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I found the perfect Android tablet to buy this year

Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color with a leather strap.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The iPad primarily dominates the market for tablets despite an exceptionally powerful battalion of great Android tablets. In the lower price ranges, however, Android dominates with countless offerings — often from lesser-known brands. With Google’s reignited interest in the tablet segment, brands like OnePlus put up great competition — even challenging the iPad — in the sub-$500 segment. But as you go lower in price, you may find brands cutting costs to stay profitable in the competitive market.

The Blackview Active 8 Pro feels like an exception, with solid and reliable hardware, an everlasting battery, and a desktop-like experience that isn’t seen on tablets higher up the price ladder. For just $360 (and potentially even cheaper during the holiday shopping season), this tablet feels appropriate whether you have an active lifestyle, are just looking for a secondary device to feed your appetite for sofa-tainment, or dedicate a device for your kids.

Here are the factors that make Blackview’s Active 8 Pro a surprisingly excellent Android tablet — and one you should actually buy.

One of the most rugged tablets around

Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color on a pile of earth.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The Blackview Active 8 Pro is built to be a rugged machine. Needless to say, it is equipped with chops for that identity. Like some other rugged phones we have tried in the past, the tablet gets a solid coating of shock-absorbing material that lends it sufficient strength to face hard drops that would easily dent metal frames and tatter the plastic or glass housing on other tablets.

The tablet gets a “MIL-STD-810H” military-standard rating for its strength (it’s not certified by the military but is suitable for challenging environments). This makes the tablet capable of withstanding challenging temperatures and extreme pressure. It is also resilient to coarse and abrasive materials such as sand and can bear shocks like a pro. Blackview claims the tablet can be operated in extreme temperatures, ranging from -40 degrees to 60 degrees Celsius (-40°F to 140°F).

For water and dust resistance, the tablet secures an IP69K rating, which is usually reserved for electronics designed for harsh conditions. The IP rating means it can be submerged under 1.5 meters (roughly five feet) of freshwater for 30 minutes and still survive. More importantly, the “9K” in the rating signifies the tablet can withstand being submerged under high pressure of up to 1,450 pounds per square inch (equivalent to 99 times the pressure of the Earth’s atmosphere). Securing it a great deal further are rubber flaps that seal all potential ports and jacks, including the USB-C port, the 3.5mm headphone jack (yes, there is one!), and the SIM tray. Additionally, the extra padding around the corner helps further lessen the impact of drops.

Rubber flaps covering the ports on Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

While these attributes make the Active 8 Pro a meritorious gadget for industrial settings, they also give me the liberty to be clumsy with it. I can toss it on the bed and not get a mini heart attack when it bounces off the mattress and falls onto the ground. These features, I perceive, also make it ideal for kids and teenagers who are still learning to be responsible with gadgets.

Seeing its rugged build and the claims by the company, I couldn’t resist testing the tablet’s strength against drops. Unsurprisingly, it survived a drop onto the floor from five feet without any visible damage. Safe to say, the tablet wouldn’t take a beating even if it was used as a makeshift baseball bat or a ping-pong paddle.

The power of the strap

Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color with a leather strap around a man's palm.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The rigidity comes at the expense of ergonomics, causing the tablet to weigh nearly a kilogram (976 grams or 2.15 lbs to be exact). This can make it challenging to use, especially for longer durations. But the company has been thoughtful and included an additional strap that can be attached to the back, alleviating much of the trouble while holding the heavy brick otherwise.

The strap is saddled along two mounting points on the back of the tablet using screws. The company also includes a mini screwdriver, so you don’t have to sift through your tools during the initial setup. That’s the kind of gesture you may never expect from mainstream brands. The strap is tight enough to grip the back of your palm and anchored around the thumb of the hand.

Thanks to the strap, the tablet’s entire weight falls onto the palm, allowing a more uniform distribution of weight compared to resting the tablet on just the lower end of your palm. This, in turn, ends up making the heavy tablet much easier to hold with just one hand and in both vertical and horizontal orientations.

A battery that refuses to die

Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color with a leather strap.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

While most features of the tablet are intriguing (at best) for their price, one that is absolutely mesmerizing is its spectacular battery life. Blackview engages a 22,000mAh battery on the Active 8 Pro — admittedly, the biggest on any device I have used. This battery pack is more than four times the battery pack on the Galaxy S23 Ultra or the OnePlus 11. Even the biggest Android tablet we know of — the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra — has a battery that’s only half as big as this one.

With a massive battery and not-so-demanding hardware, it’s easy to expect a battery that spans several days. Besides the large battery pack itself, the tweaks made to how apps are managed in the background — especially during standby — result in astonishingly long battery life.

To my absolute surprise, the tablet consistently lasted over 15 days per charge. I averaged 1.5-2 hours of daily usage, including basic tasks such as watching video content on YouTube or Netflix, browsing the web, reading e-books, or playing light games. Throughout the duration of over a month that I have had this tablet for testing, I have only charged it twice. If you constantly engage yourself in watching content on the go, this tablet can be an actual game-changer, eliminating the need to charge frequently — and, therefore, any battery anxiety associated with it.

The following plot shows the dip in the battery (measured using the Battery Log app) from 93% on the first day to 15% still remaining after 18 days of usage per a single charge:

Blackview Active 8 Pro Android tbalet 22,000mAh battery consumption.
Battery consumption on a single charge with basic usage. Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

And, while it might appear that the sizeable 22,000mAh battery would take ages to refill, Blackview ensures the process isn’t as daunting as you might imagine. With the 33W USB-PD charger included in the box, the Active 8 Pro takes about 4.5 hours to charge from 5% to 100% battery capacity.

While this may sound excruciatingly long, the wait is easily dwarfed when considering the long battery lasts. Practically, this would just be a single night of charging for several days of usage, so I don’t mind subjecting myself to a longer-than-usual charge time.

Serves well for entertainment

Man holds Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color by leather strap on the back.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The Active 8 Pro gets a roughly 11-inch LCD screen with a 2K resolution. There is no support for HDR or a high refresh rate, meaning you will most likely enjoy it for watching YouTube and casual watching on other video content apps. However, what instantly changed my opinion and positioned the tablet as a worthy device for some serious entertainment duties was its set of speakers.

It gets two sets of speakers on the left and right sides, with individual units for bass and treble firing out incredible sound. The output is loud and crisp, allowing me to place the tablet at a reasonable distance and still enjoy music/videos even with environmental disturbances.

A desktop experience unseen at this price

Desktop mode on the Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Andriod tablet held in hand.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

The Active 8 Pro’s abilities as an entertainer go hand-in-hand with its utility as a work machine. The tablet already has inherent Android features like a split-screen view for multitasking and productivity. What takes it up a notch is a desktop mode that allows you to open multiple apps in the form of resizable windows.

The experience with the desktop mode is very similar to Samsung DeX (or Linux desktop environments), where a taskbar occupies the bottom space and lets you switch between open apps. The right side of the taskbar is devoted to quick settings icons and navigation buttons.

On the desktop area, you can easily open multiple different apps and place icons for the ones you use frequently. These windows can be resized and stacked as per your preference with practically no limit on the number of apps simultaneously. I opened 10 apps simultaneously, actively switching between the open ones, without experiencing any lag or crashing. Even games open in windows instead of running in full-screen, so you can easily switch to another app without interrupting your gameplay.

As expected, a keyboard and mouse — whether you use a third-party accessory or choose one by the brand itself — bring this experience closer to a desktop and can prove very handy whether you need to make a quick edit to a presentation on the move or your kid needs to type an entire paper.

Robust hardware to back it all up

Gaming on Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

While the external features and the software on the Active 8 Pro tablet set up an enjoyable experience, what’s inside isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill hardware either. The MediaTek Helio G99 chipset and 8GB of RAM not only provide enough power for basic functionality like browsing webpages or watching videos — they also suffice when it comes to more engaging tasks like playing games. I have been enjoying the manga-inspired role-playing game Naruto X Boruto Ninja Volta on the tablet without hiccups or unusual battery drain. Don’t expect this to run heavier games such as Genshin Impact like a breeze, but you can easily enjoy some lighter ones without any issues.

The chipset and RAM are further complemented by 256GB of internal storage, which can be expanded to add up to another one terabyte (TB) of storage using an external SD card. Adding to that is 4G (unfortunately, not 5G) connectivity that will allow you to stay connected even without an active Wi-Fi connection. Given the tablet’s SIM support, it can also be used for calling besides browsing data.

While I don’t imagine a lot of people using the tablet to take pictures, you get a 48MP rear camera with a Samsung sensor. It captures 12MP by combining four pixels into one for brighter images. For selfies but predominantly video calling, there is a 16MP front camera that is sharp and accurate.

Why this Android tablet is unusually good

Blackview Active 8 Pro rugged Android tablet in black color with a leather strap.
Tushar Mehta / Digital Trends

While there is no dearth of value-for-money Android tablets — especially if you managed to bag a good deal over the Black Friday weekend — the Blackview Active 8 Pro sets itself apart with a sturdy design ready to take a beating. More importantly, the humongous 22,000mAh battery and software optimizations ensure the battery goes on for not just days but weeks per single charge, endowing you with unmatched peace of mind.

The company goes on to include a desktop mode, which, in union with dependable hardware, can take care of most of your work-related chores. All things combined, the Active 8 Pro is a machine useful for various purposes, ranging from pure entertainment to hardcore productivity. If you are looking for a secondary Android device, this can be one of the top choices you should check out.

The Blackview Active 8 Pro is but a limited period discount slashes the price by 25%, bringing it down to $270. To get this discount, you will have to use the coupon code “ACTIVE8PRO,” and the offer is valid only until December 8th.

Editors' Recommendations

Tushar Mehta
Tushar has a passion for consumer tech and likes to tinker with smartphones, laptops, wearables, smart home devices, and…
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