Lenovo, the company best known for its workhorse ThinkPad business laptops, is now riding a wave of product innovation into the consumer tablet and convertible laptop market. With the help of Ashton Kutcher, it announced the availability of the Yoga 3 Pro locally, as well as the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, and a couple of variants of the Yoga Tablet 2.
These all sound like similar products, right? We thought we would break them down for you here so that you know what the differences are and which one might best suit your needs.
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro
This is the cream of the crop in Lenovo’s new range of products. It’s a Windows 8.1-based 13.3in convertible laptop (or hybrid, if you will) with a 3200x1800-pixel touchscreen, and it’s the first laptop we’ve seen to make use of Intel’s Core M CPU. But these aren’t even its most interesting features.
What you immediately notice about this laptop is its hinge, which looks like the metal band on a wristwatch, and it’s unlike any other laptop hinge out there. It has six points of support rather than two, and it’s designed to allow the screen to fold all the way over until the laptop becomes a tablet. It’s a thing of beauty, and it decreases the bulk and thickness of the unit to make it impressively comfortable when used as a slate.
You should get this model if you’re after a convertible product that can act as a regular notebook (the Core M CPU is more than capable of handling office apps and online tasks), as a tablet or e-book reader, or as a display device for watching videos (there are two modes called Stand and Tent that facilitate this operation).
The starting price for the Yoga 3 Pro is $2099, and this includes the Intel Core M-5Y70 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, a 4-cell battery, a 1-year warranty, and the 3200x1800-pixel IPS touchscreen. For $2299, you can get the model that features a 512GB SSD.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro
Unlike the Yoga 3 Pro, the Tablet 2 Pro is purely a tablet and it runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s a large unit that has a 13.3in IPS screen, and its resolution is a lovely 2560x1440 pixels. Its style looks plain and simple, but plenty of effort has gone into making it much different from the norm.
Most obviously, it’s a tablet that has a cylindrical base with a stand, which allows the tablet to be stood up or rested easily for display purposes, but that’s pretty standard for a Yoga tablet. There is a new thing to look out for, and that is the hole in the stand.
This hole facilitates what Lenovo calls ‘Hang mode’. As the name of the mode suggests, you can hang this tablet up like a picture frame at any place where such a scenario is plausible. We’re not sure exactly where this can come in useful, but the feature is there and ready for creative minds to put it to use.
But what really makes this tablet original is another feature that other tablets haven’t got yet, and that is a built-in projector. It resides in the cylindrical base, and it can be used to project a screen size of up to 50 inches from a throw distance of 2m. A tiny control allows you to adjust the focus. It’s a feature that can potentially make video viewing a lot more enjoyable, though you will have to come up with a way to rest it and angle it so that you can get the best viewing experience.
Sound is facilitated by the inclusion of a little sub-woofer in addition to the speakers on the front, and these speakers and the projector are what make this tablet more suited for entertainment purposes than others on the market.
You should buy it if you want a large tablet that puts a focus on allowing you to watch video content more easily and in innovative ways around your home. The stand makes the tablet easy to place upright on a desk, while the projector adds versatility and a nice little ‘wow’ factor for your friends and family.
It costs $799 and comes with an Intel Atom Z3745 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of flash storage, a dual-band Wi-Fi adapter, and a 3-cell (9600 milliamp-hour battery).
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Android
If a 13.3in Android tablet is way too big for your liking, then you can consider the Yoga Tablet 2. This one is a 10.1in tablet with a Full HD (1920x1080-pixel) IPS screen, Android KitKat 4.4, and it features an Intel Atom Z3745 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of integrated flash storage, and a 9600 milliamp-hour battery.
Like the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, its cylindrical stand allows it to be stood up and used more easily as a display for video content, and the hole in the stand for ‘Hang mode’ is also present. Unlike last year's model, the Tablet 2's stand is a little wider and offers a couple more angles for viewing.
There’s not much more to say about this one. It costs $399 and is a good option if you want a little tablet that’s easy to hold while reading and also easy to rest while watching videos.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows
Lenovo said that a lot of its customers wanted a tablet for productivity purposes, and so it released a 10.1-inch Yoga Tablet 2 that runs Windows 8.1. It’s for those of you who want to run familiar Windows applications, but who want to do so in a small tablet form factor. Furthermore, a keyboard is supplied that can turn the tablet into a more than capable typing device.
It’s called Keyboard Cover, and it's attracted into place at the bottom of the tablet screen by magnets. It offers a surprisingly satisfying typing experience (based on our brief hands-on), though because of the size of the unit, you might find it slightly cramped.
Specifications are essentially the same as the Yoga Tablet 2 with Android, but the Windows version packs 32GB of storage rather than 16GB, which is a good idea since the operating system takes up so much space. The battery life is also quoted as being a little shorter than the Android version (15 hours compared to 18 hours), but this will depend on how you use the product.
The other kicker is the price. It costs $579, which is noticeably more than the Android version. Consider it if you want a small Windows-based tablet rather than Android, and a tablet that can be used for productivity in addition to consuming media.
All of these products are available now from JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman, or from Lenovo’s Web site.