The Lenovo Smart Tab cleverly combines the best parts of tablets and smart displays -- it's a mix of features that makes so much sense that I'm surprised more companies haven't already done it.
On the one hand, it's a 10-inch Android tablet complete with the full power of Google's mobile operating system. Set it on a dock, and it becomes a smart display similar to the Amazon Echo Show, complete with full-screen visuals that you can see from across the room and always-listening mics so you can talk to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.
Lenovo is introducing two versions of these new Smart Tabs here at CES 2019. The M10 will cost $200 and has a slate black finish. The P10 costs $300 and has an aurora black dual glass design. The P10 also has more memory, more storage and a fingerprint sensor for the extra money. Both come with Android Oreo, front and rear cameras, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor. Both are available for preorder starting Tuesday and will be widely available later this month or early next month.
One part Echo Show
The dock is the same for both models. It has two 3-watt speakers and three far-field microphones so it can hear your commands from across a room. When they're docked, both Tabs function as Alexa-enabled smart displays. You can issue voice commands to Amazon's digital assistant and the dock has a mute button if you don't want Alexa listening.
Alexa offers a wide variety of features from playing music to controlling compatible smart home devices to checking the weather. The display will show extra info after you ask a question. You'll see the forecast after you ask about the weather or a list of steps if you ask for a recipe. When the Tab is in the dock, you'll be able to interact with anything you see on the screen with your voice or with a touch.
We liked the second-gen Amazon Echo Show, as it gives you the full power of Alexa and a helpful touchscreen for looking at pictures, watching videos and making video calls. At launch, you won't be able to use the Lenovo Tab to make voice or video calls, or drop into the video feed of other Echo Shows. Lenovo plans to add that functionality through an update later this year.
Lenovo doesn't have the rights to some of Amazon's commercial partnerships, so services such as Hulu won't be available on the Lenovo Tab at launch.
One part tablet
Otherwise, the Lenovo Smart Tab should offer the same features for a similar price, plus it gives you an Android tablet you can take with you. You can download apps, play mobile games, check email and everything else you can't normally do with a smart display.
Because it's an Android tablet, certain apps like Spotify will look different if you're comparing Lenovo's show mode to an Echo Show. The Tab will show the Android version of Spotify instead of the interface made for Amazon. You'll also be able to watch YouTube or Netflix videos on the tablet, then dock it and it will seamlessly switch to full-screen and use the dock's speakers. You can't watch Netflix on YouTube on an ordinary Echo Show without pulling up the service in the browser.
I like the streamlined approach of, but one of their main drawbacks as a category is that they don't offer all of the features, apps and computing power of a tablet. The Lenovo Smart Tab will, so if it works as promised it could be a no-brainer if you want an Alexa-powered smart display.
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