There are a lot of PC makers creating Windows 2-in-1s. A lot of the big players have laptops with hinges that allow their touchscreen displays to fold flat for a more tablet experience. You can’t walk through a Wal-Mart or browse Best Buy’s website without encountering a Surface Pro 3. That’s great news for Microsoft, it needs all the Windows-powered 2-in-1s it can get to help take down the iPad. Very few companies are creating Windows 2-in-1s with an emphasis on entertainment though, and that’s where the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 10.1-inch fits in.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows and a 10.1-inch display has all the hallmarks of a typical Windows 8 2-in-1. Inside is an Intel Processor and enough RAM and storage space to install essential apps. It has a kickstand that allows users to adjust its display angle and a Bluetooth keyboard that comes bundled with it.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows Review – Design & Internals
You could have looked at Windows tablets for years and not seen anything like the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows’ design. Again, there are a lot of things that are familiar here. An unassuming 10.1-inch display sits just above a touch-sensitive Windows button on the front. There’s a single kickstand with a hook hole, two speakers and two cameras. A micro-USB port, Mini HDMI port and headset jack are all built-in too.
None of these ports are in the places you’d expect them to be, and that’s the first hint that Lenovo has a different target audience in mind for the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 10.1-inch. Forget your plain slabs, there’s barely a single straight line on the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows. That kickstand is connected to a large circular roll on the bottom of the device. The roll bulges out, making the bottom — or side depending on how you’re holding it — stick out from the rest of the body. All of your necessary ports and buttons are built into this roll. The two speakers flank the re-positionable kickstand so that they’re always facing the user. The headset jack sits facing outward on the right side of the pseudo-cylinder. On the left face of that cylinder is a glowing power button. Only the micro USB port and volume bottoms are actually built into the flat portion of the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 8-inch.
Normally, I like to separate design and internal breakdowns, but here they complement each other so well you can’t. The display in the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is an LED LCD completely capable of high-definition video. We’re talking a resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. That rear-facing camera along the device’s cylinder is capable of capturing 8 megapixel shots.
The display sits so close to the glass front of the Yoga Tablet 2 that you’d never know there was anything between it and you. The device doesn’t slow down unless you’re opening particularly troublesome apps like iTunes. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows’s cameras are so well integrated you’d never know that they were there.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows Review – Experience
Often times, PC buyers will look at raw specifications and decide whether something is a good buy or not. With more ambitious devices, it’s a better idea to see how all of the different risks pay off.
The cylindrical end of the Yoga Tablet 2 is a terrific design flourish and a media lover’s dream. Because the speakers are facing you when the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is sitting on a desk, you always get the best sound. No, there wasn’t a lot of bass to be heard from the device, but I could hear every sound effect and every voice during a movie as clear as I could from a television equipped with separate area speakers. Lenovo worked with Dolby on the sound experience, and it shows.
Having the headset jack on the right face of the cylinder keeps you from having a headphone cable dangling all across your keyboard, something that frustrates me when using other Windows 10 tablets like the Surface Pro 3. It’s easy to fold out the kickstand and get started watching video. Also, it’s worth noting that this bulge makes the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows a terrific eReader and great device to use in portrait mode. It feels like you are curling up with a good book when you’re reading a book, it really does.
There are issues with the zany design though and they’re pretty serious.
Most users don’t flip their device in portrait unless they’re reading. Usually, they’re browsing websites and watching video. Both of these are things you do in landscape, and the cylinder design isn’t great for doing either in your lap. I found myself jostling the headphone out of the socket when watching videos in my lap. I accidentally turned the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows off a few times because of that big power button on the left end of the cylinder. I always found myself accidentally covering up the Yoga Tablet 2 with Window’s rear-facing camera. Weirder is Lenovo’s decision to embed the ambient light sensor just below the side-mounted front-facing camera. I kept trying to place my hand there when taking pictures or holding the device in landscape. Immediately, it’d result in an accidentally dimmed screen.
For productivity users, the design presents more issues. The kickstand is how the device holds itself up, giving users a sort of notebook mode when the included Bluetooth keyboard is attached. Bundling that keyboard with the tablet is a nice touch, but there are definitely better keyboards out there. The keys have a lot of travel, but they’re very small and spaced tightly together. Worse, its magnets aren’t exactly strong enough to lock the tablet into place. Even with the free keyboard, users aren’t getting all of the things they might need to be productive.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows Review – Conclusion
It seems Lenovo set out to find the perfect device for both entertainment and productivity. For the most part, I’d say they achieved it. The Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is great for reading and watching movies. The form factor nails these experiences in ways we haven’t seen before. In other ways, the form factor misses the mark. The included keyboard has way too much flex and the keys are way too small to make this a productivity powerhouse.
At $369.99, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 10-inch comes closer to melding entertainment, productivity, good looks and aggressive pricing than any other Windows tablets we’ve seen in its category. It’s a great buy if you’re hoping to find a great e-reader or casual tablet. It’s not cut out for any heavy lifting though, even with the free keyboard.