The Tab P11 Pro is one of the best movie watching tablets for under $500

Lenovo’s Tab P11 Pro is the company’s top-of-the-line Android tablet. With an 11-inch OLED screen, quad speakers, and a snap-on keyboard, it should be head-to-head with Samsung’s Tab S7 and Apple’s iPad Air. But while the Tab P11 Pro is great for watching movies (the OLED screen and Dolby Atmos speakers are pretty good), it’s not quite impressive when you’re going to use it for productivity. The Tab P11 Pro’s price is aggressive, especially when it comes to adding up everything you get. The base model with 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM is priced at $499.99, but thanks to Lenovo’s frequent discounts, you can get it right now for $375. The model I tested has 6GB of RAM and comes with a detachable keyboard and an active stylus pen in the box. The list price is $599.99, but it is currently discounted to $460 on the Lenovo site. Good Stuff Punchy OLED Screen Superior Sound Quad Speaker Responsive Performance Enough Performance Bad Stuff Productivity Mode is Frustrating to Use Lenovo has a lot of value on its side. Whichever model you choose, you can get the same 11-inch 2560 x 1600 OLED screen. Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G processor; Quad JBL speakers with Dolby Atmos tuning; Premium aluminum unibody design with 128GB storage expandable with microSD card. The screen and speakers are the real stars of the show here. OLED panels aren’t as bright as you can get on an iPad, so they’re not suitable for direct sunlight. However, it looks fantastic in almost all other scenarios, including the shady outdoors. The color is rich, the black is deep and dirty, and the resolution is sharp. It actually provides a great experience for watching movies or videos. The P11 Pro’s OLED screen looks great and the quad speakers sound fantastic. Similarly, quad speakers are loud, powerful and immersive. The speakers on the Tab P11 Pro surpass the dual speakers on the iPad Air and easily match the superior sound system of Apple’s high-end iPad Pro. Unfortunately, Lenovo is taking the same path as Apple and omitting the headphone jack, so you can use a USB-C dongle (not included) or wireless headphones for personal audio. The combined OLED screen and quad speakers provide the best movie viewing experience on a tablet close to this price. You have to pay more to get something better. But Lenovo isn’t just offering it as a sofa potato tablet. It’s following Apple and Samsung’s lead in presenting the P11 Pro as a tablet that you can do the work on. And that’s where the P11 Pro falls on the face. There’s a lot to hate as much as you like, starting with the keyboard and pen accessories included in the top-of-the-line bundle. The snap-on keyboard has a nice fabric cover, a back cover with a built-in base that attaches via magnets, and the keyboard itself that communicates with the tablet via a pogo pin on the bottom edge of the P11 Pro. It’s a design similar to what Samsung uses on its Tab S7 line, and I like the flexibility. I can only use the back cover to support my tablet for watching movies without always having to use the keyboard. It’s great to have this flexibility when using your tablet on a cramped airplane tray table. The removable keyboard has a cramped layout and no backlight, but works with a pinch. The included stylus has varying levels of pressure sensitivity, but it doesn’t attach or charge to tablets like Apple’s or Samsung’s pens. Unfortunately, the typing experience on the keyboard itself is somewhat lacking. The layout is cramped as expected on an 11-inch tablet, and the backlight isn’t available. The trackpad is small and has palm rejection issues. Even writing relatively short drafts using the keyboard I practiced with patience as the cursor jumps randomly whenever my left hand touches the trackpad as I type. There is also very little software support. You can’t adjust the scroll direction on the trackpad like you can on a laptop or other tablet. The bundled stylus is great to have, but it lags behind the competition. It has multiple levels of pressure sensitivity and is well enough to write down your basic note-taking needs. However, it doesn’t charge from the back or side of the tablet like Apple’s or Samsung’s pens do (it has to be plugged in via the USB-C port at the end instead) and there’s nowhere to be safely stored on the tablet. Lenovo includes a rubber holster for the pen that needs to be attached to the back of the P11 case with adhesive. However, the adhesive is weak and the pen holder falls off very easily. It all feels like you’re thinking later. Similarly, software support for the pen is weak. Lenovo includes the Squid Notes app (basic free version, not the full version) for taking notes, and many other options are available for download from the Play Store. However, the pen is not integrated into the system like Apple or Samsung tablets. You can’t use the pen to write quick notes on the lock screen or easily capture screenshots and display them like on an iPad Air or Tab S7. The P11 Pro’s “Productivity Mode” wants a lot. Connecting the keyboard to the tablet launches Lenovo’s customized productivity mode. It is designed to provide a desktop-like interface similar to Samsung’s DeX features. But it’s a mess. Few apps can run full screen, and all apps open in a small window box that needs to be resized each time. I was able to successfully create a split screen between Google Docs and other windows like Slack or browser. But in general, productivity mode, like the pen, feels like you’re thinking later, and it’s really not a good experience. Elsewhere, the software is standard Android (version 10, there are no updates to Android 11 as of this review date, but the P11 Pro has the latest security patches) and works best when viewing full screen. Play videos or games and there aren’t as many tablet-oriented apps as iPadOS. The Snapdragon 730 processor isn’t as powerful as it gets from Apple’s or Samsung’s tablets, but it’s not really a bottleneck. Before you hit the chip’s performance limit, you’ll be limited by the lack of apps that are optimized for your tablet. All in all, the Tab P11 Pro is the tablet you can get if you’re looking for a great movie viewing experience and don’t want to spend more than $400. I can’t find a better display or speaker for this price. Personally, I completely skip the pen and keyboard bundle (although it means abandoning the handy back cover and kickstand) and use this tablet for its best feature: entertainment. Photo: Dan Seifert / The Verge


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