Starting at just 500 Dollars, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is a very promising Android tablet. It features an 11.5-inch OLED screen, a very slim design, four speakers, a fingerprint scanner, and you can get it with an active stylus and a keyboard cover. However, I did notice a huge downside which is the screen. In this Lenovo Tab P11 Pro review, you learn everything you need to know.
Display: OLED Pentile
I’m starting this review with the display of the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro because this is one of the highlights but also one of the major downsides. The screen is 11.5-inches in size which makes it quite a bit bigger than 10-inch tablets which are most common.
This is one of very few tablets with an OLED screen which has lots of advantages like very deep blacks and saturated colors. Blacks of the pricier Apple iPad Pro look a bit washed out compared to the P11 Pro. This is a fantastic display for watching YouTube and Netflix – the 16:10 aspect ratio promotes that too. And it does support HD Netflix playback, which wasn’t the case with Lenovo tablets in the past. I’m glad that Lenovo fixed this issue.
Sadly, there are two major downsides. I didn’t notice it at the beginning but after using it for a while and switching between it, the iPad Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, I noticed that texts and icons don’t look as sharp as they should. This screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels which should be high enough. But it’s not because texts look a bit fuzzy.
First, I thought that it’s a software thing – maybe the resolution was set too low. But by now, I’m pretty sure that it’s a hardware issue. I’m guessing that Lenovo uses a so-called pentile display which tends to show fuzzy text if the pixel density is too low.
To be as sharp as a standard LCD or other OLED screens, the pixel density of a pentile display needs to be higher. On 11.5-inches, the 2560 x 1600 pixels seem to be too low. Just google “Pentile Display” to learn more about this.
Well, as a result, texts of the much cheaper Lenovo Tab P11 with a standard FullHD LCD screen look equally sharp, if not even a tiny bit sharper. That’s a bummer and an unexpected issue. You might not notice it at first and it’s hard to show in photos or videos. But once you compare it to other tablets or your phone in person, you’ll clearly see it.
Rolling Shutter Effect
I said there are two problems with the screen. The second one seems to be an issue with all 60Hz OLED screens because it’s the same on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e and S6. When holding the tablet in portrait orientation, you can see a kind of Rolling Shutter Effect when scrolling through a webpage. Straight lines don’t look straight anymore.
As I said, all screens of this kind seem to have this issue. The only OLED tablet without this effect is the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ because it has a 120Hz refresh rate. But that one is much pricier.
I can live with that rolling shutter effect. But the fuzzy text is a huge bummer.
Lenovo Precision Pen 2
The Tab P11 Pro supports an active stylus which is called Lenovo Precision Pen 2. I had to buy it separately for around 70 US Dollars in Germany. But, depending on where you’re from, you might be able to get it as a bundle.
Well, the pen looks great and is well made. It feels much higher-end than the S Pen of the Galaxy Tab S7 because it has an aluminum body. There are two buttons on its side and you can charge it using a USB C port on the top. The tip is replaceable and pressure-sensitive. Just like its competitors, it supports 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. That means you can draw a thicker line by pressing down harder.
Handwriting looks fine and I’d say it’s certainly usable for handwritten notes. But in a direct comparison, writing with the S Pen and Apple Pencil looks clearer than on the Lenovo tablet.
Read: The Best Tablets With Pen Support Tested
Since this is a standard 60Hz screen, the pen does not react as fast as the pens of 120Hz tablets do. The pens of the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 react almost instant, while the writing can lag a bit behind the pen on the Lenovo tablet.
Now, you could say that a comparison between the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is not fair because the S7 is a pricier premium tablet. But if you factor in the pen, the price can get close since the S Pen is included. And if prices are similar, I think the S7 is the better choice if you care about the pen.
Hardware & Performance
Inside the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro sits a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 GB octa-core processor. You can get it with 4GB to 6GB of RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage. Lenovo is selling versions with LTE as well. I’ve got the one with 6GB of RAM.
The P11 Pro performs much better than all entry-level tablets in benchmarks like Geekbench 4, 5, and 3D Mark. It’s much more powerful than the Galaxy Tab S5e, for instance. But since the Snapdragon 730 is an upper mid-range chip, the Galaxy Tab S7 continues to be much faster.
I observed exactly this in my gaming test. Pretty much every game runs well. I played PUBG Mobile with HD graphics and it looks pretty and is very smooth. This is also one of few tablets that support Fortnite well. For it to perform smoothly and without stutters, you’ll have to set the graphics to medium. Once you do that, it’s great for playing Fortnite. Yes, it does not look as pretty as on higher-end devices, of course, but it runs well.
So, it’s a fine gaming tablet. But certainly not the best. When playing demanding games, you’ll have to live with lower graphics.
For everything else, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730 is a fast enough processor. Together with the 6GB of RAM, it can handle lots of multitasking. Using Chrome with lots of tabs, editing photos in Lightroom, and using Chrome and YouTube at the same time works great.
Software: Android 10
Out of the box, the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is running Android 10. In the past, many Lenovo tablets have gotten at least one major update. So, I’m guessing that it’ll get Android 11 in the future. But I’m not sure about Android 12.
I always like that Lenovo does not customize the interface so much. Unlike Samsung’s and Huawei’s UI, it looks very clean and it’s almost vanilla Android. But there are some useful customizations.
Read: The Best Lenovo Tablets You Can Buy Right Now
The so-called Productivity Mode is most interesting because this is a light-weight desktop mode. Once you turn it on, you get a taskbar at the bottom and you can open apps in free-floating windows. That way you can navigate Android much easier using a mouse and keyboard. And once you connect the tablet to a monitor, you do get the feeling of using a desktop machine. That works very well.
If you have kids, you might like the Google Kids Space which is a kids mode made by Google. It works well too. The tablet does support multiple users, so that’s great for families.
Design & Built Quality
I like the design of the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro a lot. It has a full metal body, is very well built, and just feels like a high-end tablet. With 5.8mm, it’s very thin and the weight of 485g is great considering how big it is.
On its sides are volume controls, a microSD card slot, and a USB C 3.2 Gen 2 port which you can use to attach USB C hubs and external monitors. The power button is a fingerprint scanner at the same time and that one works fast and reliable.
If you want, you can unlock the tablet using facial recognition too. For that, it uses the 8-megapixel webcam and an additional sensor, so it should be secure. Selfies taken with that camera look fine as well. A 13-megapixel camera sits on the back which is supported by an LED flash and it looks okay. There’s an additional 5-megapixel wide-angle camera which is nice to have but photos don’t look sharp at all, it’s lacking detail.
There’s a connector for an optional keyboard dock on one of the longer sides. I think the official keyboard looks very promising. I ordered it weeks ago and it still did not ship. So… I couldn’t test it yet.
On its sides, the Tab P11 Pro features four speakers in total. And in fact, these are some of the best speakers you can get. The sound quality is just below the Apple iPad Pro and on a similar level as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. So, together with the big screen, this is a pretty good entertainment tablet.
The battery life is outstanding. When streaming an HD video at maximum brightness on YouTube, the tablet lasted 10.25 hours which is a fantastic result.
Lenovo Tab P11 Pro Review: Final Verdict
So, what’s my final verdict of this Lenovo Tab P11 Pro review? Many aspects of the tablet are fantastic. It has a premium-feeling design, a very long battery life, good software, and a decent pen. While the performance is not amazing, it’s good enough for most. The 11.5-inch OLED screen looks great when watching movies and the speakers sound nice.
But texts don’t look sharp enough due to the pentile display which is a huge downside. Well, and there’s that rolling shutter effect too.
With a mid-range tablet, it’s to be expected that there are a couple of drawbacks compared to more premium devices. But the problem is that the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro is not priced as a mid-range device. In fact, especially if you factor in the pen, it gets very close to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7. Here in Germany, if you include the pens, both tablets cost about the same because Lenovo is selling the 6GB RAM version only right now.
At its original pricing, I can’t recommend getting it. For me, the fuzzy text is too much of a downside. If the price drops and you can find a good deal, then it could be a good buy, of course. With a cheaper tablet, you do expect not to get the best of the best, so it would be fine. It also depends on where you are. The 4GB RAM version is cheaper and then it’s more interesting as a mid-range tablet.
Let’s check out the alternatives.
I mentioned the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 along the way already. Depending on where you’re from, it might cost a bit more but the S Pen is included. While it has an LCD screen only, texts look very sharp and it’s a 120Hz display which means the pen reacts almost instant. Due to its Snapdragon 865+ processor, the performance is much better and Samsung promised to release at least three big updates. For most, I think this is the better choice unless you see a huge price difference.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 is an interesting alternative too. Sure, it’s older, but Samsung is continuing to push updates and the performance is better than of the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro. We get an AMOLED screen that has the same rolling shutter effect but texts don’t look fuzzy but are sharp. The S Pen is included but reacts about the same since this is a 60Hz screen.
If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, you can check out the Lenovo Tab P11. This is the cheaper brother of the Tab P11 Pro. Sure, the performance is weaker and it does not have a fingerprint scanner. But it has a decent FullHD screen and works with the same active stylus. I’m still in the process of reviewing it but it looks very promising.
- Very long battery life
- Premium design
- Great speakers
- Fingerprint scanner
- Decent stylus
- Optional keyboard
- Pentile display looks fuzzy
- Performance okay only