Now that the holidays are over, and seeing as you probably didn’t get a tablet based on the fact that you are currently reading this – this is the post season for purchasing new electronics, as many consumers know.
Electronics manufacturers know this even better. Thus, every year many manufacturers strive to offer innovative new products at prices that most consumers will take note of. PC maker Lenovo knows this as well and while they are known for producing expensive, high end “business” computers, they do have a slew of products that occasionally are marketed toward the general consumer mass market.
With so many hardware manufacturers producing their own Android Tablets, someone at Lenovo inevitably decided “Why not us?”. Taking up the challenge to produce a mid-range Android tablet, Lenovo’s design team decided to throw in a unique feature – a slate style kickstand which is part of a cylindrical base. Now that there are two identical versions of this tablet, a 10-inch and an 8-inch model, I reviewed the 10-inch model.
Design, look, and feel
The Lenovo Yoga 10 is both incredibly light and slim; simply put it feels fantastic to hold. Yes, even the cylindrical base felt great to the touch. Actually it props up the tablet quiet nicely as it lays flat. Innovative features aside, the tablet benefits from a brushed aluminum feel, and with the exception of the bezel, it barely feels of plastic construction.
On the bottom right and left side of the front end of the tablet are two minuscule speakers, on the bottom left side within the cylindrical base is a round power button, above this a small micro –USB charging part. On the right side within the cylindrical base is a well centered 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones. Above this on the side of the unit is a small volume rocker. Around the back built into the cylindrical base is the slate kickstand, which can be pulled down to act as a stand for the unit. When the stand is folded up it covers the Micro – SD card slot and on select models, the SIM card slot. While the cards do slide in with relative ease, getting them to lock in place and eject is a fairly difficult task.
The screen felt nice and crisp. Although some other reviews have bemoaned the “mediocre” resolution of 1280 x 800 on the Yoga Tablet 10’s 10.1” HD display, it actually was quite pleasurable on the eyes. While there is truth to the fact that for the same price one could acquire a similar tablet with substantially higher screen resolution, we found the screen to be enjoyable. It produced rich, vibrant colors and even at the lowest brightness setting was still decently easy to view while outdoors in the sunlight without having to strain our eyes to much. Granted it is glossy so fingerprints will leave there mark on it. Lenovo did include a plastic screen protector with our review unit, and after applying it, fingerprints are no longer an issue. Most importantly, 720p HD movies looked alive and gaming felt decently smooth enough as the screen played them back.
Asphalt 8, played incredibly smoothly. Additionally the screen was incredibly responsive while gaming, browsing, and just messing around with general utilities.
However, typing on the screen proved to be a bust. Although this has more to do with the onscreen keyboard that comes with Lenovo’s version of Android 4.2.2, thus using almost any other keyboard would alleviate the pain of having to constantly fix words typed on the screen – no it is not on account of poor spelling – it just has to do with the way the keyboard process typed input.
Cameras and speakers
The big bad branding on this tablet is the inclusion of “Dolby” speakers. The fact of the matter is that no amount of marketing swag like “Dolby approved” will actually make the audio your device produces sound decent. While the speakers proved effective for personal use indoors, they did not produce any bass – to be fair this should be expected as this is a tablet and not a speaker system. However when taken outdoors the speakers were moot. With standard everyday noise (cars, sirens, shooting) the speakers proved inaudible and for the most part required headphones, save for the occasional cease fire.
The cameras on the other hand – ah these were nice! Lets start with the front facing camera. It’s a 1.6 megapixel HD shooter, and using it for Skype was awesome even with a mediocre internet connection. My friends in distant places said I looked sharp, which is impressive considering I only look “sharp” while wearing a suit. The camera on the rear is a little bit of a disappointment. As a 5 megapixel camera it does its job well enough but it lacks flash and its placement on the back of the cylindrical stand means its prone to having its lens smudged by the residue of users fingers while they hold the tablet. This issue is fixed by wiping the lens with a cloth. The photos it produced were decent, however in this instance if possible please use your phone to take pictures instead of a tablet.
The battery life is absolutely incredible for a tablet of this size. Simply put the tablet seemed almost unstoppable. How so? For instance I recently embarked on a journey from New York City to Tel-Aviv with a brief stopover in Madrid. Total trip time: a painstaking 20 hours. Now to be fair WiFi was employed irregularly as there was none on the flight. The screen brightness was at the lowest setting the tablet would allow (which is still decently viewable in sunlight) and the screen was almost constantly in use. Whether I was watching a movie, playing a game, or just typing for the sake of it, did I mention I was listening to music as well? Incredibly the battery life survived almost the whole ordeal and I landed with about 10% to spare. On average the tablet ran for about 12 hours with Wi-Fi on and screen brightness at 50%, keep in mind that was active use.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 comes with Android version 4.2.2, Jelly Bean. Although the UI is a Lenovo customized version, it is simple to navigate. Although the tablet does not come with stock Android, it is not bloated with apps. Lenovo included a few useful apps (albeit not the most functional) to ensure users could have the tablet running straight out of the box without having to download everything. So aside from the standard Google provided apps (YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, Maps) there were also some useful apps (Weather, Kingston Office).
Lenovo actually produced a wonderful piece of kit for the price they are charging. $299 nets consumers the 32GB model. Which in and of itself is pretty neat. Could the tablet have performed better? Actually no. It performed about as well as it should have – and the battery life simply blows the competition out of the water. In fact this is the tablet other 10 – inch tablets should be bowing to – as far as battery life goes. Overall it was a satisfying experience.
lenovo Yoga Pad Tablet 10 Specifications:
Display: HD 1280 x 800 10.1″
Processor: 1.2Ghz quad-core Media Tek processor
Storage: 1GB RAM, 16GB eMCC – expandable via Micro SD card slot
Android version: 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean)
Connectivity options: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS – 3G on select models
Cameras: Front 1.6 megapixel – rear 5 megapixel (no flash)
Additional: Mic, mini- USB charging port, 3.5mm jack, Dolby Speakers
About Benny Sabghir: Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Benny enjoys all aspects of consumer electronics - especially writing about it. He also enjoys hitting the gym, running and discussing the history of his three favorite wars - The American Revolution, The Six-Day War, and the Star Wars Trilogy. Currently in Jerusalem, Israel. Follow him on twitter @Sabghir_Benny Find him on Google+ View author profile.