Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10: Unique design on a budget (hands on)
Summary: Lenovo is heating up the Android tablet space with the introduction of two tablets aimed directly at the Nexus line. The Yoga Tablet comes in 8 and 10-inch models just like the similarly priced Nexus slates.
L-R: Yoga Tablet 8, Yoga Tablet 10 (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
Lenovo unveiled the Yoga Tablet in an online event featuring Ashton Kutcher in its new BetterWay campaign. There are actually two Yoga Tablets, an 8-inch model and a 10-inch slate. Both tablets are essentially the same with the exception of the size. We've had both models in our hands for a short period and are impressed with what you get for the price.
When you unbox either Yoga Tablet you are immediately impressed with a hardware design that is unique in the crowded Android field. Each tablet has a cylindrical grip on one side of the device that houses a battery that Lenovo claims gets better life than any tablet on the market.
Yoga Tablets stacked (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
The cylinder also has an integrated stand that folds out to support the tablet in two modes, a low profile typing mode and an upgright configuration for watching video. The stand can support the tablet in various viewing angles to fit the situation. The short stand is made of aluminum and supports the tablet securely.
Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 hardware specs as reviewed:
Both the Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 are very thin on the side opposite the cylinder grip. Surprisingly, the tablets are comfortably balanced when holding either the grip or the other side.
Choosing to design the Yogas with the cylinder grip allowed Lenovo to include unique features:
The only port on the Yogas is a microUSB port that is used for charging the tablets. It can also be used to charge other devices while the tablet is being used.
Yoga Tablets in tilt mode (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)
Lenovo has included Dolby technology, including an app to tailor audio to the user's taste, to drive the stereo speakers on the front of the cylinder grip. These speakers sound fantastic, easily the best we've heard on any tablet. The Dolby app can optimize the audio for movies, audio, and for voices.
Yoga Tablet stereo speakers
Yoga Tablet 8 (Image: Lenovo)
The MTK processor used in the Yogas is intended as a budget chipset for lower-cost devices, but in our testing it's a very good performer. Tablet operation sees things happen very quickly, and can rival that of premium tablets.
Two different Galaxy Note 8.0 owners were impressed with how fast the Yogas run apps and how fluid the interface moves. One Nexus 7 (original model) owner also noted how fast the operation is on the Yogas.
After a day of heavy testing, both the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 have impressed us with the speed and performance of this hardware configuration. This testing did not include gaming, which may be a different story.
The ability to use bigger batteries in the Yogas due to the cylindrical housing gives both tablets impressive battery life. According to Lenovo, web surfing can be done for 11.2/13 hours on the Yoga Tablet 10 and 8, respectively. The batteries will last a whopping 12.2/14.5 hours on the 10 and 8 inch tablets, respectively. Reading ebooks with the backlighting turned down to 20 percent sees the batteries last for 19/21 hours for the Yoga 10 and 8, respectively.
Yoga Tablet 10 Keyboard Cover (Image: Lenovo)
The unique shape of the Yoga Tablets requires special cases from Lenovo. We have tested a sleeve case for each of the Yogas. These protective covers are $29.99 each and are fitted for each Yoga. There is a magnetic flap that seals the tablet inside the case for transport. This case is available in several colors.
The Yoga Tablet 10 has a keyboard cover (not tested) that has a keyboard and trackpad for use with the bigger tablet. It is priced at $69.99 from Lenovo.
Lenovo has taken aim at the Nexus tablets with the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10. The Yogas have a design like no other Android tablet currently available, which comes with advantages over the competition. Long battery life, ergonomic design, and a reasonable price point will keep the competitors up at night.
Our testing of both the Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 has impressed us. The outstanding build quality is better than any Samsung tablet we have used, and the low price point makes these tablets a good value proposition.
Yoga Tablet ports and features (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)