Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is an interesting creature. In a world of small tablets designed for portability, it stands apart from the rest with its spacious 13.3-inch screen. It’s large, and unashamedly so. Its built-in kickstand gives it a unique form factor that makes it a rare breed among others. Oddest of all, it features an integrated projector for throwing your media up onto any flat surface. But is the combination just crazy enough to work?
Read on to find out why Lenovo’s created a tablet that’s good, but not quite great.
When Lenovo created the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, it was aiming to create a tablet that was both high-quality and affordable. With that in mind, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro comes equipped with specs such as a 13.3-inch 2560×1440 display, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage plus microSD card, 8-megapixel rear camera, 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera, 9600mAh battery, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, front-facing Dolby speakers, JBL subwoofer and a built-in projector.
Looking at specs alone, Lenovo succeeded in its goal of creating a powerful, affordable tablet.
2. Design and Build Quality
It’s safe to say that Lenovo’s specialty is design and build quality. The company is known for creating innovative, attractive and sturdy devices. With a body composed of glass, aluminum and plastic, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is pleasing to look at and feels well-built in the hand. The cylindrical kickstand portion of the device serves two purposes, converting into several useful poses and also functioning as a great handle when using the tablet in portrait.
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro’s flaw stems from one of its selling points, which is the sheer size of the device. Holding the tablet is awkward and fairly uncomfortable as a result of its breadth. Not only is the size an issue, but the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro isn’t exactly a featherweight, making it heavy and tiring on the hand(s). And I type it that way because you’ll almost certainly be holding this device with two hands at all times.
While its size makes it a bit unwieldy, Lenovo still created a beautiful tablet that’s both durable and functional.
The 13.3-inch display on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a monster. It utilizes IPS technology and has a resolution of 2560×1440, putting it right up there with the flagships. Those extra pixels are necessary, due to the sheer size of the display, and they pay off with a display that’s sharp and clear.
The IPS technology ensures that the display is bright, even in daylight. Colors were fine, but nothing special. The real downer on the display is that the review unit we were provided with had two major occurrences of light bleed, both on the bottom edge of the display. With the blacks already having a gray tone to them, this was an extra disappointment. Could it have been a fluke with our unit in particular? Possibly. But gut instinct warns me otherwise.
Lenovo’s sore spot has always been software, and the problem remains unfixed. While veering away from failed past attempts to create something unique, Lenovo has run into a different problem. The company has begun to blatantly copy iOS, a practice that we find just as offensive. Features and design mimic the OS from everyone’s favorite fruit company. Lenovo has a couple of unique features that are decent, such as Multi-Window and Dolby sound customization, but the other problems are far too big to overlook.
Lenovo needs to either leave stock Android be or look into hiring a new software team.
Lenovo has continued to improve when it comes to performance, but there’s still work to be done. Animations will stutter and lag will appear at a frequency that’s noticeable, even if it doesn’t have an effect on the actual productivity of the tablet. Some of these slowdowns can be remedied by software, while others come from hardware that is simply not up for the job of consistently smooth performance, particularly with that high-resolution display.
Lenovo is continuing to improve with performance, but the basics now need some refining.
Like most tablets, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro wasn’t designed with the camera front and center. Instead, the camera is more of an afterthought, which isn’t exactly a problem. Its photos are soft and overexposed and it performs horribly in low light, but the truth is that you won’t be using the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro’s camera enough to warrant anything better. We’re talking about a weighty 13.3-inch tablet here. If you’re holding this thing up to take photos, you’re doing it wrong.
As usual, Lenovo didn’t disappoint with battery life. Even with a 9600mAh battery — the same as the one found in the Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch — the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro manages to make it through days without much of a problem. With heavier usage, such as lots of streaming video, you might have to charge it before you go to bed, but you shouldn’t have any problem with the battery life on this device. It’s got plenty of juice to keep you going through those binge-watching sessions.
8. Multi-Media Features
This is a section specifically for the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, as its primary aim is at the crowd consuming media. The front-facing speakers and subwoofer on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro are enough to allow you and several others to crowd around your tablet and hear just fine, while maintaining a surprising amount of clarity. The Dolby equalizer and audio tweaks improve that even more, making it great for those who want decent sound out of their tablet.
As a highly unique feature, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro also contains a built-in projector. This allows you to beam anything on your display onto a flat surface, reaching a maximum size of 50 inches before losing focus. While it seems like an odd feature, it’s surprisingly great for watching a movie with friends or simply curling up in bed and watching your favorite show at a larger size. It’s not the brightest or sharpest projector in the world, but it’s a nice addition nonetheless.
When it comes to thinking outside the box, many companies have given up, resorting to stuffing better specs in the same package. Lenovo isn’t like that. Even though the company has had its missteps, it continues to try and create new products that it thinks will appeal to consumers. The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a prime example of that, combining a unique form factor with interesting features such as a built-in projector.
The display could use some work, the performance isn’t always incredible and the software is a blatant rip-off of iOS, but the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro continues to produce a certain fondness in my heart. It’s quirky, interesting and most important of all, innovative. Lenovo is experimenting with new ideas and finding new ways to use your device. And with a little bit of work, Lenovo could have a hit on its hands.