Tablets are in a bit of a rut as far as form factors go. Aside from ASUS' Transformer models and imitators, they're basically all monolithic slates with very little in the way of variation. Lenovo is trying to buck that trend with its new Yoga tablet line, which borrows the name from the company's flexible and well-received convertible laptops. These tablets feature an exaggerated curve on one side of the case (sort of like a more pronounced version of the Notion Ink Adam). The tablet hits retailers tomorrow in 8 and 10-inch versions.
The curve has multiple functions, according to Lenovo: it works as a handy reversible grip in portrait mode and props up the tablet when it's lying flat. But the most interesting feature is that it hides a tiny roll-out kickstand, which can hold the tablet up at a slightly higher angle when flat or like a picture frame or monitor when upright. I love me some kickstands and wish that more manufacturers would integrate them into case designs, so you can color me intrigued. The fact that the Yoga will be offered in an 8-inch version - my tablet "sweet spot" - doesn't hurt.
Unfortunately the internal specifications leave a lot to be desired. Both the 8-inch and 10-inch tablets use a lackluster 1280x800 resolution, and the power plant is a 1.2Ghz quad-core MediaTek 8125 based on the Cortex A7 architecture paired to just 1GB of RAM. That might not be enough to reliably run Android 4.2 and Lenovo's software enhancements. 16GB of storage plus a MicroSD card slot, a 5MP rear camera, and USB on-the-go (which can charge your smartphone from the tablet battery) round out the internals. The batteries are pretty big at 6000mAh and 9000mAh, respectively, which Lenovo quotes at up to 18 hours. Dual front-facing Dolby-certified speakers are a nice touch.
Pricing isn't all that competitive, either, considering the last-generation hardware. The 8-inch Yoga Tablet will run you $249 from either Best Buy or Lenovo's website, while the 10-inch version bumps up its price to $299. The larger tablet will be available from most major American retailers. If you're in the market for a matching keyboard, Lenovo will be happy to sell you one for a pricey $69, and other first-party accessories will also be available. Those are high premiums to pay for a non-traditional form factor - I can't help but think that Qualcomm internals and 1080p screens would go a long way towards making them more palatable.
Lenovo Unveils Its First Multimode Yoga Tablet
Debuts three innovative modes and up to 18 hours of battery life
October 29, 2013 10:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time
LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Multimode computing leader Lenovo (SEHK:0992) (Pink Sheets:LNVGY) today debuted its first multimode Yoga Tablet at a livestream launch event with Ashton Kutcher, the company’s newest product engineer. Known for pioneering innovative multimode devices like the Yoga convertible laptop, Lenovo now brings people a new way to get the most out of their tablet experience.
“Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content”
The game-changing Yoga Tablet features three unique modes, giving consumers a better way to use a tablet. Withhold, tilt and stand modes, the tablet adapts to the way people use it instead of forcing people to adapt to the technology. Additionally the Yoga Tablet has an amazing up to 18 hours of battery life1 to truly fit users’ ultra mobile lifestyles.
“Watching and discovering that people frequently use tablets in three main ways allowed us to break the mold on the current ‘sea of sameness’ designs, giving them a better way to read, browse, watch and interact with content,” said Liu Jun, senior vice president and president, Lenovo Business Group, Lenovo. “As consumers’ continue to demand innovative multimode designs we’re thrilled to have Ashton Kutcher on board with us to help further develop the immersive and complementary hardware and rich content experience.”
Yoga Tablet: Three Modes And Longer Battery Life Give Tablets A Better Way
One size does not fit all, especially when it comes to tablets. Lenovo designers and engineers identified three challenges tablet users face: fatigue when holding and using the tablet; no self-supporting mechanism when laid on a flat surface; and an inadequate viewing angle when set on a table. These scenarios inspired Lenovo to break the mold on the “sea of sameness” design and to create Yoga Tablet’s unique modes.
With its exclusive cylindrical handle, hold mode is designed to fit an individual’s hand, so the Yoga Tablet is easier to hold and offers more control over the device whereas other tablets require two hands. Hold mode makes reading, checking social media and browsing the web easy and parallels how people hold magazines when reading.
To convert the Yoga Tablet into stand mode, simply rotate the side cylinder 90° so that the tablet stand deploys, allowing the tablet to stand by itself on a desk or table. Users can change the viewing angle to fit what’s comfortable for them from 110° to 135°. Stand mode makes it easy for users to comfortably watch movies, place video calls and interact with the ten-finger touchscreen without having to rely on add-on accessories.
Users can lay the Yoga Tablet down in tilt mode to type directly on the tablet, play games and just surf the Internet with a better viewing angle. To further enhance the rich content and multimode tablet experience, users can enable the tablet’s auto-detection software that automatically brings up frequently used apps in hold and stand modes.
The Yoga Tablet’s multimode design not only provides a better usability experience, it offers dramatically longer battery life of up to 18 hours1, which is significantly more than the amount of typical tablets. Its cylindrical handle packs in powerful, dual batteries and unlike most tablets, it uses batteries typically found in laptops. The Yoga Tablet can even charge other devices such as smartphones via its USB on-the-go2. The 10 inch and 8 inch models run on MT8125 for WiFi models and MT8389 Quad Core processors for 3G models with 16 or 32 GB capacity and feature Android 4.2. Also equipped with Dolby® audio, Yoga Tablet’s front-facing speakers create a powerful surround sound experience through the device speakers and with headphones.
Extremely mobile, both models are featherweights weighing in at 1.35 lbs for the 10-in model and 0.88 lbs for the 8-in model. They feature high definition 1280 x 800 displays, a 5 MP auto focus rear camera plus an additional front camera, a micro SD expansion slot, allowing up to 64 GB of total storage, WiFi and optional 3G in select countries and a micro USB connection and Dolby DS1 for rich audio. Lenovo offers an optional Bluetooth keyboard for the 10-in model that functions as a cover and even wakes up the tablet when it’s removed and puts the tablet to sleep when it’s attached. Users can also opt for a WD100 dongle in select countries to stream video content from the tablet wirelessly to a TV. Lenovo also offers a portfolio of services solutions for the Yoga Tablet including warranty extensions, upgrades and premium technical support.
Pricing and Availability3
MSRP is $249 and $299, for the 8-in and 10-in, respectively. Starting on Oct. 30, the 8-in model will be available exclusively at Best Buy stores and www.lenovo.com while the 10-in model will be available via major retailers including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, Fry’s, Newegg.com and www.lenovo.com. The Lenovo Yoga 10 Bluetooth Keyboard Cover is $69 and will be available beginning Oct. 30 via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.
For the latest Lenovo news, subscribe to Lenovo RSS feeds or follow Lenovo on Twitter and Facebook. Also follow news about the Yoga Tablet at #betterway. The press kit is available at: http://news.lenovo.com/betterway.