A unique Android Tablet
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 is a unique device. Lenovo has attempted to design a tablet that can be used in a variety of capacities for both business and pleasure. How does the tablet stack up to the competition? Read on to find out.
Foreword: We first reviewed the Windows iteration of this tablet about a month ago. One of our major complaints of the tablet was that the Windows operating system inhibited the tablet from really shining due to a poor combination of full-fledged Microsoft Windows with lower-powered tablet specs. Lenovo hooked us up with the Android model for review. The majority of this review will mirror our previous review with the exception of the Android specific aspects of the device.
Design and Form Factor
The design of the Yoga Tablet 2 is both its greatest strength and weakness. First, let’s talk about the positive aspects of design. The device is right in the perfect range of size and weight to be a comfortable tablet computer. The review unit we received has a 10 inch diagonal screen and weighs in at 1.39 lbs. The screen is just big enough to be productive and light enough to be comfortable for one-handed use while reading books or surfing the web.
Additionally, the side with the kickstand is rounded to create a hinge for the kickstand and creates room for a larger battery. This rounded edge actually adds an extra layer of comfort during one handed use. Holding a thin tablet with one hand is typically a dangerous act. However, with the added thickness of the rounded hinge, it gives you hand more surface area to hold and a better center of gravity.
The built-in Kickstand is something that sets the device apart from other tablets in both positive and negative ways. From a positive perspective, the kickstand provides a number of different ways in which the device can be positioned based on how you want to use the device. See the diagram above to see the different ways in which it can be used.
While the kickstand is relatively short in length, it is surprisingly steady when placed on a flat surface. However, that steadiness does not translate to use on your lap. Because of the short length of the kickstand when in “Stand” mode, it tends to be unstable when on your lap. I never felt fully comfortable using this on my lap like a laptop because of its instability.
Additionally, you’ll notice “Hang” mode in the above diagram. This is one of the most unique aspects of the Yoga Tablet 2’s kickstand. There is a built-in hole that enables you to hang the tablet from just about anything. Now you just need to add a new screw to your bathroom wall to enjoy your favorite television series from the bathtub. While not something that you are likely to use on a regular basis, it’s a nice added touch and I appreciate the fact that Lenovo is thinking outside of the box in innovating on their tablet.
The device can be purchased with a keyboard cover for an added cost. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the keyboard. The keys work really well and provide the right amount of feedback to make typing feel remarkably close to a regular laptop. I actually found Lenovo’s keyboard more comfortable than the type-cover for my Surface Pro 3. While the keys are smaller, they are spaced out which prevents accidentally hitting a sister-key; a problem I constantly encounter when using my Surface Pro 3 type-cover.
Unfortunately, that’s about as far as my positive relationship with the keyboard goes. The magnet that attaches the keyboard to the tablet is not very strong. It doesn’t have that subtle snap of security that I feel when connecting the type-cover to my Surface Pro 3. Also, there are not grooves to hold it in place, so the keyboard slides left and right when moving and transporting the device. I had to be careful when holding the tablet to make sure I was gripping both pieces tightly to prevent dropping a piece due to the weakness of the magnet. The top of the keyboard surrounding the keys is a rubbery leather-like texture. Lenovo chose to make the mouse pad out of this same material which causes your fingers to stick to the touchpad a bit. Precise mouse movement and clicking isn’t impossible, but it’s not comfortable either.
The keyboard is charged using the same charger as the tablet and does not come with an extra wall-charger. While it does come with an extra cord to charge the keyboard through USB, the Yoga Tablet 2 does not have full size USB so there is no way to charge both devices simultaneously without either another computer or the purchase of another outlet-to-USB converter.
Additionally, the build quality of the tablet is in the medium range. When you pick up the tablet, it has weight to it and doesn’t feel cheap, but it doesn’t have the solidity and feel of the more premium tablet such as the iPad or Surface Pro series. This is to be expected as the device is not priced as a premium tablet being over $200 less than the base level iPad Air 2. Additionally, while the rounded edge makes it look more comfortable to hold, it does make the device lopsided. If you’re OCD when it comes to symmetrical design, like myself, this may cause a grey hair or two; but shouldn’t be a deal breaker for the majority.
Finally, the Android version of the tablet that Lenovo sent us is their Silver model. I found this version to look much more sleek and attractive than the original black version that we tested. The silver paint gives the tablet a much more premium look and feel. If you’re going to buy this tablet, I would highly recommend going with the silver version.
Specs and Performances
When comparing the Yoga Pro 2 with other tablets on the market, it is reasonably well powered. The hardware specs are comparable to the Apple iPad Air 2 and the Nexus 9 tablet. Below are the specs for the device:
Compared to the iPad Air 2, the Yoga Tablet 2 is very similar in specs. Both tablets sport 2 GB of RAM. The output of the processors are also very similar. The Yoga Tablet 2 utilizes a quad-core Intel Atom processor, while the Apple iPad Air 2 uses their proprietary A8 chip that has only 3 cores. Intel’s Quad-Core Atom processor (Yoga Tablet 2) clocks in at 1,866 MHZ while Apple’s A8 triple-core processor (iPad Air 2) clocks in at 1,500 MHZ.
On paper, specs can be very convincing, however, one must consider the impact of operating system efficiency on overall performance. This is where the Windows iteration of the Yoga Tablet 2 fell behind. The specs of the device simply were not sufficient to provide an optimal Windows experience. However, when you compare the Android version of the Yoga Tablet 2 to other Android tablets on the market, the Yoga Tablet 2 carries higher-end hardware.
Take a look at the AnTuTu benchmark data of the Yoga Tablet 2 compared to other smartphones and tablets on the market. It classifies the performance of the Yoga Tablet 2 as better than 99% of other devices on the market.
Additionally, for anyone curious regarding the specific benchmark data, it can be seen below:
The Yoga Tablet was right in the middle of the pack from a 3D gaming perspective in my benchmark testing. This was another area where the Windows iteration of the Yoga Tablet 2 fell short. I tested one of the most graphical intensive games in the Windows Store, “Modern Combat 5.” On the Windows Yoga Tablet 2, the game was barely playable, averaging in the low single digits of frames-per-second. I hypothesized that this was likely due to the game being optimized for a Windows PC with stronger hardware; not lower-powered tablet hardware.
My testing of the Android tablet has proven my hypothesis correct. Modern Combat on the Android Yoga Tablet 2 ran as smooth as a whistle. This is a testament to the power of an efficient operating system and software that is optimized for specific hardware.
The screen of the Yoga Tablet 2 outputs in full HD resolution (1080 X 1920 pixels). The colors are crisp and accurate. The backlight is sufficiently bright for almost any situation. Compared to other tablets on the market, however, the screen is of lower resolution . The iPad Air 2’s retina display outputs in 2048 X 1536 pixels. As a result, the picture is not as crisp as the iPad Air 2, but likely only noticeable to those who put high emphasis on visual performance.
The sound and battery are the device’s saving grace from a hardware perspective. Battery life is as advertised offering an astounding 18 hours of usage and 16 days in standby. Additionally, the device utilizes the Dolby sound driver, Wolfson® Master Hi-Fi™ Codec, and stereo front-facing speakers that offer a surprising level of clarity. While not the loudest tablet speakers on the market, they certainly get the job done, and do it well.
In summary, the Android version of the Yoga Tablet 2 performs significantly better than the Windows iteration of the tablet. Our bench-marking shows that the Yoga Tablet 2 contains higher-end tablet hardware and performs better than 99% of other Android tablet devices on the market. If you’re interested in getting the Yoga Tablet 2, purchasing the Android version is a must due to being a significantly more optimized experience.
When reviewing devices we like to look for whether a device has what we call the “Smash Factor.” This can be earned by either showing incredible innovation or overall outstanding performance. The Windows Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 did not receive the “Smash Factor” award due to feeling largely under-powered. However, the Android version is amongst the more powerful Android tablet contenders along with strong battery life, superior sound, a decent keyboard, and ergonomic design. While it may not be the most premium tablet you can purchase, from an overall value proposition standpoint, you can’t go wrong with the Android version of the Yoga Tablet 2; especially at $250 dollars. For this reason, we award the Android Yoga Tablet 2 with the “Smash Factor” award. If you’re in the market for a well-powered Android tablet that can hang on your wall, this is the device for you. Click here to access on Amazon.
What do you think of Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 2? Tell us why you would/would not buy the device in the comments below.