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Yoga Tablet 2 and Tablet 2 Pro review: Innovative but imperfect

JR Raphael | Nov. 26, 2014
Lenovo's new Android-based tablets have clever designs and unusual features, but there are some troubling flaws.

In any case, if the idea of a projector appeals to you, the Pro tablet has it.

Performance, stamina and storage
Performance was a serious problem with the first-gen Yoga Tablet, and Lenovo has done little to address the issue in these second-generation devices. On both the regular Tablet 2 and the Tablet 2 Pro, animations are consistently jerky, scrolling on the Web is choppy and things just aren't terribly snappy anywhere in the system.

(If you're curious about specs, both models share the same internal configuration: a 1.86GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor with 2GB of RAM.)

Stamina, at least, is a strong point: The Tablet 2 is listed for 18 hours of active use per charge while the Tablet 2 Pro is at a very respectable 15 hours. Actual battery life is always going to vary depending on how you use a device, but based on my time with the tablets, I'd say those estimates should be quite attainable for most people.

Neither Yoga Tablet supports wireless charging, so you'll be plugging them in via regular USB adapters to power up. The tablets also lack support for near-field communication (NFC), which is an odd omission for Android devices in this class. Its absence probably won't be too big of a deal in most day-to-day use, but it does mean you won't be able to tap the tablets back-to-back with other Android devices to initiate wireless transfers of settings and files (as you can with most other current Android tablets).

As for storage, the regular Tablet 2 has a meager 16GB of internal space, only about 10GB of which is actually available for you to use. The Pro bumps things up to 32GB, with 24GB being available at first boot. Both systems have micro-SD card slots hidden beneath their stands that allow you to add up to 64GB of external space.

If you absolutely must take a photo with your tablet, both Yoga models have 8-megapixel rear-facing cameras. They also include 1.6-megapixel front-facing cameras for selfie snapping and video chatting.

The software
Lenovo's custom software, based loosely on Google's Android 4.4.2 KitKat operating system, may be the strangest thing about these devices. The user interface seems to be a weird attempt at mimicking an iOS-like environment within Android. Given the iPad's popularity, I guess I can see why Lenovo might think that'd be a good idea -- but the end result is a muddled mess that's clunky and confusing and feels like a step back in time.

To wit: Lenovo has eliminated the typical Android app drawer and instead created a setup in which all apps, shortcuts and widgets exist solely on the home screen itself. The system icons are designed to look like iOS icons. If you long-press an icon, you even get the iOS-like effect where the icons all wiggle and then have small x's in their corners that allow you to uninstall the corresponding apps.


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