To stand out in the tablet market filled with the usual rectangle-shaped devices, Lenovo unveiled its Yoga Tablet last year. Although the tablet design included some very useful modifications like the built-in stand, it faltered on other aspects. With its new Yoga Tablet 2, the company is not only hoping to improve on its predecessor’s design but also to fix the performance issues.
I spent over a week with the 8-inch Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 to find out whether the company has been successful in doing so and is it a capable mid-range tablet?
Thanks to the integrated stand and a cylindrical bottom, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 looks unique like the original Yoga Tablet. The build-quality is good, even though most of the table is made of plastic apart from the aluminium stand. The tablet looks nice and feels premium in hand, in part because of the nifty little design tweaks by Lenovo, like the concentric circle pattern on the power button & volume rocker as well as the laser-etched back.
It is mostly thin apart from the cylinder at the bottom, which helps in gripping the tablet when you want to use it in the portrait mode, mostly for reading and stuff. Lenovo has slightly changed the integrated kickstand since the last-generation and it now includes a hole, which can be used to hang the tablet, if the need arises. Personally, I never needed to hang the tablet during my testing but other modes of the kickstand surely came in handy, like the stand-mode for watching movies or tilt for typing.
While I am used to consuming content on the usual (rectangular) Android tablets, I found the atypical design of Yoga 2 helpful in many situations and it is not a nuisance even when you don’t need the kickstand.
Coming to the display, Lenovo has included a full-HD 1920x1200p IPS panel on the tablet. The display is decent and provides great viewing angles. The full HD resolution ensures that you get crisp images and text, something that was missing in the last-generation. The screen is however a fingerprint magnet and prone to smudges.
Overall, on the design and display front, Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 is pretty much a winner in its price-segment.
Lenovo has chosen to go with Intel’s Z3745 quad-core Atom processor in the Yoga Tablet 2. Although the processor is 64-bit capable, Android 4.4 doesn’t support it, thus, Lenovo has not enabled the same in the device. It is possible that Lenovo could go 64-bit with Android 5.0 update, but I don’t have any official confirmation in that regard.
Coupled with 2GB of RAM, Intel Atom Z3745 ensures that the tablet is able to withstand anything that you throw at it. The performance is good and tablet is mostly smooth during day-to-day use, but I did find occasional lag, most likely due to Lenovo’s own software customisations, which are far from refined. At times, the tablet took seconds to wake up from sleep, but for the most part, it offered a snappy performance.
The front-facing speakers are great and thanks to the Dolby Audio enhancements, they provide the best sound experience in the price-segment.
The Yoga Tablet 2 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and as I wrote earlier, it comes with Lenovo’s own interface and software optimisations, which hardly bring any extra functionalities, apart from multi-window support. Lenovo’s multi-window implementation leaves a lot to be desired, but still is a welcome addition and helps with productivity. It allows the users to open as many as four apps simultaneously and eight applications support it.
Lenovo has also pre-loaded its Do-it suite of apps as well as Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, WPS Office, Navigate, Guvera Music and more on the tablet.
The built-in 3G (4G also, but I wasn’t able to test it as there is no 4G in New Delhi right now) connectivity as well as voice-calling support is another positive for the tablet.
While the presence of rear cameras in tablets is more like an “added feature” than necessary component, it doesn’t hurt to have a good camera on-board, however I believe camera is hardly a deal-breaker for any tablet. Now coming to Yoga Tablet 2, it packs an 8MP image sensor on the back and the camera is disappointing. It clicks washed-out photos and takes a long time in focusing on the subjects in the frame.
On the front, Lenovo has included a basic 1.3MP shooter, which is average, but will do for occasional video chats and selfies.
Although Yoga Tablet 2 falters with camera, it is a winner on the battery front. During my testing, I found the tablet lasting almost two-days with moderate use. In the video-playback test with medium brightness and switched-on Wi-Fi, the tablet went on for 8 hours and 36 minutes with 7 percent of battery still left.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet has a lot of things going for it – innovative design, great battery life, decent display and good performance – but the tablet is not without issues. Its software is far from perfect and the camera is disappointing. While I don’t personally care for the camera, it is the software that needs the most work. I hope that the Motorola acquisition will have some positive effect on Lenovo and the company will move towards stock Android with little and useful enhancements, rather than trying to make Android like iOS and messing up the whole thing. Being said that, Yoga Tablet 2 is still a great option for a small 3G Android tablet in this price-bracket. The only other option, I can think of, is Google’s over-a-year-old Nexus 7 (2013). If you are in the market for sub-INR 25,000 tablet, you should definitely consider Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2.