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Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ features an industrial design that makes it stand out from the crowd of other Android tablets.
Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 10
Lenovo’s Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ features an industrial design that makes it stand out from the crowd of other Android tablets. We tested a silver model (there’s also a gold version) for a week and here’s what we learned.
It features a one-hand grip
The Yoga has a cylindrical grip fashioned along its length. It’s meant to help you hold the tablet in one hand, whether your left or right. I found holding it with one hand felt more comfortable and secure than handling a typical tablet. The sensation is akin to holding a magazine in one hand where you have several of its pages folded behind its back.
There’s an aluminum kickstand
Set into the back of the tablet is an aluminum kickstand that flips out, with a maximum angle of 90 degrees. This allows the tablet to be propped up on a flat surface in landscape orientation -- ideal for a business presentation or watching video. You can position the Yoga so the kickstand raises the tablet into an upward ramp, like a raised keyboard or sloped control panel. Care is required when flipping it out. The hinge mechanism is designed to provide physical resistance, so you have to firmly squeeze the cylindrical grip with one hand and brace the rest of the tablet with your other hand. If your hands are sweaty, or you rush through this procedure, it feels like this tablet could then easily flip out of your mitts.
It’s thin, yet sturdy
The rest of the tablet’s external form, which is 0.12 inches at its thinnest point, feels sturdy even though it’s plastic. Although the case and kickstand are made of different materials, their appearances look, and surface areas feel, complementary to one another.
It comes with Google apps
Our Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ came with Android 4.3. During the review, Lenovo issued an automatic update to Android 4.4, which I downloaded and installed. You’ll find Google’s large medley of Android apps on it: Chrome, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Play Store, YouTube, and so on. There are also apps owned by Lenovo for syncing your files to other devices or the cloud, and security software. None of these can be uninstalled, but other third-party apps already installed (which include Evernote and Skype), can be removed by the user.
Otherwise, Android 4.4 remains mostly unblemished from its original, default GUI -- it’s been augmented with some settings specific to this device to help you quickly adjust audio, display and power through the notification bar.
The display is sharp
Images in the 10.1-inch, 1920-by-1200 pixel, IPS display look crisp, pleasingly sharp. It can be decently viewable outdoors, as long as the background of the app you’re using, or image you’re viewing, is comprised mainly of light colors. A display setting in the notification bar includes a preset that adjusts the backlight to improve the visibility of the screen in direct sunlight. The display’s glass surface is very glossy: When the screen is turned off, you can see your reflection in the blackness so well that you can almost use it as a vanity mirror. Fortunately, when it’s on, the default brightness setting reduces this distraction, and glares become minimal.
Performance is solid
Using the Yoga, I encountered little lag as I swiped throughout the Android OS, and loaded and used apps. Connected to reliable broadband via Wi-Fi, this tablet was able to install and update apps surprisingly quickly. Video from YouTube played at 1080p resolution without a stutter. The general impression I got was that the 1.6 GHz quad-core processor inside the Yoga wasn’t taxed much when I put the tablet through these activities, which also included browsing websites and playing music.
The sound wasn’t great
Two Dolby-certified speakers are set into the bezel at the ends of the cylindrical grip. The sound they emitted, with their Dolby technology turned off, when I played music files and other sound (from videos), came off as incredibly thin in the bass and low end. An official Dolby app provides presets, which hugely improve the audio quality, making the sound feel much fuller. It improved, too, with the Dolby switched on, when I plugged my own favorite earbuds into this tablet and listened through them. (The Yoga doesn’t come with earbuds.) The tablet’s built-in microphone captured audio cleanly; playback of the recordings had no buzz or other distortion that I could discern.
Cameras worked well for pics, not so much for video
The 8-megapixel rear camera is embedded into one end of the cylindrical grip. I used the default camera app under ideal, well-lit conditions, and the camera captured images with bright and warm colors. The camera also did a great job of snapping printed documents. The front camera produced similar levels of quality, though it captures only up to 1.6 megapixels. Video shot by either was another story. Footage of close-up objects looked slightly smudged or softer in focus, and grainier of farther away things and settings. Both cameras can capture video only up to 1280-by-720 pixels, but when you’re using the front camera while holding the tablet in portrait mode (such as for video conferencing), this resolution will be substantial and look good enough.
Battery life was outstanding
Lenovo says that the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ can run for about 18 hours on a full charge. Under casual activities (using Google Maps with the tablet’s GPS turned on, playing audio and video, web browsing) where I would let the tablet automatically put itself to sleep or I would completely shut it down, I found it challenging to purposely drain out the battery quickly. Even with 5% power remaining, the tablet kept chugging on for over an hour. Credit for this longevity probably goes to the combination of the tablet’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 9000 mAh lithium-ion polymer battery, and Lenovo’s own power manager app. It took a little over four-and-a-half hours to fully charge.
There’s a keyboard option
Like other tablets that have a built-in kickstand, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ works well for watching videos (without needing to hold the device) or showing presentations to others. The kickstand also literally positions this device for use as a mini-notebook when you wirelessly connect a Bluetooth keyboard to it. It certainly has the power and battery life to serve such a role. (Lenovo sells such a keyboard for the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ for $80, which also functions as a protective cover.) Lenovo designed a tablet that may cause potential buyers to hesitate considering it because of its unconventional form. While it isn’t flat, the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ is one worth holding onto, in the most literal sense.
Android 4.3 (Android 4.4 available for download)
10-point multi-touch touchscreen
Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.6 GHz quad-core processor 2 GB RAM 32 GB on-board storage 1.6 MP front camera; 8 MP rear Micro SD slot
Bluetooth 4.0 GPS
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Battery: 9000 mAh lithium-ion Weight: 1.38 lbs
Dimensions: (10.3") x (0.4" - 0.1") x (7.1")
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