Lenovo is a company that excels at hardware. It’s renowned for quality, durable products that are designed extremely well. What Lenovo doesn’t have is a reputation for creating good software. Its software attempts have primarily focused on Android skins for its phones and tablets. Unfortunately, these skins have been less than ideal and are what cause us to knock points off of our scores of Lenovo’s devices.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 8-inch’s software is using Lenovo’s standard tablet UI overtop of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. What this results in is an outdated, mismatched UI that imitates iOS in an attempt to stay current. The launcher even drops an app drawer, choosing rather to place all of your apps on the homescreen, much the same way as iOS does. The problems lie in two areas: that Android users don’t want an operating system like iOS and that Lenovo’s implementation is extremely poor.
Different facets of Lenovo’s UI have been modeled to replicate iOS. Quick settings are activated by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and are designed to look like Command Center from iOS. The notification tray features the same Gaussian blur design and looks extraordinarily similar to Notification Center in iOS. The settings menu is practically indistinguishable from the settings menu in iOS.
The entire experience is off-putting and leaves the mind to wonder what Lenovo was thinking when they created this software. It’s mismatched to the core OS of Android and generally lacks continuity throughout its own UI. Animations are poor and inconsistent, with some areas lacking animations while others have animations filled with stutters. Lenovo’s software is severely lacking in originality and refinement.
While flawed, the experience is still an improvement over past Lenovo software. Some of Lenovo’s previous attempts have included software that was almost unusable, a result of severe lag and poor design that simply didn’t make sense. Lenovo’s current software has stutters, but it never becomes unusable, nor does it struggle with instability. Its design is unrefined and unoriginal, but it generally functions in a manner that makes sense.
There are even a few functions that are genuinely useful, such as Lenovo’s implementation of multi-window. While it resembles multi-tasking in Windows, it works extremely well and is the best Android implementation of multi-window that I’ve used. The Dolby audio enhancements are also a welcome addition, with a noticeable boost in audio quality as a result.
Nonetheless, Lenovo’s best course of action is to drop its own software and stick to stock Android. If it can’t create something better, then it should use the great software that’s already available. Stock Android is far more original, attractive and flowing, with increased performance and coherence. It would also lead to faster software updates for devices, which Lenovo obviously struggles with, as its tablets are still utilizing KitKat, rather than Android 5.0 Lollipop.
While we don’t approve of Lenovo’s software, it’s not enough of a problem for us to completely write the Yoga Tablet 2 8-inch off. The tablet continues to function well and features design and hardware that we love. Just know that you’ll need some patience to deal with Lenovo’s software.