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Budget tablet UK


Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2018
I use a cheap and cheerful Hudl2 tablet in a room in our cellar which I have converted into a workshop and has now become my man cave. It has been a great tablet but it is now driving me crazy as it keeps going offline and needs rebooting. It has to go !

Can anyone suggest a replacement please ? Screen 7+", reasonable power but mainly as close to stock Android as possible ie no clunky front end.

Also, cheap :)
I use a cheap and cheerful Hudl2 tablet in a room in our cellar which I have converted into a workshop and has now become my man cave. It has been a great tablet but it is now driving me crazy as it keeps going offline and needs rebooting. It has to go !

Can anyone suggest a replacement please ? Screen 7+", reasonable power but mainly as close to stock Android as possible ie no clunky front end.

Also, cheap :)

I had the Nexus 7 2013 model for the GO app, on the P3, Its a good tablet, however it didnt like the Go4 app on the Mavic, they cost around £70
For the benefit of anyone finding this thread and also as a bit of choice-supportive bias, I will update with my thoughts.

Spent ages looking for this new tablet and posted on various other specialist Android forums.

There is nothing at the moment with a nice clean Android like the old Nexus range (and my Hudl2) in the budget market. In fact the range of tablets is tiny compared to the phone market. I would love a Google pixel but it is just too expensive to use just for surfing.

I first discounted all the unheard of generic types as although there will undoubtedly be some crackers out there that are as cheap as chips, it is just too high risk to find one. Some of the smaller builders will switch components if there are any shortages/price rises in China making reviews hard to trust. That just leaves the big names.

Next to go was the biggest maker, Samsung. They have a model at lots of price points but they are all overpriced imo. Also, although apparently they work closely with Google, they have a reputation for including big chunks of their own code so they can offer extra functions. Some of this functionality can be implemented in future versions of 'official' Android but at first you don't know how this will fit in with the version that is on the tablet.

Next was Huawei who have been aggressively attacking the UK market. Judging by the number of reviews on Amazon they must have done very well which I find a bit surprising. They are very clever with their pricing but if you look closely, their models are not the bargains they appear to be. The specs are just a bit inferior to their competitors in various areas - slightly slower processor, cheaper screen, smaller battery etc, even in subtle areas like their GPS chip not supporting A-GPS. All this trimming costs cents but is loved by accountants. Then the main problem, their Android implementation which is very poor. Some of their models say they are Android but large chunks are actually run as an emulation. However, they are such a big player, especially in China, that Google gives them near full access to the Play Store, so if you are thinking of getting one, there is nothing to worry about there. There is also the old chestnut of the spyware.

That left Asus & Lenovo as active in the budget space. I quickly narrowed it down to the Lenovo Tab 4 HD 8 which is about the same price as I paid for my Hudl2 3+ years ago. The Android geeks say that Lenovo have a used a light touch implementing it on this tablet and there is little bloatware. I think when I have put a launcher on like Nova it should behave exactly as I want. The only problem was then reading an article on a tech/gadget blog I follow. This guy also said how good this tablet is but emphasised that the Plus version is so much better in so many ways that getting it is a no brainer. So, I am sitting here now waiting for Amazon to arrive with a Tab 4 8 plus !

As a final inevitability, my Hudl2 which had been going offline every 10 or 15 minutes has remained rock steady ever since I made the first post in this thread a couple of days ago - grrr ;)

I would be interested to hear anyone's view on the Lenovo or any budget tablet. All the above is just my opinion and some of it is based on what I have read written by people I don't know. I would take all of it with a pinch of salt :)
It's arrived :)

Don't you just love Google which does all the heavy lifting on a new Android device.

Swiftkey, Nova launcher and my old wallpaper and I feel at home.

I was feeling a bit guilty as it seemed not much different to the hudl but fortunately that just crashed and after 10 mins with this it is blisteringly fast in comparison. Happy now
Good choice on Lenovo Tab 4 8 plus. I have one and also an Ipad mini4 and they are almost the same when it comes to performance base on experience but Lenovo is a lot cheaper.
Good choice on Lenovo Tab 4 8 plus. I have one and also an Ipad mini4 and they are almost the same when it comes to performance base on experience but Lenovo is a lot cheaper.
Never used an ios device as strongly anti big brother, dumb it all down Apple ;) However I did check the specs on the Ipad 4 mini and the screen looks quite a lot higher definition. 2048 x 1536 (326ppi) vs Lenovo 1920 x 1200 (283ppi). Not worth 50% more cash though imo

The Lenovo is amazingly uncluttered with bloatware or crap. The only thing I have noticed is an Alexa button on the On Screen Buttons bar at the bottom. Haven't tried to get rid of it yet but will do. It is only 16 GB but it will take an SD card and I have a NAS on our home network which I use as a personal cloud so keep most stuff there.

As I said earlier, it is easy to forget how fast things move on. This tablet is amazingly fast compared to my old one and for browsing it gives my Microsoft Surface Pro a run for it's money and that was 6 x the price !

It has also got USB-C which is the same as the Surface so that is good also. It is about the only thing that gets a lot of criticism on the Amazon reviews. A lot of people complaining that it does not have a standard USB socket and the majority think it is a non-standard Lenovo design. A bit like the bad old days when every phone had their own type of charging plug. I started commenting on the reviews and pointing out that it was actually an advantage to have USB-C as that was the new standard that would become normal and it had the advantage of being reversible so kinder to sockets. There were so many people moaning that I quickly gave up ;)
Just a heads up in case anyone else gets this tablet.

I have found some rubbish. It is some kind of weird keyboard developed in China and which is suspected of containing some sneaky adware. It is called Touchpal and also the tablet is loaded with dozens - maybe more that 100 language packs associated with it. These can be deleted but I might just have to disable the keyboard itself.
Next update for potential purchasers - good & bad things.

First, the bad. The Alexa icon which has appeared after the first system update is a bit of a bugger to get rid of. Fortunately it comes without any permission granted so you cannot switch it on inadvertently without realising. You can delete it but the icon remains and it will reinstall if you click it. So it remains a problem especially if someone else ever uses your tablet such as children. The only way I have found to remove the icon itself requires root access. I used to do this with all my phones but nowadays it is not such a good idea if you do any banking online. Android has a security feature called SafetyNet which monitors your device for changes. Most banking apps and online portals use this so when you root, it is likely you will have big problems when trying to log on to your bank.

Next the good news. I am so prejudiced ! I lived on and off in China for several years and in those days we used to think the Chinese brands such as Lenovo, Oppo etc as complete rubbish. Huawei was tiny and when a group of us expats were invited to the laying of the foundation stone of their new HQ in Shenzhen we were incredulous when they said they would be a major player in phones by 2015. Anyway, Lenovo now is a slick operator. They had the audacity of 'relieving' IBM of it's PC business years ago when they paid buttons. They have learned a lot and now have a superb support network, one of the best I have ever used. As a result of this I have just discovered the good news - we are getting Oreo (8.1) next month. I know both Go4 and Litchi work with 8.1 as I have it on my phone so I can look forward to getting it as it is the best Android to date imo.

Hope this helps someone with their decision. I am still confident that out of the three high profile players that have models in the budget market, Samsung, Huawei & Lenovo, it is the latter that wins. All very opinionated of course ;)
Latest observations - good & bad again:

Bad -This Plus model has much better specs than the Samsung Tab 8 which is the same price - screen, processor speed etc etc - in fact the Samsung compares to the non Plus version which is half the price. There is one area which may be important to you where the Samsung wins hand down. This is the size of SD card that is supported. The Lenovo can handle 128 gigs but the Samsung is double that at 256 gigs. If you use the cloud a lot it may not matter but people who travel and don't have a USB disk might be concerned.

Good - I have discovered the Dolby Atmos system that is on the tablet. It has two front facing speakers and the demo highlighting what Atmos can do is amazing.
Next update - by the time I have finished this review the tablet will be obsolete :)

Bad (possibly). The SD card expansion might be problematic. There are c. 50 people on the users forum who have reported issues where the SD card is either not recognised or even corrupted. Hard to know how widespread this really is. I have a Samsung Evo+ 128 gig card arriving today so will try. The concensus is that safest way is a full format using Windows, install in tablet when it is off and then leave a good few minutes after switch on before accessing it. This is just a one off and once recognised it should behave perfectly normally.

Good 1: Very surprised that Lenovo do not more actively promote the Qualcomm Fast Charge 3.0 that the tablet supports using USB-C. 3.0 is the latest version and charges dynamically at 3.2-20 volts making it 4x faster than a conventional 2A charger. For me though the speed is not the main advantage because QC3 uses a monitoring system called INOV. This varies the charging voltage and keeps the battery cool which greatly extends it's performance over time and it's ultimate lifespan. I will use this tablet mainly in my workshop/man cave where it will be abused. The one it is replacing has a battery which now only lasts a couple of hours ! Apparently usually only high end tablets have this and even the higher Samsung ones use v2 or their own quick charge. Sadly the supplied charger does not support it - maybe this is why they do not promote it ! Therefore you need to spend c£15 on the correct charger. This is a good one I think as it mentions INOV, has USB 3.0 and will recognise my Motorola G6 plus and turbocharge it :) BTW, that is the best budget stock Android phone imo - I am obsessed with vanilla Android lol.

Good 2: The tablet is designed as a multi user device. Each user can have their own profile image which is shown in sequence when swiping the lock screen. Everything is unique for each user - the wallpaper, app screens, email etc even Settings. In effect it is a completely different tablet for each person. Obviously this is mainly of interest to families but it struck me that it could be useful for us or anyone with a range of interests. You could have different tablets/users ie Personal day to day, Drone flying & photography, Hobby 2, Shared Family etc. Quite a good way to keep things organised and program settings away from hands that might meddle ;). You can access each user on the lock screen as mentioned above but also, if you are using the fingerprint scanner, the correct tablet version will automatically open when you turn the tablet on which is cool (the scanner is also the on/off switch). This will be of no use if you set up a bespoke drone/photography version etc as there will only be one set of dabs ;)

Good(ish): The tablet will support split screen ie two apps open and displayed at the same time. Can't see a use for me but others may.
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Yesterday's discovery's were both good :).

Good #1:

This is meaningless feel good stuff (to me). I was on Lenovo support when I saw an option to choose your device - Lenovo or Motorola. I had forgotten that Lenovo had bought Motorola, from HTC I think. I have always been a big Motorola fan ever since Google bought it. They then released the MotoG phone with their own o/s - pure stock Android. It was an amazing phone at the time, cheap and unless you had money to burn, undoubtedly the most sensible android phone to buy. Then Google decided to get out of hardware and outsourced manufacturing to HTC. I was pleased as I was an early adopter and bought one of the very first smartphones which was made by HTC and ran Windows Mobile. It was an exciting time - iphones did not exist and there were just a few people who started to write simple programs which ran on this phone and shared them on a forum. I immediately saw the potential and would spend hours tinkering with my new phone and wrote a boat log book utility myself. It was like going back to the days of the Commodore Pet and typing in long programs in Basic from the PCW mag if anyone remembers. All very exciting and obviously the people at Apple were watching as after a while they released the first I-phone and our type of programs & utilities they named Apps. I remained a loyal HTC/Windows Mobile user until I could not resist the advantages of Google's concept of syncing cross platform and moved to Android. It was a major tactical error by Microsoft, as soon as they heard that Google were making Android completely free to hardware makers they should have responded. They were so dominant in the pc market they could have muscled into mobile too. As it was they spent a fortune developing Windows Mobile and were first to market and then sat back and watched Google and Apple take it all away !

So, years later I was a bit sad when I heard Lenovo had bought Motorola as I thought it would be the end of this bit of history and the availability of stock android. I was still using my original Moto G when earlier this year my wife bought a Lenovo made Moto G5 plus. It turned out to be another great phone, Lenovo had been faithful to HTC's light touch philosophy.

Then I bought my Mavic Pro a few months ago I asked on here if my Moto G would be powerful enough to run Go4. Someone said it might be but was I happy to trust an old phone with $1,000 of new hardware. I read that post early in the morning on the day we were driving north to Scotland on holiday which was going to be my first chance to fly the Mavic. My wife agreed to quickly call in to Carphone Warehouse on our local retail park on the way to the motorway. We wanted to get an early start to the 6 hour drive north so she was not so happy when the manager was 15 minutes late opening up. He arrived and after another frustrating wait while the safe opened itself I walked out with a Moto G6 plus which they sell exclusively :). Usually I prefer to drive on the motorway but that day I was happy to sit as a passenger and play with my new phone, the first for 5 years. It is a great phone imo. It runs Oreo 8.1 and seems very fast. For a budget phone the specs seem good although I am out of the loop on phones - 4 gigs ram and 2.2GHz octa-core processor. The camera is so-so, in fact it has 2 cameras on the back which do some gimmicky things. I would prefer just one better quality camera but it is ok for documentary type use - I have a dSLR if I want good quality. If you are looking for a new phone it is worth considering and if you live in the UK it is definitely worth paying the extra £50 for the 'plus' model which is only available though Carphone Warehouse as I said. You get a bigger screen, more memory and faster processor.

So I am pleased that I chose a Lenovo tablet for these sentimental reasons even though I had forgotten about the Motorola connection when I made the decision !

Good 2:

In brief (!), to save anyone with only a casual interest having to read further, not only did my new SD card work, I was also given two options when I put it in. To treat it as a normal removable card or format it and have it become an extension of the main memory so apps and photos/data could use it. This sounds really good because even if you store photos and stuff on the cloud it would be easy to fill up the inbuilt 16 gigs with apps. The only downside is it becomes part of the tablet and won't work on anything else - you are given the option of converting it back to a normal card whenever you want. I have never seen this option before despite it being part of Android since 6.0 Marshmallow. Not all manufacturers implement it - it is not on my Motorola phone. I am not 100‰ sure about it because cards are slower than a memory chip and despite being solid state they wear out. Although they last for 10k R/W cycles, which would be forever if you were saving/loading photos & movies, maybe having an app on it might mean near constant activity when you are using that app - I have no idea. However it is a nice feeling having a tablet with 144 gigs of contiguous memory :)

Here is a paste of a posting I made to the Lenovo users group giving a more detailed version of what happened when I put the card in .....

The new Samsung Evo+ 128 gig card has arrived. I did a deep format using Windows as advised. Turned off tablet - put card in - turned on tablet and waited 5 minutes. It appeared in the notification bar and I was given to the option to use it as a portable card or format it to use only in the tablet where it could be used for apps and photos. I chose to leave it in the tablet and it formatted it. The only issue was it warned that it appeared to be slow and I should consider getting a faster card. There are not many that are faster than an Evo+ so there might be an issue there although I think it will probably settle down. Quite pleased and if I do get any problems I will come back and update here.

Update #1 The card is in and working but does have some issues in this dedicated mode imo
* Settings/Storage shows it as present and you are given the option to reformat it as a removable card that can be read by other devices.
* The File Manager app that comes preinstalled on the tablet cannot see it and just reports the 16GB memory status. I have never had a file manager on any Android device before and have always had to download one from the Playstore. This one is $hit so i am going to delete it but it is a nice thought

* FX File Expolrer only reports the 16GB as local storage but does show the card in Storage Tools/Mount Eject
* ES File Explorer also only reports the 16GB as local storage and does not show the card anywhere.

I normally use FX but am surprised about ES as that is usually pretty good. Both apps are the free versions. FX is a better app anyway as it is ad free.

It is too early to decide how robust the card is. I will have to wait until the inbuilt 16GB is full and then I will find out. Got the feeling that it will work ok.
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Some will be relieved that I am coming towards the end of this review! I will have to stick it on the web somewhere with an amazon affiliate link and see if I can monetise it. If there is a relationship between the number of words and the amount of $'s then a Mavic 2 Pro might be arriving soon ;)

So, this is getting geeky I am afraid. I have run a benchmark tool (Geekbench 4) on this Lenovo, my old Hudl2 tablet and my new Moto G6 plus phone. I am not going to put all the scores up but there were some surprising results.

Headline - overall speed/performance score:
Hudl2: Intel 4 core 1.8GHz 2Gb - 2508
Moto G6 plus - Arm 8 core 2.2GHz 4Gb - 4071
Lenovo Tab 4 8 plus Arm 8 core 2GHz 3Gb - 3344

Computing power - Hudl 1287, MotoG6 3817, Lenovo 3181

What was most interesting (for us in UK) is just what great value the Tesco Hudl2 was when it was launched exactly 4 years ago. For those in the US, Tesco is the largest retailer here. When they launched their first tablet they were at the height of their power with £1 in every £5 of retail sales spent in their shops. Huge interest in the new tablet which was <£100 and I got one. Then Tesco started to perform poorly - too many huge stores, however the new Hudl2 was already in production. £125 ($175) for 8" HD screen and according to Geekbench it can display a web page just as fast as my new Lenovo. It also has HDMI out etc. I did not really realise at the time I bought it just what good value it was. Despite only having 2 gigs ram I think that once I have deleted everything it will run Go4 or Litchi so I end up with a dedicated screen. My only reservation is that it is stuck at Android 5.1. I could root it and then upgrade but down that road can gremlins prowl.

So to sum up - I am sure that as of late 2018, if you want premium type features (screen, speed, sound, looks etc & stock Android) then £/£ this Lenovo plus model is the most logical tablet to buy. If logic is not an issue then maybe the Goggle Pixel2 would be a good choice.

EDIT: I have just started to copy useful stuff off my old tablet before cleaning it up and have just remembered that it will be no use as a dedicated Mavic display as the battery is well and truly stuffed - it will only hold a charge for less than an hour :(

By coincidence, a couple of minutes after I posted that edit about the damaged battery, Amazon arrived with the intelligent fast charger that I mentioned earlier in the thread and which should mean the Lenovo battery will last much longer than the Hudl's ! I really like Ravpower stuff. This charger has a really great design and a satin finish that is nice to the touch - definitely the most attractive one I have ever had and beating the old HTC ones which also looked good. There is a lifetime warranty if you register online so altogether not bad @ £12.99 for the latest charging tech imo

EDIT 2: Unfortunately I have discovered a small minus point for the Lenovo. When I turned on the old Hudl next to it I thought the Hudl screen (which is the same res) had a nicer look and made the Lenovo look slightly cool/blue. I was subsequently reading a review and it mentioned the same thing - they said you just get used to it and tbh I loved the screen until I saw them side by side. Not a deal breaker imo but something to be aware of.
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Thanks Clinton - that is nice to know :)

Please bear in mind that it is very opinionated and probably not very objective !
Sociologists have a name for this kind of thing. I cannot remember the exact name - something like 'post purchase re-affirmation' but it basically means you are convincing yourself you have got the best product/solution or made the best decision. There is also a casual way of saying the same thing that is used in forums but I have forgotten that too ;)

It also means that you should not believe anything you read on an internet forum !
Sociologists have a name for this kind of thing. I cannot remember the exact name - something like 'post purchase re-affirmation' but it basically means you are convincing yourself you have got the best product/solution or made the best decision. There is also a casual way of saying the same thing that is used in forums but I have forgotten that too ;)

It also means that you should not believe anything you read on an internet forum !
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Just a heads up on that Ravpower warranty that I mentioned above. It was a lifetime extension when you registered it on their site. I have always associated lifetime warranty's with high quality American hand tools and don't think I have ever seen it on an electronic item before. The reason for this post is that when I registered it, Ravpower asked if I had any more of their products which I did. It was a powerbank and all I had to do was look up the Amazon order no and paste it into the Ravpower site - hey presto, a lifetime warranty on that too :)

Having a lifetime warranty on the powerbank could be very useful as eventually all batteries pack up so I should get a replacement if I can be bothered or unless they have any tricky conditions.
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I have a problem :(

I suppose that is what is going to happen now - the excitement is wearing off and I have discovered all the new good bits .....

Anyway, I am hoping I can fix this. I have bought a really nice new Logitech bluetooth keyboard & mouse and if I leave the tablet overnight they will not automatically reconnect. It is a pita and there must be a way to fix it - surely there must be - please let there be a way ;)
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