Tablets as a category is waning. There have been countless reports about how the category is not seeing as much growth as it did till phablets came on to the scene. With the introduction of the 2-in-1s category which lets you use a device as a laptop and a tablet interchangeably, one would think that tablet category is redundant.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case. At least not yet. Apple still released its iPad Air 2 last year and is rumoured to release the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Lenovo has been experimenting with its Yoga tablets over the last couple of years. We had tested the Yoga Tablet 2, a 10.1-inch tablet with the kick-stand which lets you arrange the tablet in multiple configurations.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is naturally a bigger version of the Yoga Tablet 2. Things don’t just end with a bigger screen - 13.3-inch as opposed to 10.1-inch - but Lenovo has managed to it in a projector in the Tablet 2 Pro. Yes, you read that right - a Projector. This makes it a first of its kind tablet, to feature an in-built projector. So is this just a gimmick or does it really add value to the overall experience. We will find out in the review below.
Build and design: 7/10
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro belongs to Lenovo’s multi-mode series of products. This means that the tablet can be configured in multiple ways thanks to the kick stand. It promises using the tablet in these modes: Hold, Tilt, Stand and Hang. The stand mode is ideal for watching movies, tilt mode is good for typing, hold mode can get a bit cumbersome thanks to the large form factor. You will certainly not be holding this tablet in the hand mode for a longer duration.
Just like the Yoga Tablet 2, the Tablet 2 Pro also has a cylindrical base which also has the metallic hinge. The hinge helps with the orientation of the tablet and when not in use, it can be pushed back till you hear the lock click of the button on the rear side which holds it in place. The hinge is quite sturdy and on either side of it in the front, you have two JBL speakers.
On the left hand side you have a power/standby button, a 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB port and a volume rocker button. On the right hand side, you have the pico-projector at the base and a button on top to switch it on or off. On the rear side you have a clean back with just the Lenovo branding.
The metallic build makes the tablet look elegant. We did not find any flimsy portions on the tablet body. The metallic buttons on either side have a good feedback mechanism. The tablet weighs around 950 grams and has a slim form factor as you go from the hinge to the top. The cylindrical base and the textures on the rear side gives the tablet a good grip when held in the hand, but the 13.3-inch form factor makes it quite unwieldy to carry around for long duration.
Apart from the multi-mode tablet feature, the other unique aspect of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is the presence of a pico projector on the base of the right hand side. The pico projector has 50 Lumens of brightness and is capable of projecting a 854 x 480 pixel resolution output. The projected size can go up to a diagonal size of 50-inches.
The tablet houses an Intel Atom Z3745 quad-core processor clocked at 1.86GHz along with 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM. It comes with 32GB of onboard storage of which around 26GB is available to the user. You can also add in a microSD card on up to 64GB capacity. The microSD card slot is located on the rear side, on the left hand side of the hinge button. It runs Android 4.4 KitKat with Lenovo Vibe 2.0 UI atop it.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro comes with a 2.1 speaker system from JBL which has two front-facing speakers and the JBL sub-woofer located on the rear side. The power button on the left hand side has a glowing LED light surrounding it. On the camera front, you get an 8MP rear camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 1.6MP front-facing HD camera for Skype calling.
The tablet features dual band Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 whereas sensors such as the G-sensor, compass, ambient light sensor and vibration sensors are on board as well.
Lenovo Vibe 2.0 user interface is seen on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro which is similar to the on seen on the Yoga Tablet 2 and most of its smartphones. The user interface is quite vibrant and can be too colourful at times. The swiping actions are different from regular Android devices. Swiping from top to bottom will only bring up the active notifications, whereas swiping from bottom upwards will bring up quick settings.
The device packs Lenovo’s own software including cloud storage on its proprietary cloud app called SYNCit. There’s SHAREit, which allows you to send documents, photos and apps across devices using Bluetooth, and Security HD that protects your phone from malware, theft and unauthorised use. There’s a Dolby app which includes advanced settings to adjust the speaker sound quality when watching movies, playing games or listening to music.
It supports multi-windows feature, which lets you work with two windows at a time. This is a nifty feature, but the tablet has only a limited set of multi-windows compatible app.
Considering it has the same processor and RAM as its 10.1-inch variant, there isn’t much of a performance difference as such. The tablet performs well with most tasks and there was no issues with gaming as well. But the Atom processor is slower than Qualcomm Snapdragon 800/801 as seen in the charts below. We did notice a slight stutter while switching apps. The heavy skin can be annoying at times and can slow down some operations.
Typing while using the tablet in the tilt mode is much better, than what was seen with the Lenovo Yoga tablet 2, thanks to the spaced out keyboard. It will take some time getting used to typing on a glass surface, but your typing speed will improve eventually.
The audio performance is quite impressive. The speakers are loud enough for them to be audible in a room when you are projecting a movie. The Dolby app further lets you tweak the sound according to your liking.
Web browsing is speedy, but please note that if you are using the keyboard in the tilt mode while surfing, half the tablet’s real estate is going to be occupied by the keyboard. Typing while holding the tablet in your hand is uneasy. It is best to use the keyboard either in the tilt or stand mode.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro comes with a 13.3-inch 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution. This gives it a 221 ppi pixel density. The display is bright and although the resolution is high, one does not get a feeling that this is indeed a QHD panel. This is because, the app icons are blown up. You can only reduce the text size from the settings. Also the widgets are huge in size and there are instances where you cannot have more than two widgets on one homescreen. Absence of an app drawer means, you will require multiple home screens in case you are planning to use a lot of apps.
Watching movies on the display is a pleasant experience. Although in dark scenes, the display can be a tad too reflective. The black levels aren’t the best.
As far as the projector is concerned, the 50 lumens projector is not bright and will require a really dark room if you want to enjoy your movies and a white background. Even minor ambient light will mar the experience. So if you really want to enjoy a movie on the projector, the projector light should be the only source of light in the room.
The tablet features a Smart Switch mode which when kept on Auto, will give you slight changes in displays based on the way you are holding the tablet. For instance, if you are holding the tablet in the your hand, then the display will have a slightly warm tinge as opposed to when you are keeping it in the tilt or stand mode. You can change the setting to manual, if you do not prefer to see random colour changes when you change the operating mode of the tablet.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro has an 8MP rear camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a front-facing 1.6MP HD camera. Thankfully the camera is placed in the centre on the rear side with this tablet, as opposed to the strange placement that was seen on the Yoga Tablet 2. Using the 13.3-inch tablet to click photographs is challenging to say the least. Clicking photographs in the portrait mode is comparatively easier. In the landscape mode it is quite unwieldy to compose the image, set the focus and click a photo with a single hand. Image quality is decent enough to share online. Indoor images are noisy and outdoor images aren't very sharp either. The front camera works well for Skype calling.
Battery life: 7.5/10
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro sports a massive 9,600mAh battery which is de rigueur considering the Pro has a 2560x1440 pixel display over 13.3-inch display and an in-built projector. Now the battery life easily lasts over a day on regular usage with a little bit of projector use. We ran the PC Mark for Android test, which gave us a time of 8 hours 18 mins. But battery life will depend a lot on how often you use the projector as that is a battery-consuming feature. During testing, we projected a video onto a wall, getting around a 42-inch display size and could easily watch a 3-hour movie on a single charge.
Verdict and price
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a decent tablet which performs well and gets the work done. As a multimedia device it ticks off most boxes. Pair a bluetooth keyboard and you can very well use the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro as a laptop. The in-built pico projector is certainly a nice add on and one has to hand it over the Lenovo for seamlessly incorporating it in this design, without making the projector obvious. We just wish it was brighter. Hopefully future iterations will have a more powerful projector with support for HD resolutions. The price point of Rs 49,490 easily puts the Yoga Table 2 Pro is the premium segment of tablets.
Now while it does justify the premium price tag, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro also comes with its flaws. For instance, the user interface does not seem like it is optimised for a Quad HD display. Large icons and widgets means you have to use multiple home screens. It is great for consuming video content though. The rigid hinge is well built and the multi-mode feature helps, but the 13.3-inch size means that the tablet is not meant to be used handheld for long durations.
It certainly is a niche product and will attract only those buyers who are sold on the pico projector feature of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. Barring that feature, there is enough competition in the form of Apple iPad Air 2, which is much lighter with a reasonable screen size and optimised apps.
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