Review: Blackview Tab 18 - This 12-inch Android tablet is a Great Deal

Review unit provided by Blackview

The Blackview Tab 18 is a mid-range 12-inch Android tablet that's so much better than what the budget pricing would let you believe. The tablet comes with the MediaTek Helio G99 processor, 256GB storage and either 8GB or 12GB RAM. Price is USD 229 to 249 currently on AliExpress (Seller A | B) depending on amount of RAM.

Bottom line
The Blackview Tab 18 is a good looking tablet with a bright, vibrant, sharp display. Overall performance is smooth. The 4-way speakers sound great. There's dual card slot with support for 4G SIM and microSD card. The tablet runs on DokeOS_P 4.0 (based on Android 13) and has many useful features. Battery life is 8-10 hours.

The tablet is said to have pen support by my review unit did not come with one, and I wasn't able to find a pen that works with the tablet. So it seems like the tablet may be using some proprietary pen tech or connection.

What makes this tablet stands out among other budget Android tablets out that is the speakers are really good. And it's rare for a budget Android tablet to have good sound.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Beautiful design
+ Good build quality
+ Bright, vibrant, sharp 12-inch LCD display
+ Laminated display
+ Display has auto-brightness
+ Said to have active pen support
+ Case included
+ 256GB storage with 8 or 12GB RAM option
+ Doke OS v4 looks good, has useful features
+ 8 to 10 hours battery life
+ Face and fingerprint unlock
+ 4-way speakers sound good
+ microSD card slot
+ 4G SIM support
+ Great value for money
- 60Hz refresh rate
- No 3.5mm audio jack

This tablet has surprisingly few compromises and limitations given the budget price point. You even can think of this as a competitor to the $599 iPad Air but at less than half the price. Can you imagine how much markup Apple has on the iPad Air, or all their tablets?

This is a tablet I can recommend easily without hesitation.

Things included


These are the items included with the review unit I received:

  • Tablet
  • Case
  • Glass screen protector
  • Wired headset
  • SIM ejection tool
  • User guide
  • 33W charger
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable

Other accessories available for purchase (USD) on AliExpress are

  • Stylus pen +$5
  • Wireless earphones +$5
  • Wireless keyboard +$15
  • Magnetic keyboard +$30
  • Wireless mouse +$10

The $5 pen is probably not the active stylus but those rubber or disc-tip stylus.


The included flip case is made with PU leather has a nice texture. You can fold a little triangle to prop up the tablet. The cover has auto wake and sleep feature.


Downside of the case is the tablet sides are exposed so don't drop the tablet. The upside is the tablet can be removed easily and quickly from the case.

Specs

  • Color: Turquoise Green; Glacier Blue; Space Grey
  • Dimension: 277.6 x 173.2 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 632g
  • Display: 12-inch, IPS LCD
  • Resolution: 2000 x 1200
  • Screen-to-body ratio: 86.6%
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio G99; octa-core
  • RAM & ROM: 8GB/12GB+256GB; LPDDR4X+UFS2.1
  • RAM expansion: Up to 12GB Expansion
  • TF card capacity: Up to 1TB
  • OS: DokeOS_P 4.0 Based on Android 13
  • Card slot: Dual hybrid card slots; 1*SIM +1 TF/2*SIM
  • Cameras: 8MP Samsung Front+16MP SK Hynix Rear
  • Battery: 8800mAh Battery; 33W Fast Charge
  • Speaker: Four-way Harman Kardon

Design


This tablet looks beautiful. It almost looks like the iPads with the flat sides except for the aspect ratio. Bezels are quite thin and corners are rounded off, including the LCD.


There are three colour options: Turquoise Green; Glacier Blue; Space Grey.

Build quality is good. The back is made of matte textured plastic with slight curve near the edges. Sides of the tablet are also made of plastic but they look like metal, but I could be wrong. Anyway, the tablet is well made and solid, has no flex at all.


That's the iPad Pro 11 beside the Blackview Tab 18. That iPad Pro is wide and shorter. Visual quality of the displays is quite similar, but the iPad Pro can reach higher brightness.


The tablet on the left is the 11-inch Alldocube iPlay 60 priced at USD 159. While that tablet is much cheaper, there are several compromises mentioned in my full review, more specifically sluggish performance and lousy speaker quality.


There are two speakers at the bottom with another two at the top. These Harman Kardon speakers sound great. Audio is loud, clear and has good surround. The fantastic sound quality separates this tablet from other budget tablets with lousy speakers. You can expect good experience with watching shows or listening to music. It is rare for budget tablets to have good speakers so this is definitely a huge selling point for this tablet.

The USB-C port supports fast charging with the included 33W charger. The transfer speed is just USB 2.0 and the USB-C port cannot output video.


The tablet is quite thin at 7.9mm. Weight of 632g is considered lightweight for a 12-inch tablet.


The power button is flushed to the side of the tablet so that you won't press the volume buttons by mistake. The fingerprint scanner built into to power button works effectively and fast.


The SIM tray can hold either two nano SIMs, or one nano SIM with one microSD card. Read and write speed for microSD are measured to be around 79MB/s and 61MB/s.

Display


Resolution of the IPS LCD is 2000 x 1200 and on a 12-inch display the visuals look sharp from one arm's length away. Colours are vibrant and display is bright. Viewing angles are good.

A plastic screen protector is already applied on the display so make sure you don't peel that off while removing the protective film.

The display is laminated so there's no gap between the glass and LCD beneath.

Refresh rate is the usual 60Hz. Having 90 or even 120Hz display would be nice but it's difficult to complain given the price point of this tablet.

OS


The tablet runs on DokeOS_P 4.0 which is based on Android 13, and there's Google Play Store. The UI looks good and there are enough features so I don't feel the need to install my own launcher.


The app switcher shows tiles and is able to show more apps compared to side-flipping cards which is the default view of stock Android.

Other features include:

  • Press volume button twice to open the camera
  • PC (desktop) mode, but there's no external display support
  • Split screen mode
  • Mini-taskbar
  • Face and fingerprint unlock
  • 70-90% battery charging protection
  • Auto-brightness
  • Lift to wake
  • Display colour customisation
  • Volume can be adjusted from control centre
  • Control centre and notification page are separate

The mini-taskbar is a small shortcut bar that appears at the bottom of opened apps. The mini-taskbar shows the dock shortcuts and recent apps, and you can hide this easily with a long press, just like the mini-taskbar on Samsung phones and tablets. Unfortunately, the recent apps shown are random (to me) and don't really update to show you the actual recent apps.

Performance

The MediaTek Helio G99 processor and 12GB RAM provide lag-free performance even with multiple apps opened. Smooth and fluid operation is basic requirement for a pleasant user experience and this tablet is able to provide that.


Gaming is possible but don't expect to play games with the best visual settings. The time it took to launch Genshin Impact is fast enough, not as annoyingly slow as other budget tablets.

iPad vs Blackview Tab 18

This tablet doesn't even compete with the base model iPad 10 (2022) because it has significantly better specs. This tablet competes with the iPad Air (2022) which is priced at USD 599 and you only get 64GB storage with no microSD card slot.

The only reason to choose iPads over the Blackview tablet is if you need to use iPad exclusive apps. The Blackview tablet provides significantly more value for money because of its low price point. The processor may not be as powerful as the iPad but overall performance is still real smooth. If the Blackview tablet really does lag in the future, and I've no reason to believe why it would lag, you can use the money saved now to buy an even better tablet in the future.

I'm not too worried about lack of OS updates because not having those updates does not mean your apps will stop running, or you can no longer install apps from the Google Play Store.

Conclusion

The Blackview Tab 18 looks good, has a wonderful display, smooth performance and good sound. Even the OS looks good and has useful features.

This tablet is surprisingly better than expected and I actually don't have many bad things to say. Maybe it could have a 3.5mm audio jack. Maybe it could have higher refresh rate. Those are nice features to have but it's not a big deal if not included.

For a tablet that's under USD 250, it's really worth the money. And if such a good Android tablet already exists right now at this price point, I can't wait to see how much better budget Android tablets can get in the future.

If you know of any other 12-inch Android tablet that's this good at this price, and I mean one that also sounds great, let me know in the comments section.

Availability

If you're interested to buy this tablet, you can find it on AliExpress from Seller A or Seller B.

Considering using the affiliate links above to support my blog and Youtube channel. I earn some commission for each sale but at no extra cost to you.

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