Do you remember Sony’s odd-looking Xperia S Tablet? No? Well there’s a reason for that: it was terrible, but Lenovo thinks that Sony’s concept still has some legs and is offering a similar proposition with its recently released Yoga tablet range.
Lenovo’s design has seemingly ‘borrowed’ Sony’s ill-fated tablet design to try and solve some of the problems tablet users apparently face from the current scourge of flatter than flat tablets; namely they get tiresome when held in one hand, they aren’t very user-friendly when used on a flat surface, and can’t be easily propped up for easy viewing.
Now most fair-minded tablet users have solved these problems with the addition of a cover that usually doubles up as a kickstand – but Lenovo thinks their (or Sony’s) design is a better fit for tablet users – though we have to say we’re not totally convinced yet.
Lenovo’s Yoga range comes in two different models, 10-inch (£249) and 8-inch (£199), which puts them squarely in the cross-hairs of Google’s own Nexus range – so should you consider it over a Nexus? Well, no. The Yoga’s specs are, how should we say this, fairly run-of-the-mill. There’s a lacklustre 1280×800 screen on both models that is neither particularly sharp nor particularly eye-catching. Storage-wise there are the usual suspects: 16GB or 32GB of onboard memory (though this can be supplemented with SD cards for up to 64GB). Elsewhere you’ll find a front and rear-facing cameras, with the rear-facing snapper topping out at 5-megapixels and the front-facing camera undisclosed, but we’d wager it’s pegged at around 2-megapixels tops.
During its hands-on preview, PC Advisor actually warmed to the tablet’s design but weren’t so forthcoming with the specs: “while the Yoga Tablet has an impressive and innovative design, its hardware doesn’t go very far in impressing us.”
Yoga’s unique selling point is, obviously, the bulge, which on the face of it does offer a couple of nifty solutions to help use the tablet more comfortably. There’s a built-in adjustable kickstand, too, that’s really useful if you watch a lot of movies on the train for instance. As well as being rather unsightly there are other benefits to the bulge: it offers 18 hours battery life as Lenovo has added a cluster of traditional laptop batteries to increase the devices longevity, though in the small print Lenovo adds a load of different uses together to get to that magic number – so be warned. It has so much juice, in fact, Lenovo are touting the devices ability to recharge other devices like a phone, for example.
Expert Reviews noted the tablet’s thinness, stating: “the Yoga Tablet is pretty svelte by any standard, measuring just 8.1mm in depth for the most part – which isn’t far off the much-vaunted new iPad Air.” Though they forget to mention that the bulge is quite a bit tubbier than 8.1mm, coming in at 21.5mm.
Overall, Lenovo’s new Yoga tablet range isn’t a complete abject failure; it’s priced competitively (especially compared Sony’s effort), build quality is quite good, and the bulge does offer a couple of nifty ways to use the tablet. But would we recommend it over a Nexus 7 or 10? No. There’s just isn’t enough here to warrant snubbing the best in class for Lenovo’s offering just yet. But if you’re looking for something a little bit different then Lenovo’s Yoga range does just about enough to make it worth considering.