Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10: Unique design on a budget (hands on)

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and 10: Unique design on a budget (hands on)

Summary: Lenovo is heating up the Android tablet space with the introduction of two tablets aimed directly at the Nexus line. The Yoga Tablet comes in 8 and 10-inch models similar to the budget friendly Nexus slates, but the Yogas get 18 hours of battery life.

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Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10
L-R: Yoga Tablet 8, Yoga Tablet 10 (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Lenovo unveiled the Yoga Tablet in an online event featuring Ashton Kutcher in its new BetterWay campaign. There are actually two Yoga Tablets, an 8-inch model and a 10-inch slate. Both tablets are essentially the same with the exception of the size. We've had both models in our hands for a short period and are impressed with what you get for the price.

When you unbox either Yoga Tablet you are immediately impressed with a hardware design that is unique in the crowded Android field. Each tablet has a cylindrical grip on one side of the device that houses a battery that Lenovo claims gets better life than any tablet on the market.

Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 stacked
Yoga Tablets stacked (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

The cylinder also has an integrated stand that folds out to support the tablet in two modes, a low profile typing mode and an upgright configuration for watching video. The stand can support the tablet in various viewing angles to fit the situation. The short stand is made of aluminum and supports the tablet securely.

Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 hardware specs as reviewed:

  Yoga Tablet 8 Yoga Tablet 10
CPU MTK Quad Core, 1.2GHz 8125 Same
Display 8" HD (1280x800) IPS 10.1” HD (1280x800) IPS
Storage 16GB eMMC storage + MicroSD slot Same
Memory 1GB LP DDR2 Same
OS Android 4.2.2 Same
Ports microUSB, Audio in/out Same
Cameras 5MP Auto Focus rear, 1.6M front Same
Connectivity 802.11bgn, Bluetooth 4.0 Same
Battery Li-Ion polymer, 6000mAh Li-Ion polymer, 9000mAh
Dimensions

0.88 lbs.

8.39 x 5.67 x (.12-.29) in

213 x 144 x (3.0-7.3) mm

1.33 lbs.

10.28 x 7.09 x (.12 - .32) in

261 x 180 x (3.0-8.1) mm

Price $249 $299

Both the Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 are very thin on the side opposite the cylinder grip. Surprisingly, the tablets are comfortably balanced when holding either the grip or the other side.

Choosing to design the Yogas with the cylinder grip allowed Lenovo to include unique features:

  • Small kickstand

  • Front-facing stereo speakers

  • Rear camera on the back of the cylinder

  • microSD slot under the kickstand

The only port on the Yogas is a microUSB port that is used for charging the tablets. It can also be used to charge other devices while the tablet is being used.

Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 tilt mode
Yoga Tablets in tilt mode (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Lenovo has included Dolby technology, including an app to tailor audio to the user's taste, to drive the stereo speakers on the front of the cylinder grip. These speakers sound fantastic, easily the best we've heard on any tablet. The Dolby app can optimize the audio for movies, audio, and for voices.

Yoga Tablet 10 speakers
Yoga Tablet stereo speakers

Performance

Yoga Tablet 8 hold mode
Yoga Tablet 8 (Image: Lenovo)

The MTK processor used in the Yogas is intended as a budget chipset for lower-cost devices, but in our testing it's a very good performer. Tablet operation sees things happen very quickly, and can rival that of premium tablets.

Two different Galaxy Note 8.0 owners were impressed with how fast the Yogas run apps and how fluidly the interface moves. One Nexus 7 (original model) owner also noted how fast the operation is on the Yogas. 

After a day of heavy testing, both the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 have impressed us with the speed and performance of this hardware configuration. This testing did not include gaming, which may be a different story.

Battery life

The ability to use bigger batteries in the Yogas due to the cylindrical housing gives both tablets impressive battery life. According to Lenovo, web surfing can be done for 11.2/13 hours on the Yoga Tablet 10 and 8, respectively. The batteries will last a whopping 12.2/14.5 hours on the 10 and 8 inch tablets respectively, watching HD video. Reading ebooks with the backlighting turned down to 20 percent sees the batteries last for 19/21 hours for the Yoga 10 and 8, respectively.

Optional cases

Yoga Tablet 10 Keyboard Cover
Yoga Tablet 10 Keyboard Cover (Image: Lenovo)

The unique shape of the Yoga Tablets requires special cases from Lenovo. We have tested a sleeve case for each of the Yogas. These protective covers are $29.99 each and are fitted for each Yoga. There is a magnetic flap that seals the tablet inside the case for transport. This case is available in several colors.

The Yoga Tablet 10 has a keyboard cover (not tested) that has a keyboard and trackpad for use with the bigger tablet. It is priced at $69.99 from Lenovo.

Conclusion

Lenovo has taken aim at the Nexus tablets with the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10. The Yogas have a design like no other Android tablet currently available, which comes with advantages over the competition. Long battery life, ergonomic design, and a reasonable price point will keep the competitors up at night.

Our testing of both the Yoga Tablet 8 and 10 has impressed us. The outstanding build quality is better than any Samsung tablet we have used, and the low price point makes these tablets a good value proposition.

Yoga Tablet 8 kickstand
Yoga Tablet ports and features (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Related stories:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Lenovo, Tablets

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31 comments
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  • Not a Nexus without direct Android updates.

    I don't see why you compare this to the Nexus tablets. The Nexus 7 and 10 have much higher resolution screens and are guaranteed to have the latest version of Android...which the Lenovo won't. They're not really comparable.
    babyfacemagee
  • Unlike the Nexus...

    The Yoga Tablet comes in 8 and 10-inch models UNlike the similarly priced Nexus slates, which come in 7 and 10-inch models.

    It's the iPad mini which is almost 8 inches.
    Chooky78
  • Interesting design

    Oh, wait, it runs Android? They called it a Yoga, same name as their 2-in-1's that run Windows, and it runs Android?

    Yawn.
    FDanconia
    • Android mistake

      The Levovo 2-in-1 tablets that run Windows 8.1 are so much better, more productive, and offer better features. As as Android tablet it just ok.
      Sean Foley
      • Although...

        The tablet form factor is very cool. Nice job Levovo!
        Sean Foley
    • I assumed with that name

      they'd be windows 8.1 tablets too.
      Sam Wagner
      • yuck

        they are battery hogs get an ultra book or dont get any thing at all you will regret it
        Tuxwarrior
  • Notion ink adam

    They stole the basic shape from the notion ink. It was an Indian Co. that tried to make a go of it but they were under capitalized.
    calfee20
    • I really like this design.

      I was very interested in the notion ink but I am glad I held back and was not an early adopter.

      This design gives you a comfortable place to grip the tablet along with a place for decent battery and speakers.

      Sony also had an android tablet with this shape. I would like to see Lenovo produce a Windows tablet with this shape.
      calfee20
      • This form factor and Win 8.1

        I'd love to see that too. One issue may be lie in the fact that all win 8.x tablets to date are (rigidly?) built around a 16x9 display model, which really hampers them from being as useful in portrait mode as other tablets.

        MS has been pretty stubborn about how the desktop(s) is (are) displayed, so the case might be that something more 4:3 ish (iPad) or 3:2 ish may not be fluidly supported, if the Modern UI can adapt to varying aspect ratios in a suitable/optimal way at all.

        (They've also been stubborn to the point of perverse about presenting the Modern UI to desktop users - especially given that it will be mid-2014 until even any of their OWN productivity apps are released for that UI, i.e. This is shocking so long after the launch of Win 8...

        ...MS should know as well as any company surviving from the dawn of personal computing that there's no such thing as a "killer OS." Killer apps are what makes an OS' bones.

        Anyway, something about carts and horses comes to mind here, but another story... ...The point is the Win 8.x UI is essentially the WinPhone OS scaled up and ported, and if there are constraints on aspect ratio (and res'es up to 2160p) MS developers ought to be all over allowing aspect-ratio free smart scaling and placing of elements on the screen in all devices larger than phones for Win 8.2.

        This capability may already be there, but I'm doubting it, given that it took so long to allow 1080p on phones and RT (I think?) devices long after Apple and Android had much higher res'es.
        Ice Cowboy
      • The design..

        .. copied from FreePad - 10 years ago.
        knuthf
  • looks great

    the form factor is genius tbh, stolen or not. The one issue with a tablet is that it's always going to be awkward to hold. The way around that has been a wide bezel so you have somewhere to grip.

    With this cylinder added, suddenly there's a place to hold it - and because the screen will tip to whatever way you hold it up, you can hold it with either hand at any angle. Now the bezel can be narrowed and the whole form factor can shrink without losing screen area.

    Really promising - shame that the screen is fairly low resolution. but then - I'm typing this on a "high-res" 15-inch laptop that at 1600x900 has a lower pixel density than the 10-inch model. So really, not much to complain about, especially at that price. The usability of the form factor really appeals.
    james.faction
  • Looks promising especially the 8 inch model

    Nice design, I'd like to feel the build quality. If that kickstand is made out of plastic, it doesn't look very thick.
    I'd pay another hundred bucks for a more premium version of this. Needs HDMI out, higher res screen or better yet AMOLED. Still it's nice that it has the micro SD.. I need at least 64 G of local storage on my tablet, so the Nexus doesn't make the grade.
    SunFire23
    • In the review

      Build quality is excellent, kickstand is aluminum
      JamesKendrick
  • left-handed ?

    I wonder if this design is comfortable also for left-handed.
    gius237
    • Should work fine

      They showed a leftie using the Yoga at the Lenovo launch event. Should work just fine.
      JamesKendrick
  • What does "Yoga" mean now?

    Lenovo has an IdeaPad Yoga and a ThinkPad Yoga, both of which are fairly high end (or at least midrange) convertible tablet/laptops. They flip around into those 4 positions. They run Windows 8+. So I thought I knew what the "Yoga" brand meant.

    Now they bring out a fairly low-end Android tablet, at least by specs and price, and they slap the "Yoga" name on that as well. Now I have no idea what "Yoga" means anymore.

    This would be like Nokia taking their touchscreen feature phones that don't run Windows Phone and slapping the "Lumia" brand on them. But Nokia was smart enough not to do that, because it would have watered down the 'Lumia" brand. So they came up with a different name for the low-end phones: "Asha". That's good branding.

    Yoga, not so much.
    FDanconia
    • Ironically, it's the other way around...

      Brands are more flexible than you think.

      For example, Ford features several "EcoBoost" motors in all kinds of sizes and formats (from 1 liter up to 5 liters). It means, turbo charge, fuel injected engines.

      Another example is the HyperThreading technology from Intel, it basically means that a processor core will emulate two cores.

      In this case, Yoga will be the physical characteristic while the First name will be the brand or premium brand.

      For example, an IdeaPad Yoga will be a premium tablet running Windows 8. Not the best branding, since Windows 8 is not seen as a premium brand, but Lenovo has to go with the flow and follow Microsoft.

      ThinkPad Yoga, might mean a Windows 7 hybrid maybe with an i3 or i7.

      Yoga Tablet, without a first name is the entry level. You have the Yoga experience without the Yoga base price.

      You see, it ain't confusing anymore, unless they release a Yoga Smartphone with Windows Phone 8.1 and a Yoga Refrigerator/Toaster/Blender with Windows 8.1 RT.
      cosuna
    • Agree 100%

      I also thought that yoga meant windows convertibles. Now it can also mean tablet and android. In such case it is just another useless name that does not say anything.

      It also does not compare with Ford's EcoBoost engine branding. If Ford would do like Lenovo then they would call all their cars EcoBoosts. There would be EcoBoost focus, Ecoboost fusion, Ecoboost van, etc.
      paul2011
  • Like it...

    I've been thinking that my next Android tablet would be an 8" device, and that would be my only Android tablet (replacing my 1st gen Nexus 7 and Asus TF300) . I love the idea of the built-in kickstand (loved it on my HTC Evo and love it on my Surface RT) so this device looks very promising, indeed.
    dsf3g