Lenovo today announced two new tablets running on Android 4.2. The new Yoga tablets are available in 10in and 8in sizes, and they are not typical of other tablets on the Australian market. The main difference is the built-in fold-out stand, which allows the tablet to be used effectively as a display device, or more easily as a typing device.
The other key element to the Yoga design is a cylindrical spine on which that fold-out stand is hinged. This cylinder, apart from being integral to the ergonomics of the tablet, also houses the batteries, which Lenovo said are based on the same technology that goes into its laptops. The 8in tablet has two batteries for a total of 6000 milliamp hours (mAh), while the 10in tablet has two batteries for a total of 9000mAh. This is said to give the tablet a battery life of 18 hours, though how much you are able to get out of it will depend on the tasks that you run and the brightness of the screen. The 18 hour figure that Lenovo quotes includes up to 12 hours of reading time in hold mode, two hours of Web browsing using Wi-Fi, two hours of video playback, and two hours of MP3 playback in standby mode.
In addition to being the housing point for the substantial batteries, the cylindrical spine serves a comfort purpose. Lenovo said that it has designed the Yoga to be more comfortable to hold as a tablet, and that the cylinder provides an essential gripping point. It’s a design that has been borne out of Lenovo’s customer research, which suggested that users wanted a tablet that was easier to hold, easier to type on, and better for watching videos (especially while lying in bed).
The built-in stand has two little notches so that you get your fingernails in there to open it. It otherwise sits flush with the back of the tablet. It can be a little awkward to open at first. The stand allows the Yoga tablet to sit at different angles from 110-130 degrees, and in addition to offering a way for the tablet to stand up on its own, it also offers a steeper incline when the tablet is situated in a resting position on the table (a position that can be used for typing).
Both the 8in and 10in tablets are essentially the same when it comes to connectivity and specs, with the battery life, CPU model listing, and form factor being the only differences. Physically, the Yoga is made out of alloy, and Lenovo says it won’t get warm. On one end of the spine is the power button, while the other end has the audio jack. There is a micro USB port present on the tablet, as well as volume buttons, and you can expand the storage capacity by inserting a microSD card in the slot that sits just under the stand (it’s visible when you open it). You can use a card up to 64GB in that slot. There is a dummy SIM slot in the device, too, but Lenovo won’t release a data-enabled Yoga tablet in Australia until it can get a 4G module into it.
There are cameras on either side of the tablet, with the rear camera having a 5-megapixel sensor, and the front-facing camera having a 1.6-megapixel sensor. Speakers are built in to the front of the tablet, and the audio capabilities of the Yoga include Dolby Digital Plus DS1 support. Lenovo says the speakers have been placed at the front in order to eliminate the possibility of muffling that can occur when the speaker is placed on one of the edges.
On the inside, the Yoga features a 1.2GHz quad-core processor (model MY8125/8389 for the 8in tablet and MT8125/8389 for the 10in), 1GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 32GB of eMMC storage. Bluetooth 4.0 is present, as is 802.11n Wi-Fi (not listed as dual-band on the specs we were given).
The screen on the Yoga (both 8in and 10in) has a native resolution of 1200x800, and it’s an IPS display that looks vibrant from all angles. The tablet felt smooth and responsive in the brief time we got to play with it at the Sydney launch.
Other things you should know about are the interface, which is stock Android and devoid of any modifications by Lenovo, the weight, which is just over 400g for the 8in version and just over 600g for the 10in version, and the price, which for the 8in version is $349, while the 10in version is $399. A Bluetooth keyboard cover for the Yoga 10 costs $99, and it slides neatly onto the tablet and acts as a cover when not in use. This protects the tablet and also makes both the keyboard and tablet easier to transport.
The Yoga tablets will be available in the first week of November from JB Hi-Fi and Lenovo’s online store.