Shoppers and PC bachelors beware. It only takes a few moments to fall in love with a good-looking PC. Productivity minded buyers and PC lovers are always looking for that next must-have the device: the PC that’ll offer them plenty of versatility, with a design that they just have to try for themselves. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch is such a PC.
The $599 Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch was one of the first devices I outright demanded to test after a run in with it at CES 2015 when noted its uncouth barrel-like edge.
Here Lenovo was, gunning for Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 convertible with as much determination as we’ve seen from any Windows hardware maker. I didn’t just want to try this PC, I had to try its design out for myself and evaluate it; and it’s with a heavy heart that I must declare outright that both positives and negatives are present here.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch Review – Design
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13 is definitely a looker. We now live in a world where Microsoft, the maker of Windows, creates its own hardware and software. PC makers needed to step their game up if they hoped to compete seriously. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13 is a Surface killer in looks and on paper.
A sort of metal barrel forms the bottom of the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13. Everything users need from the tablet springs from that barrel. A display sits above the circular area of a sharp 13-inch high-definition display with a 2560 x 1440 display and a front-facing web camera. Sitting in between the bottom of the device and that screen is a touch-sensitive Windows button. On the ends of that barrel are the essential ports. One headphone jack and microHDMI out sit on the right. On the left edge are a circular power button and a microUSB port and volume control.
Push a button on the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows’s rear above the subwoofer and a durable metal kickstand pops out. There’s a single speaker back there too. When closed the subwoofer and kickstand form an almost flush back. The subwoofer cut out is used for those looking to hang the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch on a hook for better viewing angles. Everything about the tablet itself feels solid and sturdy, though prone to scratches and nicks if the unthinkable happens and it falls.
What immediately drew me to the Yoga tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch was its design flourishes and aesthetics. But I also need the essentials. A few weeks of use quickly had me reconsidering whether the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows was something I was down for long term. I’m not a man who needs a lot of ports, but not having a single full-size USB port drove me insane. What’s more, I frequently found myself turning off the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows because of its round power button.
Above all else, the keyboard included with the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch frustrated. In theory, everything should have been fine. It’s large and has physical keys so that touch typists will feel right at home. The whole keyboard and tablet combat close together like a book.
It misses the mark in so many other ways, though. For starters, it’s Bluetooth, meaning when you forget to turn it off – and you will because the power button isn’t exactly obvious – you’ll need to charge it from the Yoga Tablet 2 itself with a cable. This fine, except, if both devices should happen to be dead at the same time you’re in trouble. Second, the keyboard had way too much flex for me, particularly under the trackpad, which has no support underneath. As you click on things it happily bounces a bit. Its worse offense is its magnet though. Microsoft included strong magnets to snap its Surface covers until place for notebook-like use in the lap. The Yoga Tablet 2 13-inch with Windows has this too, but it’s not nearly strong enough. I dropped the keyboard simply carrying the device. It frequently slipped out-of-place in my lap too.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch Review – Internals & Performance
PC prices are falling fast, and $599 certainly can get you a lot more than what it could a few years ago. Unfortunately, it feels like the savings hasn’t trickled down yet in the case of the Yoga Tablet 2.
An Intel Atom processor that’s capable of boosting all the way to 1.86 GHz and 4GB of RAM powers the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch. That rear-facing subwoofer and two side speakers, drive audio output. There’s 64GB of storage and the option to add more with a microSD card slot. A front-facing web camera and a battery able to keep it running for 15-hours completes the experience. By simple tablet standards, it’s a monster.
But you can’t really judge the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch by tablet standards. The Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch runs a full version of Windows, meaning it can run desktop apps. Its 13.3-inch display and included Bluetooth keyboard telegraph its ambition to be a top-rated 2-in-1. That’s where Lenovo runs into trouble.
The Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13 inch costs $599. It is definitely more expensive than most simple notebooks with better processors. It wasn’t until running Google’s Chrome browser with seven tabs open that I realized that Intel Atom and Windows 8.1 don’t sometimes agree with each other. Everything would open quickly, then start to load very slowly. There are full-cost notebooks that provide better performance for that money, even if they don’t look as attractive. To Lenovo’s credit, the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is $200 less than the Surface Pro 3 and includes a keyboard. That being said, the Surface Pro 3 has an Intel Core i3 processor for $799. It’s way more powerful that what you get here.
Stepping away from raw power, one thing Lenovo delivers on is an entertainment experience. The rounded edge of the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13 inch makes reading in portrait more comfortable than other tablets because there’s something there to grip besides a flat edge. Videos on this high-definition display look absolutely gorgeous. Video playback time impressed me too, I easily hit around 8 or 9 hours of video streaming and web browsing with the Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch. That’s not as high as the company’s estimates, but I tend to keep brightness up a bit. I was delighted to find that Lenovo turns on zooming effects in Windows 8.1 by default. This makes everything on-screen easier to touch and interact with.
Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch Review – Conclusion
It’s hard not to recommend the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows 13-inch for certain buyers. It’s gorgeous to look at. It attracts stares and you frequently have to remind yourself that this is your PC.
Then there are other times, when it shows its issues. I like the device itself, but hate the included keyboard. In tablet mode I frequently turned it off by accident because of the awkwardly positioned power button. No full size USB ports means it doesn’t talk to your mice and other accessories.
For users who need an entertainment tablet with a big display, there are better options. For users looking for a next-generation 2-in-1 there are better, but not cheaper options.