TCL TAB 10s 2022 review: Is this the best tablet for kids?

Quick verdict: If you’re seeking a bang-for-buck budget tablet for family and kid use, the TCL TAB 10s hits the market. What it lacks in power and design, it makes up for in price and included extras.

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a stylus and carry case
  • Performs well for standard applications
  • Solid screen experience
  • Poor speakers and placement
  • Android 12 not due until Nov 2022
  • Reflective screen
  • Hits power ceiling occasionally

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

I'm a parent with 3 kids aged 10, 8 and 6. This means, like many Australians, I just went through a year of home-schooling hell. We survived – just. But while I'm unsure if we'll ever like each other again, I can confirm our family's digital roadmap was expedited through the COVID-19 era. I fear we'll never return in full to the exuberant pre-screen days of the 2010s.

Sound familiar? How about trying to find multiple charged tablets every day to enable class Zooms, Reading Eggs and Mathletics? Or trying to find something fun for everyone to do while you're stuck in isolation or yet another natural disaster is pushing at your home's windows?

The point I'm trying to get to here is that the desire – or should that be the need? – to have one or more family-friendly tablets in your home has never been greater. Into the breach comes the TCL TAB 10s. This aims to be both affordable and functional for Australian families. Does it achieve its goal?

Let's dive into my TCL TAB 10s review and find out if this is indeed the best tablet for kids in 2022.


TCL Tab 10s features

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The good news is that the TCL TAB 10s has been updated ahead of its arrival in Australia in 2022 from the model that previously landed in overseas territories. This can be best seen in the support for Android 11 (with Android 12 coming in November 2022) and in the boost to 64GB of storage.

However, only the Wi-Fi model is landing here as of the time of writing. If you want a tablet with cellular support, a TCL TAB 10s 5G model has been announced and should arrive locally later in 2022.

Now 64GB is not a lot of internal storage space in this day and age. If you intend to fill the tablet with movies and games, you could max it out quite quickly. Thankfully, there is a microSD port that will take up to a 256GB card. It's a shame it's capped at 256GB, but that will likely be enough for most families to load up the tablet prior to holidays and road trips.

Elsewhere, you'll find an 8-core MediaTek MT8768 CPU (4 cores at 2GHz and 4 at 1.5GHz), 4GB of RAM, a PowerVR GE8320 GPU, 2 mics, 2 speakers, an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera, both of which record at 1080p. The TCL TAB 10s has your standard connectivity options – Bluetooth, USB-C, W-Fi – and it all comes in at 490g.

These specs aren't spectacular, which shouldn't be a surprise given the price. If you spend over $1,000 on a similarly sized Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, for example, you'll start getting 3GHz and 2.5GHz cores, 8GB of RAM, dual 12MP cameras, 128GB of storage and so forth. So, just go in with eyes wide open.


The screen

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The 10.1" screen is solid considering the specs driving it. It utilises TCL's NXTVISION tech and offers the better (in my opinion) 16:10 aspect ratio at WUXGA full HD. That's 1920 x 1200px at 224ppi, with a 60Hz refresh rate. It's an IPS LED 10-point capacitive touch screen, too

It's a display that punches above its weight for this price point, offering a solid – but not spectacular – picture experience in both apps and entertainment.

However, it is quite a glossy screen and is not only highly reflective in a naturally lit environment but wears fingerprints as a badge. As a result, you may want to avoid watching dark movies if you're outdoors during the day.


Design

TCL isn't trying to reinvent the wheel with its design and nor should we be expecting it to. The front-facing panel features no buttons, with only the screen and a 1cm thick black bezel – the top one housing a single camera – to be seen. There's the slightest little lip where the screen meets the chassis, but it's not enough to offer any serious drop protection to your screen.

The plastic casing is robust, with a slightly textured feel to the touch. However, there are no specific grip spots at the back for hands. While such a thing is uncommon, given this device is targeted at families, I would have loved something on the back to give the device more purchase in small hands. A grip, or even a mould that fingers could wrap into, would have been nice.

On the back panel, the camera sticks out awkwardly. This not only means that placing it down puts all the weight onto the camera, but the tablet has a rocking motion. Thankfully, this design peculiarity is saved by the case that effectively fills in the gap so that it sits flat on a surface. It does mean, however, that you'll want to keep it in the case permanently.

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The TCL Tab 10s only has 1 port, a USB-C. I feel like it should have a headphone jack as well. While most adults nowadays will likely have Bluetooth earbuds that can pair up easily with the device, kids aren't so lucky. They're likely to be using older (or cheaper) wired headsets. I for one don't want to hear what my kids are doing, but I'm not about to give them my premium earbuds.

There are in-built speakers, but they don't produce great sound. And they are placed on the edges in such a way that when you are holding the screen in landscape mode – as you would if watching a movie or YouTube or playing some games – the palm of your hands muffles the speakers.

While design simplicity is understandable at this price point, I feel like most of these issues could have been avoided.


Performance

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The TCL TAB 10s isn't a multitasking behemoth that will snap to attention at every command. If you want that kind of Android device, you're going to need to start looking at spending a figure closer to the $1,000 mark. Occasionally, touch responsiveness (taps and swipes) can feel sluggish, and using multiple high-end apps can see it start slowing down or even wet the bed altogether.

Use it as intended, however, and it functions admirably. Surfing the web, watching media, playing most games, drawing, emails, teleconferencing and the like work fine. This kind of activity sees reasonable responsiveness and performance. Outside of a little drag on load times – especially turning on the device – and occasional slow-down, my time with the table doing the above tasks was trouble-free.

Even playing fast-paced first-person shooters didn't show serious issues outside of the occasional framerate drop in heated battles. Although, as mentioned earlier, the sound that comes from the speakers is rubbish. The volume isn't the issue as much as the tinny, whitewash of ranges.

The camera leaves a little bit to be desired. The colours felt over-exposed and it seemed to struggle adjusting to different light situations. Like the tablet in general, it does the job for its use case and not much beyond that. The kids will have fun filling up the HD with 100 shots of the same thing, but more importantly, teleconferencing will work for online learning.

After the initial set-up, the typical Android experience unfolded without a hiccup. My Google account came across no problems and I was up and rolling in next to no time. Connecting with Wi-Fi and pairing with Bluetooth devices was a cinch. I've heard this tablet described as "no-nonsense" before, and that's a fitting descriptor.


Accessories

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

What can't be ignored is the inclusion of a stylus and a case, the latter doubling as a stand in the landscape position. This is a point of difference in the budget tablet range and considering the TCL TAB 10s is aimed at families, it's very much welcomed.

The stylus is handy for drawing apps and other family-friendly activities. It's not a smart pen by any means, so don't expect multiple functions or built-in buttons. But as a more precise extension of your finger, it works well. It also doesn't require batteries.

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The case does a good job of not just protecting the tablet, but standing it upright. The surface is a little bit slippery, but it folds around neatly and has a dedicated spot to hold the stylus tightly. My only beef with the case is that it doesn't have a magnetic strip to clasp it closed. After you've had the cover bent around as a stand, it can be a little resistant in unfolding back to close fully. This would have been solved by a small magnet.

That said, considering that many families will use the TCL TAB 10s for entertainment and for teleconferencing with friends, relatives and teachers, it's great to have a case with a stand in the box.
And generally, while we're not a fan of bloatware in any form being pre-installed on a device, at least it adds utility here. The TCL Kids app provides an immediate and easy-to-access go-to for parents out of the box. Hard to complain about that, although it's in desperate need of adding more experiences.


Battery Life

product review

Image: Chris Stead/Finder

The TCL TAB 10s comes with an 8,000 mAh battery that can deliver up to 8 hours of battery life, and it does a pretty good job of hitting that target. It also holds its charge well when off. That time can drop depending on how much load you ask the relatively low specs to handle, but overall, it’ll easily last the kids a day of use.

In a rare win for Australians, we get the 18W fast charging power adapter, too.


Is the TCL TAB 10s a good budget tablet for kids?

  • Buy it if you're looking for a no-nonsense budget family tablet that'll entertain and act as a learning portal.
  • Don't buy it if you want endlessly smooth performance and responsiveness regardless of application.

While it's cheap, the TCL TAB 10s doesn't shirk on build quality and utility. Sure, you can invest more money and get better specs, more storage, larger screens and all that jazz, but is that critical when you're buying a device for family use? Where you're just as likely to find the dog sleeping on it or ice cream dripping down the front as actually being used?

I'd argue that any family seeking a cheap tablet that's not only great for the kids, but is handy for the parents as well, will easily meet the asking price in value with the TCL Tab 10s. And it's great Australians are getting the updated 2022 model.

My main concern is that TCL is looking to flood the market with more tablets through 2022. We already know of a TCL Tab 10s 5G model and a TCL NxtPaper MAX 10 that are on the horizon, for example. How will the arrival of these change the perceived value of the current TAB 10s? Only time will tell.


Pricing and availability

The TCL TAB 10s does represent the Chinese company's first foray into the Australian market with a tablet. Despite this, it's readily available at all the usual suspects.

It launched at $399 locally, making it one of the cheapest tablets in the market, sitting alongside the likes of the Lenovo Smart Tab M10. The best price I have seen is $349 on eBay. Although it's worth noting that the base 2021 iPads are going for $499 and if you're okay with iOS, you'll notice the upgrade in performance for the extra price.

Just note that overseas markets have a 32GB version of the TCL TAB 10s tablet, so you may come across that while searching online. In Australia, only the 64GB model is available.


Specifications

TCL TAB 10s 2022

General

Display Size
10 inches
Resolution
1200 x 1920px
Screen Type
WUXGA
Processor Cores
Octa-Core CPU
Graphics Processor
Chipset MT8768
RAM
3GB
Operating System
Android 11

Connectivity

Bluetooth
5
Wi-Fi
802.11a/b/g/n/ac
GPS
Yes
USB-C Ports
1
USB 2.0 Ports
1

Storage

Card Reader
Micro SD card up to 256GB

Miscellaneous

Battery Life
Up to 400 hours (standby)
Rear Camera
8MP
Front Camera
5MP
HD Recording
Yes
Colours
Matte Gray
Product Line
TCL TAB 10s series

How did we test?

I used the TCL TAB 10s for typical day-to-day tasks like browsing, emails and YouTube. This included using the TCL Kids app and some drawing software with the stylus. I tested a range of games, from complex visual experiences to low-end arcade titles. I gave the kids a run with it as well to see how they engaged with it.


Ask an expert

To ask a question simply log in via your email or create an account.

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site