The 3rd generation Lenovo Tab M7 is one of few tablets with a 7-inch screen. It features a metal body, the Go edition of Android, as well as a long battery life. The price is very cheap at around 85 US Dollars. Can such an inexpensive tablet be any good? That’s what you’ll learn in this Lenovo Tab M7 3rd Gen review.
Design & Built
The 3rd generation Lenovo Tab M7 is very disappointing. But on a positive note, the disappointing technical aspects are packed in a very premium-feeling and premium-looking design. The tablet features a full metal body and feels like it should be much pricier than it is. With 8.3mm, it’s not too thick and it’s quite light at 237g. Because it’s so small due to its 7-inch display, it fits in just one hand very comfortably.
For kids, Lenovo is selling a special version that includes a protective case made of soft rubber. It’s a pretty good one that should protect the tablet well and has a built-in stand.
Sadly, that’s where my praise ends. The tablet is lacking all premium features. Instead of a USB C port, we get an old micro USB connector. There’s no fingerprint scanner but we do get a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot.
There are no speakers on the side. Instead, there’s a small single speaker above the screen which looks like the earpiece of a phone. While the sound quality is not particularly good, it’s good enough for watching some YouTube and playing games. But it can’t fill a room with music.
Lenovo is giving us a 2-megapixel webcam and the main camera has a resolution of 2 megapixels too. As you might expect, the quality is pretty bad. Photos and videos don’t look sharp and I did notice something weird with the camera app. When recording a video, the preview looks blurry. No matter which camera I’m using. The finished video turns out sharp, however, so either there’s a bug with the app or the chipset is too weak to display a full-resolution live preview.
Display: 7 Inches
The Lenovo Tab M7 3rd Gen has a 7-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. Even though the very first Apple iPad sold in 2010 had a similar resolution, we have 2022 now, and even on 7 inches, that’s a bit low. When looking closely at text, in particular, you can see some pixelation. It’s still okay, similar to an HD resolution on 8 inches, but most certainly nothing to brag about.
All other aspects of the display are okay. Viewing angles are good, colors look fine, and it’s bright enough for inside use. With 350 nits, it’s a bit too dark to use comfortably outside. Nothing for the beach. If you don’t read outside, it’s a pretty good E-Book reader.
Since the Tab M7 has a Widevine level of L3, you cannot watch Netflix with HD resolution. In this case, that doesn’t matter since the screen is not capable of displaying that anyways.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Lenovo Tab M7 3rd Gen runs a MediaTek MT8166 quad-core processor which is clocked at 2GHz. The LTE version has an MT8766 chipset. We also get 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. I have the standard WiFi version.
You can see in the Geekbench 5 benchmark that the CPU performance of that MediaTek processor is similar to the Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus and the first-generation Lenovo Tab M8. You get better performance with the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite which is just a little bit pricier. The 3rd generation Tab M7 is not capable of running the Compute graphics test and not the other standard graphics benchmarks that I usually run. So, the graphics performance is pretty bad.
And that’s what my gaming test shows too. Shadow of Death 2 is not a very demanding game and it does run well most of the time. But sometimes the frame rate drops to 20 fps or below which makes it look stuttery. Simpler games like Super Mario Run run fantastic, however, as they are not very demanding.
I installed Call of Duty and it does run with the lowest graphics settings. But it’s not a lot of fun because it lags every now and then. The system is too slow to enjoy games like these.
Everyday tasks don’t run very well. Even though it’s running Android Go, the system itself, Google Chrome, and even YouTube can be a bit laggy. The tablet never feels snappy and you often have to wait a second or two until something is loaded. Lenovo’s Tab M7 is slow and feels slow.
Software: Android 11 Go
The Lenovo Tab M7 3rd Gen is running Android 11 in the Go Edition. This is a version of Android that is meant for cheaper devices that are lacking powerful hardware. Perfect for the M7, because with standard Android, it probably would feel even slower. I don’t think the tablet will ever get a major software update but it should get security fixes sometimes.
It’s pretty much vanilla Android Go without any customizations. Instead of the full versions of some apps, Lenovo pre-installed the less taxing Go editions of those apps. We get the Go editions of the Photos app, the Google Assistant, as well as Google Go.
The Go edition is lacking some standard Android features. There’s no split-screen view, for instance.
Overall, the software is great and I have nothing bad to say about it. Except that it’s running on a slow system.
The battery life of the Tab M7 is pretty good and one reason for that is the dark screen. In my battery test, it got a runtime of 8.5 hours. For this, I’m always looping the same HD YouTube video at maximum brightness.
Lenovo Tab M7 3rd Gen Review: Final Verdict
So, is the 3rd generation Lenovo Tab M7 a tablet you should get? Well, probably not. I think for most, it’ll be better to spend a little bit more on a little bit better tablet. Yes, the design is very good and I actually think that the screen is quite usable and the battery life is long enough too. But the performance is too weak. Even simple tasks like surfing the web and watching YouTube can feel laggy.
The Tab M7 is okay as an E-Book reader if you read inside, for the most part. However, then you probably should just get a proper E-Book reader with an E-Ink screen.
Let’s check out the alternatives.
For many, the best alternative is the Amazon Fire HD 8 or HD 8 Plus. Even though the CPU performance is the same on paper, in reality, it feels much snappier and it’s most certainly a better gaming tablet. Yes, it’s running Amazon’s version of Android instead of Google’s Android, but still, especially the graphics performance is better. It also has a larger screen and a higher resolution.
If you’re willing to spend about double, check out the realme Pad mini. This is a pretty nice 8.7-inch tablet that has a full metal body, an HD screen, a much better performance, and standard Google Android.
- Premium-feeling design
- Long battery life
- Solid screen
- Android 11 Go
- Slow processor
- microUSB instead of USB C
- Bad speaker
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