Over the last year Lenovo weathered the changing PC market better than any other manufacturer. Following Windows 8, the industry as a whole saw sales drop around 15%. Lenovo stayed pretty flat during that time, which is unprecedented performance during the release of something as unfamiliar as Windows 8. Products like the Yoga Laptop which swiveled into various usage scenarios. It’s no surprise they’re now the number one manufacturer of PC’s worldwide.
During that same time however, Lenovo shipped more tablets and phones than they did PC’s. They’re not as widely known here states-side for their mobile gear, but they’re looking to change that and crack this market like they did laptops and desktops. Unveiled last night, Lenovo took the wraps off the Yoga Tablet, and they think they’ve found A Better Way to use a mobile slate.
The Android 4.2 tablets comes in two flavors based on screen size, a Yoga Tablet 8 and a Yoga Tablet 10. Both feature the same resolution 1280 x 800, and both will come in 16GB and 32GB models with the ability to add more storage via MicroSD. A fairly modest 1.2GHz quad-core was chosen, probably to keep cost lower, and should play well with the lower resolution screens to keep performance snappy and battery life high. Front and rear cameras are on board, with the latter utilizing a 5MP sensor.
The Yoga tablet design hinges on the cylindrical battery bulge running lengthwise down the tablet’s screen. This allows Lenovo to include a physically larger battery than most other tablets. It also allows for a swivel kickstand to be hidden into the back plate of the Yoga. The design is refreshing, as it gives you something to hold on to. Going from holding to propping it up, you can dial in specific angles, or turn it around for “Tilt Mode” where the tablet is easiest to enter in text, and it starts to look a lot like Apple’s Magic Trackpad.
Best of all, it’s that bulge which allows the tablet to run for up to 18 hours. Of all the hardware specs people might care about, performance and screen resolution, none of them mean much if your tablet is out of juice. “All day and then some” run time will be a welcome spec for many consumers. A nice side benefit, you can use the Yoga to charge your phone, simply great consideration for how tablets are becoming our preferred companion devices.
Lenovo saw fit to add in front facing stereo speakers, always a nice touch for audio junkies like myself. I’ll be curious to see how they perform when I get my hands on one later. The cylinder houses the power button one end and the headphone jack on the other.
With some many manufacturers targeting “premier” experiences, it might strike some as odd that Lenovo is building their Yoga line around some fairly mid-range specs. The aggressive prices points make a lot of sense in this space however, and Yoga Tablet 8 will start at $249. Impressively, Yoga Tablet 10 will only creep up to $299.
Lenovo’s design aesthetic here strays farther away from the traditional slate than any other slab I’ve seen recently, and that might be enough to improve Lenovo’s mindshare here in the USA. You can catch Lenovo’s Yoga keynote after the jump.