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(Pocket-lint) - With the tablet market dwindling somewhat, Lenovo has an interesting idea: why not have a tablet that, when it's not being used as one, can be docked to act as an Alexa voice-enabled Show Mode hub (much like an Echo Show)?

Which is exactly what the Smart Tab P10 is all about. This 10-inch tablet (available in $299/£259 (P10) glass and $199/£179 (M10) plastic chassis forms) comes with the Alexa Smart Dock included, meaning it's like two products in one: tablet and home hub.

Design and Display

  • 10.1-inch Full HD (1920 x 1200) LCD IPS tablet display
  • Tablet: 242 x 167 x 7mm; 480g (P10) / 440g (M10)
  • Smart Dock: 66 x 284 x 50mm; 800g

We like the idea of a dock that transforms the tablet's functionality, but don't think the Smart Dock included in the box is especially attractive. It's plasticky and even with the tablet stowed looks like a separate product, not a cohesive whole – a dedicated second-gen Echo Show is a better-looking solution.

Pocket-lintLenovo Smart Tab P10 review image 2

That said, it's practical by design. Popping the tablet into the stand is easy. The mute and Bluetooth buttons to the side are clearly marked should you want to deactivate Alexa being able to listen in. And as a permanent charging solution or re-charging dock it makes logical sense.

Separated and the tablet is a good looking slab. It's ultra-thin by design, the P10 has a fingerprint scanner home button (absent in M10), along with tacticle buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The resolution and brightness is fair at this price point too.

Alexa and Performance

  • Tablet: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450, up to 4GB RAM
  • Tablet: 7000mAh battery / Smart Dock: Wired only
  • Smart Dock: 2x 3W speakers, 3x far-field mics
  • Tablet: 4x front-facing Dolby Atmos speakers
  • Tuned by Dolby 'for premium audio quality'

Although the chipset on board isn't the most powerful in the world, that comes with the price territory. Besides, a tablet is largely going to be used for browsing so doesn't need ultra-powered innards – and the P10's performance in this task was smooth from our quick hands-on time.

When it comes to Alexa voice control, the Smart Tab can do a lot of what Amazon Echo Show can – but not everything. Well, not yet. There's no Drop In and other camera-based services – but they will be coming, Lenovo says, just later down the line. So if you're willing to wait and the two-in-one product type suits you better then that's a reassurance.

Pocket-lintLenovo Smart Tab P10 review image 5

For now, Alexa is good to use for a bunch of skills, with visual responses on the screen also possible. Ask for recipes, check your calendar, the weather, or control other smart products in your home – whether lights, plugs, cameras and so on.

As a speaker the Smart Dock goes rather loud, but the quality isn't the bassiest or best in the world. Fine for a kitchen-based radio solution, but it's not going to rival a dedicated speaker for the living room.

First Impressions

Although its design isn't 100 per cent on point, the idea of the Lenovo Smart Tab P10 is clever: by combining dock and tablet it acts as two products rolled into one. Tablet one minute, Alexa home hub the next, it'll be a logical solution for many – even more so in the future when all of Show Mode's features come into play following launch.

The Lenovo Smart Tab with Amazon Alexa will be priced $199.99 with M10 tablet and $299.99 with P10 tablet, available January 2019.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 7 January 2019.