I debated whether to buy this model or its pricier sibling the Lenovo S8-50, which has an Intel Atom processor, a 1920 x 1200 screen resolution and 2 GB of memory.I decided that this newer model with Android 5.0 Lollipop and being $40 cheaper might be the one to get. I hope I'm proved right in the long run.
The Lenovo Tab 2 A8-50 has a Mediatek MT-8161 processor and a Mali T-720 graphics chip. It sports 16GB of storage with 1GB of memory and has a screen resolution of 1280 x 800. The back camera is 5 megapixels with no flash, while the front camera is 2 megapixels.
The tablet appears to be a well-made general purpose type model and it fits the role well. I downloaded the Kindle Book app for it and tried it out. The screen looks quite sharp and it makes reading a pleasure. I have the original Kindle Fire and it looks much better than the Fire's 1024x600 screen. I also loaded the Netflix app and the playback of any content was very smooth! My Time Warner TV app also played every TV station clearly and with no freeze-ups! I'm not much of a gamer and I suspect that any game that would stress an iPad or a much higher-priced Samsung tablet is not going to play well. One very nice feature of this model is the front-firing stereo speakers. The Amazon Music app made listening to both classical and pop music a very enjoyable experience. This tablet doesn't get very loud compared to say, the Kindle Fire 8.9 HDX 4th gen, but the sound is nicely-balanced by the adjustable Dolby software app.
I bought this tablet mainly because after upgrading my Nexus 7 (2012) model to Android 5.0 Lollipop, it turned into a stuttering slug. Subsequent upgrades to 5.02 and 5.1 did nothing to improve it. I eventually flashed it back to Android Kitkat 4.4.4, and even though it was back to normal, I decided I needed a new toy!
For those who are interested in such things, I ran a couple of benchmark tests to give any potential buyers a frame of reference to do some comparisons.
Here are the results:
Antutu - 26849
Geekbench 3 Single core 616 Multicore 1810
3d Mark Ice Storm Extreme - 3219
I would normally give the Lenovo Tab 2 A8-50 five stars considering its specs, performance so far, and the price, but I'll hold one back to see how well Lenovo supports it over the next few months. I have a 2.5 year old Lenovo A2107A-f that is still functional. Sadly, Lenovo never came up with the Jelly Bean update for it, which came out about a month after I bought it. I'm still peeved about that!
If you are in the market for an inexpensive Android tablet, this model is a sound choice. Price-wise, it competes with Amazon's HD 7 tablet. The Amazon Fire HD 7 model is a better bargain than the Lenovo, but only when it's on sale. Otherwise, I think thathaving that extra inch in screen size and access to the Google Play store, with its much larger app selection, makes the Lenovo a more compelling purchase.
I bought a micro-SD cardSamsung 32GB EVO Class 10 Micro SDHC up to 48MB/swith Adapter (MB-MP32DA/AM) for the A8-50. Some apps can be moved to the micro-SD card and it's a great place for photos and music. But most apps will have to remain in the internal storage (16 GB) and also take up part of the precious 1 gig of RAM.
Update: 08/01/2015I'm going to award Lenovo a fifth star. They came through with an update for the Tab 2 A8-50. The operating system is now Android 5.0.2 with software build A8-50F_S000024_150619_ROW. This update is about 35 MB in size and takes about 15 minutes to install itself. I just hope when the Android M operating system is released, Lenovo will offer an upgrade to it, as well!
I got a case for the Tab 2 A8-50Lenovo Tab 2 A8 Case - HOTCOOL Ultra Slim Lightweight SmartCover Stand Case For 2015 Released 8-Inch Lenovo TAB 2 A8-50 ZA030046US Tablet, Black which is a nice, thin case that doesn't add much bulk to the tablet as well as screen protectors for it, Mr Shield For Lenovo Tab 2 A8 Tablet Premium Clear Screen Protector [3-PACK] with Lifetime Replacement Warranty These accessories ought to keep the Tab 2 A8-50 in good shape!
Update: 08/23/2015 I see that the price has been reduced to $109.99. This tablet is a steal for that amount of money! I find I'm using it more and more, as its slim form factor and thin bezels make it nearly as small as an average 7" tablet. It is significantly better than its 7" sibling the Lenovo Tab 2 A7-30, for the 30 buck price difference, with a faster processor and higher screen resolution.
Update: 08/26/2015Now it's down to $99!I'm tempted to buy a second one for "upstairs". If I knew for sure that Lenovo was going to release the Android Marshmallow update in November, I might buy two more. It's a steal at 99 bucks!
Update: 09/14/2015 Well, the price has moved up and down for the last few weeks. At $99, it's a bargain, but at $144, not so much. Last night the tablet got a new update to Android 5.1. It was a 332 MB download and changed the look of the "home screen" a bit and the apps I had on it disappeared. I'll have to play with this new version a bit. It seems a bit faster! I hope Lenovo updates it to Android 6 when that arrives in a couple of months. So far, so good!
Update: 12/01/2015After 6 months of ownership, I can say that I'm glad I bought this tablet. It has performed better than expected in every way! That's high praise from a staunch Kindle owner. If you're thinking about getting a Kindle Fire 8" HD model or this ...get the Lenovo Tab 2 A8-50. It can access the Google Play store which the Fire tablets can't do. The battery life on the Lenovo is excellent as well! The Kindle reading app works like a charm on the Lenovo as does Amazon Prime Video. I was going to buy a second unit, but decided to splurge and bought the Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 for $179. Both of the Lenovos have gorgeous IPS screens with the A10 having 1980 x 1200 resolution. So, for someone who was unimpressed by Lenovo after my first purchase of an Ideatab A2107F 7" tablet in 2013, I'm alot more impressed with them at this point. Now, if they will update these Tab 2 models to Android Marsmallow 6.0 in the near future, I'll really sing their praises!