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Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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Tag: Google Pixel

December Pixel Feature Drop arrives: Adapt to Everything

As I was talking about just recently, Google likes to bring new features to their Pixel devices every so often, usually about every four months. Now, the last of these updates, called Pixel Feature Drops, has come in conjunction with the December 2020 Security Update.Pixel 5 features brought to older PixelsSome of the features present in the Pixel 5 have been brought to the Pixel 3 up in the latest Pixel Feature Drop. This includes Hold For Me, a feature which allows for American Pixel Owners to have Google Assistant wait on the line and let you know when a person is available.In addition, Extreme Battery Saver and Duo screen sharing in group calls have been brought to older Pixels. In Google Photos, Pixel users can get new editing suggestions, including Dynamic and sky suggestions.New Adaptive FeaturesPreviously, it had been rumored that Google was bringing a feature called Adaptive Sound to Pixels. This is official in the latest Pixel Feature Drop, with this feature improves the quality of your speaker based on your surroundings by using your microphone to check the acoustics of your environment.The Google Pixel 5 and 4a (5G)’s GPS is now more accurate on foot. In addition, your pixel can sense what type of content you’re viewing and you can screenshot it and translate it with Google Lens.Want more adaptive stuff? Look no further than Adaptive Battery, Adaptive Charging and Adaptive Connectivity. Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Charging will work together to preserve battery health over time by controlling charging speed and saving power between charges based on context. Adaptive Connectivity will try to put you on 4G instead of 5G to use things that need little to no signal anyway to further preserve battery.Customization and Ease-of-UseThe New Pixel Feature Drop brings new icons, grid views, app shapes, and custom wallpapers of famous artwork. In addition, you can now access “The Mandalorian” AR Experience. Pixel 3 and newer owners have Mandalorian wallpapers available.For those who listen to a lot of music from your environment, you can log it with Now Playing and add it to a playlist in YouTube Music. 

Google Pixel 4a 5G review: Perfectly balanced, as all Pixels should be

The Pixel 4a 5G takes the best of the Pixel 5 and combines it with the value package of the

Mous case: Get the iPhone 12’s magnetic charging and accessories on your Android phone

Apple held its big iPhone event today, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you already knew that. Among the usual upgrades such as a faster processor, improved cameras, 5G, and more; the new iPhones now include magnets for attaching accessories and charging.It’s not the first time Apple has used magnets in its devices, the iPad Pro models and new iPad Air also use strategically placed magnets for attaching the Magic Keyboard. Apple even uses magnets on the Apple Watch and charger to make it as effortless as possible to use.If all of this has you feeling some Apple envy over there, we wouldn’t blame you, but did you know its already possible to add this capability to your Samsung Galaxy or Pixel phone? All you need is the right case, like the ones from the Limitless 3.0 collection by Mous, a London-based tech accessory brand.By using one of the Limitless 3.0 cases on your device, you can hot-swap between car mounts, wall mounts, attach card wallets or flip wallets, and yes, Mous even has a range of magnetic Qi-enabled wireless chargers. No longer will you have to painstakingly slide your phone around on the pad to ensure its perfectly lined up and charging.Mous made this all possible by using its in-house AutoAlignPlus technology and engineering the magnets to work with its accessories without interfering with how your phone operates. That means the case attracts the various mounts and accessories by directing the magnetic field outwards, which avoids causing any interference with the compass and other components inside of your phone.While it’s not exactly the same as having the magnetic tech built into your phone, the Mous Limitless 3.0 system is an easy and effective way to add the same features to the phone you already own.You can pick up cases and accessories from the Limitless 3.0 lineup for your Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phone starting as low as $40 from either Amazon or Mous’s online store.

Best Prime Day Google Pixel deals 2020: Pixel 5 and Pixel 4

All the best Google Pixel deals this Prime Day plus everything you need to know about purchasing one.

Google Unveils New Flagship Pixel 5 Smartphone With 5G and $699 Price Tag

Ahead of Apple's rumored October event that will see the unveiling of the new iPhone 12 lineup, Google today held

Leaked Google Documents Suggest Foldable Pixel Phone in the Works

Google plans to release a foldable Pixel phone in the fourth quarter of next year, according to leaked internal documents

Leaked internal document hints Google may launch a foldable phone next year

The company is working on a total of four new Pixel phones for 2021

Google Launches Pixel 4a, a $349 iPhone SE Competitor

Google today announced the launch of its latest smartphone, the Pixel 4a, which has a $349 price tag and is

Android 11 beta 2 focuses on improving media controls

Google's new beta milestone makes subtle changes with fresh shortcuts

Google reportedly sold more phones than OnePlus in 2019

It reporteldy registered a 52% year-on-year growth

Key researcher behind the Pixel’s camera left Google in March

Marc Levoy worked at Google since 2014

Google Readies Custom Chip for Pixel Phones and Chromebooks

Google has made significant progress toward developing its own custom-made main processor in recent weeks, reports Axios.According to the report,

Skip the screen: Android 11 has a secret way to get stuff done

Reports indicate a hidden gesture will let you perform actions by double-tapping the back of a Google Pixel.

Google Testing New Double-Tap Gesture on Back of Pixel Phones for Launching Camera, Assistant, and More

Google is reportedly testing an interesting new gesture for its Pixel smartphones that lets users double-tap the back of the

How to find downloaded files on your iPhone or Android smartphone

Finding downloads on your smartphone is simple, regardless of whether you own an iPhone or Android device.

Is 2020 going to be a make-or-break year for Google hardware?

Google's hardware wing didn't have a particularly pleasant 2019 and as rivals extend their lead, 2020 could be its one last shot at being a successful hardware maker.

Google Pixel 3a XL: A review at six months

Google has never had a problem making premium phones. Since the release of the Nexus lineup, we’ve seen the company partner with handset makers to deliver high-quality phones and tablets, some of which were hundreds of dollars less than the competition.These options were all the more enticing since they came with pure Android, fast updates, and years of support from both Google and a community of developers through custom ROMs and tweaks.The search giant decided to take a new route a few years ago, killing off the Nexus lineup in favor of Pixel devices. Gone were the days of cheaper devices as we were introduced to Google’s vision of a flagship. Consumers used to cheap annual hardware updates had to look in another direction.But, Google is changing course again. The Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL are a return to affordable hardware with a clean build of Android. If that wasn’t attractive enough, the same lauded camera from last year’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL are on board. A truly compelling package, and all for under $500.We’ve spent the last few months living with the Pixel 3a XL and this is what we found.Hardware and designIf you’ve never held a Pixel device in your hand, you might not know how dominating it can be. These are not the pencil-thin devices where bezels go to die or incredibly tall screen aspect ratios. They’re big, wide, and the screen seems to stretch for miles. That’s no different with the Pixel 3a XL.The difference this year is that the device is made out of plastic instead of glass– but that’s not a bad thing. We’ve long since abandoned plastic devices and (myself included) have assumed that glass backs were as good as you could get. They feel great and look fantastic, but come with the downside of scratches and cracks.With the Pixel 3a XL, I’ve changed how I use my phone. I’ve never been overly careful with my devices in the past anyway, but now I don’t worry about my phone breaking at all.Sure, I do try to protect the screen but I feel a lot better about tossing this into my bag than I would with another, far more breakable device. It’s freeing in a way that I had forgotten about.And to be honest, this all still feels pretty nice. This isn’t the gross plastic covering of the Samsung Galaxy S5, but it’s hard and feels great in the hand, like a high-quality product that you’d have no problem paying the money for.Thanks to the plastic back, fingerprints are no longer a problem and the potentially deep scratches of the Pixel 3 are gone, too. Google really killed it here.The biggest problem most people will have with the Pixel 3a XL comes on the front of the device. In a world of waterdrop notches and pop-up cameras, the Pixel 3a XL goes in another direction.Huge bezels adorn both the top and bottom of the device. This wasn’t so much a problem with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL because there were front-firing speakers in that space, but that’s not the case here. The 3a XL does have great stereo speakers, but they’re not front-firing; rather opting for an earpiece and downward firing speaker grill like we see in most phones with stereo speakers.If bezels are an issue for you, this is not the phone for you. But during my time with the Pixel 3a XL, I never had an issue. These past few months, I never noticed the “gigantic” notch and I don’t notice the huge bezels here either. I only see the (relatively nice) display and hear the fantastic audio coming out of the speakers. It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you don’t care about screen-to-body ratios, this is a good fit.Hiding between those two bezels is a really nice OLED display. Price would indicate that we’d see an LCD here as with similarly priced phones like the ASUS ZenFone 6, but Google was able to stick with OELD and it pushes the experience from nice to great. The colors pop, blacks are wonderfully deep and the always-on-display remains a trusted way to glance at your notifications and move on. I don’t think I’d be so high on this device if the OLED panel wasn’t here.Sneaking around the sides of the device, we find SIM card tray on near the top of the left side with all of the buttons on the right side. A volume rocker sits under the power button with nothing else to report besides the Active Edge feature that allows you to open Google Assistant by squeezing your phone. This is a familiar feature that has been around for years now and one that I enjoy.I do find myself triggering Assistant by accident from time to time, but Google allows you to retrain the sensitivity in software to suit your needs.There are other devices that cost less and feature “more premium” materials. There are devices that are more durable. But, there are few that I think will continue to look as good years down the road. Google struck a really nice balance here and while it’s not going to blow away enthusiasts, it’s going to be great for most people. That’s exactly what Google was going for.And it has a headphone jack. What more could you ask for?SoftwareThe Pixel 3a XL came out of the box running stock Android 9.0 Pie with Google’s Pixel Experience enhancements on top and has since been upgraded to Android 10. Updates come faster than any other Android OEM not named Essential, but do lag just a little bit behind the more expensive Pixel 3/XL and 4/XL. These delays are counted in days or weeks, not months.If you enjoy the software experience on any other Pixel, you’ll find no real differences here. It’s fast, fluid, and lacks the bulky features that other OEMs cram into their devices. As an aside, it’s okay to like those features. We get so caught up in “pure” Android that we sometimes gloss over the fact that other phones ship with software features the Pixels don’t have.Anyway, back on topic. In my time using the OnePlus 7 Pro as my daily driver, I forgot about some of the useful features that I really enjoyed on the Pixel 3/XL and 4/XL. One of the most prominent is call screening. I have T-Mobile so spam calls are unrelenting. While Big Magenta has done a good job cutting down on them in recent months, they’re still here and call screening is a wonder.Call screening works with just a press of a button. Instead of just your normal answer and decline buttons, you also get the option to screen the call.A recording will come up stating that you’re using an answering service and will receive a transcript of the call. It then asks the caller to identify who they are and why they’re calling, displaying those answers for you. You are given multiple quick reply buttons at the bottom to ask more questions or end the call. It’s a fantastic feature and one I’ve used over and over again.I’ve heard people call the Pixel line the “Google iPhone” before and that’s fine. I guess we can just say that the flagships here are iPhone-like and move on but the one problem I have with this analogy is that Apple forces you into its software vision whereas Google presents its to you.It’s light, it’s bright, and it does the things you need without you thinking. But if you don’t want any of that, you can change it. Do you want to install a thousand apps that all work together and share files and data between them? Go for it. Dark mode is in almost every Google app now and came system-wide with the Android 10 update.Google has a vision for Android, that much is obvious. But that doesn’t have to be your vision for you to love this phone. You do have to love iOS to love Apple’s phones, too, and that’s a big area where Google will score points with consumers. It’s an area where it should be educating consumers and if it does, I think it crushes Apple’s most popular phone, the iPhone XR.CameraCamera is core to the experience of a Pixel phone. If you want simply the best camera out there, you pick up a Pixel. That much has been known for years. But we’ve never dealt with a “budget Pixel” before. Most budget phones cut corners to save money and one of the easiest ways to cut costs is opting for a serviceable, but not good, camera.Google went another route, relying on its camera to sell units because it knows photography and full well how to get everything possible out of that sensor. The search giant is a master of computational photography and it shows with the Pixel 3a XL.The camera setup is mostly the same as the more-expensive Pixel 3 XL. We have a single rear 12.2 MP shooter with an f/1.8 aperture at 28mm, optical and electronic image stabilization, dual pixel PDAF, and a dual-LED flash.Where things start to differ is around front. Instead of a dual-lens setup, there’s a single 8 MP f/2.0 lens at 24mm that supports HDR shooting. Gone is the wide-angle lens that allowed for group-shot selfies. We’re also missing the Pixel Visual Core, a dedicated chip inside the device that allowed for quicker picture processing.Despite those missing features, the experience here is still great. Pictures look fantastic and full of life. The portrait mode delivers great bokeh and Nightsight still blows me away with how much light it can pull out of a scene.The biggest change from the Pixel 3 XL to the 3a XL is just how fast those pictures get processed. Sometimes I do find myself waiting around a little bit for the slower Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor to finish working on my pictures, but I honestly don’t really care.Battery and PerformanceI wish I could tell you that this sub-$500 phone punched above its weight and went toe-to-toe with phones that dwarf its price tag. Unfortunately, I can’t.What I can say, though, is that the Pixel 3a XL is fine. It completes tasks in a timely fashion and I’ve yet to see instances of dropped frames or hard stuttering.It does take longer to complete tasks than phones with flagship-level processors, but that’s to be expected. This doesn’t have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 like the Samsung Galaxy S10, LG G8, or OnePlus 7 Pro, but it also doesn’t have that kind of price tag either.The device comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 SoC, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. Those are roughly what we’d expect to see at this price in 2019 and are just a step below the big boys who routinely pack in 6GB+ of RAM and 128GB of storage.We did see issues with the Pixel 3 and 3 XL’s “only” 4 GB of RAM when the devices first came out, but Google seems to have figured those out. No longer do music streaming apps die in the background once they’re closed, and that’s a relief. But, I did notice that it couldn’t hold too many apps in memory, which lead to longer loading times down the road.Battery life, on the other hand, is a huge win. It’s hard not to compare this device to the Pixel 3 XL released late last year in this respect because I was pretty disappointed that phone’s battery life.While I did usually get through the day, it was just barely. Power users always had issues doing so. Luckily there was fast charging and wireless charging on board to keep users juiced up during the day.While fast charging does return for the 3a XL, wireless charging does not — and that’s a bummer. It’s one of my favorite features on phones today.I don’t ever do scientific testing on battery life because this is an area that varies widely from person to person. I don’t think numbers really tell the story. So, let me tell you a little bit about how I use my phone and the results I get.First off, what I don’t do. I don’t play a ton of games and usually only do so to test out phone performance here and there. I don’t snap a ton of pictures or record 4K video unless I’m doing so for a review. I also don’t do extremely long video streaming sessions because I have a TV for that.My daily usage consists of several hours of music streaming in the background, at least two hours on Reddit killing time and reading articles, five to ten phone calls that last anywhere from a minute to a half an hour, and syncing 10+ email accounts. I usually kill phones by the end of the day with somewhere around 5 hours of Screen on Time at the most.During my review period I never once had an issue with the Pixel 3a XL dying, or even coming remotely close. In fact, I went past six hours of screen on time several times with 20-30% of my battery left at the end of the day.I’ve held up the OnePlus 6T as my battery champ in the last year and that long battery life is one of the reasons that I’ve used it as my daily driver for so long. The Pixel 3a XL is right there with it and I’d have no problem taking it with me when I know I’m going to use it heavily for an entire day.ConclusionBudget phones have long made sense for most people. If you can pick up 90% of the phone for 50% of the price, that’s a good compromise, right? It seems that while the logic is there, consumers disagreed. Flagships are still the most exciting thing in Android with most headlines dedicated to new chapters from Samsung, LG, and OnePlus.Despite that, Google has taken a page from Motorola’s book and released a truly compelling mid-range device that delivers in nearly ever aspect. Sure, we’re missing features like an IP rating, wireless charging, and oodles of RAM, but we have everything we need and a camera that’s almost unmatched.There’s a been a trend of crowning the Pixel 3a and 3a XL as the king of budget phones, and while I think that’s taking it a bit too far, there is a ton to love here.For your money you get a processor that gets the job done, enough RAM to keep going all day long, battery life that can push into the two-day category for light users, and one of the best cameras on the market. All in all, a very compelling experience at just $399 for the Pixel 3a and $479 for the 3a XL.But, this is not the phone for you if you want to hold onto a device for many years into the future. While companies like Samsung and OnePlus are sticking a ridiculous 12GB of RAM into devices, Google stuck with 4GB.It wouldn’t have made sense for the company to release a budget phone with more RAM than its flagship, but that doesn’t mean I don’t worry about how the phone will hold up for the next few years. We’re getting larger apps and hungrier system processes with each passing day and the Pixel 3a XL could soon be in a tight spot.If you do want a cheaper phone for right now, one that will get software updates well into the future and a camera that’s capable of more than just social media pictures, then this where you want to start your search.At $400, this is one of the best values on the market right now and in the US, it’s the only readily available option which delivers these specs at this price.We fully recommend the Pixel 3a and 3a XL, though if you’re outside of the US, you do have more options. Do your research, but start here.Buy the Pixel 3a XL from Amazon, Best Buy, or Google.

New camera mod adds a manual astrophotography switch on Google Pixel phones

A new camera mod adds a dedicated button for manually enabling astrophotography mode on Google Pixel phones. It also offers an option for capturing light-trail shots.

Camera Comparison: Google Pixel 4XL vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max

Google last week announced its newest flagship smartphones, the Pixel 4 and the Pixel 4XL, both of which are meant

Google Working on Software Update to Bring Eye Detection to Pixel 4’s Face Unlock

Google has said it will release a software update "in the coming months" that will let Pixel 4 owners require

Latest Reviews

The top 7 new creative tools added to Instagram Reels and Stories

Instagram lets you do more than upload photos and videos on the internet. There are also special features on the social media platform that showcase your media content in more creative and exciting ways.One such feature is called Instagram Stories. It lets users post temporary photos and videos to their channels for 24 hours. Afterwards, the content disappears and forces you to create more new content. People are supposed to use Instagram Stories to tell their stories through daily video and photo posts.Since the content only stays up for one day, it is supposed to motivate users to create more content. Their audience will have an incentive to keep visiting these stories if they know there will always be new content. As for Instagram Reels, it is a video editing tool that lets you create short and entertaining videos for your followers. These can be 15-second videos with added effects and filters.New creative tools are being added to Instagram Reels and Stories quite regularly. Below are the top 7 latest creative tools that you should try out.1) Audio Mix & VoiceoverInstagram Reels lets users get very creative with their short video clips. One of the coolest new features for Reels is the Audio Mix feature. If you have any songs, music clips or instrumental tracks that you want to add to your videos, you can do so with this feature.Do you want to add voiceover narration to your videos? The voiceover feature lets you record your voice and add it to any part of your video clip. Some people use voiceovers and narrations to tell fast stories in their short Reels videos. You can even mix the music and voiceovers.2) Multi-CaptureMulti-Capture is a new featured tool available for Instagram Stories. It lets you create several photos and share them all with your followers at the same time. When you log into the Instagram Stories camera feature, you’ll find the Multi-Capture icon located on the left-hand side of your screen. Tap the icon to activate the Multi-Capture tool.You’ll see a capture button displayed on the bottom of the screen. Tap the button to snap a photograph. The tool lets you snap up to eight photos at a time for your Instagram Stories posts. The neat thing is you don’t need to keep tapping the capture button to take multiple pictures.After you’re done with the photos, choose “Next” to proceed to the edit screen. It is here you can edit your photos and choose which ones you want to share. Tap the “Share” button after you’ve finished with the edits. It is that simple!3) AR FiltersSpark AR Studio allows you to add augmented reality effects to your smartphone camera. If you want to make Instagram photos with cool AR effects, you can use the Spark AR Studio tool. It will make your photos look more intriguing and fun to your audience.In case you’re not familiar with augmented reality, it is a combination of virtual effects with real images. You can add several different kinds of virtual effects to your Instagram images and videos, such as visual shaders, virtual boomboxes with audio, animated face masks, light leaks, floating particles, and skeleton animation. The tool allows you to express your creativity to your audience.4) SuperzoomInstagram Stories has another fun tool called Superzoom. It causes the camera to automatically zoom in closer to the subject in front of you while various music effects are applied to the picture. You must tap the word “Superzoom” on the camera screen of Instagram Stories to activate the tool.Some of the music effects that you can choose are “TV Show,” “Bounce,” and “Beats.” When you mix these music effects with the zoom effects on a picture, it creates an entertaining combination. The zoom feature can utilize the rear-facing camera or the front-facing camera of your smartphone. The choice is up to you.5) Color FilterSometimes the photos and videos you create for Instagram Stories might have color inconsistencies or inadequacies. That is why Instagram added a unique color filter tool that let users modify the color tone of their photos and videos. Just swipe the slider left or right to change the color scheme of your media content.The color filter could be useful for setting the mood of a particular Instagram story. For instance, you can make your imagery look like it’s from the 1980s with the Retro Cam story filter. You can also add vintage visual effects with the Caramel Latte filter option. Other color filters include the 90s Camcorder, Moody Tones, Cream, GrainA4, Vintage Vibes, and Boho Filters.6) HootsuiteHere is a tool to help you create more engaging images and videos for Instagram Stories. It also lets you schedule your stories for publication at some point in the future. Each post can have up to 10 videos and photos as a carousel for your stories.Hootsuite lets new users start with a free trial period. After that, you would have to pay at least $29 per month to continue using the software tool. If you care about scheduling unlimited posts on Instagram Stories, then you might find it worth the money to pay.7) OverOver is another content creation tool for Instagram Stories. It lets you use professional backgrounds and templates to create better posts. If you don’t feel like editing your photographs in Photoshop for several hours, you can save time with the Over tool. Besides, why spend so much time editing photos that will disappear after 24 hours?If you’ve always wanted to create your brand, then you will love the Over app. You can personalize the design of your posts with a library of stylish layouts and templates at your disposal. It won’t take you long to arrange the imagery onto a palette and make your post look unique for your particular story.ConclusionSpend some time to learn how to use these tools. Once you start creating better content, you will feel confident enough to buy Instagram likes for it from Stormlikes. The advantage of purchasing Instagram likes is to attract attention to your stories and short video clips. It could translate into more followers and viewers to your Instagram channel.You can buy Instagram followers too from Stormlikes. However, it is wise to focus on creating high-quality content on Instagram Stories and Reels. That way, you will know that your new followers are genuinely interested in your content. As you experiment with different tools, you will know which one is the best for your content creation needs.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR review: Style over substance

Skagen's first Hybrid HR smartwatch is classy and innovative, but it still suffers from some lingering software issues.

Inspired by The Queen’s Gambit? Check out these chess training courses

Have you checked out the hot trending Netflix miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit” yet? If the first part of 2020 was all about Tiger King, the end of the year was all about the drama based on the 1983 novel.If you found yourself having been inspired or interested in chess, but don’t know anything about the classic game, you’re in luck. The AG Deals Store has a number of online training courses designed to help you get a better understanding of the game.Whether you’re brand new to the game or if you’re looking to take your skills from good to great, we’ve got you covered. Behold, a roundup of four training courses for players of all skill levels.The Complete Chess Bundle for Beginners to Advanced Players – $99.99Basic Chess Theory to Advanced Defenses! International & Grandmasters Provide You with 121+ Hours of Content to Help You Go from 0 Elo to a Competitive Club Player14 Courses262 Lessons120+ HoursMastering Chess for Advanced Players Course Bundle – $49.99International & Grand Chess Masters Provide You with 44 Hours of Content on Advanced Endgames, Schematic Thinking, and Crystal Clear Positional Vision4 Courses91 Lessons44+ HoursHow to Play Chess for Beginners Course Bundle – $49.99Enter the World of Chess & Learn from 32 Hours of Content from International Chess Masters — Master the Board, Pieces, Rules, Basic Tactics, and More6 Courses84 Lessons32+ HoursAdvanced Chess Strategies & Tactics for Intermediate Players Course Bundle – $49.99Get 37 Hours of Content on Decision Making, Pawn Structures & More Straight From Chess Masters Davorin Kuljasevic, Solano Cuya and Yuriy Krykun4 Courses70 Lessons37+ Hours

Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) review

I haven’t purchased a 10” tablet since my 1st generation Apple iPad. I’ll add that I haven’t spent more than $100 on a tablet since buying the aforementioned tablet. Prior to receiving the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) with Google Assistant for review, I used, albeit sparingly, an Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet (7th Gen, 2017).As laptops slimmed down and phones got bigger, the tablet market seemed to be the solution to nobody’s problem. While tablets can be great for content consumption, they just aren’t cut out for content creation in my opinion.Retailing at only $130, does the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD offer enough to change my mind  about the tablet market in general?DesignThe Smart Tab M10 HD is really an attractive piece of hardware. I would even say it’s on par with an Apple iPad in terms of design and build quality on the surface. The tablet is constructed of aluminum alloy with a glass slab covering most of the 1280×800 10.1” screen.Overall, the dimensions are 9.5” x 5.88” x 0.32” and weighs .92 lbs. The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD is powered by a MediaTek 8-core processor running at 2.3 Ghz with 2GB of RAM. Onboard, there is 32GB of eMMC storage with the ability to add an additional 1TB using the microSD slot. The tablet is powered by a 5,000mAh LiPo battery rated at 8 hours of video playback or 10 hours of browsing. The tablet runs Android 10.Included with the Smart Tab M10 HD is a small charging stand that holds the tablet upright. In this position the tablet resembles a large digital assistant or digital photo frame. The charging stand connects to the included 5v 2A adapter via an included microUSB charging cable. The tablet can also be charged directly using the included USB-C cable.The Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD’s full specifications can be found here.PerformanceAssuming your primary use cases are web browsing, content consumption (e.g. YouTube, Netflix), general applications (e.g. Amazon, online banking, social media), or casual gaming; you’re going to be happy with the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. I was actually quite impressed with page rendering speeds out-of-the box.The tablet boasts Dolby Atmos enabled side-firing speakers and while they weren’t awful, they were a little tinny and I would much rather listen to music through a portable bluetooth speaker. They were adequate for video or movie purposes, although you won’t be getting anywhere near home theater-like audio experience despite support for Dolby Atmos.My intended primary use for the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD was as a digital assistant similar to the Google Nest Hub or Echo Show line of smart displays. Having the charging dock stand, I assumed incorrectly that the tablet would enter a “Show Mode” as Amazon calls it on their Fire Tablets. Google did in fact add this feature called “Ambient Mode” recently and the Lenovo M10 HD tablet is supposedly one of the supported devices.Unfortunately, despite finding “How-To’s” on setting up this mode, I was unable to successfully add the M10 Tablet as a Google device. Ambient mode will occasionally show slideshow photos of a selected photo album, but mostly; the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD sits next to my Amazon Echo Show 5 with a black screen. Unfortunate, since my house is automated and secured using mostly Google products including Google WiFi and Nest Cams.Double-tapping the screen will bring up Ambient Mode allowing you to use voice commands as you would other Google Home Hub devices. Pressing the power button; however, will bring the user to the full tablet application launcher. I am disappointed that despite the name, “Smart Tab M10 HD (2nd Gen) with Google Assistant,” that it requires you tapping or powering on the device in order to launch voice commands. This isn’t necessarily a knock on the Lenovo Smart Tab itself, since Google Android is driving the functionality. That said, Amazon Fire Tablets also run a version of Google Android and they have enabled a simplified way to activate Show Mode allowing their tablet to become a smart display assistant.ConclusionsIf you are a casual user of tablets, I think that you could be completely happy with the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. Its 10.1” high definition screen is great for web browsing, watching movies and shows, or light gaming. Because it runs Android 10, you have full access to countless apps on Google Play store.Like many other tablets not called iPad, you won’t find many custom accessories such as fitted cases and keyboards. There are some available for the Smart Tab M10, but there are going to be limited options unless you go with “generic” accessories. One review for the tablet I came across complained of not being able to find a case that works with the included stand.  Additionally, the Smart Tab M10 does not have native support for pen or stylus input such as the iPad Pro, Windows Surface or even some of the Samsung Galaxy Tab devices.Again, with a retail price of only $130, you can’t complain too much when an entry level Apple device starts at almost 3x more. Personally, I just don’t have a good use case scenario for a tablet device. My hopes of using it as a smart display ultimately let me down and for a similar price; I think I would be better going with a Google Home Hub or Amazon Echo display device with their “always on” displays.