The Yoga Tablet 2 is Lenovo's latest 10.1-inch tablet that comes with a unique kickstand to suit different needs such as reading, web browsing and entertainment. It's a flexible little tablet that can take different forms depending on what makes it the most comfortable to use. Thanks to the various positions it can take, Lenovo has aptly given it the 'Yoga' moniker.
The design alone can make it stand out among other tablets you'll find in the market. But has Lenovo done enough to make it stand out in terms of the performance? We find out in our detailed review of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2.
Build and design: 7/10
As with earlier versions of the Yoga tablet, the 10-inch Yoga Tablet 2 comes with a built-in kickstand that lets you use it in different modes. The tablet is part aluminium and part plastic. While the stand and the sides are made of shiny aluminium alloy, the back cover is made of plastic with a chrome polish.
As the device carries a massive 6400mAh battery, you'll notice a prominent bulge at the bottom where there's the kickstand. This gives a nice grip when reading in the portrait mode.
Overall, it looks like a premium device though the bulky bottom end makes it slightly heavier than many tablets in the market.
Though Lenovo tells you that you can use the tablet for reading in portrait mode, the weighty device, coupled with the large screen display makes it difficult to hold for long durations. It’s best when used in the landscape mode by propping it up upright with the stand. Hook it up with a Bluetooth keyboard, and it turns into a great device for getting work done. This is the most convenient way to use this tablet and you'll most likely be using it in this position most of the time.
Even the buttons on the device are placed in a way that makes them easiest to use in the landscape mode. You'll find the power button and the volume rocker placed at the bottom-left of the device. The power button blinks a soft light when left to charge.
While the placement of the buttons is quite intuitive, the front and back cameras don't follow the same rule. The back camera is placed at the bulgy edge on the back, while the front camera is positioned at the left edge (if you are looking at the tablet in the landscape mode). When you open the camera app, Lenovo tells you to switch to the portrait mode. This is where the camera becomes awkward to use, especially if you want to take closeups.
The headphone jack is placed at the right edge, which helps when you want to hook it up with a portable speaker when watching movies. The kickstand slot also has an opening for an external memory card and a SIM card.
The Yoga Tablet 2 comes with two front-facing stereo speakers, powered by Dolby Digital Plus.
The built-in kickstand is a distinct feature, which comes to play when you need to prop it up on a tablet for watching movies or lay it down for easier typing. The other two modes include one for reading in the portrait mode and the other for hanging it on a wall. It's a nice feature to have, though we found that the kickstand is not the smoothest to pull out.
The tablet runs on the Intel Atom Z3745 chipset, with a quad-core processor that's clocked at 1.86 GHz. It runs the Android 4.4.2 KitKat, though it's heavily skinned with with its own UI.
It comes with 16GB of built-in storage. When using the tablet for the first time, you get many apps such as Facebook, Twitter and some of Lenovo's own apps. Some of these pre-installed apps can be deleted, which should help you free up additional storage space. When you've deleted everything you can, you'll be left with 11GB of free storage space. You can boost this up to 64GB using the card slot.
There’s a multitasking feature that lets you open several apps at a time. When activated, you see an icon that looks like a divided box. Clicking on this icon lets you choose different applications that you wish to run simultaneously.
The device packs Lenovo's own software including the unlimited 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.
You get an 8MP rear camera and a 1.6MP front camera. You can record full HD video using the rear camera, while the front camera supports 720p video recordings. You get all the basic features including four different scene modes and Effects to adjust the brightness, saturation and contrast levels in your shots. You can time your shots when using the front camera or artificially brighten shots under dim light conditions.
This Lenovo uses its own user interface, which takes a lot of inspiration from Apple's iOS 7. In fact it’s hard to tell if the device actually runs Android or not. You don’t get the app drawer, there’s a control center that opens with a upward swipe, and the settings page also looks similar to that on iOS 7. This might come as a surprise for Android users who are accustomed to the familiar Android interface.
The size of the icons are quite large and you see all your notifications on the drop down. To add widgets, you’ll need to long press the homescreen to view a list of widgets available for your homescreen.
It did really well in our benchmark tests, maxing out the 3D Mark and providing above-average results in the Geekbench and AnTuTu benchmarks. Thanks to the 2GB of RAM, the tablet had no trouble running heavy games and opening web pages with lots of images.
However, the interface itself is not the smoothest to run. We noticed an occasional stutter when switching between apps. The auto-rotate does not work well in some apps, for example, when watching videos. When using the camera app, you’ll notice the back and home buttons appear either on the left or right side of the screen whether you are holding the tablet in the portrait mode. This is quite annoying as the placement of the camera makes it easiest to use in portrait mode.
Typing is uncomfortable in the landscape mode as the screen is too wide and the default on-screen keyboard cannot be split into two.
Web pages open quickly and you can browse the Internet on a Wi-Fi or a 3G network. Unlike the 8-inch tablet, the tablet does not support voice calling. Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0 and a micro USB slot for transferring data and charging the device.
The Yoga Tablet 2 comes with clear and loud front-facing stereo speakers, which come into their own when watching videos on YouTube or movies saved on the device.
The Lenovo boasts of a full HD display resolution, though the screen isn’t nearly as sharp as its rivals such as the first generation iPad Air and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
Images and text look dull and pixelated. Colour reproduction is also poor, which means movies and games don't look their best when played on this tablet. Viewing angles are good, if slightly reflective in bright outdoors.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 has two average set of cameras. While image quality is average for the tablet, the odd placement of the two camera make them unwieldy to use.
The 8MP camera may sound impressive compared with rival tablets that offer camera with less megapixels. However, the picture quality from this tablet is no better than other mid-range tablets available in the market. It lacks a camera flash and the poor positioning of the camera means it's impossible to use as a primary shooting device. If you are considering this tablet with a good rear camera, you should look elsewhere.
The front camera is decent for video calls, though, again, the position makes it difficult to use in the landscape mode.
Battery life: 8/10
The Yoga tablet 2 has a massive 6,400 mAh battery. It requires around three hours to charge completely with the supplied 2A charger. However, if you'll need to be careful not to lose the charger that Lenovo supplies, as the tablet charges very slowly with ordinary chargers - taking more than 9 hours to charge fully.
Battery life is impressive. In our tests it managed 8 hours and 43 minutes of HD video playback and a little over 11 hours of web browsing after a full recharge.
Verdict and price
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 is priced at Rs 28,990, which puts it in direct competition with the original 9.7 inch iPad Air (16GB Wi-Fi) and the 10.1 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet has a useful kickstand and great hardware, but there are a couple of ergonomic issues that outweigh the benefits. For starters, the cameras are placed at odd positions which make them so awkward to use, you'd rather not use them at all. Secondly, at 619 grams, it's at least 200 grams heavier than other large-screen tablets in the market. This makes it difficult to carry around or use for long hours.
If the poor ergonomics weren't enough, the display is terrible in comparison with rival tablets. The heavily-skinned version of Android further adds to its performance woes.
While the iPad Air lacks cellular connectivity at this price, it delivers top-notch performance in all other areas. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is also a better option to consider if you need an Android alternative.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.