The new Yoga Tablet 2 and Yoga Tablet 2 Pro promise to be interesting updates to Lenovo’s Yoga line. You now have the choice between an 8-inch or 10-inch model running Windows 8.1, or you can choose from Android models with 8-inch, 10-inch, or 13-inch screens.
Two Tablets, Two Operating Systems
The new Yoga Tablet 2 models look largely identical to the previous Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10, featuring the same multimode design where you can Hold, Tilt, and Stand the tablet in various positions, but now there is a fourth mode — Hang — that lets you hang the device from a small hole in the kickstand which is also used in Stand mode.
The biggest hardware change with the new Yoga Tablet 2 is the new 4th generation Intel Atom Z3745 processor (2M cache, 4 cores, up to 1.86 GHz). Our brief testing of the Tablet 2 models on display shows that the processor is noticeably quicker when switching between apps. The dual band Wi-Fi seems snappy, and a micro-USB with powered OTG connection lets you charge your phone if you have the right cable. Lenovo has included dual-front speakers with cinematic Dolby Audio and Wolfson Master Hi-Fi for clear sound along with an 8 MP rear camera. The 10-inch models will also be available with optional 4G LTE.
While the hardware is reasonably impressive, the headline feature is that the Yoga Tablet 2 comes in your choice of operating systems. The silver models will have Android 4.4 KitKat and the black versions will run Windows 8.1 and include Microsoft Office 365 preloaded with a 1-year subscription. Lenovo claims the Android versions of the Tablet 2 will deliver up to 18 hours of battery life while the Windows models will last up to 15 hours.
The micro-USB port is the biggest drawback on the Windows version of the Yoga Tablet 2. We understand that there was no way to include a full-size USB port on the paper-thin Yoga Tablet 2 and that Android users probably don’t need a full-size USB port, but Windows users have plenty of reasons to want a USB. The optional keyboard dock for the Windows version of the Yoga Tablet 2 really should have a full-size USB port similar to what you get with the Asus Transformer Book T100 or HP Split x2.
The Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch Android ($299.99) and 8-inch Android ($249.99) models are available now on Lenovo’s website (www.lenovo.com). The Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 10-inch screen will be available in late October exclusively at Best Buy for $399.99. The 8-inch model will be available through Lenovo’s website in November starting at $299.99.
Sometimes Size Does Matter
If you’re looking for something bigger and more impressive than a 10-inch tablet, then Lenovo has you covered with the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro. This 13-inch tablet is designed specifically for the best possible multimedia experience and it even has a few surprises.
Lenovo was eager to highlight that the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is “developed with Ashton Kutcher” who joined Lenovo as a product engineer last year. A CGI animated version of Kutcher is preinstalled on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro; you can listen to Kutcher explain the features of the tablet and interact with a digital version of him.
While Mr. Kutcher’s involvement is no doubt appealing to some consumers, we were more impressed by the fact that the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro features a built-in Pico projector. The WVGA (854 x 480) projector lets you transform a wall into a movie screen. Lenovo promised up to 3 hours of battery life while the projector is in use (and 15 hours for the tablet without the projector). This is great for watching Netflix or flipping through a slideshow. Plus, Lenovo managed to squeeze in a fairly impressive audio system with a pair of JBL speakers and a subwoofer.
If those multimedia features alone aren’t enough to make the Tablet 2 Pro appealing, there’s always the large 13-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) resolution screen. We were honestly surprised that we liked watching some movies on the Pico projector more than on the QHD screen. The reality is that some streaming video content doesn’t scale well to resolutions greater than 1080p, but just about everything looks fine when it’s scaled down to the Pico projector’s lower resolution. That, and it’s hard for a 13-inch screen to compete with a screen that’s approximately 45 inches in size.
Other than those added entertainment features, there isn’t much more that stands out with this slate. It weighs 950 grams (just over 2 lbs.) and is 3.7mm thin (12.6mm near the battery and projector). The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro feels good in the hands in much the same way that the smaller tablets do, but the added weight from the projector and battery means this isn’t ideal for use as a “take everywhere” tablet. As with the smaller Yoga Tablet 2, the Tablet 2 Pro includes a “Hang mode” so you can put the tablet on your wall or maybe even a tree branch while you’re camping.
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro runs Android v4.4 KitKat on the same 4th generation Intel Atom Z3745 processor (2M cache, 4 cores, up to 1.86 GHz), meaning heat should be well controlled while the CPU delivers the power necessary for smooth video and audio playback and maintains good multitasking performance. You also get an 8 megapixel rear camera and 32 GB of internal storage with up to an additional 64 GB via microSD.
The 13-inch Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro will be available beginning at the end of October with models starting at $499.99.