Yesterday, I got the tablet we ordered as my Christmas present. Tracy chose an awesome Kindle Oasis 2021 model, and I decided to get a Lenovo Tab M10 FHD Plus (2nd gen). Ironically, we were both looking for the same thing but for exactly different purposes: she wanted a tablet allowing her to read full books with a more calm light (and the Kindle Oasis has been great for that—she’s been glued to it for days!), whereas I wanted a tablet that I could use to read pdfs, news sites, and so on.
I spent some time reading reviews online to find out what rough pricerange and model types would work out, as tablets nowadays come anywhere from low-end budget versions costing around €50 to high-end monstrosities of over €1000. Tracy and I talked it out, and €200 seemed like a good ceiling for this kind of purchase—anything too budget would just lead to regret and wasted money, but anything more than €200 seemed excessive for what I needed. One of the issues I’d run into researching tablet choices is that much of the discussion online is centered around the American market, where the prices are radically different than in the Dutch or EU market. So, the advice there didn’t fully fit. For example, a frequently advised budget tablet in America is the Amazon Fire HD 10, which just isn’t available in the Netherlands. Another frequent suggestion is the Lenovo Tab P11, which starts at $189 in America (that’s around €168) but in the Netherlands costs around €260. I’m not sure what the exact cause of the price difference is but if I were to take a guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if partly it’s import taxes, but largely it’ll be the result of the global supply chain issues and the global microchip shortage.
So, I was left to having to interpret the discussions on tablet choice from a Dutch perspective. That’s how I ended up settling on the Lenovo M10 Plus (the FHD in the name seems to be optional). From my reading, there seemed to be two crucial considerations as far as pdf-reading on tablets is concerned: firstly, that the tablet has an HD screen, to ensure that the fonts are suitably legible; secondly, an appropriate screen ratio. For an EU audience, The A4 paper ratio is 1:1.414, though for US-based publications, letter size will be more common (1:1.294) followed by digest size (around 1:1.5, but it varies). Since publications come in such varied ratios, it’s always going to be an odd fit. It’s telling, though, that both the Pixelbook and the Surface Book come with a 1:1.5 screen ratio. I found an article that recommended 4:3 or 16:10 as decent alternatives to 1:1.5. As luck would have it, the Lenovo M10 happens to be one of the few lower-price tablets that has a 16:10 screen ratio (as 16:9, i.e. 1:1.778, is the most common ratio for budget screens). Restating 16:10 as 1:1.6 shows how close it is to that sweet spot 1:1.5. That ratio will reasonably fit A4 as well as digest-size US publications.
I’ve spent yesterday testing out the tablet with various RPG books, such as R. Talsorian Games’ The Witcher RPG and BWHQ’s Torchbearer, both of which were wonderfully legible on the Lenovo M10. I picked those two, because they seemed to represent two extremes: The Witcher RPG‘s full layout tends to have two to three columns per page with a quite busy layout (it does come with what they call a “phone” layout, incidentally, which is far simpler); Torchbearer, on the other hand, is a digest-sized publication with little extra fanfare. These two pdfs allowed me to test two extremes of pdf publications. I am quite happy that I found both easy to read on the Lenovo M10. For each, the font was indeed crisp and easy to distinguish. The screen ratio also seemed to fit the pages quite well, and I never felt like the page was crammed into the screen or that I had to zoom or pinch around to get a good overview. Interstingly enough, I found the Kindle app to give the best reading experience so far, though I’m still at the start of exploring the app spaces available for pdf reading.
All in all, I’m quite happy with this tablet, and I look forward to many evenings reading RPG books with a happy cat purring on my lap.