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Beyond the Alphabet

Android Central's LLoyd with a projection with a Google logo

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Beyond the Alphabet is a weekly column that focuses on the tech world both inside and out of the confines of Mountain View.

Over the past 10-15 years, we’ve been seeing the slow decline of smaller devices in favor of ones with larger screens. “Bigger is better” is the motto that many companies now live by, and the same sentiment rings true with tablets. There are a few exceptions, such as Apple’s iPad Mini, but in most cases, if you want the best tablet experience, especially on Android, it’s big screen or bust.

One could surmise that the desire to use tablets as laptop replacements has led to larger and more obnoxious screen sizes. Unfortunately, there are still compromises to be found even with the best tablets. I mean, it’s absurd to me that Samsung doesn’t offer the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra with cellular connectivity. That’s reserved for the Tab S9 Plus, which is fine, but the Ultra is easily more of a laptop replacement than the Plus. 

For the most part, if a tablet is released and is smaller than ten inches, it probably features middling or laughable specs. This wasn’t always the case, as the Nexus 7 from 2013 and the Galaxy Tab S3 from 2017 were both flagship tablets with sub-10-inch screens. 

Nexus tablets

(Image credit: Android Central)

Nowadays, a tablet larger than 10 inches usually means that it’s a flagship tablet with more power and better screens. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 FE and FE Plus, which are both above my made-up size threshold while using Exynos chips.

I’ve often wondered why this is the case, especially as flagship processors continue to get more efficient while still providing plenty of power. Take the Lenovo Y700, for example. It was released in China last year and offers an 8.8-inch display and a 2560 x 1600 resolution. Powering the Y700 is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, paired with either 12GB or 16GB of RAM.

Lenovo Legion Tab (2024) lifestyle render

(Image credit: Lenovo)

Lenovo recently announced a refreshed model (Legion Tab) that keeps the same internals but swaps out the glossy display for a “micro-nano etched” glass. From everything that I’ve seen, it seems pretty similar to the etched glass found on the higher-end Steam Deck configurations. For what it’s worth, this aims to minimize the glare without compromising the quality of the display.

Yes, I’m also aware that the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 is an outdated chip, as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 now powers many of the best Android phones. But, I would argue that there’s still space in the market for tablets that bridge the gap between budget and flagship.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE next to Galaxy Z Fold 5

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

For reference, the Legion Tab is priced at €599, which translates to almost $640. Without accounting for any deals or trade-in promotions, the Tab S9 FE Plus retails for $600 but isn’t exactly the ideal couch-surfing tablet. For an extra $40, I’d rather go with the Legion Tab, even if it lacks the extra software polish and features found in One UI.



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