Amazon’s (AMZN) Alexa is everywhere at CES 2019, from doorbells and pet cameras to smart bikes and washing machines. But the digital assistant’s most interesting pairing comes via Lenovo and its Smart Tab 2-in-1 tablet and smart display.
The Smart Tab functions as a standard Android tablet, but drop it into the included speaker dock, and it becomes an Alexa-powered smart display similar to the Amazon Echo Show. The Smart Tab won’t blow away the top-of-the-line tablet competition, but it’s certainly a solid value.
The tablet side
Let’s start off with the tablet portion of the Smart Tab. Lenovo is selling two configurations of these Google (GOOG, GOOGL) Android-powered slates: the $199 M10 and the $299 P10. Both slates offer 10-inch displays with resolutions of 1,920 x 1,200 pixels. Of the two, the pricier P10 is a hair thinner and slightly lighter. It also gets a glass back, while the M10 gets a soft touch rear panel.
Inside, the M10 and P10 both run Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processors. Those chips are meant for use in entry-level devices, so don’t expect these tablets to put up a performance fight against more premium slates.
Between the two, the P10 will let you squeeze out more power thanks to its 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The M10, on the other hand, comes with 2GB or 3GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of storage.
Topping it off, the P10 gets a far larger battery than the M10 and 7,000 mAh versus 4,850 mAh, as well as a fingerprint sensor, which the M10 doesn’t. Between the two, I’d opt for the P10 thanks to its performance advantages over the M10. If you’re just looking for a secondary tablet for watching Netflix (NFLX) or YouTube, though, the M10 will serve you just fine.
The value proposition
Here’s where the M10 and P10 become more than just budget-friendly tablets. Lenovo is including a speaker dock in the box with both slates that turns them into Alexa-powered smart displays. The switch between using the tablets as Android devices to full-on Amazon smart displays is as easy as dropping them into their speakers’ cradles.
Once in the cradle, the tablet will begin functioning more or less as an Amazon Echo Show. You’ll get the same pertinent information you get on the Show complete with news briefs, the weather, your schedule, and notifications for Amazon shipments.
And since they’re Alexa-powered devices when docked, you’ll be able to use the M10 and P10 to control your smart home appliances, listen to music, play games and more. The Smart Tab dock features two 3-watt speakers, which should provide quality audio. I was only able to test it in a quiet room, so I can’t say for certain how well those speakers work until I try it out in my own home. Amazon’s Echo Show has two 10-watt speakers, so you can expect that to pump out louder audio with ease.
The M10 and P10 are expected to launch this month.
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