The Lenovo Tab M7 is one of very few tablets with a 7-inch screen which makes it just a bit bigger than many smartphones. Starting at just 90 US Dollars, it is one of the cheapest devices out there. That does not stop Lenovo from shopping an IPS screen and a metal body though. But how good is its performance? In this Lenovo Tab M7 review you’ll learn everything you need to know about this tablet.
Design & Build Quality
The design and build quality of the Lenovo Tab M7 is fantastic. Who would have thought that I’d ever say that about a sub-100-Dollar tablet? But in fact, the body feels very high-end and is much more premium-feeling than the Amazon Fire 7. That’s because Lenovo is shipping the Tab M7 with a metal body. Yes, there are some small plastic bezels around the screen and on the top and bottom. But most of it is metal.
It’s quite light with a weight of 236g and it is 8.25mm thick. Again, it might sound a bit weird, but the build quality really is excellent in this price range.
Okay, but, actually, that’s mostly the end of me praising it. The other features are typical for a cheap tablet. Instead of a USB C port, it’s still being charged with a micro USB connector. I like that we’re getting a microSD card slot and a headphone jack though.
Speakers & Cameras
Speaking of the headphone jack: You’ll need it if you want to listen to music or watch movies. There is one single speaker placed above the screen and while its loud enough the sound quality is bad. The speaker sounds flat and there is no real bass at all. Many phones offer much better speakers.
That’s what I can say about both 2-megapixel cameras too. Yes, they work. And if you’re looking for a super cheap Skype device, it’s acceptable for that. But with that being said, photos and videos don’t look sharp at all. They’re blurry.
The Lenovo Tab M7 has a 7-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 16:10. Even though the resolution is quite low with 1024 x 600 pixels, I don’t think that’s too much of a downside. Yes, you’ll be able to see pixels. But similarly priced competitors have the same low resolution and in the past, that was fine for everyone.
I like that the viewing angles are wide enough to see something when locking from the sides. It is an IPS screen. Other aspects like color reproduction, contrast and brightness are okay. It’s not a top-performer regarding any of those aspects, of course, but the screen is much better than the one of the Tab E7 last year.
Now, I wish Lenovo would have applied some coating to reduce visible fingerprints. You will see those easily.
By the way, you can’t watch Netflix with HD resolution because the necessary DRM standards are not supported. In this case, however, that’s not an issue because we’re not getting an HD resolution anyways.
Hardware & Performance
Let’s get to its hardware and performance. Inside the Lenovo Tab M7 runs a MediaTek MT8321 quad-core processor. You’ll be able to choose between 1GB and 2GB of RAM, as well as between 8GB, 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. Well, these are the option in some countries. I’m using the version with 1GB of RAM and a 16GB internal storage which is the only one available in Germany right now.
You can see in my Geekbench comparison that the performance of the Tab M7 is very bad. It scores worse than the cheaper Amazon Fire 7. Benchmarks like AnTuTu that test the graphics performance don’t work.
The performance in real life is as bad as the benchmark suggests. No matter what I’m doing with it, I notice smaller lags most of the time and often have to wait a bit until something is properly loaded.
Sure, you can’t expect too much of such a cheap tablet. And if you use just one tab in Chrome to read some news, the performance is good enough for that. Reading E-Mails works fine too. And sure, apps like the Kindle reader run great and YouTube is usable. Its UI is not always super smooth, but I’ve been able to watch videos with it comfortably. Just don’t have too high expectations. While you can watch HD videos in this case, I noticed occasional lags when watching with this resolution.
It’s very disappointing that its performance is too weak for basic multitasking. During my time with this tablet, I never had the feeling of using something fast. Sure, you can surf the web a bit and watch some Netflix. All of that works. But you’ll see smaller stutters quite often and if something is not loaded immediately, it can be frustrating.
The Tab M7 is not a gaming tablet, of course. Very simple games do run, however. I played Badland Brawl and Apple Knight and both run great. Other games like Fortnite are not supported though.
On the Lenovo Tab M7 runs Android 9 Go Edition. The Go Edition is a less demanding version of Android that does not require as powerful hardware.
It’s still Android. And if you’ve used Android already, you’ll feel right at home. However, compared to normal Android, there are some missing features. There is no split-screen view, for example. That means you can’t open two apps side by side, but the performance would be too weak for that anyways.
There are several changes like these. And instead of normal Google apps, there are some Go versions of those apps pre-installed. Among those is Gmail Go, Google Maps Go, and the Assistant Go. These are simpler versions with fewer features that run better on weak platforms. If you want, you can install the normal version using the Play Store. But they don’t run as well.
In the case of Chrome and YouTube, we do get the full versions.
Lenovo did not customize the UI at all which is great. We’re getting pretty much vanilla Android 9 Go. In addition to those Google apps, there are a couple of standard ones pre-installed like a calculator, the camera app and a Dolby Audio app. But that’s it.
Since this is a super cheap device, I don’t expect it to ever get Android 10 Go. Lenovo is pretty bad with updates in general. Still, I like the software. It’s a good decision from Lenovo to use Android Go because the operating system itself runs quite smoothly.
By the way: According to the press release, the 2GB RAM version will be shipped with normal Android 9 Pie.
In my battery test, the Lenovo Tab M7 got a runtime of 10 hours. With this result, it’s much better than its predecessor and a little above the Amazon Fire 7. For my battery tests, I’m always looping the same HD video at medium brightness until the tablets shut themselves off.
Lenovo Tab M7 Review: Final Verdict
Alright, let’s get to the end of my Lenovo Tab M7 review. I can recommend it in a couple of circumstances only. If you want to spend as little money as possible and prefer pure Android, this is one of a few options to get. And it can be a decent choice if you need it for simple tasks only. For surfing the web and reading emails or for watching YouTube, for instance. But it’s important that you know that you’ll have to make compromises in this price range.
The Tab M7 has quite a lot of potential. Its build quality is fantastic, and the screen and battery life are great at this price too. Both cameras and the speaker are bad but that’s to be expected. Its major downside is the slow processor and the 1GB RAM version. For about 10 to 20 dollars more, you can get much better performing tablets.
Let’s check out some alternatives.
A direct competitor is Amazon Fire 7. Even though it’s even cheaper with prices starting at just 50 US Dollars, it does feel a bit faster. Its battery life and display are very similar. However, it feels much cheaper due to its plastic body. And instead of Google Android, you’ve got to live with Amazon’s version which does not include the Play Store. You can install it yourself though.
If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you should check out the Amazon Fire HD 8. While its plastic body feels much cheaper too, its performance is much better. It also offers a decent HD screen and a longer battery life. Again, you’ve got to install the Google Play Store yourself though.
The next best tablets with Google’s Android are the Lenovo Tab M8 and Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0. Even though both cost around 130 US Dollars, you do get normal Google Android, 8-inch HD screens and much better performance.
- Excellent build quality
- Very inexpensive
- Good display
- Solid battery life
- Pure Android 9 Go
- Performance too slow
- Bad speaker
- Blurry cameras
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