Tablet makers are fighting to get the largest piece of a pie that’s called the budget segment, which drives maximum sales volume for them. Samsung and Lenovo are two of the oldest claimants of the pie with their annually refreshed lineup of cheap tablets. The Galaxy Tab A 8.0 T290 and Tab M8 from Samsung and Lenovo, respectively, are positioned neck and neck in terms of their pricing and features.
We’ll be comparing these budget tablets—from two different Asian brands—that come with their unique personalities. This comparison dives deep into their tiniest differences and similarities to paint a clear picture before you go ahead and make a purchase. Let’s get started with our detailed comparison of Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 T290 vs. Lenovo Tab M8.
Design & Display
While both the tablets are positioned in the budget segment, neither features an inferior build. The Tab A 8.0 has a classic Samsung design with a portion of its back made using metal. Plastic is also used for its construction, but it’s limited to the edges. In contrast, the Lenovo tablet has a full metal back, except for a pair of minimal antenna bands. Both are about 8mm thick, but the Samsung model weighs a bit more at 347g versus 305g of the opponent.
Both their names already give away the screen size they carry, and the similarities end right there. For one, the Tab M8 has a higher screen-to-body ratio, meaning its 8-inch panel is surrounded by thinner bezels than the Samsung model. Not only this, but the Chinese company has also used a superior IPS LCD panel which you can pick HD or FHD resolution against Samsung’s HD TFT screen.
Hardware & Performance
Catering to the entry-level segment of the market, the two devices pack processors of a similar caliber. Both are fueled by quad-core chips—Samsung has deployed the Snapdragon 429 with the Lenovo model using a MediaTek Helio A22 processor. The former tablet includes 2GB of RAM paired with 32GB of expandable memory. On the contrary, the Tab M8 gets 3GB RAM for the 32GB storage variant while a lower-end variant pairs 2GB RAM with 16GB storage—both of which can be expanded up to 1TB.
In terms of connectivity, the Lenovo Tab M8 takes the lead with a slightly better Wi-Fi ac and Bluetooth 5.0 support compared with Wi-Fi n and Bluetooth 4.2 found on the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 (2019). Both the tablets are offered in 4G LTE-enabled models as well while also sharing a micro USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In addition to all these, you will find bottom-firing speakers on the two devices with no stereo separation, though the Lenovo device supports Dolby Audio.
Software & Camera
On the software front, both tabs share the same foundation of Android 9 Pie while building their own versions on top of it. The Galaxy Tab has Samsung’s acclaimed One UI that brings a host of features, such as allowing for better single-handed use and night mode, making it much more intuitive. Lenovo has taken a different approach by not making a lot of customizations for those who prefer a vanilla OS. However, both have their own takes on kids’ mode baked into the system.
Things get interesting here as the Chinese company offers different camera configurations depending on the display specifications. The variant with an HD screen has a 5MP rear-facing camera with a 2MP unit on the front. If you pick the FHD model, your unit will have a 13MP sensor on the back with a 5MP selfie camera. Samsung, on the contrary, doesn’t have such diverse options and ships its budget slate with an 8MP rear-facing and a 2MP front-facing shooter.
They differ by a mere 100mAh when their battery capacities are comapared—the Galaxy Tab has a 5100mAh battery while the Tab M8 packs a 5000mAh unit. We’ve only reviewed the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 T290 until now and it has performed well, scoring 13.5 hours of runtime, in our standard battery test.
Andrzej notes that the battery life will drop significantly if you begin using LTE extensively, like a phone. We’re yet to review the Tab M8, but our experience with its larger model doesn’t induce us to trust Lenovo’s claim of 12 hours of video playback.
The cheapest one of these tablets is Samsung’s tab which is priced around €130, though the Lenovo model isn’t far ahead. For a starting price of €140, you can grab the base model of the Tab M8 with an HD display, while the variant with an FHD panel costs €20 extra at €160. Neither of these devices has seen a widespread availability across global markets.
Specifications: A Comparison
|Tablet||Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 T290||Lenovo Tab M8|
|Operating system||One UI (Android 9 Pie)||Android 9 Pie|
|Display||8-inch TFT (1280 x 800)||8-inch IPS (1280 x 800/1920 x 1200)|
|Processor||2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 429||2GHz quad-core MediaTek Helio A22|
|Expandable||microSD card slot||microSD card slot|
|Main camera||8 Megapixels||5 (HD)/13 (FHD) Megapixels|
|Front camera||2 Megapixels||2 (HD)/5 (FHD) Megapixels|
|Connectivity||Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 n, Bluetooth 4.2, optional LTE||Dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 5.0, optional LTE|
|Ports||Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack||Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Security||No fingerprint scanner||No fingerprint scanner|
|Dimensions||241.3 x 171.7 x 8 mm||199.1 x 121.8 x 8.15 mm|
Which one is better?
I’d answer this question with another question—what features do you like to have on your tablet? If you’re brand conscious and don’t dig deep into specifications to notice that slightly old, but appropriately functional, Bluetooth version, then go ahead with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 SM-T290 and you’ll save some change in the process. You will still need to pronounce and remember that excessively lengthy name, though. The South Korean company has lately been better at delivering newer software updates even to its older tablet models.
Not everyone likes the kind of heavy skin that Samsung ships its tablets with, and the Lenovo tablet specifically caters to such an audience. You will have a delightful experience with its clean Android OS, plus, there are all those extra perks of slightly better connectivity options and an IPS panel that can be configured up to a 1080p resolution. But the battery may not be its strongest point, based on our history with Lenovo products.
- Very inexpensive
- Android 9 & One UI
- Long battery life
- Performance good-enough only
- Micro-USB port
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