Besides having celebrity product engineer Ashton Kutcher’s mark on it, the Yoga Tablet’s claim to fame is its status as the Yoga line’s first multimode tablet.
Designed for the person on the perpetual go, the Yoga Tablet’s unconventional form factor allows it to be used in a variety of three modes for utmost convenience. Besides that, portability comes in the form of its lightweight design and purported 18-hour battery life without the need to lug around additional battery packs.
But is this enough in light of the current competitiveness of all the tablet options available? We spend some time with the flexible device to see if it's able to bend and break its competition.
Build: Fat bottomed girls
The cylindrical bottom of the Yoga Tablet 10 is the most obvious mark of difference. The device tapers from a mere 3mm to 8.1mm to accommodate its barrelled bottom. At its thinnest, it gives even the iPad Air a run for its money.
In terms of appearance, the Yoga Tablet 10 cannot be faulted. It looks more premium than its asking price with its subtly textured back and sleek aluminium finish. And that nicely cushy power button at the side of its cylindrical bottom instead of being a thin button located on the side of the slate is a nice touch and makes the best of its design.
Tucked away at the back of its cylindrical bottom is its built-in kickstand, which should save you the money on a tablet cover. To pull it out, you’ll either have to work your finger into a thin groove, which is frankly a nail-breaking process, or you could wrap your hand around the cylindrical bottom and twist it out. The latter is probably the wiser choice but as barrel is completely smooth, it can get trying at times with dry hands. It would have been better if it was textured.
Modes: Triple threat
Its built-in kickstand affords it to be used in three different modes: the usual tablet mode, stand mode, and tilt mode. That cylindrical bottom makes a world of difference, providing a better grip than the thin edge of the usual tablet. It could do with being textured for an even steadier grip, but the size of it is just right and feels natural in the hand.
In stand mode, you’ll have to mind how hard you tap the screen as the narrow kickstand does not provide a stable lean-on. We managed to knock it over a couple of times in our furious email typing. While tilt mode may solve that problem, it puts the tablet at a non-adjustable height. So like it or not, you’ll have to make do with it. Plus there’s the small niggling problem of the Lenovo logo being upside down, which could be due cause for a panic attack for the obsessive-compulsive. You can’t even ignore it as it’s right above the display.
Display: No explosions in all their graphic glory
The bezel could afford a little trimming down to up its sleek factor. Wrapped in a multitouch HD display, the Yoga Tablet 10 spreads its 1280 x 800 resolution over 10.1-inches of viewing space. While it meets the requirements for high definition, you’ll find the viewing experience not quite.
When spread across 10.1in of screen space, its pixel count dwindles down to a paltry 149.5 pixels per inch, making it one of the smudgier displays as compared to the iPad Air’s 264 ppi or the Nexus 10’s 301 ppi. While it’s not like everything is a blur on the screen, people used to Retina-display quality need not apply for this tablet. But if you still fancy its form factor, you could go for its 8-inch sibling which offers up a slight better ppi count of 189.
Performance: The little engine that would if it could
With its 1.2GHz quad core processor, it’s floating among the bottom of the 9-11 inchers which chug in at an average of 1.9GHz like the Galaxy Note 10.1. Starting up apps could be sluggish at times, but once they’re up and ready, there’s no lag even if they’re pretty intensive games.
With 16GB of internal storage and a slot for up to 64GB more, the number of multimedia files you can store in it without having to rely on the cloud is substantial. We think it's a tablet more suitable for work use than entertainment as that less-than-average screen will definitely get in the way of you savouring Breaking Bad reruns.
Battery Life: Redemption is here
For all its display shortcomings, the Yoga Tablet 10 delivers on its battery longevity. While we were not able to test it to its 18-hour WiFi web-browsing limits, we looped YouTube videos for most of the workday, had enough battery to last the commute back home, and then some.
To make it last even longer, it comes preloaded with an energy-saving app so you can tweak settings to squeeze as much juice as possible out of its 9000 mAh battery.
With the average battery life of other tablets hovering around the 10-hour mark, this puts the Yoga Tablet 10 in good stead with those who can’t be fussed to tote around additional battery packs or locate power sockets on the go. We know this makes it a winner in our books, and compensates for its lackluster display to some extent.
Camera: Eye see you
Its 5-megapixel camera is not what you will use to take National Geographic-worthy shots but it will suffice in those cases when you need a camera. You won't find a lot of detail in the shots, but colours are true and vibrant when the lighting allows for it. It’s no biggie about its low megapixel count; you don’t want to be one of those idiots wielding a tablet as a camera anyway.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 seems to have contracted a case of the first gen iPad Mini. While these firsts for the respective device makers have great form, their displays are a letdown. As Lenovo’s first shot at a multimode tablet, it is a respectable attempt with its extraordinary battery life and affordable price point. We can’t wait to see what other tricks Lenovo has up its sleeves for the future.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10
Perfect for the workhorse on the go, this considerate tablet offers up three different modes for easy ergonomic use. However, its display is not quite up to scratch for the fussies.