Hybrid between a mid-range tablet and a home assistant with Alexa, Lenovo's P10 offers an original solution for the smart home, with some limitations too
The tablet, as we know it, is essentially a mobile device, easy to carry and ideal when we travel. Almost 10 years after the launch of the first tablet signed by Steve Jobs, this object turned into something different. Lenovo has in fact decided to make it a hybrid product that in addition to the typical characteristics of the tablet also functioned as smart hub. The operation seems (at least partially) successful.
The new Smart Tab of the Chinese company it is proposed as a 2-in-1 object, combining the traditional use of the tablet with that of a home viewer with functions for the management and control of the smart home. The Lenovo device it integrates all the assets of Amazon Alexa, presenting itself as an alternative to products signed by the Seattle giant like Amazon Echo Show and Echo Show 5.
Formally the kit consists of two parts, the tablet and a speaker that works as a fixed base. The 10.1-inch tablet has a Full HD resolution (1920 × 1200) with a rather equipment basic: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 processor, 4 Gb of roms and 64 Gb of ram expandable with microSd card. Rather compact and light, 7 mm thick for 440 grams of weight, it also incorporates a dual camera (8 MP back, 5 MP front). The presence is interesting besides the wifi connectivity mobile phone with a sim card slot. The bluetooth instead only 4.2, but there is the fingerprint reader.
The base, which hides a double 3 watt power speaker, rather elegant and compact. the heart of the Alexa system, with 3 integrated microphones that manage to capture voice commands even at medium distance, from 2/3 meters without any problem. Good sound performance, with a pretty clear sound even if not very powerful, definitely better than the one generated by the 4 Dolby Atmos speakers of the tablet. Not exceptional however continunity sound: when you detach the tablet from the base while a piece of music is playing, the audio resumes after a couple of seconds, which become almost twice when you replace the device in the base.
The Lenovo Smart Tab has a paradox that can generate some confusion. When the product in stand alone mode then holding the tablet in hand works the Google voice assistant being an Android terminal. When instead it is inserted in the base it enters mode Echo Show, turning into an Amazon Alexa device (it is no coincidence that both accounts must be set during setup). The sore point therefore lies in the fact that Alexa functions are active only if the tablet is docked. Considering that the device can potentially be used by several users at the same time for example family members if someone is using the tablet nobody else can give commands to Alexa. A non-trivial limit.
Furthermore the system does not function as a hub.This means that it is not possible to control home automation products, lights cannot be turned on / off, cameras can be viewed, thermostats activated, etc., in other words Zigbee devices cannot be configured and managed. Only the basic functions of Alexa can be activated, another aspect that seems to us an important limit.
Taking these elements into account, Lenovo's product works well and also lets you transmit the audio from the tablet to the base when you hold the tablet in your hand. This means that you can listen to a song or watch a movie using the sound power of the speakers integrated into the dock using bluetooth. Overall the Smart Tab P10 should be seen essentially as a tablet to which was added a charging base, a speaker and Alexa's basic Echo Show function. Seen in this way the proposal can also work.
If instead the idea of buying comes from the desire to have Alexa's advanced features through a display, then Amazon's products are to be preferred. In fact, Lenovo's Smart Tab P10 costs 299 euros, but less is spent on the second generation Echo Show. It exists for a version with lower performance, Smart Tab M10, which costs € 179.
Wired:Versatile tablet, integrated Alexa functions and a good audio speaker
Tired:The functions of Alexa work only with the tablet inserted in the base, not a Zigbee hub