Review by Andrew Kameka on Wednesday December 04, 2013.
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The Lenovo Yoga was the first device to make Windows 8 interesting. It had a hinge that could convert the laptop into a tablet or fold into a tent. Lenovo has since refined that design into an even better laptop, and it has also taken the time to convert some of that design philosophy to the Android-powered Lenovo Yoga Tablet. Though the Yoga Tablet doesn't drastically change form factors like the original hybrid, it does feature a design to convert into more useful positions. Here's a look at the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8, the most interesting tablet seen in a while.
Hardware and Design
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet is a mix of marvel and awkwardness. The core of tablet is a metallic cylinder that serves as its backbone. The cylinder houses a large power button that doubles as a notification light because it glows when alerts arrive. At the opposite end is a 3.5mm headphone jack. The true purpose for the tube is that it houses a foldout kickstand to prop up the Yoga Tablet. The stand is thin and very sturdy, reflecting Lenovo's smart design chops to create a tablet that can be the perfect desk companion to stand up and show video, tweets, or video chat without having to hold the device. The stand works well for watching Netflix or YouTube in bed as well, though you might get some push back from the person lying next to you.
The cornerstone of the Yoga is the cylinder, and good or bad, that metallic tube enables the best and worst of the device. The awkward part of that design is that the cylinder is rather thick, so it can feel strange during the moments someone wants to hold the Yoga. The bulk of the weight is on one side of the tablet, so it requires gripping the cylinder in a strange fashion when reading in portrait. Holding the flat side feels too strange, so it makes more sense to wrestle with the opposite side. Aside from the tube that holds the kickstand and a rear camera, the back material of the tablet is a coarse plastic with less of a premium feel.
Rounding out the exterior are volume buttons along the bottom of the tablet take a little force to respond. A pair of speakers on opposite ends of the face of the Yoga that sound well in a quiet room but won't overpower background noise. The stereo speakers also support Dolby Digital Plus sound for clear, airy audio.
Lenovo chose an unfortunate time to release a tablet with only 180 pixels per inch. While the Google Nexus 7 and Apple iPad Mini have made their screens have so many pixels that the human eye cannot discern any flaws, the Yoga Tablet's low density is quite noticeable. The Yoga has an 8-inch display with a 1280x800 resolution. It's not the worst thing in the world, but users will notice the dotty home screen and video that has neither the great colors nor the clarity of similarly sized tablets. Text looks fine in the browser, but photos and video are particularly disappointing. Lenovo changes the color profiles depending on the mode - stand, tilt, or held - but the end result is still an average display.
Performance and Key Specs
A 1.2 GHz quad-core processor powers the Lenovo Yoga 8. It's of the weaker MediaTek variety that uses ARM Cortex-A7 cores and it's paired with only 1GB of RAM, so no one will mistake the Yoga for a spec beast. Quite the opposite, actually; many will be letdown by how it can labor in some activities. Premium gaming is a challenge because the graphics lack fluidity, and it lags during standard things like switching orientation or loading apps. The Yoga Tablet moves well enough to be acceptable, but there's plenty of room for improvement. I could see someone who only plans on reading and watching video skating by, but anyone who likes strong or even average speed will be frustrated
Key Yoga Tablet 8 specs
- 8-inch display, 1280x800
- 1.2 GHz quad-core processor (MediaTek)
- 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, 64GB microSD
- 6,000 mAh battery
- Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n
- 5-megapixel rear camera, 1.6-megapixel front
- 8.4 x 5.7 x 0.3in (213.36 x 144.78 x 7.62)
- 0.8 pounds
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.