Blackview Tab 11, a good budget tablet

Blackview Tab 11 tablet with optional wireless keyboard.

Blackview Tab 11 tablet with optional wireless keyboard.

Last year a family member told me that her compact mobile phone’s screen is too small to show family photos properly to her friends. She said her friends use tablets to show their family’s photos, and she asked me if it would be possible to access her existing WhatsApp account via a tablet. I explained that, without guaranteed access to Wi-Fi in public areas, it would not be feasible to use WhatsApp Web on a tablet, so a tablet would need to have a SIM card. As the tablet’s SIM card would have a different phone number she would need a different WhatsApp account on the tablet but that account could be a member of the existing WhatsApp chat groups of which she is a member on her mobile phone. Additionally, she could forward to her tablet’s WhatsApp account any photos she receives in her mobile phone WhatsApp’s account.

Coincidentally, a few weeks later we changed our home Broadband provider (the previous provider’s service was terrible), and the new package included a mobile phone SIM card with 5 GB data monthly at a very cheap price. We already have good SIM-only packages for our mobile phones, so the new SIM card was available to be used in a tablet. Therefore I decided to buy a budget tablet, and plumped for a Blackview Tab 10, which had a good specification for a budget tablet. It came in September 2021 with Blackview firmware version Tab10_EEA_TP717_V1.0.0_20210429V07 containing some bugs: the System Manager app did not work after I inserted a 128 GB microSD card and the tablet’s microphone did not work in WhatsApp, Signal and Skype. I was able to fix the bugs by upgrading the tablet’s firmware to version Tab10_EEA_TP717_V1.0_20210824V09 with the help of Blackview’s customer support department. I assume a Tab 10 purchased since September 2021 would already have the newer firmware. Anyway, after upgrading the firmware everything works well. The tablet’s camera performance is not stellar, but who buys a tablet for its cameras? I would summarise the Blackview Tab 10’s features as follows:

  • It has 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage.
  • It was supplied with a charger, USB C earphones (including microphone), OTG (on-the-go) adapter (USB C plug on one end, USB A socket on the other end), and a protective case which can be folded to make a kickstand.
  • It does not have a 3.5 mm jack socket for earphones, so you have to use earphones that have a USB C plug.
  • In the UK it works well to make and receive phone calls (4G), send and receive SMS messages (4G), and send and receive mobile data (4G). The SIM card for a mobile network that also supports 5G works with 4G too. I had to enter the APN (Access Point Name) parameters of my mobile service provider, which I found by googling.
  • According to Blackview the Tab 10’s mobile phone functionality does not work in the USA. only Europe and Asia.
  • It comes with Blackview’s Doke OS_P 1.0 using Android 11.
  • It has a bright, crisp screen, albeit without automatic brightness adjustment.
  • It can be connected to a magnetic keyboard designed for the Tab 10 (see Blackview’s online shop).
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work well.
  • It is fine for browsing the Web, viewing photos, watching YouTube videos and other videos, reading documents, chatting via WhatsApp, Signal and Skype.
  • The tap detection is a little slow, but fine for normal use.

There is a very comprehensive review of the Tab 10 on the NOTEBOOKCHECK Web site.

By the way, since I bought the Tab 10 Blackview has released a Tab 10 Pro with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, with handwriting support. The additional memory, storage and handwriting support make the Tab 10 Pro a better choice than the Tab 10 for an extra GBP 30 or so.

Anyway, the Tab 10 filled the brief I had been given.

This post would have ended here except that, last week, I noticed that the Tab 10’s screen had partially popped out of its plastic housing. I suspect one of my family had either dropped the tablet or sat on it on the sofa. When I tried to push the screen back into its housing a crack formed in a corner of the screen. The crack appears to be in the LCD screen under the touch screen. I asked a local repair shop how much they would charge to repair it and they quoted me nearly half what I paid for the tablet, so I decided to buy the latest Blackview tablet model instead, the Tab 11. The Tab 11 has a higher specification than the Tab 10 and I paid less for it than I paid for the Tab 10 (although the Tab 10 is now being discounted by Blackview and some online stores and can be purchased for less than the Tab 11).

Apart from the higher specification CPU and GPU than the Tab 10, the Tab 11 has double the RAM and double the storage. The Tab 11 housing is aluminium alloy rather than the plastic housing of the Tab 10, and it weighs less than the Tab 10. The NOTEBOOKCHECK Web site does not yet have a comprehensive review of the Tab 11, but the TECHXREVIEWS Web site has a fairly comprehensive review. The Tab 11 is noticeably snappier and responsive than the Tab 10 and I like it a lot so far. Unlike the Tab 10, the Tab 11 has a 3.5 mm socket for earphones with a 3.5 mm jack plug, which I prefer.

The Tab 11’s mobile phone functionality does not work in the USA, only Europe and Asia according to Blackview. I can confirm a UK SIM card works perfectly in the Tab 11 in the UK. The SIM card I am using supports the mobile provider’s 5G network but the Tab 11 supports up to 4G LTE, which works fine with the SIM card.

There is significant commonality between the Tab 11 and Tab 10 as they both use Android 11. The Tab 10 has Blackview’s Doke OS_P 1.0 on top of Android 11, whereas the Tab 11 has Doke OS_P 2.0 which has several additional features (split screen functionality, for example).

I have seen a YouTube video review that claims the Tab 11 does not support Widevine L1, despite Blackview’s specification for the Tab 11. I have not tested that feature as it is not something I am particularly interested in. However, I read Blackview’s blog post ‘How to enable or check out Widevine L1 Certification on Blackview Tab 11?‘ and I installed the third-party Android app ‘DRM Info‘ which indicated the Tab 11 supports Widevine L1, although that is as far as I have checked. I installed the BBC iPlayer app on the Tab 11, and programmes play perfectly; video looks great to my eyes, and audio is also excellent. YouTube videos also play well and sound great. I’m not interested in playing games, so cannot comment on that aspect, although the reviews of the Tab 11 I have watched on YouTube claim games performance is good.

I would summarise the Blackview Tab 11’s features as follows:

  • It has 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage.
  • The housing is made of aluminium alloy and is strong and rigid.
  • The tablet weighs less than the Tab 10.
  • It was supplied with a charger, OTG (on-the-go) adapter (USB C plug on one end, USB A socket on the other end), and a protective case which can be folded to make a kickstand.
  • It has a 3.5 mm jack socket for earphones.
  • In the UK it works well to make and receive phone calls (4G), send and receive SMS messages (4G), and send and receive mobile data (4G). The SIM card for a mobile network that also supports 5G works with 4G too.
  • According to Blackview the Tab 11’s mobile phone functionality does not work in the USA. only Europe and Asia.
  • It comes with Blackview’s Doke OS_P 2.0 using Android 11.
  • It has a bright, crisp screen with automatic brightness adjustment (‘adaptive brightness’).
  • It can be connected to a wireless keyboard designed to work with the Tab 11 (see Blackview’s online shop).
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work well.
  • It is good for browsing the Web, viewing photos, watching YouTube videos and other videos, reading documents, chatting via WhatsApp, Signal and Skype.
  • The tap detection is good, and response is snappy.
  • Audio is good.

In summary, if you’re in the market for a budget tablet, in my opinion the Blackview Tab 11 would be a good choice; I am very pleased with it. At the time of writing, Blackview’s online shop lists the Tab 11 at GBP 168.44 and the Tab 10 at GBP 145.47. Unless your budget is tight, I would forget the Tab 10; the Tab 11 is the way to go. If you want a tablet that supports a UK SIM card as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the Blackview Tab 10 and Tab 11 are good budget choices in the UK, although the Tab 11 is a much better choice if you can afford the extra GBP 25 or so. However, US residents should note that the tablets do not support mobile networks in the USA (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth work fine in any case). Blackview’s Web site states “This tablet’s 4G [mobile] network connection can only work in Europe and Asia area, please pay attention before purchasing or consult us.”

About Fitzcarraldo
A Linux user with an interest in all things technical.

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