Lenovo is putting its focus on family-ready products leading into this year’s IFA 2019 event and it now has two new Android tablets incoming to drive that point home.
Like the three new Chromebooks that the company is also revealing today, first leaked in late July, these two tablets couldn't be more different from each other. Or at least not while maintaining the familiar M-series branding. The smaller of Lenovo's new tablets, the Tab M7, is a second-generation device while the Tab M8 is an 8-inch tablet with quite a bit more power to bring.
Each also shares plenty of features that bring the focus back around to practical durability and a more premium feel than is often seen at the budget end of the Android tablet spectrum.
There are several decisions that Lenovo has made to ensure these tablets are family-friendly. One of those is the introduction of a newly-revamped kid-mode dubbed "Kid’s Mode 3.0."
The software feature now allows parents to give their children their own accounts complete with customizations that are tuned to the child's preferences. Of course, control will be in the hands of parents but that means apps, games, and other media recommendations will be matched on an individualized basis.
The Tab M7 is the family-friendliest of the pair
Lenovo's Tab M7 is the less capable of the two devices. In part, that's because of pricing. But that also doesn't mean Lenovo's cutting corners where one might expect.
For starters, while the tablet won't be winning design awards any time soon, it comes in at just 8.25mm thin. So Lenovo certainly hasn't shirked on the build. The device weighs just slightly more than some smartphones, at 236 grams. Starting at the back, Lenovo built its Tab M7 with a rear panel that's 90-percent metal.
That's accented at the front by a 7-inch, 350-nit LCD panel. The 5-point multitouch screen has a relatively low resolution of 1024 x 600. Thanks to slimmed-back bezels, the gadget has an 82-percent screen-to-body ratio. The display is TÜV Rheinland-certified for reduced blue-light output.
2-megapixel cameras are included alongside a forward-firing Dolby-enhanced speaker. One sits front and center at the top while the other holds a similar position at the back. Lenovo has kept the 3.5mm audio jack in place with its Tab M7.
Lenovo will sell two versions of the Tab M7.
Operating on Android 9 Pie Go Edition, the first is only equipped with Wi-Fi and 3G networking as well as Bluetooth 4.2. That's driven by a MediaTek-built 32-bit quad-core SoC, the MT8321, clocked at 1.3 GHz. Backing up the chip, Lenovo is incorporating 1GB RAM. The undoubtedly pricier version will pack in a quad-core 64-bit MediaTek MT8765B chip clocked at 1.3 GHz and backed by 2GB RAM.
The versions will come with 8GB, 16GB, 32GB of microSD expandable storage — up to 2TB. Configurations with 2GB RAM will ship with standard Android 9 Pie. The battery in either is a 3500mAh capacity unit allowing for up to two weeks of standby and up to 10-hours of use.
Lenovo Tab M8 brings more power for those who need it
As noted above, the Lenovo Tab M8 keeps an affordable price point but shifts things even further toward the premium in terms of usability and performance. As the branding suggests, Lenovo Tab M8 is actually comprised of a couple of family-ready 8-inch tablets. This time, those center on entertainment.
Now, some features such as the 350 nit display brightness remain the same and blue-light certifications are intact. The use of metals in the back panel is only slightly better. Lenovo Moved audio output to the side with its larger device to reduce the bezels further.
In almost every other measurable way, the Lenovo Tab is significantly better than its counterpart.
Starting with the display, Lenovo has upgraded to a 10-point multitouch panel in either an HD or FHD configuration with support for a wider portion of the color gamut.
Lenovo left the Tab M7's 2-megapixel snapper above the screen but the primary sensor is rated at a more reasonable 5-megapixels.
A 64-bit processor powers the Android experience here instead of a 32-bit chip. Specifically, that's MediaTek's A22 quad-core chipset clocked at 2.0 GHz. Lenovo is offering both 2GB and 3GB RAM variants. So Android Go is unnecessary on these tablets. Either 16GB or 32GB of microSD expandable storage will be available.
For traditional networking, Lenovo is including a dual-band chip for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac protocols. To begin with, LTE is supported across a much wider array of global frequency bands than with the Tab M7. That includes some CDMA frequencies this time around too.
The OEM is including Bluetooth 5.0 for better range and signal stability.
Driving all of that, Lenovo has pushed the battery to 5000mAh. That allows up to a claimed 18-hours of web browsing and up to 12-hours of media consumption.
Pricing and availability for the new family-friendly Lenovo tablets
Both the Tab M7 and Tab M8 are 4G LTE-ready via nano-SIM with a full suite of connectivity features such as WiFi Direct, WiFi Display, and the full gamut of location-based equipment from GPS to GLONASS. That's on top of the usual accelerometers and other standard sensors, of course.
Buyers have three color options for the Lenovo Tab M7 variants, including Iron Grey, Platinum Grey, and Onyx Black when those go on sale in October. The more budget-friendly of the two devices, those will start out at $89.99, depending on the version purchased. Prices will almost certainly vary from region to region.
The company's Tab M8 comes in the same colors but without the black configuration and starts out at a suggested retail price of $109.99 for the HD model. The FHD model begins at $50 more with a price tag set at $159.99. The company's offerings have, up until this point, been almost exclusively available in the HD format.
Both of the Tab M8 models will become available at the same time as the Lenovo Tab M7, according to Lenovo.
Exact details regarding retail or online availability haven't been specified just yet. Precisely where the tablets will be made available for purchase is another piece of information that hasn't been provided by the company. The particulars of both should be made clear soon enough for both new M-Series devices via the company's official site.