Tablet review: Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet – 10.1″
After a long time toing and froing, I knew I had to replace my old laptop. I was looking for better laptops, something that could play more games than my old IBM Thinkpad x200 could ever do. The Thinkpad cost me a mere £60 and this time, I was looking to spend under my budget of £250. Join Timlah as we look at the Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet, a 10.1″ device with Windows 8.1 pre-installed on it.
There’s something sickeningly embarrassing when a tablet is able to run Skyrim and the laptop it replaced couldn’t run it. I mean, this tablet is able to max out Skyrim – Okay, only at 12fps or so, but the fact of the matter is, it can do it. With this in mind, I thought I’d objectively look at my new tablet, which I use all around the place. I will talk about the design, the comfort, the usability and the speed of the device. I will also talk about the storage and using the device on a day to day basis.
The Lenovo Yoga 2 is a really good tablet, let me start by stating that. There’s a few small flaws I’ve found with it, but nothing that would make you turn away from it. One of the flaws is when you press too hard on it, even just slightly, you can hear it make sounds as if it’s not as sturdy as it could be. This is likely due to the plastic used, but I noticed it immediately when I picked the device up by the top. However, if you handle the device normally, you’ll have no problems at all. Furthermore, the device only has one USB slot and it’s a microUSB, rather than a full sized one. This is obviously for the charger, however it is a USB OTG device, which means so long as you can get charge from something, it’ll charge up well. I’ve also found that charging the device is pretty slow in general. It takes a long time for it to charge from low battery (below 10%) to full. If you plan to leave your tablet at home whilst you’re at work or studying at school, college or university, then it’ll be on max battery by the time you get home. Now, onwards with the actual review!
Appearance and Sturdiness
I bought the device on Amazon for approximately £230 and I’ve seen some places do it for cheaper if you don’t want to buy one brand new. This does mean it’s not a high end tablet, the likes which boast ridiculous amounts of RAM and CPU power. Instead, this is a relatively modest little piece, however it looks incredibly sleek and professional. The Windows version drops some of the Android versions cheaper plastics and instead gives you more metal to look at. It feels sturdy, although as mentioned earlier, it does have the tendency to make creaking noises when held in the wrong places.
One of the nicest features with the image of the device is the metal stand that comes with it. It’s a little bit tricky to pull out (I found that turning the big metal cylindrical part at the bottom makes it easier to get out), but once you have the stand out, it’s a really effective stand for a desk. It’s not that good on your leg if you’re relaxing on the sofa, but get yourself a tray or something to stick it on and you’ll be fine! It feels like a premium device just for having the extra metal stand feature.
You’ll see just a few things on the sides: A large power button is on the aforementioned cylindrical metal piece, on the left hand side (if the screen is facing you!) Also on the left hand side is the only USB port, the microUSB which is used for charging, along with the volume up and down buttons. On the right hand side, there’s a micro HDMI port, however the tablet didn’t come with a HDMI cable. However, you can buy them pretty cheap these days. On the back of the tablet is a panel that you can pull away. It’s underneath the metal stand and this is where you can add more SD Card storage.
Finally, the Windows 8.1 version of the Lenovo Yoga 2 comes with a wonderful keyboard. It attaches itself to the metal cylinder via magnetism and it’s made of a nice study metal. The keyboard feels quite bouncy, so if you’re like me and like quick and light keys, it’s brilliant. It connects via bluetooth and my favourite part of it is the track pad it comes with! I’ve never had a keyboard with a bluetooth track pad before, so that felt like an amazing addition. The fact this keyboard came bundled with the tablet at the £230 that I paid feels like I’m cheating someone out of money somewhere, so it’s great value!
Quickness and Responsiveness
A tablet is only as good as how quick and easy it is to use. Considering how bad Windows 8 was, when Windows 8.1 came out, it covered a lot of the issues Windows 8 left behind. I won’t be upgrading to Windows 10, as honestly, there’s no need to. The device boots up in approximately 7 seconds from powered off, which is great! When you’re logged in to Windows, the quickness and responsiveness of the device works really well with the operating system. The Windows 8.1 operating system is the full desktop version, which means I would probably advise you to have a mouse ready, rather than the track pad. You’ll be fine with the track pad for basic navigation, though. If you want to connect a mouse to this, you’ll need a USB hub that goes into a Micro USB slot. I bought one for a mere £2.50. With all of this in mind, it’s worth noting that inside of this tablet is an Intel Atom Z3745 quad core processor at 1.86ghz. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s quite zippy for a tablet!
With this in mind, because you’ve got the Windows 8.1 desktop build on the tablet, you’re able to run programs like Steam and install any Windows game on your library. It’s clear that when this device was made, they picked Windows 8.1 so you could go and do just about whatever you wanted on it. Don’t expect to be able to run applications like Maya with any real use – As there’s only 2GB of RAM inside of the device. However, I’m able to run GIMP along with the BIMP plug-in with no issues. BIMP is the Batch Image Manipulation Program which allows you to do multiple of the same thing in one go. In other words, if you wanted to change the size of 100 pictures, you just select the images you want to change the size of and you select where it goes. You can then leave it to its own devices. The tablet responded very well with yesterdays GeekOut Meetup Gallery, as I changed all of the images from my camera to 1024×768 and gave them all a new title. To do 26 images, it took less than a minute, about what I’d expect for my PC to handle too.
Okay, you’ll now ask me all about gaming on the tablet, won’t you? I mean if you install Steam on your tablet and you have Steam on your PC, the first thing you can do is have your PC on and stream your games from your home PC. This, of course, comes with its own set of problems: You need to have a pretty good internet connection for this to be worthwhile and I’ve found that occasionally the screen flickers black. It’s bizarre, but that’s an issue that I think comes with Steam, rather than with the tablet.
Now let’s move onto gaming in general. I mentioned earlier how I was able to run Skyrim at max but at a mere 12fps. The tablet boasts Intel HD graphics, which is good enough for some light gaming. You can play mostly any indie game though, so that’s always a nice thing. I’ve tried several games: Knights of Pen & Paper +1, which works perfectly as expected. There’s no lag whatsoever and that game works perfect with the touch screen. I was able to run Rock of Ages at max settings, but a low resolution of 1024 x 768. Touch screen seemed to work for this game. I’ve maxed out The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and it ran with no issues, again on a lower resolution. I’m sure if you connect this up via a HDMI cable it’ll look alright! I’ve also tried The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and on the lowest settings it runs with no issues what so ever. You do need a mouse for these games, though.
All in all, this device is brilliant for the price. With no dedicated GPU I am surprised it does as much as it does. I’m quite the fan of my tablet and some of my friends and family are getting sick to death hearing me big it up. However, with the addition of a USB hub, the device effectively becomes a portable desktop environment. You cannot do any major heavy work, such as 3D modelling (except for making perhaps a 3D model in Blender and that’s that), but you can certainly use a good number of office features effortlessly and even better… Let me explain one last thing.
Do you remember back at the start of the article I mentioned how long it takes to charge the tablet? That’s because there’s a lot to charge. Once it’s fully charged, you can play video games on your tablet for a good 10+ hours without being plugged in. If you keep the tablet plugged in, you’ll be fine to play effectively as long as you’d like. With this in mind, I can let off the long charge just because I’m able to get so much charge out of it. But now it’s over to you: Do you like the sounds of this tablet? Let us know what you think of it in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.