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TCL TAB review: An excellent 8″ Android tablet for media consumption

The TCL TAB is a Verizon connected tablet that surprisingly comes with Android 10.

Techaeris Rated 8.8/10

It seems more Android tablets have been creeping up over the past year than in previous years. While I’m not a huge fan of the Android tablet, I do think they have their place. Media consumption is probably the best use for an Android tablet and the TCL TAB is an excellent 8″ option.

The TCL TAB is a Verizon connected tablet that surprisingly comes with Android 10. Many times you don’t see an Android tablet with a newer version of the OS. Read on for the full review of the TCL TAB.

Specifications

The TCL TAB has the following features and specifications:

ModelSize: 8.24” x 4.93” x 0.34”Weight: 11.5 ozColor: Suede Black
OSAndroid™ 10
ProcessorProcessor : Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 665 (SDM6125)Speed & Typ: Qualcomm® Kryo™ Octa-core processor (4 x Gold 2.0 GHz, 4 x Silver 1.8 GHz)
DsiplaySize: 8”Type: TFT IPSResolution : FHD (1200 x 1920) Aspect Ratio: 16:10Glass Type: Dragontrail™Touch Technology: Capacitive
Rear CameraMegapixels: 8MP Flash Type: Single tone LED Flash Focus: AF EIS: YesVideo Capture: 1080p @ 30fpsVideo playback: 1080p @ 30fps
Front cameraMegapixels: 5MP Flash: LCD FlashFocus: FFVideo Capture: 720p @ 30fps Video playback: 1080p @ 30fps
MemoryROM/RAM: 16GB ROM / 2GB RAMSD Support: microSD™ up to 256GBUser Available Memory: Up to 8.5GB
Battery & performanceSize: 5500 mAhCharging Technology : 9V2A (18W fast charging)Standby Time: Up to 25 days (4G); 25 days (3G); 27 days (2G) Mixed Usage: Up to 17 hrs. Charging Time Until Full: 2.7 hrs.Fast Charge: Yes- Quick Charge (9V2A)
AudioNumber of Speakers: 1Audio Amplifier: Smart PAMicrophone : 1HD Voice: NoDefault Music Player: YouTube Music Supported Formats : AAC LC, HE-AACv1 (AAC+), HE-AACv2 (enhanced AAC+), AAC ELD, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, MP3, MIDI, Vorbis, PCM/WAVEHeadset Jack Size: 3.5 mm
ConnectivityNetwork/3G/4G/LTE: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHzUMTS: 1/2/4/5/8LTE: 2/4/5/12/13/66VoLTE: NoMobile Hotspot: Yes- up to 10 devices supportedVoWiFi: NoWi-Fi Specs: 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi DisplayBluetooth: 5.0NFC: NoRadio: YesUSB Type : Type-C 2.0, USB OTGSIM Type: Nano-SIM 4FFCard Slot: 1 SIM + 1 SD Card
SensorsAccelerometer (G sensor)GPS (A-GPS)
AuthenticationFingerprint Sensor
Other featuresQuick Reference Guide (QRG), 9V2A Charger (18W fast charging), USB-C Cable Data Cable, Product Safety Information, SIM Tool

What’s In The Box

  • TCL TAB
  • 18W Wall Charger
  • USB-C Charging Cable
  • SIM Ejection Tool
  • Manuals and Documentation
TCL TAB review: An excellent 8" Android tablet for media consumption
Nice design and fits in my hand comfortably. Smaller hands may have issues.

Design

The TCL TAB has a fairly basic design and build quality. It’s heavier than it looks, not brick heavy, but at first glance, it looks lighter than it is. The heft does give it a sense of quality.

The front has sizable bezels on the top and bottom while the left and right bezels are slightly thinner. This is pretty standard on a tablet that is this inexpensive. Around the back, you’ll find the single 8MP camera and flash. The back is a rubber-like material that offers excellent grip, though it does attract fingerprints.

The bottom edge houses the speakers and USB-C port. The top edge houses the headphone jack and mic. The left edge houses the SIM card tray, and the right edge the volume rocker, power/fingerprint sensor.

The TCL TAB can be held in one hand if you have larger hands. Kids and adults with smaller hands may find that hard to do. The build quality feels good even though most of the tablet is made of plastics and rubber.

Overall, this is a budget tablet, and given the price point, the design and build quality is actually very good.

Display

The TCL TAB display is a TFT IPS FHD variety with a 1200 x 1920 resolution and an aspect ratio of 16:10. Colors are decent on this display, not as rich and vibrant as other displays, but we’re not expecting AMOLED performance here. It’s fairly standard and known that TFT IPS displays just aren’t going to perform as good as a higher resolution AMOLED.

Blacks are not as deep as other displays, whites are actually clean, though, and text is crisp and easy to read. Touch responsiveness is excellent. Everything from pinch to zoom to scrolling all responded smoothly.

The display’s size, 8″, is comfortable for viewing. It’s a great midpoint between a smartphone and a full-size tablet. Perfect for consuming media like movies and YouTube.

Overall, this isn’t a top tier display, but given the US$199 price tag, it performs well enough for the money.

TCL TAB review: An excellent 8" Android tablet for media consumption
This is a good display for the price point.

Software/Ecosystem

The TCL TAB is running Android 10, and that’s pretty damn impressive. Even some big names in the industry aren’t running Android 10 on their tablets; many are shipping with Android 9.

Android 10 runs nicely on the TCL TAB, and you can expect pretty much the same experience you would see on a TCL smartphone.

Overall, it was nice to see Android 10 on a budget tablet; that doesn’t happen a lot. The experience is what you would expect from an Android tablet. Some apps are still not optimized for larger screens, but I think most of the most used apps are.

Performance

The TCL TAB is using the Snapdragon 665, which is a pleasant surprise. While it’s not the latest and most powerful CPU, the CPU is very good for a tablet in the price range. Many other brands use MediaTek chips in their inexpensive tablets, and a Snapdragon is good to see.

Performance is more than acceptable, given the low price tag. Basic tasks and apps run just fine with no issues. Multimedia apps, social media, email, weather, the usual suspects.

Gaming is decent, and you can run most games on this tablet. Heavier, more intensive games will tax the CPU, and you may see dropped frames, but it’s doable. Just don’t be surprised if you eat battery up and if the tablet gets a bit warm.

Overall, performance is solid for a tablet in this price range. We had no issues doing daily basic tasks and could run games fine.

TCL
Good performer for its $199 price.

Speakers/Sound

The speakers aren’t all that great. They’re not horribly bad but we weren’t expecting stellar audio here. They work great for spoken word YouTube videos and podcasts but are a bit thin when playing music.

Again, no surprise here, given that this tablet is US$199. We’d recommend a pair of headphones like the TCL ELIT400BTBL or the TCL ELIT300BL. That is if you want to stick with TCL. You could also check out our extensive catalog of headphone reviews right here.

Bottom line, speakers decent for spoken word and video calls. Buy headphones if you want serious sound.

Camera

I’ve said it time and again. I’m no fan of tablet cameras. The rear 8MP camera and 5MP front camera on this tablet really aren’t made for taking great photos. They’re great for kids who want to snap photos here and there, but not for serious photo taking. Please don’t buy the TCL TAB for its camera.

TCL TAB
Not a great camera, but most people will probably use this as a multimedia tablet.

Battery Life

The sizable 5,500mAh battery is actually really good. TCL says you should get 17-hours with mixed-use. I’d say that’s very accurate. I used this tablet mostly for YouTube and social media on and off, and it took about 4-days to wear the battery down. Of course, that’s not being used all of the time. This was on and off usage over 4-days.

Overall, I believe you can get up to 17-hours of straight use out of the TCL TAB. Battery life is subjective, though, and it will depend on how you use the tablet, screen brightness, whether Bluetooth is on or off, and many other factors.

Price/Value

Priced at US$199 the TCL TAB is priced right on target. There’s plenty of great features and great specifications for this price point.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking to buy the TCL TAB, you’re probably already certain you’re not getting a premium device here. While that’s true, TCL has done an excellent job of packing in the features and specs for the low US$199 price tag. This tablet is perfect for kids or adults who want something larger than their phone but not huge for multimedia consumption and basic app use.

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TCL TAB

US$199.99

Design

9.0/10

Display

9.0/10

Software/Ecosystem

9.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Speakers/Sound

8.0/10

Camera

8.0/10

Battery Life

9.0/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • Nice clean design
  • Decent display for a sub $200 tablet
  • Android 10 is a great value add for a low-priced tablet
  • Decent performance for basic multimedia
  • Decent battery life
  • Great price
  • LTE connectivity

Needs work

  • Rubberlike back gets fingerprints easy
  • Large bezels on top and bottom
  • Weak speakers
  • Just okay camera
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