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Featured Review: Lenovo Yoga 8 and 10 Tablets

November 3, 2013 - Written By Alexander Maxham

For a long time Lenovo has been a pretty popular brand in the PC industry. As we move away from PCs more and more and into mobile products like tablets and phones, we want other companies that we know make great hardware. We don’t want to live in a world where only Samsung makes Android devices, or do we? Lenovo has made some nice tablets in the past year or so that I’ve reviewed. But they’ve never really wowed my. However the Yoga 8 and 10 have actually wowed me. Not because of their specs, which we’ll get to in a moment, but because of what they can do. The form factor is definitely something different that we don’t see too often. Many of you are probably familiar with the Yoga Windows 8 laptop, which is a convertible. Well these two Yoga tablets are meant to do the same thing. There’s a built-in stand which gives you three different modes to use your tablet.

Before we get too far into this review, the Yoga 8 is a $249 tablet while the Yoga 10 is a $299 tablet. So we will be reviewing them as such and not reviewing them as a $500 10-inch tablet like the Galaxy Note 10.1 – 2014 Edition or the ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T.

Let’s take a look at the specs for the Yoga 10:

  • 10-inch 1280×800 resolution IPS Display

  • 1GB of RAM

  • MediaTek MT8125 Quad-core 1.2GHz processor

  • 16GB of internal storage

  • MicroSD card support

  • 5MP camera on the back

  • 1.6MP camera on the front

  • 9000mAh battery

  • Android 4.2 – Jelly Bean

Now for the Yoga 8:

  • 8-inch 1280×800 resolution IPS display

  • 1GB of RAM

  • MediaTek MT8125 Quad-core 1.2GHz processor

  • 16GB of internal storage

  • MicroSD card support

  • 5MP camera on the back

  • 1.6MP camera on the front

  • 6000mAh battery

  • Android 4.2 – Jelly Bean

Hardware

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The hardware is actually really nice. It appears to be made out of aluminum, and most of it is pretty thin except for the edge where the stand is, which is kind of expected. What I did like, however, is that on the side where the stand is located, and where it’s thicker, Lenovo was able to hide away the power button, and headphone jack. Which can keep the rest of the tablet pretty thin. There are front-facing speakers, but they aren’t the best, in my opinion. There are two small-ish speakers on the front near the bottom of the tablet. While they are pretty loud, the sound just doesn’t seem as good as the sound coming from the Galaxy Note 10.1 or the Nexus 10. It could be because they are using Dolby’s software, just like in every other Lenovo tablet.

Display

Yes it’s a 1280×800 resolution display, so not the best looking display. But remember these two tablets are $249 and $299 respectively. So you aren’t going to get some 2560×1600 resolution display for that price, unless you’re Google. However, I think the display is a bit better on the 8-inch Yoga due to the fact that it is a bit smaller and giving you a bit more pixels per inch. I noticed while watching Netflix on the Yoga 10 that you can definitely see the pixels.

Performance

Not many devices here in the US are running on a MediaTek chip, so this is one of the first times I’ve used a device running their quad-core processor. I was actually pretty impressed. I’ve heard some bad things about their chips, and that they are pretty bad. But I had no problems with the processor inside the Yoga 8 and 10. It was quick and efficient.

Multi-View Mode

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This is the big thing with the Yoga here. There is a built in stand at the left side of the tablet which allows you to stand the tablet up in 3 different angles, which Lenovo calls their multi-view mode. So if you leave the stand folded inside, you’ll see that the tablet will be raised a bit, which I actually prefer. It’s also nice to use that side as a handle to hold the tablet one-handedly.

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Next up is standing it up for videos, which is how I use it the most. It can stand up almost vertically at 90-degrees. It’s really cool actually, because it doesn’t fall over at all.

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The third mode is if you leave the stand out and lay it down, it’ll be raised up a bit more, which is nice if you’re typing up an email or something else. As you can see in the images above.

Battery Life

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Lenovo is promising about 18 hours of reading time on both tablets. I’m not one that reads a lot, besides what I need to for work, but I’m very impressed with the battery. It lasts almost longer than the Galaxy Note 10.1 which I reviewed a few weeks ago. Which shouldn’t be a surprise because the Yoga 10 has a bigger battery and less pixels to push. The Yoga 8 also has some really good battery life, which shouldn’t be a surprise, since it has a 6000mAh battery.

Software

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Lenovo has really changed their UI since the last time I used a Lenovo Tablet. It is running Android 4.2, Jelly Bean so you’ve got Google Now and everything. But you probably wouldn’t notice it with Lenovo’s new skin. It actually reminds me a bit of the Huawei UI. There’s no app drawer now, all your apps are on your homescreens. I haven’t seen a whole lot of functionality that’s different from stock Android, which leads me to believe that Lenovo just developed this skin to make their devices stand out from the competitors.

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In the pull downs, both the notification pull down and the quick settings pull downs you’ll see that they look much different. Its gray and green. Which it doesn’t look to bad too me, but it is definitely different. In the settings app, you’ll see that it’s actually white, white gradient and green colors inside there. Otherwise it’s pretty similar to what we already see in the stock version of Android’s settings app. That’s really about all I can find that’s different with the new Lenovo UI.

The Good

  • Price: Name another 10-inch tablet that you can get for $299, or a 8-inch one for $249

  • Build Quality: I am very impressed with the build quality of the Yoga 8 and 10. They both feel very high quality and is still pretty lightweight.

  • Front-Facing Speakers: Who doesn’t love front-facing speakers?

  • Battery Life: Man this thing lasts forever. It’s almost impossible to kill it.

The Bad

  • Display: I really wish Lenovo could have at least bumped the display up to 1920×1200 display

  • Storage: it only comes with 16GB of internal storage, and yes there is a microSD card slot, but I’m a firm believer that tablets should come with at least 32GB of built-in storage. As that’s where you’re more likely to watch movies and such

  • Lenovo’s new UI: It’s not so much that the skin is bad, but people don’t like change. So if you’ve used a Lenovo tablet in the past, you’re probably not going to like this new skin on the Yoga 8 and 10.

Final Thoughts

I actually really liked both of these tablets. Even though they aren’t super spec’d out like the Galaxy Note 10.1 or the Transformer Pad Infinity TF701T, it’s still a really nice tablet. Although I think I’d prefer the 8-inch tablet for everyday use, the 10-incher is definitely a good choice as well. When these were announced, I said that I think Lenovo hit the right price point with these. The Galaxy Note 8 is $399 and the LG G Pad 8.3 is $349. While the Yoga 8 is just $249. Sure there’s a big difference in specs there, but it’s also nearly half the price. Then looking at the Yoga 10 at $299, most 10-inch tablets are $450 or higher.

Basically, if you want a nice tablet, but don’t want to spend a ton of money or you’re not a hardcore user this is the one for you. If you’re a hardcore Android user, then you may want to find another tablet to buy. As the 1GB of RAM probably won’t cut it here.