Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8
Meet the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8. This brand new Android-powered slate comes packing a hinge and a kickstand to double up on its viewing modes, just like its Windows-powered cousins. It looks stunning, has an impressive claimed battery life of 18 hours, and is a fresh take on the traditional slate. But is it enough to make it stand out from the rest of the pack? Let's find out.
The first thing you'll notice is this slate’s classy aluminium construction. It’s just 4mm at its thinnest point, which is mighty slim, and it’s very light as well. It's also a breeze to hold - just grab hold of the cylinder at the bottom that contains the Yoga's mammoth 6,000mAh battery. This also keeps the tablet trucking for hours, so if you take it on a long plane journey, you won't be without your media. Lenovo rates the battery at around 18 hours, and we managed to squeeze out a good 13 hours on heavy usage. With careful use and optimal settings you'll likely hit the 18-hour mark, should you need it that long. In a smaller tablet, that's phenomenal.
On one side of the cylindrical bulge is the large power button that glows when you're low on battery, while on the other is the headphone jack. Flanked underneath the screen are two stereo speakers - powered by Dolby Digital Plus tech - that sound better than expected, especially on a tablet this slim and light. Connectivity-wise, you'll find the usual Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and GPS on board, while Lenovo has also included a microUSB port. It’s just a shame there’s no micro-HDMI output.
Hidden round the back of the tablet is the Yoga's standout feature: its metal kickstand. You need to give the cylinder a sharp twist, then the stand locks in place with a satisfying click. It props the tablet up at an angle that’s perfect for watching movies or for video chatting. Unlike case covers that double as a stand, the Yoga's is absolutely solid, so it won't fold away when moved. That said, it’s not impervious to knocks: prod too hard, and it’ll topple over. Under the kickstand, you'll find the microSD card slot, which takes cards up to 64GB, adding to the 16GB on board.
While the Yoga Tablet 8 has excellent design and battery life, it falls flat everywhere else. Performance is abysmal. Even with its 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM, it's just not quick enough to keep up with its similarly-priced peers. A simple task like swiping through the homescreen is laggy and sluggish. Even the latest Nexus 7 - which costs the same as the Yoga Tablet 8 - can handle that without a hitch, and it's pushing many more pixels.
The 1,280x800-pixel HD display is fine for gaming and browsing the web, but when reading comics and magazines, it feels a bit cramped. We found ourselves wishing we had something almost Retina-display worthy.
The slate runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, though Lenovo has added its own, rather ugly skin. It looks a lot like Apple's iOS, right down to the folders and "new" app icon. All your apps are found on the home screen, so if you have plenty installed, you might have to swipe through tons of pages to find the one you want. Folders tidy things up a bit, but we wish Lenovo had left us with a standard app drawer and launcher. You’ll find yourself reaching for a third-party launcher before long.
Oddly, the front facing 1.6-megapixel camera is on the left-hand side of the screen when the tablet's propped on its stand, making for oddly-angled video calls. The camera isn’t much to shout about, and neither is the five-megapixel rear shooter.