Whether you’re looking for the best tablet for photo editing (opens in a new tab) or the best drawing board (opens in a new tab), the journey usually starts with the question, Android or iPadOS? In the early days, it used to be a more straightforward answer, with Apple’s tablets wiping the slate clean against their Android rivals apart from a Samsung flagship like the Galaxy S8 Tab S8 Ultra (opens in a new tab). This explains why the Cupertino giant’s iPad range accounts for 51.21% of all tablets sold, despite the options being on the expensive side.
Google has done significant work on AndroidOS to not only make it more visually appealing than ever before with Android 13’s “Material You” theme, but it’s also invested in making the OS that works for phones better for use on tablets. Now there are far more compelling options for the best Android tablet (opens in a new tab).
Lenovo Tab P12 Pro uses a very close version of the operating system to the fabled “stock Android” experience, with minimal changes to the user interface or additional apps preloaded on the tablet, instead focusing attention on creating high-end hardware, including a high-quality display, premium metal chassis and accessories for keyboard and stylus.
The P12, as the “Pro” designation in the title might suggest, is a high-end tablet, with a price tag to match. The P12 is similar in price to Apple’s latest iPad Air model, but unlike Apple’s device, it can be purchased with a detachable keyboard and stylus included, making it immediately more useful as a productivity device out of the box.
Tab P12 Pro Specifications
Processor: 3.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 octa-core processor
Storage: 256GB + MicroSD card up to 1TB
Screen: 2560 x 1600 pixels
Battery: Up to 15 hours of video playback and up to 8 hours of web surfing
Speakers: 4 x JBL speakers with Dolby Atmos
Microphones: Dual microphone array
Camera: 13 MP rear and 8 MP front
Dimensions (H x W x D): 5.8mm x 264.28mm x 171.4mm / 0.22″ x 10.4″ x 6.74″
Weight: 485g (without keyboard and pen)
Sensors: Accelerometer, e-compass, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, TOF sensor, vibrator
Connection: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual band, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Safety: Fingerprint reader, face lock
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Tab P12 Pro Key Features
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro is centered around its 12.6-inch (2560×1600) OLED display, with built-in Dolby Vision, which should provide deeper contrast, brighter highlights and a wide color palette. The tablet also has eye comfort certification from TUV Rheinland, which ensures that long sessions of watching movies will put less strain on your eyes.
To complement the Dolby Vision screen, the P12 Pro has 4 internal speakers tuned by JBL that also support Dolby Atmos, which should provide a superior sound experience for watching movies and TV shows.
The tablet is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor, combined with 8 GB of RAM, which is powerful enough to go through web surfing, stream video or use some graphically intensive games or productivity apps from the Google Play Store.
The tablet has a battery of 15 hours for watching videos already stored on the device (not streaming) or 8 hours of web surfing. The tablet also comes with a fingerprint reader built into the power button and has face unlock, although this is the ‘unsophisticated’ version that only uses software recognition, not hardware like Apple’s FaceID.
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Tab P12 Pro Build and handling
The frame is built from an aluminum alloy that measures just 5.8mm at its thinnest point, making for a very light but still strong and solid tablet. The screen itself has very narrow bezels measuring only 6.9mm narrow bezels around the screen. The P12 feels much more premium than the price tag, the metal chassis is very nice to the touch and the screen always looks good. Lenovo has done an excellent job with the build quality here.
The screen is the star of the show. It’s very bright with excellent contrast and saturation, it’s a very nice screen to use for watching movies or browsing photos. The speakers are equally good quality for a tablet, and provide loud and deep sound for a very cool tablet. Although there are tablets with better sound out there, but you won’t be disappointed when you watch movies made for Dolby Atmos sound tuning.
However, the 16:10 screen is a big problem for me, a problem shared with other top Android tablets. This screen size is perfect for many Hollywood movies, but it’s not ideal for many TV shows, and when it comes to some games and productivity apps, it’s just not the ideal ratio.
In portrait, this ratio works well, it’s possible to hold comfortably in one hand, even if apps feel too long. In landscape mode, however, this tablet is not easy to hold, as it is too long to hold on one side for extended periods. Microsoft’s Surface and Apple’s iPad devices are just a much more usable screen ratio for handheld and productivity purposes.
The tablet comes with a detachable keyboard and stylus. Both of these are solid quality, with a smooth plastic material used. The keyboard attaches and detaches using magnets and two small notches to control the alignment, and is a very easy and quick system to use, it’s very responsive with nice key travel. The pen attaches to the back of the tablet using a built-in magnet, which also functions as a wireless charging point. This magnetic connection is very strong and I did not find the pen falling off easily.
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Tab P12 Pro Performance
The tablet is very fast, flies easily through the operating system, with its top processor that performs very well. During image editing using Lightroom CC from the Play Store, the tablet handled the application and processing of gradients and spot removal well with very little lag, and exporting a cropped video using Google Photos was also fast enough not to be troublesome. Gameplay was fast and responsive, with almost no stuttering or dropped frames.
Battery life is also excellent, I didn’t quite get the longevity that Lenovo claimed (manufacturer estimates are always pretty generous), but I came respectably close, and never felt worried about the battery dying prematurely.
There are still some inconsistencies in the Android OS with spacing and font size between different apps which make the experience a bit jarring, the icons and font size for portrait and landscape are very different for example. However, Google has made huge strides in making Android for tablets a very pleasant user experience, the interface is colorful and engaging as well as being very intuitive to use. If you love using an Android phone, you’ll feel right at home using the Lenovo P12.
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Unfortunately, the pen experience is very underwhelming, while the pen itself is very accurate, and the handwriting recognition is pretty perfect, the palm rejection is almost non-existent. When I was taking notes with the stylus, my palm/wrist would constantly hit other things on the screen and cause all kinds of chaos. This is just something I’ve never experienced with an iPad or Surface device.
The cameras are also a horrible experience. The rear cameras are very poor, considering that the main camera has a 13 MP sensor, the images look like over-polished oil paintings. The front-facing camera isn’t much better, with poor sharpness and a washed-out look that’s about acceptable for video calls.
The Lenovo Tab P12 Pro verdict
If you’re stuck in the Android ecosystem and you want an affordable tablet that feels more premium than the price tag, the Lenovo P12 Pro is definitely a tablet to consider. With an excellent metal chassis and a colorful, high-quality screen that makes watching movies and reviewing photos a joy. The P12 is also fast, flying through tasks such as surfing the web, streaming video and some light photo and video editing. The included stylus and keyboard also make the tablet more of a hybrid productivity device.
Google has made great strides with Android and it’s now an excellent experience, it still has a few kinks to iron out, but it’s approaching the user experience of Apple’s tablet OS. For the P12 Pro, the stylus experience is unfortunately not fantastic, with poor palm rejection making using the stylus without unwanted side effects very difficult. And a string of bad cameras also let down what is otherwise an excellent hardware design.