AH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-5

Featured Review: Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro

December 14, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

Lenovo is a company most people will be familiar with almost anywhere, and that’s helped them stay relevant in a saturated market such as the U.S. When it comes to Android devices most of what they have available inside the states are tablets, and one of their most recent comes with quite a few fanciful features that make it stand out from most other devices on the market. The Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro is a larger albeit fairly similar device to the YOGA Tab 3 8.0 which we reviewed back in October, but with the inclusion of a larger display and a built-in projector it has enough to garner plenty of attention from a wide range of users over the smaller model. Can its collection of features and hardware help it stand up to other offerings in the same price range though? Let’s find out.

SpecsAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-2

The YOGA Tab 3 Pro is is not too much of a deviation from Lenovo’s smaller 8-inch tablet, but it does have a few unique characteristics you won’t find on the more compact model. First and foremost is the larger display. It weighs in at 10.1-inches and carries a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels with 299 ppi, and it uses the same IPS LCD panel technology as the YOGA Tab 3 8.0. It has a set of stereo speakers across the top edge when holding the tablet in landscape view, along with a 5MP front-facing camera for video chat. On the back, Lenovo has equipped the YOGA Tab 3 Pro with a 13MP camera along with the 70″ pico projector that supports digital focus. It’s powered by an Intel Atom quad-core x 5-Z8500 processor clocked at 2.4GHz, and it comes with 2GB of RAM. When it comes to storage, the tablet is packed with 32GB of space internally which should be enough to get just about anyone started, but should it prove to be less than what you need it supports up to 128GB of expandable storage via microSD as well. It runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop so the software is mostly up to date, and it has a non-removable 10200mAh battery inside which Lenovo boasts is capable of lasting up to 18 hours of continuous use, although I found my results personally varied here, but we’ll get into more on that later. It also weighs 667 g and measures in at 247 x 179 x 4.68 mm.

In The BoxAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-7

Lenovo doesn’t pack a whole lot of extras inside of the box with the tablet, as there is just the bare essentials of the AC adapter and USB cable for charging and data transfer. However, just like with the YOGA Tab 3 8.0 Lenovo throws in a nice little compact microfiber cloth for cleaning the screen, and it comes in its own little protective sleeve to keep it from getting dirty and gunked up which is a pretty nice touch. Other than that you’ll simply find the tablet and the manuals. It’s a basic setup when it comes to package contents, but that’s ok as you do get everything you need for the most part.

DisplayAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-13

Compared to the YOGA Tab 3 8.0, Lenovo has taken a big step up with the screen on the YOGA Tab 3 Pro as the display not only moved up from 8-inches to 10.1, but they also scaled up the resolution from 1280 x 800 to 2560 x 1600, bringing it up to QHD which makes it a much better experience for watching stuff on the tablet display itself. As this is a tablet and most people are likely going to spend most of their time on it either browsing the web or perhaps watching videos, the screen is an important factor and Lenovo hasn’t let its consumers down in this area. Although my own personal usage has been taken up mostly by the DLP projector, the time I did spend interacting with the tablet screen was quite enjoyable as I found it to be crisp with bright and vivid colors.

Viewing angles were pretty good and I found that it was easy to see when not looking straight on and there wasn’t much of an issue with glare if attempting to use it in direct sunlight, although the clarity in this sort of situation could have been a little bit better. The display also supports 10-point multi-touch, and although you might expect it to have excellent response to taps and really any sort of screen interaction, this wasn’t the case most of the time as I found it to be sluggish when reacting to my touch anytime I tried to unlock it or just use the tablet for general use when navigating around the menus and such. Surprisingly I didn’t really have much of an issue at all with the touch responsiveness during gameplay. Overall, the screen is great for viewing and although my unit has had more touch response issues than I would have cared for, not everyone’s would necessarily have the same results. In the end, the clarity is great and most people will be happy with the screen.

Hardware And BuildAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-15

When it comes to the build quality of the YOGA Tab 3 Pro, it feels solid and personally it didn’t feel cheap to me in the slightest, and it shouldn’t with a $499 price tag. Considering this though, it’s not likely to feel as premium as something like Google’s recently launched Pixel C that is made of all metal. Lenovo’s tablet is a mix of material types, with the back being mostly PU leather (which feels quite nice and adds a nice level of grip) and a little bit of plastic while the frame and the built-in kickstand are made of metal. The kickstand is of notable quality compared to the YOGA Tab 3 8.0 as it really has more versatility where the 8-inch tablet was limited in its orientation. With the Pro, there are no set limits on angles and you can simply extend it from a closed position to completely outstretched and anywhere in between. This made for a fantastic experience especially since this is where Lenovo has stuck the built-in projector, and it’s likely the projector is the reason why they decided to give the kickstand more freedom this time around. When holding the tablet in landscape view with the kickstand facing away from you, you’ll find the power button and volume rocker as well as the charging port on the right-hand side, while the button to enable the projector, as well as the audio port are placed on the left side of the device.

Flipping it over to the back you’ll see the 13MP rear camera in the bottom right corner with the kickstand release button in the middle and towards the bottom. Once the kickstand is out the YOGA Tab 3 Pro also has the same design here as the YOGA Tab 3 8.0 with an opening where the button usually sits in its closed position. This is so you can extend the kickstand all the way and hang the tablet on the wall for hands-free viewing and use. You’ll also find the microSD slot on the back underneath the kickstand.

Performance And MemoryAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-2

Based on the benchmarks which you’ll be able to see below, the YOGA Tab 3 Pro should perform admirably and in most cases it did. The only place where I had any issues was with the performance of the screen responsiveness to touch on the lockscreen, and some menus felt a tad bit slow opening up. Basically, it just didn’t feel very snappy in these areas. Moving around on the homescreen and app drawers as well as other menus felt nice and fluid though, and for me personally the performance shined where it mattered the most and this was with the projector and the games. Using my go-to performance testing game at the moment which is the same game I tested on the smaller 8-inch version of the tablet is Need For Speed No Limits since it harbors 3D visuals and plenty of RAM hungry features. With a bright and beautiful QHD screen the visuals looked quite good although the graphics weren’t as sharp as on something with a better GPU, but it did run smoothly without a hitch as I didn’t notice any lag or stuttering issues like I did on the YOGA Tab 3 8.0. This is likely due to the more powerful processor and the extra RAM though, and it scored quite well in the 3DMark benchmark so it wasn’t much of a shock.

Multitasking was easy enough and 2GB of RAM never really felt like too little of an amount to handle anything I threw at it, and it never got hot or felt too warm during my use even after hours of streaming video with the projector or playing a game. The graphics do suffer a little bit, but you have to remember this isn’t a dedicated gaming tablet with a first-class GPU, so hardcore gamers will want to look elsewhere if they’re wanting the best possible visuals of any tablet on the market. If graphics don’t matter as much to you, performance is relatively smooth and shouldn’t disappoint.

BenchmarksAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-2

When it comes to benchmarks, as always these aren’t meant to provide you with most true to life and accurate depictions of how the device will perform during every single task and situation, but they do help to give you a picture that does a well enough job of displaying how the device might perform during real-world use. In my own personal experiences the tablet performed just fine, and the benchmarks I feel show that. We ran it through three different tests including AnTuTu, Geekbench 3, and finally, 3Dmark to test the gaming performance. Surprisingly the YOGA Tab 3 Pro performed quite well in the 3DMark test with a final score of 1399, which is only 85 points lower than the LG Nexus 5X. As for the rest of the scores with the included tests, you can check the screenshots out below to view them. Suffice it to say that based on the benchmark tests, this tablet should serve as a decent option for pretty much anyone save for hardcore gamers that want the best of the best in mobile gaming hardware.

Battery LifeAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-19

Battery life was decent enough with the YOGA Tab 3 Pro and for most people the 10200mAh battery will be more than enough to carry them through at least a few days of moderate to average use. Mileage will vary of course depending on what you do with it but during our time with reviewing the tablet, I was able to get about four days of average use which included some light web browsing, the occasional game and mostly streaming Hulu through the built-in projector for two to three hours a night. I also tested the battery using Geekbench 3’s battery test, with the dim screen option enabled to somewhat mimic the brightness most people might use indoors, and the test ran for a total of twelve hours and thirty minutes from 100% battery life down to 1%, which resulted in a battery score of 7505 overall. Keep in mind that you may have different results both in real-world use and during this same test depending on various factors. The overall consensus though is that Lenovo has placed a pretty decent battery in here and it managed to serve my needs for a tablet for multiple days before needing to plug it in.

SoundAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-18

Sound quality on this tablet was much better than I expected and this is definitely helped by the inclusion of the JBL stereo speakers paired with Dolby Atmos digital enhancements. The only downside is that there is a little bit of distortion that becomes noticeable once you turn the volume up to the higher levels. This can be rectified for the most part in one of two different ways. You can either turn off the Dolby Atmos app and use the speakers as is without the digital enhancements, or you can keep Dolby Atmos enabled and tweak the sound settings a bit. There are three different sound modes for music you can choose between including focused, rich, and open, all which are part of the intelligent equalizer. If you want a little more control to customize the sound to your liking and you don’t mind spending the time to fine tune it, you can switch over to the graphic equalizer and adjust things as you see fit manually. While it will take a bit more time, this is how you’re going to get the best possible sound for you personally. If you simply want things to happen quickly you can let the app handle things for you with the provided options. As far as audio experiences goes overall, compared to other devices it’s definitely not leading the pack but the sound output can be quite loud if you desire which is good if you’re wanting to listen to it from across the room, and the Dolby Atmos app can assist you in adjusting things to be specific for whatever you’re doing whether it’s movies, games, or music.

Software/FeaturesAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-3

When it comes to the software and user experience Lenovo has kept things pretty light just like on the YOGA Tab 3 8.0. The UI skin doesn’t feel heavily modified and gives a mostly stock Android feel, which is nice to see. I couldn’t helpt but feel like this is somewhat of a Motorola influence as they commonly put out mostly stock Android software on their devices as well. Just like with the YOGA Tab 3 8.0, the Pro offers up Lenovo’s AnyPen technology which lets you use any conductive object like pens or forks for example, to interact with the screen so you can keep it free of smudges if you have dirty or extremely oily. It’s also great for if you feel like writing notes instead of typing them, or if you like to draw and paint using any number of the apps on the Play Store built specifically for this function. AnyPen worked just as well as it did on the smaller YOGA Tab 3 and it’s definitely a good feature to have on hand. There isn’t too much when it comes to unique software experiences, but there are a couple of specific apps and features that Lenovo has added included, like the Dolby Atmos app to manage the sound profiles and features for a more tailored experience depending on what you’re doing with it. Then of course there’s the projector and its companion app which we’ll cover briefly below. Lenovo has also packed the tablet with a smart sidebar option which you can enable in settings, and if turned on you can drag your finger inward from the edge of the screen to reveal a small panel with varied options for audio modes like movies, games, or music, and display modes like vibrant, standard or reading. There are also a few quick access shortcuts to different functions like the voice recorder, the Evernote app, the camera, and the sketchpad widget. These options don’t appear to be configurable, so this feature won’t be useful to everyone.

ProjectorAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-10

When it comes to added software and hardware extras, a projector is a pretty sweet feature to have, and the Lenovo YOGA Tab Pro pulls this off brilliantly. The built-in projector pairs with and is managed by the preinstalled app which has controls for adjusting the focus levels, allowing you to get the picture just right before streaming, and it also handles the brightness output. The dedicated button to turn the projector on was also a nice touch and makes it super simple to start using it anytime you want. This makes it so you’ll only have to fiddle with an app when you want to do something like pause whatever it is you’re watching, switch shows etc. You’ll have to play with things a bit to make sure the picture quality is as crisp and clear as it possibly can be depending on the surface you’re projecting onto, but for the most part it’ll work almost anywhere with decent enough results, so long as the surface is flat and a solid color. I found that white tends to work best and allow for the sharpest picture and best clarity.

CameraAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-2

As this is a much nicer camera than what’s included with Lenovo’s smaller YOGA Tab 3, I expected it to produce better quality images and it certainly lived up to my expectations. It still isn’t going to be as good as some smartphone cameras, but then again this is a tablet and most people aren’t going to be carrying this around snapping off photos as it just isn’t practical. The fact that it even comes with a 13MP sensor is quite surprising as most tablets these days, even higher-end models, come with 8MP or less, and more often than not they’re usually 5MP sensors. On the front of course there is also a 5MP shooter for video chat or selfies, whichever you use most. The camera app isn’t overly packed with features but it does offer a nice well-rounded collection of settings tweaks and different camera options, including photo, video, panorama, action shot, and smart capture which is meant for taking pictures at angles, and specifically for things like documents, business cards, and other things that have bits of text that might be more difficult to read when using the normal photo mode. Smart capture is meant to enhance the visibility of the text for these types of images. All of these options are displayed along the right edge and can be toggled between simply by dragging up or down the display.

The camera also features a number of different shooting modes like auto, action, barcode, fireworks, landscape, night shots, portrait, and sports shots. The exposure can also be adjusted fairly easily as there is always a visible slider bar just under the capture button, although this is only accessible when using the “photo” camera option. Picture quality overall was pretty decent, colors were reproduced mostly accurate and although this isn’t the best camera on the market, it likely isn’t meant to be and it’s pretty impressive for a tablet camera. If the mood ever strikes you to grab a few photos when using this device, you’ll get some OK shots that you should be happy with.

YOGA Tab 3 Pro Samples

The Good

JBL stereo speakers.

Dolby Atmos Digital audio enhancements.

Built-in Projector for viewing.

Kickstand is more versatile than on the YOGA Tab 3 8.0.

Decent 13MP main camera.

Performance is great in most situations.

Near stock Android experience.

Good build quality and feel.

PU leather backing gives the tablet some texture and makes it more grippy and easy to hold.

The Bad

Sound quality can get a bit distorted when turning the volume up too high, happened at a lower volume level than I expected.

Touch responsiveness felt laggy and sluggish on the lockscreen.

Projector brightness at max levels made it difficult to view even with dim lights. Had to be mostly dark to get a good picture.

Graphics for games were not as good as they could have been.

Low-light performance is not that good

$499 price tag is likely to decrease the value for some consumers due to other tablets having better hardware specs for the same cost.

Final ThoughtsAH Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro-16

The Lenovo YOGA Tab 3 Pro is a great little tablet to have and it has plenty to offer those who are looking for something a little more special than your average tablet. I am of course referring to the built-in projector which was a dream come true when wanting to watch videos in bed as I could simply project Hulu or Netflix onto the ceiling, and this was way more comfortable than using my Chromecast to stream content. The performance is pretty good and the camera is decent especially for a tablet, and the build quality was great with a comfortable, grippy feel to it thanks to the PU leather backing. It does have a few issues like the sound quality at higher levels and an oddly slow response to punching in lockscreen PIN numbers, but for the most part, Lenovo has a good product on their hands here and most people would be happy with it. One thing that is worth mentioning though is that the tablet is sort of costly, and at $499, many users could see more value in something like the Pixel C which has a sleeker design and higher quality build, better specs, and the same amount of storage at the same price. If however you are more interested in the built-in kickstand which does come in very useful for almost anything, as well as the projector, the YOGA Tab 3 Pro is a nice overall device for the price. Is it worth buying? That all depends on what features you want most. If you’re a gamer, no, there are better options out there. If you want a great tablet with some cool features for average use and a great media experience, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something more well-suited.