The Lenovo Yoga Tablet comes in both 8- and 10-inch models for £199 and £249
"Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current 'sea of sameness' designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content"
- 1280 x 800 pixels screen
- "18-hour" battery life
- 5-megapixel rear camera
- Micro SD card expansion slot
- Decent Dolby DS1 front-facing speakers
- 8-inch model is £199, 10-inch is £249
Lenovo's Android-powered Yoga Tablet has some genuine things in its favour. It has an impressive "18-hour" battery (a bit less in our test, but still excellent for the price), has full access to Google Play and most obviously a unique form factor built around a cylindrical handle on the side.
The idea here is to use the Yoga in one of three main positions: stood horizontally or vertically, lifted at an angle off the table or cradled in the hand with the subtle bulge of a newspaper or folded book.
Lenovo's stated aim is to build something original, and useful. Something designed to fit in the hand and into your life. Which is all very admirable. And in the main, these physical properties of the Yoga tablet pay off well. The stand is totally hidden when not in use, and rolls out subtly and smoothly when opened. The device is just 0.12 inches thick (except for the edge), and has the aesthetic feel of Apple's wireless keyboards with its machined metal body and circular power button on the side.
With the screen off, they look beautiful.
With the screen off. Because sadly one of the major problems with the Yoga is the display, which either in the 10- or 8-inch size have the same 1280 x 800 resolution. And they look terrible, with poor colour reproduction, visible pixels and a general washed-out feel which totally undermines the otherwise strong design. On their own, they're bad. Reading is miserable, and watching videos is uninspiring. But Compared side-by-side with the new iPad Mini or Nexus 7, they look even worse - like they must have been installed by accident on an otherwise fine piece of tech.
Similarly, the tablets are powered by a quad-core MediaTek MT8125/8389 processor which falters at the first sign of being truly taxed. Games like GTA III and Real Racing 3 were slow and lagged behind the performance of similar titles on the iPad or Nexus 7. The overall effect is that it feels too slow to watch movies well, play games or use any creative apps for work - all tasks which the form factor implies the Yoga is set up to do.
In software terms the Yoga runs a modified version of Android 4.2.2, which makes some choices for the user which undo some of Google's good work in the aim, apparently, of providing a more iOS-like experience. There's no app tray - all the apps are now located on the same home screens as your widgets, which is ugly and annoying. All the core applications have Lenovo's custom, ugly icons instead of the Google defaults. Almost all the included 'extras', like Navigate 6, feel old and badly coded. There's almost nothing to recommend amongst them - which again compared to iOS's recent addition of free copies of iWork and iLife for all new iPads reflects poorly on Lenovo.
The overall feel of the device is one of a wasted opportunity - or, if you're being generous, a promising but totally undermined start towards something more impressive. It performs badly, has a low-quality screen and a poor app selection. Despite their impressive industrial design and battery life, there's not much to recommend then compared to the competition.