Tablets aren’t just tablets anymore. They can now blend two different worlds together. One world is dominated by those who want to use a tablet primarily for consuming multimedia content and the other world expects a tablet to be more like a PC that meets their productivity needs. Lenovo, like other players in the industry, is a believer in the hybrid nature of a tablet. Its latest Tab P11 Pro is built on the narrative that tablets are more than a great couch and lounge chair device. The question is, how this conversion of two devices rolled into one translates into a good investment.
I tried to find the answer in my review of the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro.
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro review: Rs 42,990 onwards
At first glance, the new Lenovo Tab 11 Pro reminds me of the iPad Air (2020). It is wonderfully light, the edges are rounded off, and is quite simply a joy to hold. The Tab 11 Pro, like the iPad Air, sheds bezels and settles for an edge-to-edge display. This results in a tablet with a modern look and solid aluminum build. The top and bottom of the tablet have powerful stereo speakers; in fact, four of them (more on that later). On top of the tablet, you will find a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. There’s also a USB-C port that sits on the bottom, while the tablet also includes pogo pins on the bottom edge to attach an optional snap-on keyboard.
Because of the 11-inch screen size, it is less awkward to hold (it’s only 6.9mm thick), and can be used for extended periods of time. What makes a tablet so appealing is the comfort of using it from anywhere. I often sit in my balcony and use the Tab P11 Pro to reply to all important emails in the morning, digitally sign PDFs, read the e-edition of The Indian Express, and scan all-important tech news. I don’t want my laptop for such things. That is by far one of my favorite things about having a device like the Tab P11 Pro.
The OLED display on the Tab P11 Pro spans from corner to corner, like the Galaxy Tab S7 FE and iPad Air. The 11.5-inch OLED display has a resolution of 1,600 x 2,560 pixels and a brightness of up to 500 nits. Movies streamed from Netflix as well as games I tried looked fantastic on the OLED display. The higher resolution means browsing web pages and reading e-books is a great experience. The display is crisp, colour rich and bright, though I wish it had a higher refresh rate that would have made scrolling through Twitter and Facebook super smooth. The tablet also comes with a quad-speaker setup, with two on its top edge and two on the bottom, which gets very loud. Very impressive.
The Tab P11 Pro ships with the Snapdragon 730G processor, paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Look, this isn’t as powerful as Apple’s A13 or the “desktop-class” M1 chip found inside the latest iPad Pro. It has certain limitations, but the tablet should be powerful enough for a variety of basic tasks. I have had no trouble using the Tab P11 Pro for writing stories using Google Docs, opening WordPress and managing the content, attending Zoom calls, opening most used apps, and occasionally playing games.
I believe your intent behind this device is not to edit YouTube videos or do intense tasks. If that’s the case, this might not be the perfect tablet for you. Battery life was excellent. The 8600mAH battery will last days, depending on real-world conditions. In my case, I got roughly 8 hours of battery life, which is almost enough to get me through an entire workday. This was when I used the Tab P11 Pro as a real computing device which includes tasks like writing and editing stories, listening to music, and attending video calls.
The Tab P11 Pro has two 8MP cameras on the front, one for photos and the other for face recognition. The good news here is the quality of the camera, and if you are a person like me who spends half of his day attending Zoom calls. There is a solid reason to invest in a premium tablet. The quality of the front camera on the P11 Pro is way better than the typical webcam you will find on a laptop. On the back of the tablet, you’ll find a 13MP autofocus camera accompanied by a 5MP fixed-focus ultrawide lens. I haven’t tested the rear cameras for review purposes.
It’s a difficult question to answer, and even Lenovo knows the Tab P11 Pro is more suitable as a premium tablet than a laptop killer. I want to focus on two things here, one is the size of the tablet and the other is the software. Due to the size and weight of the 11-inch Tab P11 Pro, I can carry it wherever I go and start working on the device. It’s always with me, even when I am out. Lenovo also sells the keyboard and Pen that can be used with the tablet to create that “full-fledged laptop” experience. My review didn’t come with the bundled accessories, so I relied on my Logitech keyboard. But the 11-inch screen size looks small when I want to work on the desk. I still feel the 13-inch screen size is the right size for a computing machine from a productivity point of view.
Another issue with the Tab P11 Pro is the Android operating system, and I don’t want to blame Lenovo for this. I appreciate Android for its openness and the way it works on a smartphone — but it’s not designed for tablets. Many apps have yet to be optimised for the larger display, and as a result, they look ugly or stretched out. Because Google has left Android the way it is on tablets, companies like Lenovo and Samsung have been tasked to design a “productivity-centric’ user experience. This, I believe, isn’t working, partly because the input should come from Google and not from its hardware partners.
Although Lenovo has added a productivity mode on the Tab P11 Pro (it’s quite similar to Samsung’s DeX), I am still not convinced with a desktop-like interface that leaves much to be desired. Google needs to rethink how to make productivity and multitasking central to the core experience, and until that happens, the “pro” name in the Android tablets is merely a marketing exercise.
The Tab P11 Pro is a versatile device and its portability and compact form factor are unmatched. As I have pointed earlier, this tablet can do a lot of things right — editing and writing stories, watching movies, listening to podcasts, or reading news. It all depends on what you need a tablet for. I think the Tab P11 Pro is more accessible due to size, weight and price but it isn’t designed to serve a specific use case.