with a download speed of 230 Mbps.
Finally, I took it out into my garage, about 100 feet from the modem, and the speed dropped to 76.4 Mbps. That’s pretty solid performance, and lines up with my experience of being able to stream media wherever I tried anywhere in my house.
Lenovo improved the camera situation in the 2020 version of the Tab M10 HD compared to the first generation, but not enough to provide anything even close to what I’d consider good results. The rear camera is an 8MP shooter that can record 1080p video at 30 FPS, and it also has a 5MP sensor around front for a selfie cam.
Photos taken with the rear camera are more or less what I’ve come to expect from devices in this price class. Colors tend to look washed out, and uneven light results in parts of a photo being blown out. In anything less than full daylight outdoors, I noticed a whole lot of noise as well.
The front camera is even worse, and you probably won’t be uploading any selfies taken with this tablet to your Instagram. I found it to work fine for video calls, but my face was always washed out or blown out depending on the lighting conditions.
The Tab M10 HD features a 5,000 mAh battery that provides decent battery life, but it could definitely be bigger. I’ve tested a lot of mid-range phones that manage to pack a 5,000 mAh battery into significantly smaller packages, and a battery that’s great for a small-screened phone just doesn’t stretch as far when it’s powering a 10-inch display. I found myself throwing the tablet on its charger every day, although you could probably squeeze two days of lighter use out of it.
To test the battery, I set the screen brightness to the highest level and played HD videos on YouTube on an infinite loop. In that state, the Tab M10 HD lasted a little over six hours. That’s less than half the run time I’ve seen from phones with this size battery, so this is definitely an area where Lenovo could improve if they take a third pass on the hardware.
While this isn’t an all-day battery, and you’ll probably have to stick it on the charger every day, six hours is long enough to catch up on your favorite show in bed at night, or keep the kids entertained in the car during a long drive.
Lenovo doesn’t mess around with stock Android too much, and the Tab M10 HD ships with a very clean, very stock Android 10 experience. It works exactly like you’d expect a stock Android 10 device to work, with the extra apps it forces on you being only the Lenovo Tips app, an FM radio app, and Dolby Atmos.
The biggest news here is that the second gen Tab M10 HD comes with Google Kids Space, which is a great app if you have kids, as it allows you to transform the tablet into a kid-friendly spigot of entertainment. It includes tons of pre-approved apps, books, and videos so you don’t have to worry about curating age-appropriate content. It also integrates with the Google Family Link app, providing you with remote control over screen time limits, bed times, and more.
With an MSRP of $129.99 for the 2GB version and $169.99 for the 4GB version, the Lenovo Tab HD (2020) hits the sweet spot for a mid-range Android tablet like this. While I strongly recommend the 4GB version, the 2GB version is a great deal at just $129.99, especially as a childrens’ tablet. If you’re looking for a family tablet that your kids can use, this version is a great option that’s definitely priced right. The 4GB version is a bit pricey, but the extra RAM helps enough that I have trouble saying it’s actually overpriced.
Lenovo released two versions of the M-series tablet in 2020: the Tab M10 HD and the Tab M10 FHD Plus. These tablets look identical at first glance, with the Tab M10 FHD Plus being just a hair bigger, and they have fairly similar specifications. They’re the same color, have the same button configuration, and the cases look almost identical. The Tab M10 FHD Plus benchmarks a little better for some reason despite having the same processor, but I didn’t notice any difference in performance.
The Tab M10 FHD Plus has a slightly bigger display, and its IPS LCD panel sports a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1200. The result is that the display looks a whole lot better on the Tab M10 FHD Plus, making it a lot easier on the eyes when watching videos.
The other big difference is that the more expensive configuration of the Tab M10 HD has an MSRP of $169.99, while the Tab M10 FHD Plus has an MSRP of $209.99. If you don’t mind the lower resolution, or you’re primarily looking for a tablet for your kids, then the Tab M10 HD can save you some money without really sacrificing on performance. The Tab M10 FHD Plus has a far superior display, though.
We purchased Apple's new 16-inch MacBook Pro so our reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for the full product review.
The new MacBook Pro 16-inch M1 is the best laptop Apple has ever produced.
The combination of terrific display, incredible speed, and stellar battery life make the Pro a must-buy for anyone who depends on their laptop to speed through demanding computing tasks. Of course, this level of performance comes with a high price tag, starting at $2499. The MacBook Pro offers a window into a new kind of computing experience for those who can stomach the hefty price.
I’ve been using Apple portables ever since the Powerbook 100 was released in 1991. After spending several weeks with the new MacBook Pro, it offers the responsiveness previously associated only with iPads and iPhones, matched with the refined form factor of Apple’s best laptops.
On the surface, the new MacBook Pro doesn’t look radically different from Apple’s previous Pro laptop models. It’s got a similar aluminum case, and the screen is about the same size as the 2019 model.
However, the tiny details make all the difference in the design of the new MacBook. The Pro just feels nicer than any laptop Apple has ever made in many different ways starting with the incredibly smooth hinge mechanism when you open it up.
The Pro could be considered a step back in some areas. For one thing, at 0.66 by 14 by 9.8 inches and 4.8 pounds, the MacBook Pro is chunkier and heavier than the model it replaces. This is definitely not a laptop you’ll forget you are carrying in your backpack. On the other hand, the heft of the new MacBook is reassuring and in keeping with its target market of professionals.
Apple has also gone full circle and replaced the ports it removed in previous iterations of the MacBook. You get a MagSafe connector, headphone jack, SD card slot, HDMI port, and three Thunderbolt 4 ports, which should be enough for almost any user. There’s no USB-A port but most people won’t miss it.
The joy of using the MacBook Pro really becomes apparent when you start typing on the keyboard. It’s got a scissor key mechanism that feels precise and offers excellent feedback.
The Pro has one of the best keyboards I’ve ever used on a laptop. But If I’m going to be picky, I would say that the key resistance is a little too strong, which can lead to finger fatigue during extended typing sessions.
Just above the keyboard is another area where Apple has decided to go backward. The company has ditched the Touch Bar, a strip that allows touch access to software functions. As someone who used the Touch Bar for several years and never found a use for it, I say good riddance.
There’s nothing not to like about the trackpad on the new MacBook Pro. It’s big and responsive, and you won’t notice it after a while, which is all you need in an input device.
The new MacBook’s trackpad works perfectly, which is more than you can about the one on most Windows laptops. I had no trouble flicking the cursor accurately around the screen when spending hours editing documents.
The Pro sports the best display I’ve ever used on any computer and might be a reason to buy this model all by itself. It screams quality.
Some users might object to the notch carved out at the top of the display, making room for a camera. But I found that I didn’t even notice the gap after using the Pro for a few hours.
The display offers Mini-LED technology, which means that the display can turn off in sections, giving you deeper black levels than regular LED displays. You also get ProMotion which means a high refresh rate for a smoother look when you do things like moving the mouse.
Along with the glorious display, you get a newly redesigned set of speakers with the Pro. The speakers are, in a word, terrific. They offer four woofers, which bang out sufficient bass to make most music sound lively. Movies sound close to theater quality.
Text looks terrific on the Pro, and I ended up spending time gazing at Word documents just to admire the way words look so crisp and defined. Video playback was equally impressive, with the Mini-LED screen revealing a level of detail that made me want to rewatch my favorite movies. The no-glare coating also works very well, even when using the Pro in direct sunlight.
The MacBook Pro uses the same cutting-edge M1 chip, designed by Apple, that’s been powering some of the company’s other machines over the past year.
The new chip makes all the difference. I never thought my old MacBook Pro from 2019 was slow until I started using the new model, and now I can’t try any other computer without thinking how sluggish it is.
Apps start nearly instantly on the Pro. I have a bad habit of keeping too many browser tabs open while I’m working. But even when I had dozens of tabs open in both the Chrome and Safari web browsers, the Pro didn’t slow down.
For those who want to know the details, the PCMark benchmarking software found the following scores for the MacBook Pro:
Single Core: 1749
By way of comparison, here are the results of the same testing software on the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1):
Single Core: 1720
One of the benefits of the new M1 chip is its efficiency. Despite its power, the chip sips energy. The M1 Pro ran for 16 hours on its battery during continuous use, making it the longest-lasting laptop I've ever tried.
There’s a significant practical gain from all this battery life. Essentially you don’t need to worry about bringing along a charger, even for a full day’s work. It’s a liberating feeling not having to worry about juice.
Another nice thing about the efficient M1 chip is the fact that the MacBook runs cool. I’ve used it for dozens of hours, and it never felt more than slightly warm. Contrast that to my 2019 MacBook Pro that used to get so hot I was worried it would catch fire.
The big hiccup for most potential users of the MacBook Pro is its high price tag. I’ve been using the lowest-end model, which starts at $2499. You get a 10-Core CPU, 16-Core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD Storage for that price.
To put that into perspective, you can buy the excellent MacBook Air, which also has an M1 chip for $999. The Air at that price point comes with an 8 core CPU, 7 core GPU, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD storage.
I use my MacBook for hours every day for critical tasks, so spending big doesn’t phase me. I plan to keep the new Pro model for years and make sure I have a relatively futureproof setup.
A less expensive MacBook will be just fine for many users who just need a light work and fun machine. But for anyone who wants arguably the best laptop ever made, only the new MacBook Pro will do.
There’s an excellent case to be made that for many people, the much less expensive MacBook Air is a better option than the Pro model.
The Air offers many of the same benefits as the Pro, including the screaming fast M1 processor, which also means a very long battery life. You also get the tried and tested portability of the Air model, which makes it significantly slimmer and lighter than the Pro.
But the Pro model does have many advantages over the air, and it’s a question of deciding whether they are enough for you to pay the extra money. For example, the Pro comes with many ports that can be handy for hooking up peripherals, whereas with the Air, you are pretty much stuck with USB-C.
The screen of the 16-inch MacBook Pro is also leaps and bounds ahead of the Air model. The Pro display is much larger than the Air, of course, which means that you can see a lot more information at a time and can make working with large documents or spreadsheets easier. The screen also blows away the Air in terms of sharpness and resolution, which you’ll instantly notice if you have the two models side by side.
If your main computing tasks are light web browsing and you value portability over raw power, the Air is a solid choice. But if you spend many hours a day looking at your laptop’s screen and want the flexibility of lots of ports, you won’t regret spending the extra cash on the Pro.
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.
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 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 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.