Need an ultra-affordable tablet for light productivity on the go? Lenovo's Android-powered Tab 2 A8 is a good option, so long as you don't need to do any heavy multitasking. The new slate is portable and affordable, and lasts exceptionally long on a charge. You also get an impressively sharp, 8-inch display for a budget tablet, though other slates offer better performance at the same $130 price point.
The Tab 2 A8 sports an eye-catching metallic blue shell that's a nice change of pace compared to the black and grey designs of most budget tablets. A flap on the right edge of the slate conceals a SIM card slot, which can provide always-on wireless Internet — if you're willing to pay for a monthly data plan — as well as a microSD card slot for expanding the device's internal storage.
The slate's 8-inch HD display is one of its best features. The 1,280 x 800-pixel panel is brighter and more vibrant than the average tablet screen, and viewing angles are nice and wide.
The Tab 2 A8 runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. This is a nice upgrade if you're used to an older iteration of Android, adding new productivity-boosting features like native wireless printing and the ability to quickly respond to incoming messages right from your tablet's lock screen.
But the Tab 2 A8's real selling point is its long battery life. It ran for an impressive 11 hours and 32 minutes on our battery-life test, which simulates continuous Web browsing. The Lenovo device lasted three times as long as the average tablet, easily outlasting competing slates including the Acer Iconia Tab 8 (6:53) and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 (8:25). That makes Lenovo's slate a good pick for travelers who need a device that will last through a long business flight.
On the other hand, the Tab 2 A8 is far from the fastest tablet in its price range. It scored a relatively low 1,781 on the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance. That's quite a bit slower than the Iconia Tab 8, which scored 2,481 on the test. In practice, the Slate 2 A8 does struggle with multitasking, so expect a bit of slowdown while loading or switching between applications. But for basic productivity tasks like responding to email and light document editing, it's more than adequate.
What the Tab 2 A8 lacks in speed, it makes up for with a very affordable $130 price point. Add in a great display and long battery life, and it's clear that business users on a budget — particularly those who have only basic computing needs — could do a lot worse than the Tab 2 A8.
Check back for a full review of the Lenovo Tab 2 A8 very soon, or check out our list of the best overall business tablets on the market.