It’s unusual to see a premium Android tablet emerge, as the market has largely stagnated – or, at the very least, is dominated by Apple’s iPad lineup – but Lenovo is fighting back with the release of its Tab P11 Pro.
This 11.5-inch tablet is priced in the mid-to-high range of the market, offering a bright OLED panel as well as the ability to add keyboard and stylus pen peripherals to create a more productive platform.
But, given Android’s typical lack of tablet optimization, can Lenovo’s Tab P11 Pro hit all the right notes as a tablet and more?
Display & Design
- Display: 11.5-inch OLED panel, 1600 x 2560 resolution, Dolby Vision HDR
- Dimensions: 264.3 x 171.4 x 6.9mm / Weight: 485g (tablet only)
- Optional keyboard, back and stylus accessories
- Dolby Atmos, quad speakers, sound by JBL
- Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac) & LTE options
- Fingerprint scanner in the power button
- Colour: Slate Grey
- No 3.5mm jack
The way you perceive the Tab P11 Pro may differ depending on how you intend to use it. Is it just a screen for watching Netflix and the like? There are no dramas here; this is a high-quality alternative. As an alternative to a laptop? Well, you’ll need to invest in the additional keyboard accessory, which will raise the price slightly but keep it close to Chromebook territory.
An 11.5-inch screen provides a better view than, say, a mobile phone; it’s also smaller than most 13.3-inch laptops and thus more portable – albeit not quite comparable, given its Android software core (it’s just not as in-depth as Windows, nor as app rich, and it’s not even as word processing adept as a Chromebook alternative).
However, as far as screens go, this 11.5-inch panel is adequate thanks to OLED technology. This means that each pixel self-illuminates – and since it’s Full HD+, or “2K” if you like – there’s no edge illumination or haloing around subjects. There are just deep blacks, rich peak whites, and a very capable color palette to fill in the spaces.
We’ve found the Tab P11 Pro to be really useful as a second screen for watching online press conferences while typing on our laptop. Sure, it’s an uncommon use-case, but to each their own.
If you intend to use this slate for on-the-go streaming, it is perfectly suited to the task. Available in Wi-Fi alone or Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE configurations, the latter has the ability to insert a SIM card, allowing you to live-stream while on the go. That may be useful for a variety of scenarios, including kids in the backseat of a car on a long drive (if you haven’t been savvy enough to pre-download for offline watching).
It’s also a small tablet, measuring just 6.9mm in thickness, making it a fraction thinner than many recent flagship smartphones. The structure is robust thanks to an aluminum frame, and it’s also finely finished, as seen here in “Slate Grey.”
The only anomaly in the design is the placement of the buttons. They’re to the upper left, which we’re sure left-handed people will appreciate, but we just thought it peculiar. Even the volume up and down buttons appear to be reversed. And the power button, which has a fingerprint scanner built within it for rapid login (although face unlock is the better option), is tucked around the corner in an unusually awkward place.
The Tab P11 Pro has a “Dolby Vision Atmos” branding on the back (they’ve started merging the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos words, eh?) as well as “JBL sound.” We dismissed these symbols at first, but Lenovo’s tablet is solid when it comes to audio – the quad speakers are loud and crisp, projecting audio away confidently. Enough to irritate anyone in public, we’re sure, but also ideal for a little of hotel box-set bingeing while on a staycation.
Performance & Battery
- Dual selfie cameras: 8MP wide-angle, 8MP biometrics
- Dual rear cameras: 13MP wide-angle, 5MP ultra-wide
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor, 6GB RAM
- 8600mAh battery, 20W fast-charging
At this point, you’ll notice that we’ve been tackling easy things like browsing and viewing Netflix. Android is pretty excellent at it because it doesn’t need to do anything else. The problem is that when it comes to productivity, Google’s software still struggles to accommodate the larger scale of a tablet screen. The arrangement is messed up by auto-rotation in both portrait and landscape modes.
This isn’t completely Lenovo’s fault: Google still has work to do to bring Android up to tablet/laptop-replacement levels. Because it simply isn’t there right now.
As a workaround, apps like Productivity Mode use a more Windows-like layout, complete with a taskbar displaying open apps, but with the keyboard accessory attached, there’s just not the right kind of engagement – largely because the little trackpad has a weird ‘float’ sensation that’s harder to control than the norm, and the ‘board itself has a hollow feeling that’s difficult to control.
But there’s a bright side: the backplate – which comes with the keyboard and attaches over the back of the tablet – has a nice multi-adjustable stand that does a good job of transforming the tablet into a laptop. However, it may be more rigid. And if you’re typing with the keyboard flat on a solid surface, like a desk, it’s not too horrible – though that “hollow” sensation is difficult to shake, which means it just doesn’t hold up as that kind of gadget for us.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G platform onboard is the mid-to-high tier chipset in the chipmaker’s lineup, so if you think of the P11 Pro as a large phone, it delivers strongly. You should have no trouble playing Android games. The navigation is quick. Again, connectivity is similar to that of a mobile phone.
That chipset also works well with the 8600mAh battery on board. Considering that a flagship phone normally has a 4,500mAh battery, the extra nearly 50% on offer here is sufficient to offset the more screen real-illumination. estate’s
Longevity is slightly different for a tablet because you’re more likely to be engaged in longer periods of screen time than with off-and-on use like a phone, but we’ve been getting around 12 hours of streaming before the Tab P11 Pro’s battery is on the verge of dying. That’s very impressive.
- Bright and high-resolution OLED display
- Decent battery life for streaming sessions
- Sturdy design and build – slimmer than most flagship mobile phones
- Strong sound profile
- Android just not best optimized for tablet productivity
- Awkward power button position
- Keyboard accessory feels hollow and isn’t the best going
- No 3.5mm jack
What we think of the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is twofold: as a smaller-screen tablet, we love the OLED display and think it’s a great option for streaming; as a laptop alternative, we just don’t think Android is up to the job right now, and the keyboard and stylus accessories can’t replace the feel of a proper laptop.
So it all depends on what you’re looking for: the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is a solid tablet with some display bells and whistles, but it’s a no-go as a laptop replacement.