Gateway 10.1-inch tablet review: Is this $80 slate worth it?

Today’s best Gateway 10.1-inch tablet deals

What do you think of when you see packaging with cow print on it? Cowboys? Dairy products? Or did you also grow up in the early 2000s going to your friend’s “computer room” where you could stay up and play Barbie Horse Adventures all night on the family Gateway computer? Yeah, that’s what cow print means to me. So imagine my childish glee when a box arrived covered in cow print bearing the nostalgic Gateway logo. I had thought the brand was dead! Yet, here was the Gateway 10.1-inch tablet. 

It is a budget tablet in nostalgic packaging sold only at Walmart (of all places). Unfortunately, aside from its fun packing and the warm memories it brings, there is not much else to appreciate with this tablet. With just 2GB of RAM, a display that’s not even 1080p, and dual 2MP webcams, the Gateway Tablet feels like a device meant to be replaced at any moment. 

Gateway 10.1 price and configuration

There aren’t many configurations of the Gateway 10.1-inch to choose from. There are three color options: Black, Blue and Purple. Regardless of color choice, you get a 10.1-inch tablet with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and an Allwinner Quad-core Cortex-A7 processor for $79.99. 

Gateway 10.1 design

Measuring 9.5 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches and weighing 0.5 pounds, the Gateway 10.1 tablet is incredibly lightweight and portable. Interestingly, this device has a horizontal layout instead of the more popular vertical layout most tablets use (assuming the cameras are intended to be the top of the device). The back of the device is made of smooth, black plastic with the Gateway logo centered horizontally. The rear-facing camera is just above the logo near the top edge. The only thing interrupting the smooth plastic on the back are shallow indented lines on either side to help with gripping the tablet.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The front of the slate is made of glass with black bezels that are around 0.5 inches on the short sides and 0.75 inches on the longer sides. The larger bezel on the top of the device houses the front-facing camera directly in the center, while the speakers are located on the bottom, with one on each side. The ambient light sensor is on the lower left-hand corner of the device, so if you tend to hold your devices with your left hand then don’t expect the device to adjust its display brightness automatically.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The lock/power button and the volume buttons are side-by-side on the upper-right edge. This is convenient when using the device horizontally, but I was constantly fumbling to figure out where the buttons were when using it vertically.

Gateway 10.1 ports

There are three ports available on the tablet, all of them located on the top edge near the left corner. From left to right, they include a USB Type-C port for charging and connecting to other devices, an SD card slot for expandable storage, and an audio jack. 

Gateway 10.1 display

The display on this slate is simply subpar. The 10.1-inch screen offers a 1280 x 800-pixel HD resolution but neither the brightness nor the color stand out, which makes viewing videos a pretty dull experience. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

On average, slates can reach around 400 nits, but the Gateway 10.1 only offers 283 nits at full brightness. While watching the new Space Jam trailer at full brightness, none of the colors stood out. Aside from the splash pages with their neon stripes, the only color that seemed to pop was the yellow hoodie that Lebron James’ son wore in the beginning of the clip. Our colorimeter agrees, determining that the tablet covers only 49.9% of the DCI-P3 color space, far below the 80% average.

Gateway 10.1 audio

Don’t expect good audio quality from budget tablets. However, compared to similarly priced tablets, the Gateway’s speakers aren’t terrible. The treble isn’t overwhelmingly pitchy, and while bass notes aren’t deep or full, they don’t have that twangy, rubber band-like quality you hear from some cheap speakers. You don’t have to worry about the audio getting staticky because the max volume isn’t loud enough to reach across the room.

Gateway 10.1 performance

Despite having decent specs for its price, the performance of the Gateway 10.1 tablet is lackluster. Equipped with 32GB in storage, 2GB RAM and an Allwinner Quad-Core processor, it has nearly the same guts as the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) but significantly lower performance. According to the Geekbench 5.0 testing, the Gateway 10.1 scored a mere 211 points, while the Amazon Fire HD 8 got a significantly higher score of 2,437 points. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

And honestly, the poor performance shows. Thanks to the device using the lighter Android 10 Go version, apps tend to start up quickly and I have yet to see one crash. However, booting up would often take longer than a minute, and the tablet took extra time to think after unlocking. Load times aren’t the only issue, either. Typing is a headache because of the significant lag when using the keyboard. I tried using a Bluetooth keyboard as well to see if it was the touchscreen causing the delay, but sure enough, there was still significant lag that made writing difficult.

Gateway 10.1 battery life

Considering the poor camera quality, weak performance, and low brightness the Gateway 10.1 offers, you would think it could make up for it with strong battery performance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While using the device continuously for web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits, this slate lasted only 7 hours and 28 minutes. That’s only a little over half the battery life that the Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020) offers at 13 hours and 49 minutes. And the slate average – 11 hours and 23 minutes – will still get you much longer usage between charges.

Gateway 10.1 webcam

According to Walmart’s product page for the Gateway 10.1 tablet, the rear-facing camera should be 5MP and the front-facing camera should be 2MP. However, the actual packaging for the product indicates that the rear-facing camera is 2MP while the front-facing camera is only 0.3MP. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The photos I took with the rear camera came out about how I expected for a low-budget tablet — pixelated and desaturated — and I was blown away by how bad the quality of the front-facing camera was. These photos weren’t just noisy, they were downright blurry. In fact, it almost appeared as if there was a mosaic filter over the photos.

Gateway 10.1 software and warranty

The Gateway 10.1 tablet runs on the Android 10 Go OS, a muted version of Android 10 meant for devices with lower RAM to optimize performance. It comes with a 1-year limited manufacturer warranty, though you can purchase a Walmart Protection Plan for $30 if you want extended insurance.

Verdict

The Gateway 10.1 is a lightweight and neatly packaged tablet that doesn’t bring much else to the table. While the nostalgic packaging and budget price make it seem attractive at first, this device is lacking in too many areas, even compared to other budget tablets. Certainly, if you’re looking for a cheap tablet for lightweight mobile games or casual internet browsing, it’s an OK choice, but you could definitely do better.

That said, its laggy performance and dull display put it behind competitors such as the Amazon Fire HD 8. Even the Lenovo Smart Tab M8, which has both similar specs and pricing, somehow manages to outperform the Gateway 10.1. If you’re rough on devices or you just need a disposable tablet to get you through any kind of transition period, the Gateway 10.1 tablet could be right for you. Otherwise, skip it and go with the Lenovo or Amazon competitors.



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