Over the years, we have seen a number of full size 10-inch tablets come and go but in most cases, the design has been relatively similar. Manufacturers have presented customers with a rectangular chunk of plastics or metals of different thicknesses and dimensions, containing a glass or plastic fronted touchscreen. We've seen different screen resolutions, processors, cameras and amounts of storage, but for most manufacturers the tablet design formula has at best been tweaked. One exception to this rule is Lenovo and the YOGA range of tablets, whereby the Chinese manufacturer has designed their 10-inch tablet around a battery cylinder along one side of the device, which then tapers out across the rest of the design. There are a few advantages to this design, not least being that the cylinder contain a high capacity battery, which gives the YOGA Tab range very respectable battery life. Luckily, Lenovo have not just used the cylinder for battery cells but have also included other hardware, including speakers and camera modules. Because of the relatively spacious cylinder shape, Lenovo are able to use large chamber speakers to maximize the sound quality. Combine this with a built-in kickstand and the YOGA range is a somewhat quirky but respectable device for consuming media.
Lenovo have today announced their third generation YOGA Tab model, which they're billing as the ideal companion for consuming media and seemingly with a bias towards movies. Here, I'm taking a look at the 10-inch variant. As the name would suggest, it's based around a 10-inch display panel of 1,280 by 800 pixel resolution. There's a 1.1 GHz, quad core, Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor backed up by 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of local storage under the skin. Lenovo have also given the device a MicroSD card slot, which can take memory cards of at least 128 GB in size. There's a rotating 8MP camera module for both selfies and rear-facing pictures, which includes hand gesture control. The battery capacity is showing as 8,400 mAh with up to twenty hours of usage, which is a smaller capacity battery offering better uptime compared with the previous generation YOGA 2 10-inch tablet. It appears that Lenovo's decision to reduce the screen resolution and use Qualcomm's 32-bit, quad core, low power System-on-Chip, combined with the YOGA 3 running Android 5.1 Lollipop, reduces power consumption so the device can go further using less power. The YOGA Tab 3 also comes with Lenovo AnyPen Technology, single band 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and optional LTE. Finally, for watching and listening to media there are two large chamber speakers including Dolby Atmos 3D Surround Sound technology to enhance the audio experience. All up, the hardware is lower to mid-range, but something of a step down from the YOGA Tab 2 10-inch model.
However, on-paper specification of a device is one thing, but it's important to write that Lenovo have given the YOGA 3 a similar quirky but useful design as compared with the older models, which includes the built-in stand that sits flush with the battery cylinder when not in use. The stand together with the tablet alignment can be used to put the device into one of four modes: Hold mode (stand folded up against the chassis, held in portrait mode), Stand mode (the stand is out and the device is resting on it in landscape mode), Tilt mode (stand retracted, device resting on the battery cylinder in landscape mode) and Hang mode (the stand is fully extended and in landscape mode with the stand at the top of the chassis). These modes can be used to reconfigure the tablet with various screen modes and similar, for example the older YOGA 2 when in Hold mode activated reading mode, which gives the screen a sepia-like filter to reduce eye strain. If this wasn't to taste it can be deactivated.
Compared with the previous generation YOGA Tab, the new model features an overall lesser hardware specification, improved battery life and the same quirky but perfectly functional design. Lenovo's work to optimize the tablet for consuming media appear to include using good enough hardware components, but take full use of the available space for the speaker system. The WiFi-only version will be available for $199 and the LTE version will start at $249, depending on the market.