The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is your other option. It’s a chunk cheaper than either of the biggest names, and that is basically the angle here, folks. All the important tech, for a bit less cash.
However, it’s not exactly what we’d call killer value. It’s nowhere near as powerful as an iPad Pro and its processor is also a significant step down from the one used in the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+. The slight drop in cost also comes with a dip in the tech.
- Quality aluminium and glass build
- No headphone jack is a bit annoying
- Very good quad-driver speaker array
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is a 12.6-inch tablet. It’s a biggie, but is about as slim and light as these gigantic tablets come.
It weighs 567g according to our scales, and is less than 6mm thick — far slimmer than most phones. There’s no hiding the sheer footprint of the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro, but Lenovo has done what it can.
Build quality is also roughly a match for Samsung’s and Apple’s. The back is one piece of aluminium with a two-tone finish, and screen borders are about as slim as on the Galaxy Tab S8+.
We ran out of interesting new things to say about tablet design years ago, but the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is at least a nice-looking one.
There’s some good stuff going on inside too. It has four speakers, of similar quality to the Galaxy Tab S8+. That means plenty of volume, a great stereo effect and commendably punchy bass given the P12 Pro is under 6mm thick. They’re movie-ready.
You can unlock the tablet with a fingerprint or your face, and there’s actually a dedicated 3D time-of-flight camera on the front to make face unlock a bit more secure.
The set of little gold pips on the bottom also hint at what else you can do with the tablet. Lenovo makes a two-part keyboard case for the P12 Pro. A back cover adds a kick-stand. The actual keyboard part is separate, and clips into the bottom of the screen.
Sadly, this isn’t included. And Lenovo didn’t send us one. But it had better be nice as it costs £150 extra. That’s Microsoft Surface keyboard money.
- Includes a good Precision Pen 3 stylus
- Not quite as sharp as the Samsung and Apple rivals
- Bold OLED panel
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is a gadget that is pretty much just a screen with some stuff inside, so you’d hope it would be good. It’s a 12.6-inch OLED panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This is taller than the classic widescreen style of old Android tablets, and makes it feel like there’s more room to play with in, for example, drawing apps.
Colour is great, maximum brightness actually beats the Tab S8+ and contrast is theoretically infinite thanks to the per-pixel lighting of the OLED screen. It’s a fully laminated display too, which makes the panel look almost perfectly black when switched off, while avoiding the recessed look some cheapo tablets still have.
The top surface is Gorilla Glass 5, as found in Samsung’s top tablets, and a 120Hz refresh rate makes Android appear super-smooth in motion. When there are no micro-stutters, anyway.
Next to the Galaxy Tab S8+ and iPad Pro 12.9, screen resolution is a little low at 2560 x 1600 pixels. Pixel density is around 10% higher in those rivals. But this thing isn’t exactly pixellated.
You also get a stylus in the box, the Precision Pen 3. This costs £50 on its own, and feels a lot more serious than most tablet styluses simply because of its size. It feels like an actual pen.
The specs are good too. The Precision Pen 3 supports 4096 pressure levels and tilt detection, which can be used in, for example, Infinite Painter to modulate the behaviour of your digital paintbrushes.
Back when we first used the Lenovo P12 Pro, we noticed a bit of stylus lag, but that seems to have improved with software updates. It now feels immediate in most apps.
This is a wireless stylus, letting you bring up the pen menu when you press the side button. That also requires a battery, which is charged wirelessly when you attach the pen to an invisible magnetic part of the back.
Software and performance
- Mid-tier CPU performs well, but is not iPad Pro powerful
- Software has been updated to Android 12
- Productivity Mode offers a more laptop-like experience
This tablet ran Android 11 at launch, but has since been updated with Android 12. There have also been a few tweaks to how this functions as a tablet, making it feel slightly less like a gigantic phone that can’t take calls.
Still, in the default mode, that’s pretty much what you’re getting in the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro. You have your homescreens and your app drawer, while the persistent homescreen app dock acts as a nod to the added screen space this tablet has to play with.
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro also has Productivity Mode, the equivalent to Samsung DeX. This is intended primarily for use with the keyboard accessory, but you can try it whenever you like.
It aims to bring the interface closer to something like MacOS or Windows, and disables a bunch of the gestures on which Androids rely. Swiping down from the top of the screen no longer brings up feature toggles or notifications. You have to click the bottom-right of the screen to, say, alter screen brightness.
In Productivity mode, the app drawer becomes a pop-up panel like Windows’s old Start menu. And apps are run in movable windows instead of taking over the entire screen by default.
This is a powerful tool, but one that also brings up the main problem with the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro Productivity mode. Apps launch as long slender windows, the same shape as a phone screen. The full-screen button at the top of each window is typically greyed out, and resizing each window feels fiddly. It can mimic a laptop interface, but it’s always clear this isn’t really one.
Productivity mode does feel miles better than the default if you want to use a keyboard and mouse. But is it a like-for-like replacement for a Mac or Windows laptop? Absolutely not.
Lenovo does let you push this tablet pretty far, though. As we didn’t have the keyboard, we plugged it into a Caldigit TS4 Thunderbolt dock with a monitor, mouse and keyboard attached. Like this, you can use the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro as a two-screen setup. Install some Office-style apps and, sure, you can do some serious (but light) work on this thing.
Alternatively, the tablet can be used as the second screen for your laptop if you install the Lenovo Freestyle app on your Mac/PC.
The features are here, but despite Lenovo’s best efforts there’s some residual clunkiness when you try to make an Android device feel more like a laptop.
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro’s performance is also significantly lower than that of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ or iPad Pro 12.9. It uses the Snapdragon 870. This is a mid-range CPU that is an amped up version of the Snapdragon 865 flagship chipset from 2020.
It’s one of the best mid-range phone processors around. In mid-price phones, it’s a corker. But you’re not paying mid-range prices here.
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro’s CPU side is only slightly weaker than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+’s, but the graphics side is almost twice as powerful in the Samsung. And the iPad Pro 12.9’s M1 processor creams them both, with more than double the CPU power, and more than four times the GPU power as the Snapdragon 870.
This disparity isn’t going to be obvious all the time, or even most of the time. But it highlights why the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro costs a bit less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8+. It’s not because Lenovo is just a bit more generous with its pricing.
Battery life and cameras
- Long battery life of up to 15.5 hours
- Dual rear cameras, one of which is OK
- Solid front camera
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro has a 10200mAh battery and, like most previous Lenovo tablets, stamina is great for light stuff. Five hours of constant YouTube streaming takes 32% off the battery, suggesting it should be able to soldier on for around 15 and a half hours.
90 minutes of 3D action game Ark: Survival Evolved takes 19% off, suggesting the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro will last a little under 8 hours of gaming. Max out everything, melt the CPU/GPU and make the screen as bright as it will go and the battery will last around three hours.
It supports 45W charging but, in a disappointing move, you only get a 30W one in the box. It uses the QuickCharge 4.0 standard, so you’ll have to be careful if you want to max out its charge speed. USB-PD chargers are more common these days.
We’ve left off the cameras so far because, let’s be honest, most of them aren’t that important in a tablet. While the 13MP main rear camera looks great on the tablet screen, you’d have to have a pretty low-end phone for it to take worse pictures. They’re just OK here. And the 5MP ultra-wide camera is very basic.
Around the front the Lenovo Tab P12 Pro has an 8MP camera, and it’s arguably the most important one. Its image is significantly softer than the best phone selfie cameras, but it will blow most laptop webcams out of the water, making this a very good video chat gadget.