Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Hands-on review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10

Lenovo is looking to get back in the Android tablet game with its new Yoga Tablet range, but can this unorthodox slate really take on the iPad Air?

The 10-inch Yoga Tablet gets off to a good start in terms of price, setting you back just £249, $ 299, AU$ 399 - that's half the price of Apple's new iPad and still a good deal cheaper than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Sony Xperia Tablet Z.

But with a lower price comes compro mise.

That compromise may not be immediately obvious as the Yoga Tablet looks premium from a distance - although all becomes apparent when you approach the tablet and pick it up.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

While the Yoga Tablet 10 may look metal, it's almost completely plastic, making the slate feel as cheap as it is. The textured rear provides something different for your fingers, feeling almost like silk - but it offers little in the way of grip and it won't suit everyone.

It's not all bad news though as the lighter material means Lenovo has managed to keep the weight of the Wi-Fi only version to a palatable 605g, while the 3G variant tips the scales at 610g.

Lenovo Yoga T   ablet 10 review

The iPad Air is far lighter than the Yoga Tablet 10, but Lenovo reckons its negated the weight issue with its rather unusual design.

Lenovo claims its a completely new design, but we can't shake the feeling of Deja Vu as we think of the Sony Xperia Tablet S.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet review

As Sony did in its explanation of the folded-book Tablet S, Lenovo is employing a similar mantra, choosing a folded magazine as its muse. This unique shape makes for easier one handed use - with your hand gripping the bulging length of the tablet.

And to be fair it does work. Having a decent section of case to hold on to really does reduce the effect of the weight on your hand and wrist and we found we could hold the Yoga Tablet 10 for longer periods than our iPad 4.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

There is, of course, no getting away from the fact it still looks a bit odd and left side by side next to an iPad there's only ever one winner, and it's not the Lenovo.

That large bulge isn't just for holding though, it also doubles as a hinge for the stand which folds out from the rear of the Yoga Tablet 10. It's all very Microsoft Surface.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

While the rest of the device is plastic, the stand itself is made of metal, giving us confidence that it's built to last.

You need to apply a reasonable amount of force to prize the stand open, but once done you can then adjust the tilt to fine tune the perfect viewing angle.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

It's certainly a handy feature, but considering a lot of cases now incorporate a stand functionality in their design it's not exactly something people will be queuing round the block for on the Yoga Tablet 10.

Behind the stand hides a microSD slot which can gobble cards up to 64GB in size, allowing you to build on the 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. A 3G enabled Yoga Tablet 10 variant will also be produced, and your SIM card will slot in alongside the microSD card.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Lenovo has made the most of the additional space provided by this huge hinge by placing a large power/lock button at one end, while at the other you'll find the headphone jack.

Dual-front facing speakers sit on the front of the hinge section and with Dolby providing some audio wizardry behind the scenes we found them to be among the better of the in-built offerings.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Holding the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 in landscape doesn't feel quite as natural as the portrait setup, with an uneasy amount of weight distributed at the bottom of the device giving the impression it's always about to slip out of your grasp.

The location of the volume r ocker switch towards the bottom of the right side (when in landscape) isn't overly convenient for quick access and we found ourselves having to shuffle our hands around to manipulate it.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

That bulky bulge has one last trick up its sleeve in the form of the 9000mAh battery, which Lenovo claims will last up to 18 hours. We didn't have time to test this during our hands on with the tablet, but we'll put the claim to the test in our full Yoga Tablet 10 review.

Onto the screen and the true cost of producing such a low priced tablet becomes apparent, as the 10.1-inch display can only muster a 1280 x 800 resolution which is noticeably pixelated.

Lenovo Yoga Tabl   et 10 review

We're used to seeing full HD displays on our tablets now and the Lenovo Yoga Tablet looks dated.

It does have a decent viewing angle and colours are generally pretty bright, but we couldn't get away from the fact that the screen just didn't look particularly good.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Couple that with a display which isn't always responsive to the touch and the Yoga Tablet 10 starts to become a disappointing user experience.

Lenovo has managed to get Android 4.2 Jelly Bean onto the Yoga Tablet, and while it's not the very latest version it is at least close enough and provides a wealth of functionality.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Unfortunately though Lenovo has taken it upon itself to add its own Android overlay to the software, and in our opinion it's made things worse, not better.

The Yoga Tablet 10 is apparently aimed at the hyper connected generation born after 1980. The kind of people who are deeply integrated into technology and own mulitple devices.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Why oh why then has Lenovo made its overlay look like a kid's toy? The babyish icons don't do the Yoga Tablet any favours and the removal of the app tray will undoubtedly frustrate the Android faithful.

You can have up to a maximum of nine homescreens to ease the loss of the app list, plus dragging and dropping apps onto one another will create folders - allowing you to keep things tidy.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Hit the menu button in the toolbar and you get a custom set of options including Theme, Wallpaper, Preview, Preferences and Settings - allowing you to quickly customise the tablet.

The 1.2GHz quad-core processor isn't the snappiest we've experienced and the Yoga Tablet 10 lacks the zip we're accustomed to on the likes of the iPad or Galaxy Note 10.1. It doesn't seem to lag, it just isn't as efficient when it comes to getting the job done.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Apps also take that split second longer to open, and while it's not a huge issue it i s noticeable when you put the Yoga Tablet 10 up against its rivals.

Another area where the Yoga Tablet falls down is in the camera department. We're still not sold on using 10-inch tablets as everyday snappers, but if Lenovo is going to the effort of putting cameras on its new slate it might as well do it right.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Sadly though the 5MP camera on the rear of the Yoga Tablet 10 is not only badly position - you'll find it on one end of the chunky hinge - it's also struggles to focus properly and produce even half decent snaps.

Unsurprisingly the front facing 1.6MP option - located above the screen when held in portrait - didn't fair any better in the short time we spent with the tablet.


An added bonus for anyone picking up the Lenovo Yoga Tablet is the inclusion of a free Bluetooth keyboard.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

As well as providing a full QWERTY keyboard and mouse track pad, the keyboard also doubles as a cover to protect the screen of the Yoga Tablet, using magnets to keep itself in place.

Put the cover onto the Yoga Tablet and sleep mode will activate. Remove it, and the tablet will wake up, ready to be used.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Lenovo claims you can get 75 days out of the keyboard from one charge if you use it for two hours a day.

The keyboard itself isn't too bad to type on with some decent travel between keys, although its flimsy plastic construction makes us fear for its well being. T his is something which could be broken easily.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

A slightly annoying factor on the keyboard is the port used to charge it. Lenovo has designed a special port just for the keyboard in an attempt to keep it as thin and light as possible.

However it requires a special cable to charge and if you don't happen to have it on you and the keyboard dies then you're out of luck as the standard microUSB cable used to charge the tablet won't be able to help you here.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 review

Early verdict

During the presentation of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 things were looking good with a decent sounding spec sheet, free keyboard a nd impressive 18 hour battery life piquing our interest - that was until we actually got our hands on the thing.

The screen is disappointing, the cameras are pretty much useless, the UI is childish and the cheap quad-core processor doesn't have the same oomph as its high-end rivals.

Of course this is hardly a surprise considering the almost bargain basement price tag the Yoga Tablet 10 is sporting, but if you're looking for an affordable 10-inch tablet you might want to hold out for the new Nexus 10.


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