You might recognize the TCL brand from its value-priced Roku TVs sold through Amazon, Best Buy and the like, but it’s been a player in the mobile space through its manufacturing of phones for the likes of Alcatel and BlackBerry. In 2020, the Chinese company has moved to release Android phones under its own moniker, which have been well-reviewed by ZDNet’s own reviewers (here and here). Next up: launching into the tablet market through a partnership with Verizon.
Whereas it’s selling its TCL 10 Pro and 10L smartphones unlocked in the U.S., it’s taking a different approach with its Tab 8 tablet by hooking up with a wireless carrier. At $199.99, or $8.33 per month for 24 months, the 8-inch slate is Verizon’s cheapest tablet offering, about three dollars per month cheaper than an 8.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Though the Galaxy Tab has a slightly bigger screen and a much better known brand, the Tab 8 doesn’t compare unfavorably with it despite the lower price. It has a full HD display (1,920×1,200 resolution), equivalent claimed battery life of 17 hours (thanks to a slightly larger 5,500mAh battery), and the same 32GB of built-in storage. Both are powered by octa-core processors, though the Tab 8 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 CPU compared to the Galaxy Tab’s homegrown Exynos 7904 chip.
The Tab 8 does come with Android 10 pre-installed (as opposed to Android 9 on the Galaxy Tab) and not surprisingly features built-in 4G LTE connectivity, along with 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi for when you don’t need a cellular signal. It also comes with the expected accoutrements for any tablet worth its salt, such as 5-megapixel front-facing and 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras and SD card slot for additional storage.
The Tab 8 is currently available exclusively through Verizon, though it will be interesting to see if the partnership extends to the TCL TCL 10 TabMax and TabMid that were announced at the IFA trade show last month and are expected to be released in the near future.