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Hands-on with Lenovo's Latest Yoga Tablets
By Kenny Yeo - 30 Oct 2013,1:58pm

Hands-on with Lenovo's Latest Yoga Tablets

Lenovo believes there is a #betterway for tablets to be designed, and the answer is their new Yoga tablet.

Lenovo is now the number one PC manufacturer. Despite this, they sold more smartphones and tablets combined in the last quarter than PCs, which clearly shows that consumer demand and tastes have changed.

Just earlier this morning, Lenovo unveiled its latest Yoga Tablets. Coming in both 10 and 8-inch sizes, the tablets feature a unique cylindrical battery that has an integrated kickstand that lets users use the tablets in three different modes - hold, stand and tilt. In addition, the large cylindrical battery also gives the tablets a battery life of up to 18 hours.

The new Yoga tablet has an integrated stand that lets it prop itself up like this without the aid of any covers or props.

The cylindrical battery might look out of place on the tablet, but it is very functional. The cylindrical battery acts like a camera grip and makes the tablet significantly easier hold. It is very easy to get a good grip on it. This is also what Lenovo calls “Hold mode”.

The cylindrical battery compartment works like a camera grip, making the tablet easier to hold on to with one hand.

A kickstand lets the tablet prop itself up without any aid.

Additionally, the battery also acts a stand in “Tilt mode”. In this mode, the tablet is slightly angled when placed on a flat surface, making it easier for users to use the tablet to do things like browse the web and respond to emails.

Finally, there is a kickstand within the cylindrical battery compartment that deploys to enable the tablet to go into what Lenovo calls “Stand mode”. This mode makes it easy for users to watch videos, make video calls, share presentations or simply to use the Yoga Tablet as a giant photo frame. In addition, the stand offers between 110 to 135 degrees of tilt.

In terms of construction and specifications, the 10 and 8-inch tablets are identical - apart from screen size, of course. Both have aluminum chassis, which give them a premium feel and also make them strong yet light. The 10-inch Yoga tablet tips the scales at 600g while the smaller 8-inch variant is just 400g.

Both models have front-facing speakers, a trend we are noticing in new tablets.

The power button and beside it is a micro-USB port for charging. We were also told that you could use the tablets to charge other devices, although a micro-USB to USB adapter would definitely be required for it to work.

Both models are powered by quad-core 1.2GHz MT8389 processors, have 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There is also support for up 64GB of additional storage via microSD cards. Both models will also have similar display resolutions of 1280 x 800, which is decent but not great considering many of today’s tablets have higher pixel density displays. The tablets also have a 5MP rear-facing camera and a 1.6MP front-facing one. As for connectivity, 802.11 b/g/n WiF-i, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G comes as standard. Out of the box, the tablets will be running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

To be honest, this is not the first time anyone has introduced a tablet with an asymmetrical design. Back in 2011, Sony's S1 tablet had a "teardrop-shaped" side that was designed to help improve grip. However, that made the tablet wedge-like and also made it significantly thicker. In contrast, Lenovo's design offers the same functionality and is arguably more well implemented.

All in all, we are pretty impressed with the new Yoga Tablets. The cylindrical battery compartment is a neat implementation that not only makes the tablets more ergonomic to use, but also gives it outstanding battery life. In addition, it does not make the tablet any thicker or less portable. However, its hardware specifications, in particular the processor and display resolution, is a bit weak when compared to the current crop of new tablets.

The smaller 8-inch model is certainly much handier. The 10-inch tablet is still a little unwieldy even with the grip, but that is mostly down to the fact that a 10-inch display is sizable no matter what.

The new tablets will be available locally by the end of November. However, pre-orders will begin as soon as this Friday (1st November) at designated Lenovo retailers. The price of the 10-inch model is $549, while its smaller 8-inch sibling costs $449.

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