Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

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Rating:
4.5/5

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Technical Specifications

  • Display: 11.2-inch 2.5K OLED (2,560 x 1,536 pixel), Dolby Vision, HDR10+, 1 million:1 contrast
  • Processor: MediaTek Kompanio 1300T 2.6GHz octa-core, ARM Mali G77 MC9 836MHz GPU
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
  • Storage: 256GB UFS 3.1
  • Cameras: Rear 13MP camera, 8MP selfie camera
  • Battery: 8,000mAh with 20W charging
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 802.11AX, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS + Glonass, MicroSD card slot, USB-C 3.0 port
  • Accessories: Lenovo Precision Pen 3, 2-in-1 keyboard (optional)
 

Buying a tablet isn't as straightforward as it used to be five years ago. An iPad isn't the default choice, and there's a wide variety of Android tablets on store shelves too. Lenovo's second-generation Tab P11 Pro is one such device, offering several attractive features such as a large 11.2-inch OLED display, four JBL speakers, Dolby Atmos, and Dolby Vision. Complete with its colossal 8,000mAh battery, this Lenovo tablet could be the ideal portable device for binging Netflix.

However, the Tab P11 Pro has a few demerits, like the lack of Android 12L, a steep Rs. 50,000 sticker price, and lack of cellular connectivity, which begs the question whether you're better off purchasing a Chromebook or budget Windows laptop instead. Let's find out.

Design and build: Rigid construction with thoughtful touches

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

You will feel the heft of the 480g Tab P11 Pro when you unbox it. The screen has moderately thick bezels all around, but they don't detract from the user experience. The back panel has a dual-tone frosted glass finish recreated using plastic, but it feels premium to the touch and shines bright. However, fingerprints quickly become a problem, and you're better off using the included snap-on magnetic back cover. The frame, however, is metallic and feels premium to the touch.

When holding the tablet in portrait mode, you'll find the power button in the upper right corner, along the upper edge of the frame, with the volume buttons along the right-hand side of the frame in the same corner. The buttons feel a little mushy. Thankfully, Lenovo provides independent volume buttons instead of a single rocker. Cutouts for the potent JBL speakers are placed along the shorter edges, while one of the longer edges sports alignment tabs and four pogo pins to connect accessories, like a keyboard cover with a trackpad. A MicroSD card expansion slot is on the upper edge, in line with the power button.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Ideally, rotate the tablet counter-clockwise to switch from portrait to landscape, so the front-facing camera is on the upper edge of the screen, but this can quickly become cumbersome to use (more on that later). Using this tablet single-handedly isn't workable, mostly because of the weight. To Lenovo's credit, the battery appears to be centrally located, lending the tablet decent balance and uniform weight distribution.

 
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

The Tab P11 Pro comes finished in Storm Grey or a bright silver color called Oat. Our review unit, finished in the darker Storm Grey shade shipped with the Precision Pen 3, a magnetic back cover which can prop up the tablet in landscape mode, and the aforementioned keyboard flip cover. Both the covers sport color-matched faux leather outer finish and a softer felt-like synthetic material inside, matching the sleek 6.8mm thick tablet's executive-class appeal. The P11 Pro is a well-built tablet we couldn't fault in the design department. Everything is easy to reach, aesthetically pleasing, and feels premium in day-to-day use.

Display: Straight A's all the way

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

A magnificent display is integral to a tablet's operation, and Lenovo's latest offering does not disappoint. The Tab P11 Pro comes equipped with an 11.2-inch OLED panel boasting a 120Hz refresh rate, 1 million:1 contrast ratio, and 2,560 x 1,536 pixel resolution. These attributes translate into impeccable clarity, rich contrast, and a great viewing experience for movies and videogames alike. This 2.5K screen can replicate 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and HDR10+ content, making it suitable for color-sensitive work like color grading and image editing as well. Thanks to the stylus, editors will love the ability to make precise local adjustments with ease.

Lenovo advertises 420 nits of peak brightness for the panel, and we understand OLEDs don't get as bright as LCDs. Nonetheless, outdoor visibility was a non-issue. Even under direct sunlight, the display is sufficiently bright and easy to see. The shiny panel has great oleophobic properties and wipes clean easily, but reflections can be an issue in outdoor situations. The tablet lacks cellular connectivity and will seldom see outdoor use, but if you love working in the scenic outdoors, a matte screen protector could help matters.

Stylus: The perfect accessory

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

While we are on the subject of the display, it would be remiss to gloss over the included Precision Pen 3 stylus. This convenient accessory sports a satin metallic finish with just one visible, tactile button. The stylus is circular, light, and easy to grip. Lenovo's software is remarkably good at palm rejection, and we had no issues jotting down notes and making minute edits to images with the stylus. It uses a small rechargeable integrated battery to power the button's customizable action and gestures over Bluetooth LE, but works just fine as a touch input device even when discharged.

The stylus has one flat face to attach behind the tablet magnetically underneath the rear camera, or along the edge of the tablet underneath the volume buttons. We found the flexibility of two mounting spots for the stylus really handy, especially when alternating between touch and stylus input. Moreover, the stylus mounting location along the side doesn't interfere with the protective covers, or your grip when holding the tablet in landscape mode. Note that the stylus battery recharges wirelessly only when placed behind the tablet, and not beside it.

Keyboard cover: From tablet to notebook in a snap

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

The Stylus comes bundled with the Tab P11 Pro, but anyone comparing this tablet to a similarly priced Chromebook or laptop ought to purchase the optional ThinkPad inspired 2-in-1 keyboard. The cover just snaps into place. It is extremely thin, so we don't expect a lot of key travel on the keyboard and one-piece trackpad's click buttons. The trackpad tracks smoothly, and we had no trouble adapting to the small keyboard, mostly because the size and position of the keys is comparable to a small laptop. However, the row of function keys is noticeably shorter, and the assigned actions differ from your usual Windows machine.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Unlike the plastic back panel, the keyboard cover was resistant to oily fingerprints, even after days of use. On the downside, the hinge is just a few layers of bonded synthetic fabric, putting its long-term durability in question. The magnets holding the keyboard to the tablet are strong, though, and the accessory won't shear off with mishandling and gentle tugging.

Software and UI: Sorely missing Android 12L

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

With the keyboard case, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro automatically switches to Productivity Mode, which brings us to its plethora of software features. Productivity Mode allows you to multi-task, pinning windows side-by-side. It also enables dedicated on-screen navigation buttons and a taskbar for running applications, so you need not provide frequent touch inputs. The trackpad also supports multi-finger swipe gestures for navigating between apps, which can help boost productivity for power users. In Productivity Mode, the status bar and notification shade are combined with the taskbar for a very desktop-like experience.

For some of us, though, nothing can replace desktop computing. For such situations, The pre-installed Lenovo Freestyle utility helps set up the Tab P11 Pro as a secondary display for your computer. Once the companion app on Windows is installed, the Tab shows up as a secondary display in Windows's Display Settings. This utility resembles Apple's Side Car feature for iPads and is an absolute blessing if your workflow benefits from having a portable secondary display that doubles up as a touch input device.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Students and academicians could also use the Tab P11 Pro to digitize their notes. The device comes pre-loaded with the MyScript Calculator app to jot down mathematical expressions using the stylus, which the system then digitises and solves. We can quickly reuse answers in subsequent calculations.

Android 12L is Google's idea of an OS better suited for large-screen devices and it would have been great to see that on the Tab P11 Pro. However, the tablet's current state and aforementioned pre-installed apps compensate for it adequately. There's minimal bloatware, and it pleased us to discover Lenovo's software implementation is much like sister firm Motorola's smartphones - bug-free and near-stock Android 12.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

If you plan to just use the Tab P11 Pro for recreational use, though, software smarts like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos combined with the stellar JBL quad speakers will not let you down. In our testing, the speakers got loud enough to fill a room, although distortion crept in at higher volume. They offer good stereo separation, bass, and clarity for their size, resulting in truly immersive sound. The tab lacks a headphone jack and a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box, but tuning the sound profile on connected Bluetooth headphones is a breeze with the Dolby Atmos interface.

While using the tablet, though, we came across only one major inconvenience. The tablet doesn't include a fingerprint reader and optical face unlock is the only form of biometric authentication on offer. Disappointingly, your thumb or forefinger will usually cover the selfie camera when holding the tablet in portrait mode. Even when that wasn't the case, we had trouble with face unlocking because your face needs to be centered in the frame for the feature to work, and that isn't always the case. Perhaps Lenovo intends the Tab P11 Pro for more landscape use, but an inconspicuous IR blaster and reader in upper bezel (when in portrait mode) would make face unlock more secure and convenient when paired with the current implementation. Perhaps we will see this in the third generation?

Performance

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Powering the smooth multitasking UI is a MediaTek Kompanio 1300T SoC under the hood, comprising four ARM Cortex-A78 cores clocked at 2.6GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores capped at 2GHz. This chip is paired with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. For connectivity, you'll find a USB-C port, dual-band Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO, and Bluetooth 5.1.

These specifications make for an impressive spec sheet for a Rs. 50,000 Android tablet, but real-world performance lives up to the expectations these features set. We played Call of Duty: Mobile and Genshin Impact on this tablet and hours flew by before a low-battery alert reminded us to check on the heat-soaked processor. Despite delivering a captivating gaming experience at 120Hz for hours, the MediaTek Kompanio didn't break a sweat. The ARM Mali G77 MC9 GPU was up to the task, driving the large OLED panel at a steady 120Hz with minimal stutters and dropped frames.

There was no tangible localized heating on the back panel, and slapping on the protective back cover didn't affect thermals either. Your real-world experience could vary significantly because of a variety of factors, so we rely on globally acclaimed benchmarks to compare similar devices on a level playing field.

On Geekbench 5, a multi-faceted testing suite designed to evaluate CPU performance in a wide variety of tasks, the Tab P11 Pro's single core and multi core performance scores were markedly better than numbers posted by the Xiaomi Mi Pad 5's Snapdragon 860. However, the Lenovo failed to outperform the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC powering the Galaxy Tab S8+.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

To gather granular insight into everyday performance, we simulate a synthetic productivity workload using PCMark's Work 3.0 and Storage 2.0 benchmarks. On the former, all three tablets were rather neck-and-neck, with the Samsung pulling ahead of the lot while the Lenovo beat the Xiaomi yet again.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

The storage front is where the Tab P11 Pro really shines. Its sequential read and write speeds blow the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Mi Pad 5 out of the water. In the real world, this could translate into a buffer-free experience reading large files like 4K movies, or a faster export time for a video editing project.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

The integrated GPU's ability to handle games is evaluated using the 3DMark Wild Life test. Here, the Galaxy Tab S8+ emerges victorious yet again, although the Tab P11 Pro beats the Mi Pad by an appreciable margin. The P11 Pro averaged a playable 25FPS in the test, suggesting this tab will handle heavier titles alright. These benchmark scores only show that the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is a decent performer, and it takes a flagship-grade Qualcomm smartphone SoC to beat it.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Battery

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

All this capable hardware would be worthless if it couldn't stay powered on long enough to get work done. Lenovo has installed a colossal 8,000mAh battery in the Tab P11 Pro, backed by 20W charging.

In our testing that spanned a couple of months, the Tab P11 Pro's battery delivered a whopping 11 hours and 34 minutes of screen-on time. With a mix of content consumption and moderate productivity workloads, we recorded a 3.4% drop in the battery level per hour, on average.

The tablet would have benefited from faster wired charging, but we aren't complaining. The 1.5m charging cable is long enough and 37.1% of the battery capacity is replenished every hour, on an average. 50% charge comes up in 50 minutes, but charging slows down significantly past the 80% mark. A full charge takes around three hours. This cloud has a silver lining, though - the wall wart and tablet didn't get toasty when plugged in. Also, the charging cable is generously long, measuring 2 meters.

Cameras

We seldom see tablet cameras put to any use, except for during video conferences. Lenovo provides the Tab P11 Pro with an 8MP fixed-focus camera. The results are grainy, even in ideal natural and artificial lighting, but should suffice for your video conferences. Low light-performance is unsurprisingly awful, and we would suggest taking calls only in brightly lit spaces.

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

On the bright side, the tablet also has a single 13MP rear-facing camera. It performs better in adequate light and struggles in dimly lit situations, but not more than the average smartphone camera. You can depend on it to deliver in the unlikely situation where it is the only camera at your disposal. It also does a good job scanning documents for digitization using Google Lens.

Verdict

Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: A Promising Galaxy Tab S8+ Rival?

Lenovo is selling the second-generation Tab P11 Pro for just Rs. 45,000 instead of the Rs. 50,000 sticker price. If you're considering this as a laptop replacement, we suggest factoring in the keyboard cover's cost as well.

If you're looking for a fuss-free Android tablet for media consumption and web browsing that you won't take outdoors often, the P11 Pro is the tablet to go for. However, if you require a larger battery and a budget-friendly option which compromises on the software experience, consider the Xiaomi Pad 5. Customers looking for 5G cellular connectivity for remote use, a larger display, horsepower for more intensive workloads, or a combination of these factors may have to shell out Rs. 67,000-70,000 for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+.

However, for that much money, we would strongly advise you to check out 2-in-1 laptops running Microsoft Windows unless the Android OS is a key requirement. Most 2-in-1s, like the Asus Vivobook S14 Flip, use potent notebook processors and active cooling, unlocking additional performance headroom.

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