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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 review - hands on

Tom Morgan
10 Oct 2014
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We try out Windows and Android versions to see which Yoga Tablet is best

Lenovo wasn't happy to announce a simple update to its two Android-powered tablets, the Yoga Tablet 8 and Yoga Tablet 10 - it also revealed Windows-powered versions at the same time. The Yoga Tablet 2 is already one of the most flexible and multi-purpose tablets out there, but a host of improvements and accessories might have just made it the tablet for all situations. We got the chance to put all the new models to the test at last night's launch event, in order to bring you some first impressions.

First up, Android. Both the Yoga Tablet 2 8in and Yoga Tablet 2 10in improve on the originals in terms of display resolution and performance, but they also gain a new kickstand position; hang. Whereas you could already use the integrated kickstand to tilt the tablet to any angle, leave it free-standing on a table or hold it comfortably thanks to the rounded base, a hole machined into the aluminium now lets you hang it anywhere. Lenovo suggested hanging it off a kitchen cabinet when following a recipe, but there are plenty of other possibilities as well. There's no question they are now the most flexible Android tablets around.

Whether you opt for the 8in screen or 10in, the design is identical, with a metal and plastic construction that punches above its weight given the price. Lenovo has reinforced the kickstand with a stronger hinge, so you won't knock it over when in stand mode, and it certainly worked when we were tapping through Android's homescreens. 

Both models also have 1,920x1,200 resolution screens, a major improvement over the old 1,280x800 panels. Images looked particularly sharp on the 8in model, but both looked crisp and showed plenty of detail in photos and videos. The panels were easily bright enough to be clear to read, even under the bright lights of the press room, but we'll withold funil judgment until we can compare them directly to the competition and run them through our colour calibrator. The forward facing stereo speakers should be a good match for multimedia addicts, although we couldn't get a real idea of their capabilities at the event.

Inside, a quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor running at 1.86GHz is paired with 2GB of RAM, which is more than enough to run Android 4.4 Kitkat smoothly - even with Lenovo's radically overhauled custom user interface running on top. 16GB of onboard storage comes as standard, but you can add up to 64GB of storage for extra apps, downloads and multimedia files using the microSD card slot.

If you're looking for a tablet that can be used for productivity as well as multimedia, the Windows variant could be your best bet. We got to try out the 10in model, complete with optional keyboard cover, and it's clear Lenovo has thought out its accessories; the keyboard has a slightly rounded magnetic edge that fits onto the curved tablet perfectly, creating an ideal typing and viewing position.

They keys are pretty compact, but the Chiclet design means there's a reasonable amount of space between each one, so we were able to type swiftly and with few mistakes. The keys themselves felt fairly bouncy, and you also get an all-in-one touchpad - effectively turning the tablet into a tiny laptop. The keyboard connects via Bluetooth, with its own battery supply to avoid draining the tablet's juice.

With the same internals as the Android version, we'll have to wait until we get the Windows models in to the office to find out how they fare in terms of performance. Intel's Atom chip should be more than capable of word processing, web browsing, multimedia and image editing, although 2GB of RAM may limit multitasking and the 32-bit version of Windows won't be able to run 64-bit applications. It should last as long as 15 hours on a single charge if you're conservative with screen brightness and highly intensive tasks.

Whether you're after large or small, Android or Windows, Wi-Fi or 4G, Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 2 range seems to have you covered. We were impressed with the improvements the company has made over the original models, and can't wait to see whether the Windows versions could be the portable productivity powerhouses we anticipate them to be.

All models will be launching here in the UK starting from the end of October. We're hoping to give the Android and Windows editions fuller reviews a little closer to launch.

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