I had the chance to review the first generation of Lenovo’s Yoga Tablets and while the vision of design and use was clearly there, the execution of software with some hardware issues held the device down. Using very outdated processors and a super sluggish OS, the tablet was just unusable after a certain time.
This time around, Lenovo is back with its second round at the tablet with the Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch and 8-inch. Did Lenovo make enough improvements to make the Yoga Tablet 2 a recommended tablet? Let’s find out.
On the design side of the things nothing has changed. Both sized tablet models still feature it’s mixture of aluminium and plastic design with its thin body leading up to the iconic Yoga hinge. Large black bezels are still present around the display making it easier to hold the tablet in the hand. Along the front of the tablets are two forward facing speakers powered by Dolby which are big improvements from the last. Power button is found on one side of the hinge and headphone jack on the other. Along the edges are the volume rocker and microUSB for charging and syncing.
The stand out feature is of course its Yoga hinge, allowing you to position the tablets in four different “modes” – Hold, Tilt, Stand, and Hang. All three original modes were very useful from viewing movies, typing emails to holding it in the hand. The new Hang mode is introduced with this new tablet allowing you to literally hang the tablet from an opening on the hinge to a wall or wherever you deem suitable. Aside from maybe using this as a calendar by the desk or for recipes in the kitchen, I found the Hang mode in my personal life to be pretty much useless – but of course that varies with the user.
When it comes to specs and performance its’ pretty interesting that I had a better experience with one tablet than the other – considering both have the same exact specs. Lenovo has moved to an Intel Z3745 Quad Core 1.86GHZ processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM, 16GB of internal storage (both tablets have microSD expansions), and both produce a resolution of 1920×1200 on their IPS display. Resolution is very downgraded on the 10-inch as it stretches the resolution compared to the 8-inch model. Though colors are rich, there are many times where graininess takes over.
Android 4.4 is on board with Lenovo’s UI skin which from past experience wasn’t that great. Now this is where things get different. While both tablets share the same boosted internal specs, I found myself having a smoother experience on the 8-inch model. I’m not sure if the size of the tablet is what causes the experience but multitasking and handling multiple operations was just unpleasant on the larger model.
Lenovo has kept releasing updates to the original tablets improving it’s software issues but now with much improved internal power, Lenovo’s “iOS” like software runs much smoother and faster than before. Is it perfect? No; but it sure is better. Panning from window to window is faster but when many programs are being ran in the background, the dreadful lag makes its return. As mentioned before, this is much more noticeable in the 10-inch model. The software is very iOS with no app drawer and bottom swipe revealing all your settings and quick access like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and even Screen Capture. The software is very user friendly but it suffers from many studders, and non responsive down time. Hopefully Lenovo can continue to improve on all this.
Aside from the good hardware and lackluster software, the battery life on both models is absolutely exceptional with standby time reaching almost 2 weeks! These new Yoga tablets aren’t for everybody, especially if one is looking to do some extreme work on them, but they could be great entry level products for children, parents and perhaps students. Coming in at $230 for the 8-inch and $250 for the 10-inch, you might want to look elsewhere for a high powered Android tablet.
…. oh yea, don’t even bother with the camera.
- Great hardware design
- Battery life is fantastic
- Very sluggish and non finished software
- Camera is terrible, should consider removing it
- New hang mode is pretty useless