You have to hand it to Lenovo: The company isn't afraid to do something different.
In a sea of indistinguishable rectangular slates, Lenovo's Android-based Yoga Tablets (first introduced last year) stand out with their unconventional approach to the tablet concept. Rather than joining the race to be the lightest or thinnest around, the devices offer an unusual form: A chunky cylinder serves as both a base and an adjustable multipurpose kickstand for the screen.
This year's new Yoga Tablets come in two models and three variations. There's the Yoga Tablet 2, which is currently available in an 8-in. size for $250 or a 10-in. size for $300, and there's the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which has a 13-in. screen with a built-in projector (yes, really!) and costs $500. (Unless you can catch any Cyber Monday sales.)
Getting to know the Yoga form
I've been using the 13-in. Tablet 2 Pro and the 10-in. version of the Tablet 2 for the past several days. Size aside, the two models are very similar in appearance: When you hold them in landscape orientation, you have a standard tablet screen at the top surrounded by a metallic silver frame and silver-colored plastic on the back. The slate gets gradually thicker as you move toward the bottom and eventually slopes out into the cylinder base.
The base, which also serves as a house for the battery, is about the size of a roll of nickels on the Tablet 2 and closer to a roll of quarters on the Tablet 2 Pro. It makes the devices somewhat heavy -- the Tablet 2 Pro is just under 2 lb. while the 10-in. Tablet 2 weighs 1.3 lb. -- but it also provides a natural grip for holding onto the tablets while you use them. And it creates a lopsided weight distribution in which the heaviest part of the device is always against your hand, which actually makes for quite a comfortable and sensible setup.
As I mentioned earlier, the base does much more than initially meets the eye. Twist it gently -- or in the case of the Pro tablet, press a small button to unhinge it -- and you'll uncover a thick metal plate that swivels around and props the screen up in a variety of angles. The plate even has a hole in it if you want to hang the tablet from a nail or a hook in the wall. It's a clever idea that adds a whole new range of possibilities to the ways you can use these devices.
Both of the Yoga Tablet models feel sturdy and well constructed. The 13.3-in. Pro is quite a bit bigger than the 10-in. Tablet 2, as you'd expect -- 13.3 x 8.8 in. vs. 10.1 x 7.2 in. -- and there's a reason: It's designed explicitly to be a home entertainment unit as opposed to a more typical portable tablet that you'd throw into a bag and take out into the world.
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