When it comes to tablets, Lenovo has had a bit of a rough time recently. The release of the critically successful ThinkPad Tablet 2 was followed up by several subpar offerings, and the manufacturer hopes to change that with the Yoga Tablet line.
It’s a nice effort, but ultimately not a significant improvement over the rest of the Lenovo tablet range.
The Yoga Line
The Yoga Tablet line, according to Lenovo, is all about versatility. Thanks to a cylindrical edge that vaguely resembles the binding of a folded book, the Yoga Tablets are designed to be used in three “modes.”
These modes include holding the device by the cylindrical edge, lying the tablet flat on a surface so that it’s tilted toward you, and using the integrated kickstand. It looks a bit goofy on first glance compared to tablets with more traditional design, but it all works pretty well. Even better, the larger edge is used to house a massive battery.
Yoga Tablet 8
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 is constructed from a textured polycarbonate material that feels pretty good compared to tablets in the budget range. The 8.4-by-5.7 inch device ranges from about 0.1 to 0.3 inches in thickness and weighs 0.88 pounds.
It’s heavier than many other tablets in its range, but not unbearably so. The 1,280-by-800 pixel display performs decently, delivering acceptable color and contrast. The 1.2-gigahertz quad-core MTK 8125 processor and one gigabyte of RAM aren’t going to blow anyone away, but the Yoga can handle basic tasks reasonably well.
The biggest inclusion is the 6,000 mAh battery, which provides fantastic battery life in comparison to tablets with smaller batteries.
A natural comparison for the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, and the devices are largely similar. Both feature 1,280-by-800 displays, though the Galaxy panel is noticeably brighter and more vivid.
The Galaxy Tab also offers a svelte, premium design, and it’s very well-constructed for an entry-level tablet. The Yoga gets an edge in performance, as it delivers a somewhat smoother experience than the surprisingly laggy 1.5-gigahertz dual-core Samsung Exynos 4 found in the Galaxy Tab. Samsung did leave the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system mostly untouched, which is very welcome compared to the poorly designed and executed iOS clone Lenovo attempted to implement.
Of course, the Yoga’s huge battery delivers longevity far beyond what the Galaxy can muster.
Yoga Tablet 10
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 uses the same basic design as the eight-inch version, though it feels a bit strange to hold a ten-inch tablet in portrait mode. The polycarbonate and aluminum construction feels just as good as the Yoga 8, and the 10.28-by-7.09 inch body tapers from 0.32 to 0.12 inches.
At 1.33 pounds, it’s only moderately heavy compared to tablets like the 1.1-pound Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. The 1,280-by-800 IPS display looks pretty good, producing pleasant color and contrast and offering just enough sharpness.
It’s also extremely bright, so outside use should be no problem. The 1.2-gigahertz MTK 8125 processor is, again, thoroughly mediocre. Basic tasks are no problem, though switching orientation can be laggy and playing hardware-intensive games is all but hopeless.
Comparing tablets with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, both offer pros and cons. The Galaxy Tab isn’t as well-built as the Lenovo, though it is a bit lighter and thinner. The Galaxy’s glossy plastic backing is also a magnet for fingerprints and smudges.
The Lenovo also offers a marginally better display. The Galaxy’s 1,280-by-800 display isn’t as crisp as the Yoga 10, and it can’t hold a candle to its exceptional brightness. The color and contrast are decent, but the TFT LCD panel doesn’t quite match the Yoga’s wide viewing angles.
The Galaxy Tab’s dual-core 1.6-gigahertz Intel Z2560 chip seems even more dated than Lenovo’s MTK 8125, and the result is performance that’s even choppier. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 also features a massive 8,000 mAh battery, which delivers longevity that blows the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 away in a tablet comparison.