King of Android tablets?


When you put “extreme” in your device name, there will be expectations. It’s a slightly comedic alternative to the “pro” moniker that seems to have plagued all of consumer tech lately, but there’s no avoiding the fact that it’s launching in a space dominated by the Apple iPad Pro.


Even the keyboard design, with that floating display aesthetic, is similar to the iPad. We briefly spent time with the Lenovo Tab Extreme at CES 2023, to see if it really is the queen of Android tablets.

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the Lenovo Tab Extreme photo 2
Lenovo

Lenovo Tab Extreme

First impressions

The Tab Extreme offers plenty of power and some handy software additions to make it more convenient for everyday use. The smart keyboard tray allows for versatility, while the screen offers plenty of space and quality.

Advantages

  • Large display
  • Clever stand and keyboard
  • Storage expansion
  • Multitasking
The inconvenients

  • Android apps not always great on tablets
  • Too early to say

Design and build

  • 327.8 x 210.8 x 5.85mm, 470g (tablet only)
  • Storm Gray

Lenovo put some thought into the design of the Tab Extreme. Although you can’t do much with a 14.5 slab, the square edges have a quality finish, with the aluminum casing wrapping around the back. There is a separate section at the top of the tablet housing the camera lenses. It’s slightly raised, but once you add the keyboard enclosure, it’s a flat finish on the back. This, if nothing else, helps break up the slightly boring look that can plague some tablets.

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In terms of size and weight, it’s obviously huge, but still slim – compared to the iPad Pro, it’s a little thinner and almost the same weight as the iPad Pro 12.9, despite having a bigger screen.

The square edges have well-drilled speaker ports, with well-placed buttons and again a good quality feel. The Tab Extreme uses magnets for a number of tasks, to keep the Precision Pen 3 attached to the back and also to attach to the dual-hinged keyboard tray. Cleverly, like the Surface Pro, you can also store the stylus in the keyboard hinge.

As mentioned, the case stand allows the Tab Extreme to hover above the keyboard – like the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard – but the dual-mode stand is an interesting piece of design. The middle section is separate, so you can effectively remove the keyboard part and just have a simple kickstand – which works in both landscape and portrait orientations. It’s super convenient.

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From our first keystrokes, the keyboard seems to offer decent typing action, while the size is large enough to be a serious productivity keyboard. Naturally, we didn’t have a chance to use it properly, but the magnets all seemed strong enough to hold this set together.

What exactly you get when you buy the tablet will depend on where you buy it.

Display and hardware

  • 14.5-inch OLED, 3000 x 1876, 120Hz
  • Dimension 9000, 12GB, 256GB + microSD up to 1TB
  • 12,300mAh, 68W

The Tab Extreme is Lenovo’s largest and most powerful tablet to date, turning to MediaTek for power and offering the Dimensity 9000. It’s an octa-core processor, which is backed by 12GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, with possible expansion up to 1 TB thanks to microSD support.

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That’s a powerful loadout, while many tablets opt for lower specs than a typical smartphone, but the Tab Extreme should be just as capable. We didn’t have the chance to test its performance during our hands-on session.

There’s a bright and vibrant 14.5-inch OLED display, with a sharpness of 3000 x 1876 pixels, resulting in 244ppi, slightly lower than the iPad Pro 12.9. However, it has a 120Hz refresh rate, so it will be nice and smooth with all your content. It also supports Dolby Vision, so it should pack a visual punch with the best content. First impressions are good, but we haven’t had a chance to test this display extensively.

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Finally there’s the massive battery, promising 12 hours of use, but also supporting 68W fast charging.

Control software

  • Android 13, updates to Android 16

The Lenovo Tab Extreme launches on Android 13 and will receive updates to Android 16, giving you a good few years of support. We haven’t had a chance to explore all of the software’s features, but anyone who’s used an Android tablet will know that in many cases there are great experiences, especially if you’re using the Microsoft Office apps or Android apps. Google.

There’s support for split-screen work allowing you to have up to four different apps open, which is a great way to use up all that screen real estate, while you can also have floating apps. You can use the Tab Extreme as an external monitor via USB-C, allowing you to expand your desktop or laptop setup.

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The camera and mic are also well spec’d for video conferencing, with the camera able to keep up with you and the microphone able to cut out background noise.

First impressions

The Lenovo Tab Extreme is an obvious choice for anyone looking for a great Android tablet. But there’s no compromise on power here. Although we haven’t tested the power extensively, having experienced this type of load elsewhere, we expect the Tab Extreme to fly.

The clever arrangement of case and keyboard provides versatility, so you can practically use this large tablet to commute to work, while software customizations will allow more flexibility than some devices to take advantage of the space.

There’s a lot we don’t know about this tablet’s performance, but first impressions are good. The question is whether the world is ready to accept Android tablets of this type again – or whether the iPad Pro will simply remain the de facto choice.