There are countless tablets that promise to replace your laptop. Some believe that simply adding a keyboard is enough to tick this box, while others add a keyboard, a smattering of software tweaks and market themselves as a 2-in-1.
The Lenovo P11 Pro attempts to go a step further, adding an entire Productivity Mode. Designed to more explicitly separate the casual from the business features, it makes the Android tablet behave more like a desktop monitor when connected to the Lenovo keyboard.
Given the fact that you get all this for a relatively affordable £500, and it’s powered by a lower-spec processor than those seen on Samsung devices – Lenovo’s main rival in the tablet computer space – should tell you it’s not quite the full, high-end package. But is it still worth investing in?
In our Lenovo P11 Pro review, we take a look at how its power, battery life and display stand up to streaming, browsing and working from home. We also see how the P11 Pro compares to the likes of the Samsung Tab S7 and Tab S7 Plus, as well as the iPad Air.
- Lenovo P11 Pro review summary
- What is the Lenovo P11 Pro?
- How much is the Lenovo P11 Pro?
- Lenovo P11 Pro features
- Lenovo P11 Pro screen and sound quality
- Lenovo P11 Pro design
- Lenovo P11 Pro set-up
- Lenovo P11 Pro battery and performance
- Our verdict
- Where to buy
Price: The Lenovo P11 Pro is available at Lenovo from £449.99.
- 11.5-inch Android 10 tablet
- Powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 730GB processor
- Productivity Mode adds desktop-style multitasking features when used with a keyboard and Lenovo Precision Pen (available as a bundle or sold separately)
- Four JBL speakers compatible with Dolby Atmos
- Up to 6GB RAM and 128GB built-in storage
- Fingerprint reader, face unlock and PIN security features
- Up to 15 hours battery life
- A dual 13MP and 5MP camera on the rear, with an 8MP on the front
- Available in “slate” or “platinum” grey
- Bright, sharp display
- Excellent battery life
- Well-rounded sound from impressive speakers
- Confusing and temperamental software
- Productivity Mode promises a lot but delivers very little
Lenovo is a laptop and PC giant. It consistently makes what are considered the best laptops around, and it has a long legacy in this field, having first become the world’s top PC maker in 2013.
In 2011, it entered the Android and Windows tablet game and has since released more than 50 models in various formats and designs, powered by Windows, Android and Chrome OS.
The £500 Lenovo Tab P11 Pro sits at the top end of its Android range. Positioned as an all-in-one tablet, it’s said to be perfect for gaming, streaming, browsing, working and creativity. It’s a long way off the brand’s flagship Windows-powered ThinkPad X1 tablet, which starts at a whopping £1,824, and is twice the price of Lenovo’s entry-level Tab collection. A collection that includes the Tab 3, Tab M8, Tab M10, Smart Tab, Yoga Smart Tab, and the standard Tab P11.
This price point puts the Tab P11 Pro just about on par with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 (which starts at £619) and the Apple iPad Air (£579).
What does the Lenovo P11 Pro do?
By positioning itself as a tablet for all seasons, Lenovo P11 Pro covers streaming, gaming, working, and more.
- Media streaming with the Netflix app installed by default
- BBC iPlayer, All 4, ITV Hub, SkyGo and Disney+ are available from the Google Play Store, as are millions of apps, plus TV shows, films and books available to purchase
- All Google apps are preloaded, including Chrome, Play, Gmail, Kids Space, Fit, Maps, Google One, Google Home, Google Assistant, Podcasts, Google Drive, Calendar, Files and Google and YouTube
- Other pre-installed apps include Microsoft Office, OneNote, Squid, and Bamboo Paper
- The Lenovo P11 Pro can be used to control and manage compatible smart home devices via the Google Home app or the apps from individual device manufacturers
- You can sign in with a Google account, as well as set up a separate Lenovo account to make it easier to access files, search history and settings from the cloud
- Support for the Lenovo Precision Pen (sold separately) turns Lenovo P11 Pro into a notebook and sketch pad. It can also be used to write in any entry field on browsers, apps and more – read more about this in the Performance section
- Can be used like a Google Nest Hub Max when in Ambient Mode
- Available in two shades of grey – “slate” and “platinum”
The Lenovo P11 Pro comes in two storage sizes – 64GB and 256GB – and is available with Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi and cellular.
The prices, when bought directly from Lenovo, are as follows:
- Lenovo P11 Pro 128GB storage with Wi-Fi: £499.99
- Lenovo P11 Pro 128GB storage with Wi-Fi + cellular: £539.99
- Lenovo P11 Pro 128GB storage with Wi-Fi, keyboard and stylus: £599.99
- Lenovo P11 Pro 256GB storage with Wi-Fi + cellular, keyboard and stylus: £629.99
You can also buy the Lenovo P11 Pro from the following places:
Is the Lenovo P11 Pro good value for money?
The Lenovo P11 Pro occupies the higher end of the mid-range tablet market, sitting alongside the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (starting at £619) and the £579 iPad Air. It’s a tad cheaper than both of these rivals when bought as a standalone tablet, but this price creeps up when you start adding the keyboard and pen.
It fails to quite live up to either in terms of performance and design, though. The screen is great, but nowhere near that on the Tab S7. The overall design falls short of the stylish iPad Air. The software is overly complicated and is frustrating compared to both of its rivals.
In Lenovo’s favour, the tablet can be turned into a Google Nest Hub Max alternative by switching on Ambient mode. For us, this makes it the most value for money when you consider a Google Nest Hub costs £179 on its own. Of course, the Lenovo tablet doesn’t come with all the features of the original Google Nest Hub, but it’s a worthy substitute should you want one.
All things considered, the Lenovo P11 Pro is priced as it should be – it’s not good value for money, but nor is it poor value either. Even if you don’t think you’ll use the Lenovo model for work, the keyboard and pen do elevate the P11 Pro above just an Android tablet, and they add a relatively small amount to the price when bought as a bundle.
The Lenovo P11 Pro has an 11.5-inch OLED display and runs on Android 10, with a Lenovo skin on top. Being an Android device means it comes pre-loaded with the full suite of Google products, and having a skin means that there are a few Lenovo apps thrown in, too. You can then choose from millions of apps in the Google Play Store depending on what you want to use the tablet for.
All versions of the P11 Pro come with just 128GB built-in storage – and the pre-installed apps take up almost 20% of this storage – but this can be physically expanded up to 1TB if you find space getting a little tight. Plus, with the Google apps all offering cloud storage, this may not be an issue.
The tablet is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 730GB processor, backed up by 6GB RAM, and Lenovo promises a 15-hour battery life.
On the front of the device is an 8MP camera, while on the rear is a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13MP sensor alongside a 5MP snapper. There are then four JBL speakers with support for Dolby Atmos fitted on either side of the device (two on each side when held in landscape mode).
Software-wise, the Lenovo skin adds a couple of standout features. The Productivity Mode, as previously mentioned, makes apps look and feel more like desktop windows. You can tap to expand and shrink the frames, as well as drag and drop the windows side-by-side like you would with a mouse and a monitor on a PC. Its Notification-free mode is similar to Apple’s Do Not Disturb in that it stops notifications from appearing when you’re working, watching a film or playing games.
Elsewhere, because it supports Google Assistant, you can turn the tablet into a Google Nest Hub Max alternative. A Google Nest Hub, like the Echo Show from Amazon, is a smart speaker with a screen. Putting the Lenovo P11 Pro into Ambient mode allows it to look and work more like a Google Nest, showcasing relevant information in a full-screen mode that can be controlled via your voice.
Despite the addition of various productivity tools on the software side of things, the hardware on the Lenovo P11 Pro positions the tablet more towards an entertainment device. Particularly its bright, colourful screen.
The Lenovo Tab P11 Pro’s 11.5-inch 2K OLED screen has a resolution of 2560 x 1600. This on its own makes colours look accurate and vivid and makes blacks look inky and rich, but when combined with Dolby Vision, the effect is elevated. It’s a superb screen for watching TV shows, films and playing games, and words look sharp and clean on ebooks. All of this is bolstered by the fact the screen has a 16:10 ratio. This ratio is less than ideal when working because documents end up being a little cut off, but this is a minor complaint.
Sound quality is equally impressive; another nod towards this tablet being a great, on-the-go way to watch video. The use of four stereo speakers, built and tuned by audio giants JBL and Dolby Atmos, creates an immersive sound experience that we’ve not experienced on other devices. This may have something to do with algorithms that change the direction and “flow” of audio to make sure the sound is always being directed in the best possible way. Lenovo calls it a “360-degree curtain of sound”, and while this is heavy marketing speech and isn’t something we can scientifically attest to, the overall sound quality is very impressive.
The first thing that struck us about the design of the Lenovo P11 Pro is that it feels robust and sturdy. Thanks to its full aluminium unibody casing, it’s a relatively hefty tablet that feels more luxurious than some more expensive models without feeling overly bulky. This makes it appealing as both a mobile workstation, as well as a portable streaming device. Not once did we worry that our toddler would break this device, nor did we worry about taking it out of the house to work on the go.
A portability point that was bolstered by the fact this tablet is just 5.8mm thick. By comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is 0.1mm thinner; the iPad Air is 0.3mm thicker.
The edges are curved, but much less so than on the likes of the Apple iPad Air, for instance, and the bezel is thick without being imposing. Both give this tablet an industrial appearance not too dissimilar to the Microsoft Surface range.
In terms of ports, the Lenovo P11 Pro has followed the trend of removing the 3.5mm headphone jack. It has two speakers on each shorter side and a USB-C charging port. There is also a magnetic connector on the longer side used to connect to the Lenovo keyboard. The dual-camera setup, which sits in the top corner of the rear, is less obtrusive than on rivals. As a note, the Productivity Mode only works when the keyboard is correctly attached to this magnetic connector.
Speaking of the Lenovo keyboard and case, this is a continuation of the overall aesthetic. The case is made of fabric and has a kickstand built-in. It doesn’t add a huge amount of weight to the device, which is impressive given the fact it has a 75% form factor with a touchpad. This means it mimics the kind of keyboard layout you’d expect on a laptop. A touchpad may feel unnecessary given the fact this tablet has a touchscreen, but we feel it’s welcomed and improves usability.
Security-wise, there is a facial recognition scanner to unlock the device or a fingerprint scanner on the power button. Both are a tad temperamental, the face scanner in particular, and we often resorted to the good-old-reliable PIN entry.
Of all the tablets we’ve set up, the Lenovo P11 Pro was the most confusing. It has a similar step-by-step tutorial seen on other devices, but there are too many steps. Too many hoops to jump through. Too many accounts to sign into. Lenovo wants to showcase all of its many benefits and modes from the get-go, and this just ends up being overwhelming. That’s before you even get to the home screen.
Once you’re in, downloading apps is straightforward. Plus, if you sign in to your Google account, many of your settings are carried over. If you struggle to take in all of Lenovo’s messages during the setup process, you can find them in the pre-installed Tips app. This is a much easier way to get to grips with the tablet and its settings leaving you free to skip through most of the setup steps.
Another nod towards the Lenovo P11 Pro being aimed more towards entertainment than purely for work is the use of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G mobile platform. The 730G was Qualcomm’s first gaming-focused processor designed for mid-range phones and tablets. As a result, it contains many features tuned to make gaming easier – a Wi-Fi latency manager, support for high-end displays (up to a resolution of 3360 x 1440 pixels), and support for HDR graphics in games with 10-bit colour depth.
Beyond games, these features help boost video quality on the already-superb screen, and the chip is said to have a “new power-efficient architecture” that allows the Lenovo Tab P11 Pro to run for 15 hours on a full charge.
During our looping video test, in which an HD video is played on repeat until the battery dies, the Lenovo P11 Pro lasted a little over 13 hours. Considering 15 hours is the top end of the battery life for “normal productivity use”, this was impressive.
When used less frequently – the odd game of SimCity, watching Disney+, writing this review via the Productivity Mode, a couple of video calls with our parents – the battery lasted for a day and a half. Given the brightness of this tablet’s screen, we had expected the battery life to be average, so we were very pleasantly surprised.
The tablet itself is fast; there was minimal lag when opening apps or browsing through screens, and, as promised, graphics and videos render as you’d expect. The downside when it comes to the performance of the tablet, though – and it’s a big one – is that its software tries to be too many things to too many people.
On paper, being able to use tablet windows as you would on a laptop when in Productivity Mode sounds fantastic, but in reality, it’s temperamental, tricky and annoying. We can’t recall how many times we tutted, sighed and got frustrated when trying to move and resize windows. The keyboard and trackpad help to an extent, but it doesn’t feel like the finished article. We found we were a lot less productive with the P11 Pro than we have been when using standard Android or iOS on the Samsung and Apple rivals.
In the battle for Android tablet supremacy, Samsung still very much reigns supreme, but the Lenovo P11 Pro puts up a good fight. It’s well-built, attractive, sturdy and versatile. It can also be confusing, overwhelming and frustrating.
If you’re looking for a premium tablet on which to play games, stream TV shows and films, or use for the odd work task, the Lenovo P11 Pro’s screen and speaker setup are superb. It almost justifies the price tag on its own.
However, if you’re looking for a tablet to act as a laptop replacement, the Lenovo P11 Pro is not the one. It holds a lot of promise but doesn’t live up to it, which is a real shame.
Screen and sound quality: 5
Battery life and performance: 4/5
Overall rating: 3.8/5
Still not sure what tablet to buy? Read our expert reviews of the Apple iPad Air (2020), Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, Amazon Fire HD 10 review and the Apple iPad Mini. If you are an Amazon Prime member, be sure to check out the tech deals during Amazon Prime Day 2021.