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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 – we test the groundbreaking 18 hour tablet and stand impressed [Video Review]

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The launch this week of the brand new Lenovo Yoga Tablet range marks a new direction for Android tablet computers in general. The new devices, which come in 8 and 10 inch formats, may not offer many surprises in terms of architecture and performance, but they do feature some very cool features, including a ground breaking 18 hours battery life. We spend some valuable standby time putting the larger 10 inch Yoga Tablet 10 through its paces to bring you a review and video of what makes this tablet so special.

For those who don’t know, Lenovo is now officially, since September at least, the largest PC company in the world, just edging out HP for the first time. This is built on the back of the successful Thinkpad range of laptop computers, the legacy of the company’s purchase of IBM’s PC division back in 2005. The company is now aiming to repeat this success in other areas, such as tablet computers and smartphones, and the Yoga Tablet range is the latest move in this direction.

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The new Lenovo Yoga Tablet products are the latest additions to the company’s range of tablet and hybrid laptop computers, and feature some very interesting tech. The 8 inch and 10 inch models feature the typical 1.2GHz quad core processor of current alternatives on the market, with 1 GB RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, 1280×800 IPS touchscreen, a 5 megapixel camera, microSD support up to 64 GB and Android 4.2.2. While the specs may not be that exciting, it’s the way it’s all been packaged together, along with the majestic battery life, which makes this such a noteworthy product launch. See our video below for our hands on run through of the product features and our verdict.

First impressions
The Yoga Tablet 10 that we have been testing comes in a sleek black box, with a typical USB power block, cable and bundle of user guides in different languages. The first thing that hits you, however, is the unusual shape of the tablet, with its bulbous edge which we predict people will either love or hate. We don’t see much of a middle ground here. The one thing which may sway people however is the fact that this bulge contains an innovative high capacity battery which delivers a ground breaking 18 hours of battery life per charge, a real milestone in tablet computing.

This feat is aided by some very clever software, which gives the user complete control over the power and feature settings of the product, so it can be customized to deliver the optimum blend of performance and battery consumption. The other function of the battery bulge is to double up as an innovative integrated stand, which makes the tablet more than just a handheld, and more of a hybrid computer like its cousin the IdeaPad Yoga convertible laptop.

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In Use
There’s very little to differentiate Android tablet computers nowadays. They all seem to run similar interfaces, processors and ship with near stock applications, so it’s no surprise that the Yoga Tablet 10 follows on with this trend. However there are a few signs that Lenovo intend to carve their own niche in the marketplace if they can. For one thing, there are some nice additions to the apps bundled as standard with the product. A great eBook reader, which may give Amazon a run for its money, a Dolby audio configuration tool which lets you custom tailor your sound (from the twin front facing stereo speakers) to your liking, and a great little app for newcomers which helps guide them through the tablet’s features.

It’s also nice to see that Lenovo have bundled an alternative to Google Maps on the tablet, the venerable Route 66 GPS navigation software. Back in the day this app was found on the high end Nokia GPS phones running Symbian, so it’s nice to see it come back onto the world stage.

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One of the other nice features of the Yoga 10 model is the option to add on a custom Bluetooth keyboard, which acts as a protective case as well as providing one of the best keypads we’ve yet seen on this type of peripheral. The keys are nicely spaced and have a positive action, which means that touch typists will find it very easy to get decent speeds when typing. This is a real bonus for those who want to get real work done on their tablet, rather than just watch movies or play games.

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The keyboard also sports a cracking trackpad with real clicky mouse buttons and a tactile surface which makes it a pleasure to use. It’s a real surprise to find this kind of sophistication in an add-on product for a tablet, and demonstrates how seriously Lenovo is taking this market sector. The company has a strong presence in the enterprise market with the Thinkpad, and it’s easy to imagine that these latest products will add to that reputation.

Conclusion
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 manages to deliver a number of pleasant surprises alongside a fairly conventional Android specification. The outstanding feature is the 18 hour battery life, and although we can’t yet categorically state that we have experienced that magic number, we are still running the review machine without a charge after two days, and the gauge still shows over 50% charge left. That’s impressive by anyone’s standards.

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While the camera may be typically under powered as so many tablet cameras seem to be at 5 megapixels, we’re absolutely amazed by the quality of the add-on keyboard, which makes it something that transforms the tablet into a real workhorse. There are lots of Bluetooth keyboard alternatives on the market of course, but we’re confident that none of them has the level of sophistication of this Lenovo product.

Overall this is a solid, innovative product from one of the world’s leading technology companies, and it’s a tablet which deserves to be on every tablet buyers consideration list, as a real contender. Whether you like the form factor or not is obviously a matter of personal taste, but it’s surprising how quickly you can get to love a little bulge when it delivers such a lot of extra value in the hand. Recommended.

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Image Samples

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Specifications

General
OS Version: 4.2.2
CPU: MT8125/8389 Quad Core
Processor Speed: 1.2GHz
RAM: 1GB
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Google Play
5 Megapixel Rear Camera + 1.6 mp HD Front-Facing Camera
Twin Front Facing Speakers
Battery Size: 9000mAh
Up to 18 hours battery life
Microphone with noise reduction
Dolby Digital Plus DS1

Display
Display Size: 10 Inch IPS
Display Resolution: 1280×800

Storage Memory
Internal: 16GB
Micro SD Card up to 64GB

Ports
3.5mm Audio Out Port
Micro SD Card Slot
Micro USB (OTG)

Sensors
E-compass
Accelerometer (G-sensor)
GPS
Brightness (Ambient Light)
Vibration Function

Dimensions
Yoga Tablet 10: 10.3 in x 7.1 in x (0.1-0.3) in
Main product weight: 1.33 lbs

Price
$319.00 retail
£279.00 retail

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


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