Review Lenovo Yoga Tablet: Twist in the Tale

Jan 12 2014, 10:43 IST
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Lenovo is attempting to change that with a cylindrical metal grip on one side which lets users hold the tablet easily. Lenovo is attempting to change that with a cylindrical metal grip on one side which lets users hold the tablet easily.
SummaryLenovo Yoga Tablet has excellent ergonomics, battery life but an inferior display.

Can you use a tablet with one hand? For most tablets, the answer is, not for long periods. Lenovo is attempting to change that with a cylindrical metal grip on one side which lets users hold the tablet easily.

Lenovo’s Yoga moniker is no longer reserved for ultrabooks that can be bent backwards. The Chinese manufacturer, which recently said that it has moved from being a PC maker to a PC-plus company, has brought the Yoga brand name to two unconventional tablets. Lenovo Yoga Tablet comes in two screen sizes: the 8-inch variant costs Rs 22,999, and the 10-inch model is Rs 28,999. We reviewed the 8-inch Yoga Tablet.

Build Quality and Design

In a market full of look-alikes, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet stands out for its unique design. The tube grip on one edge of the tablet makes it easy to hold. Twisting the tube reveals a tiny stand, which by far is the most innovative addition to a tablet. If you have ever used an iPad with Apple’s smart cover, you would know how much the typing experience improves after you fold the cover into a triangle . The stand on the Yoga Tablet lets you do the same thing without paying about Rs 4,000 more. But at 401 grams, the tablet is too heavy for single-hand use.

Users can also use the stand to prop up the tablet. This, along with the front-facing speakers and Dolby sound, make watching films enjoyable on the Yoga Tablet. The only gripe is that the speakers are not loud enough for noisy places, but suffice for watching films at home. Holding a tablet in your hand while watching films is cumbersome for various reasons such as aching or sweating hands, and the device’s rising temperature, especially during the summer. The tablet’s stand eliminates that irksome experience altogether.

Lenovo is known for making sturdy devices, as is evident from the company’s rugged ThinkPad laptops. The Yoga Tablet is no exception. The back panel of the tablet is made of metal, and so is the tube grip. This gives it a sturdy feel.

The placement of the power button is unconventional — at one end of the tube grip — but it’s easy to find once users get accustomed to the device.

Display and Performance

Yoga Tablet 8’s pricing pits it squarely against last year’s iPad Mini, and the display is just a shade inferior when compared to Apple’s device. However, those looking to buy the 10-inch Yoga Tablet can get a much better display on the iPad Mini Retina (Rs 28,900). Yoga Tablet runs Android 4.2.2, but Lenovo has customised the OS. The app drawer has been removed entirely, which means that you will not have to tap a button to view a list of apps. All your apps are on the home screen by default, just like the layout in Apple’s iOS.

One area where the software differs from iOS, is that you can place widgets on the home screen. I did not like Lenovo’s customisation, since stock Android feels much smoother and refined. There is no point trying to change the interface if the company cannot improve the user experience. A slight lag was noticed when swiping between home screens, especially after many widgets were placed on one of the home screens.

For a mid-range tablet, the device performes as expected. It is capable of running most games, but don’t buy it if you want to play heavy games, such as Real Racing 3, all day. As with most tablets, the Yoga Tablet’s 5 megapixel camera is poor.

One rarely uses the words Android and excellent battery life in the same sentence. Earlier this year, Lenovo’s P780 smartphone debunked that stereotype, although the phone was a little too bulky for most. With the Yoga Tablet, Lenovo has given users excellent battery life in a sleek form. The secret — the tube grip houses its battery. It lasted 10-11 hours on moderate to heavy usage.

Should You Buy It?

It’s good enough for most users, since it supports 3G and voice calls. The tablet deserves credit for excellent ergonomics and battery life. However, buyers will have to live with the Yoga Tablet’s low-resolution display and the dearth of excellent tablet-optimised apps on Android.

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