Lenovo Smart TAB M10 does not work with WPA2 and Android 9

To summarize why I do not recommend buying a Lenovo Android tablet:

  1. Their Android 9 software update borked WPA2 support.
  2. Instead of figuring out the (software) problem and fixing it, they instead instruct their customers to downgrade the security of their wifi.
  3. If that doesn’t work, they RMA the tablet and flash an older (insecure) version of android on it, and disallow software updates.

I purchased a Lenovo Smart TAB M10 (Model TB-X605F 10″ android tablet) mostly to read graphic novels and comics. (Although it did come with a plug in speaker bar / charging dock, and advertised having Alexa built in.)  I was able to buy it relatively inexpensively because it was being discontinued (replaced by the “Plus / Gen2” version).

Out of the box, it comes with android 8, connected to my WPA2 wifi network and everything worked great (except for “Alexa, show me the <camera>” command, which while advertised on the box, never worked for me…..).

After I set everything up, it prompted me to install system updates, and several reboots later it got up to Android 9 (pie).  Unfortunately, at this point it refused to connect to my wifi network.  After digging around on the internet, I found that many people had this problem, and the only “solution” was to send it back to Lenovo for “repair”.   (or, downgrade your wifi network to WPA, which is not secure.)

So I called Lenovo, and after walking me through a factory reset, etc….they admitted that it wasn’t connecting to my WPA2 network and opened a RMA ticket. I paid $15 to ship it off to the repair depot. I got it back two weeks later, still with android 9, but without any changes in it’s ability to connect to WPA2.  [Of course, I could turn on a guest network using WPA and connect to that…but remember..not secure.]

So I called them back. The customer support person tried to get me to change my wifi router’s security setting to WPA, but when I told them my security administrator wouldn’t allow insecure wifi settings on the router they agreed to take it in for repair again (this time I got them to send me a fedex waybill for the shipping…..).  After another two weeks, I got the tablet back (with a new serial number reported in software) with Android 8.1.0 installed (Build number: TB-X605F_S000022_2018026_ROW_Bundle), security patch level September 5th 2018.

And look…it works on my WPA2 wifi network. Of course, when I check for security or operating system updates, it checks for updates and then reports that I have the latest system version.

I am not impressed. Since I’m just using this guy to read comics, and not taking it out of my house, I’m going to keep it, but this reinforces my belief that the consumer side of Lenovo isn’t a place you want to be.  (Stick to the “think” branded business devices if you can’t go elsewhere…)

3 thoughts on “Lenovo Smart TAB M10 does not work with WPA2 and Android 9

  1. I can confirm this, I have tje same problem on a Lenovo P10 with Android 9.
    It only connects on WPA networks.
    I’ll never buy a Lenovo tablet again.
    It’s the 3rd one, the updates are slow, only 1 new version of android, and lots of problems with the firmware

  2. Almost a year later and there still isn’t a update with a solution…. As far as I know and I’ve looked for two days. The worst part is I purchased the tablet to mount in a vehicle as a head unit and and run off a Motorola phones hot spot. I assumed since Lenovo owns Motorola they would be compatible. I’ve got a significant amount of time down then drain in body work and money into parts. Now I have to find a tablet the exact same size and charging location or rip it out and start body work over. I was able to get a inconsistent and weak connection thru bluetooth tether I’ll try usb tether next
    IF ANYONE HAS A SOLUTION PLEASE REPLY.

    • The only solution I’ve found is to complain to lenovo, send it back for support and keep doing that until they flash it with the older version of Android that works with WPA2 out of the box.
      It’s a shitty solution/workaround, but it does get it working with WPA2. [If you are out of warranty support however, you are probably out of luck, the only other option would be to run your own wifi2wifi bridge which connects to your hotspot (wpa2) and then exports a less secure WPA wifi just for the tablet. Perhaps lock it down so that only the tablet MAC address can connect, limited to a single device, etc….]

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