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Why my Lenovo tablet is staying in its drawer

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Graphic showing a circle of Android icons, with one of them running away.

I brought my Lenovo Tab M8 back to life. I got it in mid-2021, used it as my go-to tablet for a year or so, then stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it. With Instagram returning to life, it would be a useful platform for scheduling posts with the app.

Charged it. Started it. Factory reset.

Then all hell broke out.

First, I have to subscribe to the Lenovo Use Experience program. This, the privacy policy implies, gives Lenovo full access to all data on the device and whatever it can suck out of my Google account. I attempted to opt out during setup, but this didn't work. I disabled it, and now it nags me to join.

Then came the ad-fueled experience on Google Chrome. I use Safari and Brave in my Apple environment. This appears to stop a lot of dark pattern advertising being inserted through the various cross-platform ad engines out there. It was so bad that I did wonder if I'd gotten a virus onto the tablet (I hadn't). Nevertheless, it is painfully slow.

I thought I'd root it to get rid of the godawful Lenovo skin that sucks the life out of the device. What fun that was. A world of bootloaders, apps with a single character difference from seemingly legit apps, and no clarity on what is and isn't official. None of this is Mac-friendly, of course. Nor is it officially supported, so there is no reliable way of knowing whether the how-tos are legit or opening me up to a world of hurt.

I'm reasonably tech-savvy, but the confusing mess that follows "just root it" as the go-to reply to "my Android device is slow" was beyond me. So much so that after 3 days I factory reset the device and put it back in its drawer.

It's a shame because when I bought it there was none of this. It was a comfortable, quick, useful tablet that I used a lot. Somewhere things went horribly wrong, and Lenovo pushed a bad update on its users. It nudged me to move back to Apple, and this experiment will keep me away for a while.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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