Lenovo's Yoga tablet can tilt and stand, but can it sell?Anna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Halloween is just one day away, which means the day after unofficially begins the holiday shopping season. Many already popular products start to go on sale as the gift-giving season commences, while other companies have waited to announce and sell their products. We haven't heard a whole lot about Lenovo here in North America, with the exception of the rumor that they may be interested in purchasing Canadian company BlackBerry, but today that changes with the announcement and release of Yoga. Yoga is Lenovo's new tablet, which is aimed at consumers here in North America.
Lenovo's mobile products have mostly been focused in their markets in Asia, mostly China. For the most part, we know them here as computer manufacturers. But as PC sales begin to decline, it seems like it might be a good time to start introducing some mobile products outside of their home market. But whether they are able to sell outside of their market or not is something that only time will be able to tell us.
The new Lenovo Yoga tablet isn't just your average everyday tablet. It has been given the moniker "Yoga" for a reason - it has the ability to be positioned in three different ways. From the front of the device, it looks like any other tablet would: big, flat screen. But once you turn the device around, you'll notice some of the design differences between the Yoga and most other tablets out there on the market.
The first think you'll notice is that the back isn't completely flat. On the left side of the device, you'll see a long cylindrical device, which serves two purposes. The first is to act as a battery, which Lenovo claims is what gives it 18 hours of battery life with "light browsing and reading". The second is to assist the tablet in its three different modes: tilt, stand and hold. Tilt mode makes use of a kickstand in the back and raises the tablet up slightly off of a flat surface. As a result, the tablet is tilted downward towards the user for an easier typing experience. Stand mode solves the issue of having to hold a tablet for long periods of time for multimedia like videos or movies by using the same kickstand to prop the tablet up right. Finally, hold mode allows the user to grip the cylinder for easy tablet browsing, just like a normal tablet.
When it comes to specs, the Yoga doesn't really have anything stunning to offer. The tablet comes in either 8 or 10 inch sizes, and it runs on Android 4.2.2. The tablet has a screen resolution of 1280x800, which isn't anything to write home about considering the screen resolutions we have today. Both sizes will come with 16GB of on-board storage, with a microSD card slot that accepts up to a 64GB SD card. It runs on an MTK Quad Core 1.2GHz processor and 1GB of RAM. The Yoga has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 1.6-megapixel front-facer. Both tablets are nearly identical except for the size of the tablet and the battery. Despite the fact that it doesn't have the best specs, they're still pretty decent, and the price is solid in my opinion: $249 for the 8-inch tablet, and $299 for the 10-inch. It's not very often you can find a decent 10-inch tablet for $299 these days.
But Lenovo isn't trying to sell you their tablet through specs and gimmicks - they're trying to solve a different issue altogether. Tablets are used for all sorts of things, and as such they aren't always best used when held with two hands. For example, when I'm typing, I don't really want to have to stretch my thumbs across the entire screen in order to use the keyboard. I prefer to type like I would with a PC keyboard - flat and with plenty of space. And when I'm watching a movie? I don't usually like holding the tablet the whole time. It would be nice to be able to stand it up if I wanted to. And of course, there are going to be times where holding it like a normal tablet will be most comfortable as well.
I think, if nothing else, the Yoga tablet is an interesting device that addresses a few issues that tablets so far have looked to accessories to fix. I will be interested to see how changing the hardware rather than the software will attract customers, and if Lenovo will be able to make a breakthrough in our very saturated market.
Readers, what are your thoughts regarding the Yoga tablet? Does the design appeal enough to you to buy it, or are you more intrigued by software features?
Images via Uber Gizmo