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Lenovo have struck gold with a very specific niche audience, the type that like to use a high performance ultrabook that can quickly be folded up into a tablet.
In fact, Lenovo have found so many takers in this hybrid convertible tablet segment that they now have 6 different variants of the popular Yoga tablet/ultrabook. This post will give you a brief insight into the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2, a model that was released in October 2014 and is now available with enticing holiday discounts.
The device comes in 8-inch and 10.1-inch forms. It also offers a choice between Android and Windows 8.1 operating systems. The device comes with Lenovo’s own software called SYNCit, a service that will give you exclusive access to unlimited cloud storage on Lenovo’s servers.
Another proprietary Lenovo app, SHAREit, allows you to send documents, photos and apps across many devices using good old Bluetooth.
The basic design of Yoga Tablet 2 is very similar to its predecessors. A very prominent cylindrical spine runs through its longer edge. The kickstand is the standout feature of Yoga Tablet 2, looking classy while being extremely form functional. Like in its earlier Yoga variants, mechanics in the kickstand are what allow you to twist and turn this device into whatever suits you best. The device carries a large, long lasting Li-Ion 6400 mAh battery.
This is prominent in the bulge at the bottom of the device near the kickstand. The battery also acts as a grip while holding the tablet in portrait mode, actually offering pretty impressive ergonomics. Despite its rather hefty look, the Yoga Tablet 2 weighs in at just a mere 1.36 lbs for the 10.1′ model, with the 8′ model weighing even lighter at just less than 1 lbs!
Portrait vs Landscape Mode
Though use in portrait mode is all right, the placement of buttons on this tablet clearly suggest that the device is intended to be used in landscape mode. Moreover, ergonomics and weight distribution have been optimized for holding the tablet horizontally.
In fact, the best viewing and using experience comes when this hybrid is in landscape mode with the kickstand on.
Both the 8-inch and 10.1-inch forms of Yoga Tablet 2 possess a 1,920 x 1,200 screen. 10.1-inch device’s screen with its wider area compared to 8-inch obviously carries lesser pixel density.
While the text and pictures shows up with as much detail as say a a Sony Z2 Tablet, it doesn’t quite match up to the clarity of output seen on a first generation iPad Air and Samsung Galaxy Tab S. Even though the viewing angles are good with slight reflection in bright outdoor conditions, it’s not a great device of choice if you are primarily going to be using the tablet for movies or games.
Yoga Tablet 2’s Li-Ion 6400 mAh battery is massive and lasts long. The tablet’s supplied charger takes about three hours to charge completely, a downside to having such a big battery. But, if you can schedule your daily charging to when you sleep, it shouldn’t be much of a problem at all.
The front and rear cameras of Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 are just about average. You might get deceived by the 8MP specification, not a very common feature in tablets. However, as you might already know, MP isn’t everything when it comes to a camera quality. The picture quality of the rear camera is no better than its rivals who offer cameras with lesser resolution, most notably the 5 MP models. Lenovo have decided not to give the Yoga Tablet 2’s camera a flash.
While there are raving reviews about the design, the camera’s design is certainly poor. It’s placed at the corner of the cylindrical stem that runs along the device’s length. Shooting pictures using this camera can make you look quite ridiculous, it has to be said.
Yoga Tablet 2 isn’t the device if you are looking for a good rear camera, mostly because it isn’t even in the rear! The front camera is decent for video calls. But the positioning doesn’t allow you to make best use of it in landscape mode.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 uses its own user interface. You can very well say it’s an inspiration from Apple’s iOS 7. You won’t get the usual app drawer. Instead, with an upward swipe, you get a control center. The settings page also looks similar to iOS 7.
In fact it is hard to tell if the device actually runs Android or not. Android users who are quite accustomed to the familiar Android interface are in for a surprise with Yoga Tablet 2’s interface. The size of the icons are large and you see all the notifications on the drop down. To add widgets, you’ll need to long press the home screen to view a list of widgets available.
If you are a hardcore Android fan, we suggest that you play around with the UI at the store to see if this is something that might grow on you, as it definitely isn’t textbook Android.
With its 2 GB RAM, Yoga Tablet 2 hasn’t faced many issues with games and web pages that are heavily embedded with media like images or pictures.
However, the interface itself is not a smooth runner. It stutters and thinks while switching between apps. Auto rotate is a problem in some instances, like when watching movies and when you turn the tablet, to then see it think for a bit before reverting the view for you.
The Yoga Tablet 2 comes with loud and clear front-facing stereo speakers, which are pretty good for video and game playing.
Should you go for it?
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 has a useful kickstand and robust hardware which is a definite plus for the device. Basic ergonomic issues outweigh the benefits though. As discussed in the article earlier, the cameras are placed at odd positions which make them so awkward to use. If you can afford a bit more, we would highly recommend that you upscale to the Yoga Pro series that give you excellent performance bang for your money.
Adding to the poor ergonomics is the poor display compared to its rival tablets. The heavily-skinned version of Android further dilutes a full Android experience, if you are looking for one.
While the iPad Air lacks cellular connectivity at Yoga Tablet 2’s price, it delivers good performance in all other areas. Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is also a better option to consider if you need an Android alternative. Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 has been good on design but falters on some basics.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 currently retails for $369.99 at BestBuy.