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Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 review

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 - hero
Our Rating :
£69.99 from
Price when reviewed : 150
inc VAT

It’s not a powerhouse, but the Yoga Tab 3 is ideal for kicking back with Netflix

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The Yoga Tab 3 does excel in some areas, however. The chunky cylindrical base has room inside for a much bigger battery than you’d typically find in an 8in tablet. The 6,200mAh cell will easily last all day on a full charge, as it managed a superb 14 hours 49 minutes in the Expert Reviews video rundown test. That’s on par with several tablets that cost twice the price, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 and Dell Venue 8. Unlike other Android tablets, it doesn’t drain very quickly in standby mode, either – meaning it will still have charge if you leave it in a drawer for a few days.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 - tilt mode

^ Multiple hinge positions are great for using the Yoga Tab on your lap, or at a desk

Lenovo’s custom Android skin doesn’t place too much added strain on the hardware, either. It’s deceptively minimal, taking the best parts of Android 5.1 Lollipop and adding some extra customisation. Being able to adjust the size of the home screen grid and hide app labels without having to download a custom launcher is a welcome extra touch, especially when the home screen, app drawer and notification tray all use the default Material UI layout. Even the app icons manage to fit in with the stock Android ones, although some (like the Music app) feel incredibly outdated compared to Google’s own.

There aren’t too many pre-installed apps to worry about, either, with a custom synchronisation tool for backup up phonebook contacts and files, and a transfer app for sharing documents with other users. They aren’t must-haves, by any means, but you can thankfully disable or uninstall them if you don’t want them cluttering up your app drawer.

The biggest addition is the Dolby sound app, which adds an audio equaliser with separate modes for films, games, music and voice. It can’t recognise content, so you have to change them manually, but they can give electronic and rock tracks a welcome boost to the bass and top-end with just a few presses. Virtual surround isn’t entirely convincing in films or games, but it does extend the soundstage and does a great job with music too, bringing vocals to the centre of the mix. It does increase the overall volume of the mix, however, so the Volume Leveller toggle can help avoid accidental eardrum blowouts by averaging everything to the system volume.

Sound quality in general was very good, especially for a budget tablet, with the two front-facing speakers delivering loud audio that can easily be heard from across a room. Trebles sound clear and there’s even some resemblance of bass, although it does somewhat muddy the mid-range when you crank up the volume. Keep it to below 75% and it’s perfectly suited to watching YouTube videos or streaming NetFlix without reaching for a pair of headphones.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 - Hinge

^ The hinge releases with a button press and feels very sturdy

The speaker grilles mesh neatly into the cylindrical base and avoid spoiling the slick overall look. Unsurprisingly for a budget tablet there’s a lot of plastic in use, but the soft-touch finish on the back creates plenty of grip. When holding the Tab one-handed, you naturally rest on the metal stand, anyway, so it actually feels more like a premium device. 

The bulge at the bottom notwithstanding, the rest of the tablet is only 7mm thick, and at 420g its light enough to hold comfortably in one hand. There’s admittedly not a lot of room around the edges for ports, with just a 3.5mm audio jack and a microUSB port. Lenovo has managed to fit a microSD card reader underneath the kickstand. It’s compatible with 128GB cards, which is useful considering the 16GB base model only has 11GB of user-accessible storage.

Conclusion

With a functional design, high quality speakers and a decent (though not class-leading) screen, the Yoga Tab 3 is a great budget tablet. It might not have the sleek looks of the Asus ZenPad S, but the unique appearance makes it much more flexible, coming in handy when you want to watch videos or play games hands-free. Anyone after performance would be better served by Nvidia’s Shield Tablet, but for video and web browsing this it’s an ideal multi-purpose tablet.

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Hardware
Processorquad-core, 1.3GHz Qualcomm SnapDragon 212
RAM1GB
Screen size8in
Screen resolution1,280×800
Screen typeIPS
Front camera
Rear camera8-megapixel rotatable camera
FlashNone
GPSNo
CompassNo
Storage (free)16GB (11.1GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD (128GB max)
Wi-Fi802.11n
BluetoothBluetooth 4.0
NFCNo
Wireless dataNone
Dimensions146x7x210mm
Weight420g
Features
Operating systemAndroid 5.1
Battery size6,200mAh

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