Lenovo Yoga tablet review: That self-standing Tablet

Finally an Android tablet I can actually use. Looks like I have just biased my review but hey this tablet brings craftsmanship to another level. Lenovo has taken the concept of the hinge and made their own killer tablet feature and I totally agree with them. Lenovo has finally convinced me that I should care about functional hinges on my devices. Just like their Windows 8 Yoga PCs, this machine is well-forged, and eminently flexible, able to pull double duty as laptop and tablet. It among the few tablet gimmicks that really works.

Just for the record this tablet can be found in two flavors. Both the Yoga Tablets, 8- and 10-inch Android slates include built-in stands. Priced at $249 (UGX 630,000) for the smaller model and for 50 extra dollars you can get yourself the larger screen option. The Chinese company makes you wonder why not all tablets can “stand themselves up”. The moment I got it, I got down to my desk, propped it up, and tempted to get down to work, the experience was phenomenon.

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headset port and volume rocker

For an unpopular brand in Uganda, Lenovo if not willing to take chances in industrial design, they wont survive and its seems the results have paid off —Both the models are just 0.12 inches thick along most of their bodies — making them ridiculously thin— thereafter curling into a large grip worthy, cylindrical bottom handle. They are made of a high quality and well-built silver metallic body, and utterly practicable in its design.

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For the 10″ model, the circular bottom makes the Yoga Tablet hard to grip like you would on the usual cuboid shaped tablets. The awkward position is when you attempt to place the big corners in your palm. The bright-side of having the big edge, is to allow for that comfortable grip; the Yoga Tablet is one of the most comfy tablets to hold in one hand, because there’s something substantial to wrap your hand around unlike other tablets that could slip out of your hand. One would wish Samsung made such a tablet with an s-pen, cause clearly this tablet is begging for stylus support.

This center piece of the device — the handle– has another major functions. That’s the place for Lenovo to pack a high capacity battery, and a place for the crazy-flexible hinge that the company’s Yoga devices have become well known for. If there is one reason for me to buy this tablet with my hard earn cash, okay apart from the cool grip, its the Yoga’s great battery life. I was able to drain the 8″ model after 16 hours and 40 minutes of heavy usage, this includes playing games, constantly connected to the internet receiving mails, watching movies and streaming internet radio and the list goes on. Bottom line I was impressed with the battery life on this sucker.

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Lenovo Yoga Back

The hinge rolls back gently and sits flush with the back of the tablet, and can be twisted out the grip for it to come out. Take care if you have delicate finger nails as you rotate the hinge into place. With this hinge you can position the the tablet up at a flexible angle good enough for watching movies, or typing on the screen. At the end of the day it comes down to how you want to use this tablet, just make sure you tweak it to the perfect angle you will be comfortable to work in. The hinge is generally an incredibly useful addition to an Android tablet, and Yoga Tablet has fully taken advantage of this. Under the hinge, you will find a Micro SD card and SIM card slot.

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Power Button and Charging/Data Port

At the front you will find Lenovo’s glossy silver logo is oriented properly near the hinge, but I still struggle to understand why the placed the front-facing camera to the left — if you are a selfie buff, you will either find yourself misaligned in the frame, or you appear to be looking off distractedly into the distance. In a stand up position, the rear-facing lens, will always point directly into whatever table or desk you’ve placed the device on. You will find yourself constantly re-adjusting the hinge in order to use the Yoga Tablet’s camera. You see that hard design choices had to be made by Lenovo as this is the first tablet that would render the buying for a tablet cases useless , as  I was able to use it as it sat on my desk. Offering days-long battery, too, is incredibly important and a rare thing in tablets of late. And that is where all the beauty of the Yoga ends anything beyond these two features was an absolute miss for these tablets.

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SIM & SD Card Slot

Both the 10.1 and 8 inch tablets have the same 1280 x 800 resolution, which is super low-end for the 8 and disgusting to look at for the 10 — both screens are just very, very bad decisions. I hate it when companies have to compromise on features in the name of keeping costs down. Outdoors the screen washes out colors and the display exposes all the pixelated text everywhere you look. It’s just grotesque to watch a video on, or find that comfortable reading experience all in all the viewing experience on the 8 inch offers a greater viewing experience than then 10. Don’t get me wrong I have seen worse screens on tablets from major Android manufactures but for a tablet with such great design, it really deserves, a good screen and Lenovo missed that mark.

The Yoga Tablet’s front-facing speakers are no match to HTC’s boom sound but do a decent job, and if it had a great display it could have found a place as a bedside TV. But remains a distant dream for the tablet, as we hope the second iteration will be improved on a lot.

Charged with powering both Yoga tablets is a quad-core MediaTek MT8125/8389 processor and if used to play graphical intensive games like Dead trigger , it’s clearly not up to the task, before a software upgrade that I had to do immediately I got the device, nothing about the Yoga Tablet ever felt fast or smooth.

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The Lenovo UI

The tablets run Android 4.2.2 and they have greatly been slowed down by Lenovo’s cartoonish skin. And here is the worst part, their UI borrows a lot of design cues of a typical Chinese Android manufacturer. Seems they all fear the Android app grid, with a single home screen followed by a list of all the apps you have installed. To create more, you’ll have to wade through and then close a very confusing menu just to be able to move the screens around. The fonts are big, thick and look blurry on the low-res displays, and in a perfectly representative example of Lenovo apparently not giving a damn about the “Yoga Tablet”.

I wonder why some apps come pre-installed in the first place, apps like Navigate 6 just feel like a butchered version of Google Maps. Then there is a Feature Guide app that apparently teaches you to use Android with a series of primitive hand-drawn diagrams and instructions like “To open the Camera, go to Camera.” Seriously Lenovo, who needs such torture? There’s a power management app, which I at least found useful, along with Norton’s mobile security app and the standard set of Google apps. On the connectivity front the device is equipped with wifi, 2G and 3G capable of doing up to 21 mpbs speeds.

If you have used this tablet. Please leave your own review ranking below.