Lenovo’s Yoga line of Android tablets have been my favorite for the past few years, and no they are not paying me to say that. There’s a pretty big reason why I’ve loved the Yoga tablets so much. One is the battery life, it’s just unbeatable. But the other reason is to do with why it’s a Yoga. The fold out stand on the bottom. Prior to the Yoga 2 and Yoga Pro 2, the Yoga tablets stands worked in three modes, now you can adjust it anywhere you like. Which is really nice. I like having a tablet that I can just go ahead and stand up and watch a movie on without needing to hold it. One reason why I really like my iPad Air with the smart cover, as it folds up to stand up the tablet for me. Pretty awesome.
This year, Lenovo went even further with the new Yoga tablets. Including making a 13-inch model. We’ll be reviewing both the 13 and 10.1 inch models here. We didn’t think we needed to go out and do two separate reviews on these since there’s not a whole lot different between the two. So let’s get started with the review already.
On the Lenovo Yoga 2 we’ve got a 10.1-inch 1920×1200 resolution IPS display, Intel Z3745 quad-core processor which is clocked at 1.86GHz, along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. We do have room for a microSD card slot as well. And it’s running on Android 4.4 KitKat. Now the Yoga 2 Pro has a 13.3-inch 2560×1440 IPS display, along with the Intel Z3745 quad-core processor at 1.86GHz. There’s also 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage along with a microSD card slot, and it’s running on Android 4.4 KitKat. The major differences between these two tablets is that the 13.3-inch Yoga 2 Pro has a larger display and a QHD display, but also has a projector on the side. Which I have to say is pretty damn cool. Especially since it actually works.
Nothing much has changed with the build quality on the Yoga, which is now in it’s third generation. It’s still all aluminum, except for the front which is glass, but even the bottom part of the front is aluminum. We do have front facing speakers here, and on the Yoga 2 Pro we have a JBL Subwoofer on the back. Making it an amazing experience for watching movies. On one side of the hump you have the power button and the other side is the projector. Meanwhile on the Yoga 2, the side with the projector just has the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Onto the displays. The displays look really nice on both models. Obviously the 13.3-inch model is going to look better as it is a QHD display. But even the full HD on the 10.1-inch model looks stunning. Additionally the viewing angles are great and there’s no hint at light bleed, at least not on the review models that Lenovo sent me. So all in all, no complaints on the displays here for both the Yoga tablets.
So what about that projector? Well it’s amazing. I had the Yoga 2 Pro hanging on the wall and projecting a movie onto the other wall and it worked great, and looked amazing. It doesn’t use a ton of battery, but it will use some, obviously. Also when the projector is active, it will dim the display a bit.
Here’s where things get a little interesting, and a little familiar. Lenovo is a Chinese manufacturer, so you’ll see a lot of things here that remind you of Meizu, Xiaomi, and other Chinese smartphones and tablets. One of those is the copying of Apple’s features. For instance, pull down the notification bar. What do you see? No quick settings right? That’s because you need to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to get to those. Just like on an iPad. And in fact, the layout is even the same, check out the two images below and you’ll see what I mean.
There’s also no app drawer here. Which is normal for most Chinese OEMs. They don’t use app drawers, now I don’t know if that’s because Apple doesn’t have one, or just how they’ve always done things. But on the Yoga 2 you’ve got pages of apps. However, on the Yoga 2 Pro, there is one page with empty folders and when you download apps the Yoga 2 Pro will ask you if you want to put that app into a specific folder. Which keeps things organized. Especially if you install a lot of apps. There’s also a lot of apps that are pre-installed here like Security HD, SYNCit HD, SHAREit, CLONEit, Dolby, Lenovo eFrame, Yoga Tablet 2, Gamestore, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Kingsoft Office, and Amazon Kindle.
Lenovo has skinned their devices recently, but in all honesty, it’s not that bad compared to some other OEMs. Lenovo added some nifty features like multi-window so you can have two apps open side by side but you can also have an app open on top of another one and minimize it to the navigation bar. Which I think is a great way to utilize all that extra space.
Battery is pretty amazing on the Yoga Tablets. I let the Yoga 2 sit on standby for 13 days and it still had 62% left so standby is a beast. But when using it, it’s still pretty good. On the charge shown above on the Yoga 2 Pro, I got over a day of battery with 5 hour on screen. And more than half of that time I was watching YouTube. So if you’re just surfing, you can probably get a whole lot more then that. So not bad at all.
I don’t suggest taking pictures with a tablet, especially a 13.3-inch tablet. But if you needed to, you’d get not great pictures. I never really expect great pictures from a tablet, but here are the ones we got with the Yoga 2 tablets.
If you’re looking for a tablet, usually the question is “Which Samsung or Apple tablet should I get?” but I’d say to toss Lenovo into the hat there. The 13.3-inch Yoga 2 Pro is just $499. That’s the price of the entry model iPad Air 2 from Apple which is a 9.7-inch display, and the Yoga 2 Pro has much better specs, not to mention amazing speakers. It’s definitely a tablet that you should look twice at this holiday season.