No TV? No problem. With Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, all you need is a blank wall to cast your favorite Netflix series on a big canvas. This Android tablet packs a pico projector so you can stream videos, pictures, notes and sketches to any surface. Of course, the Tablet 2 Pro's brilliant 13-inch QHD display may be big enough on its own. Coupled with loud JBL speakers in a sleek, sexy body, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro could be the ultimate entertainment tablet.
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Talk about eye candy. The futuristic-looking Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's matte metallic silver paint and sharp profile made my roommate gasp in awe when she saw it sitting on our living room table.
Like previous Yoga slates, the Tablet 2 Pro's most distinguishing feature is its cylindrical bottom edge, which not only contains the battery but also an aluminum hinge that lets you prop up the device at a variety of angles
Of course, the size alone of this 13-inch slate is enough to attract curiosity. Not since the Toshiba Excite 13 has there been an Android tablet this large. Up front is the slate's glossy display, which unfortunately attracts fingerprints and smudges. Above the screen is a 2-megapixel camera. The plastic back of the device looks like the lid of a MacBook, except with the Lenovo logo sitting in the center. Below that, a rounded square panel holds the onboard JBL woofer, 8-megapixel rear camera and kickstand release button.
Pressing that button releases the built-in stand, which folds out to let you prop up the tablet. The aluminum hinge was sturdy enough to resist my jabbing fingers while propped upright.
Because of the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's relatively large 13.1 x 8.8 x 0.1-0.5-inch footprint, I had to carry a larger purse than I normally do to accommodate its size, but it fits in most messenger bags.
Weighing 2.09 pounds, the Yoga is heavier than the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 (1.6 pounds) and 12-inch Surface Pro 3 (1.8 pounds), though it's lighter than the Surface with its keyboard cover attached (2.4 pounds). The Yoga is also lighter than the older Toshiba Excite 13 (2.2 pounds).
Adorning the left side of the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro are a volume rocker, a microUSB slot and an audio jack, while a dedicated projector on/off switch sits on the right. The right end of the barrel houses the projector, while the tablet's power button takes up the other end. On the curve of the barrel, next to the projector, is a focus control sliding toggle. Tucked in the groove under the kickstand is a microSD card slot for storage expansion of up to 64GB.
Tired of holding your tablet up as you watch an hour-long episode of The Walking Dead? Like last year's Yoga tablets, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro supports three modes of viewing -- Hold, Stand and Tilt -- plus a fourth, Hang mode. In Hold mode, the kickstand is folded into the tablet completely, with the protruding barrel making for an easy grip. Extend the kickstand fully and sit the tablet almost perpendicular to your desk for Stand mode. Rest the sharp edge of the stand on a table for Tilt mode, which makes for easier typing or drawing on the display.
New in the 13-inch version of the Yoga Tablet series is Hang mode, thanks to the hole cut into the Yoga's kickstand. This cut-out not only makes room for the JBL woofer built into the tablet's base, but also lets you hang the device from a hook or a knob. This means you can hang the slate from a kitchen cabinet as you follow a complex recipe.
When the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's 13-inch display just isn't big enough to share, the device's projector comes in handy. Built into one end of the Yoga 2 Pro's barrel, the pico projector is capable of displaying a 50-inch-wide, 854 x 480 image (from 6.56 feet away) on your wall or screen.
You'll have to prop the slate up in Tilt mode for optimal projection, or the image will be slanted. With a brightness rating of 30 - 40 lumens, the projected image looked somewhat dim when stretched on the wall above the 40-inch television in my living room. Many pocket projectors offer between 50 and 100 lumens, but those devices will set you back anywhere from $200 to $400.
You turn the projector on or off by pressing the dedicated button on the tablet's edge for a few seconds, or via the software control panel that slides up from the bottom edge of the display. Once you turn the projector on, whatever is on your tablet will be beamed, and the display will go to sleep after 10 seconds to conserve battery power.
I played a 1080p trailer of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for my roommate in my darkened living room one night, projecting the image to about 40 inches wide on the wall above our couch. Even though the room was almost completely dark, green fields and orange flames in the trailer appeared washed out. While text on the title card and credits were clear, other details, such as Golem's straggly strands of hair, were hard to make out. Image quality vastly improved when we were in a pitch-black video studio, with colors becoming much brighter and details clearer.
There was no discernible lag between what was displayed on the tablet and what was being projected. I drew hearts and stars on the slate and watched as my doodling happened at the same time on my wall.
Lenovo includes a Projection app that lets you project your videos, pictures, PDF documents, slideshows and doodles. This app also lets you turn on Split Screen projection, which will stream just the content playing on the Projection app and let you use your tablet as you regularly would without it being displayed.
The Yoga will correct the keystone effect (distortion caused by projecting an image at an angle). However, sometimes this feature kicked in only after I shifted the device.
Though it doesn't offer the best image quality, I liked having the option of sharing what was on my screen any time I wanted. It's not a feature I would use every day, but it's good to have if I ever needed to do a last-minute presentation or wanted to show off my Angry Birds prowess.
I enjoyed playing games and watching TV shows on the Tablet 2 Pro's stunning 13.3-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) IPS touch screen. The red eyes in Star-Lord's mask and Gamora's green skin looked bright and vivid in a 4K trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, and the texture of Groot's bark looked crisp. Text and graphics on websites such as Laptopmag.com and NYTimes.com were similarly sharp.
Measuring 335 nits on our brightness meter, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is slightly dimmer than the average tablet (336 nits) and the iPad Air 2 (368 nits), but brighter than the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (322 nits).
Producing just 75.1 percent of the sRGB color gamut on our colorimeter, the Lenovo slate can display fewer colors than the iPad Air 2 (99.6 percent) and the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (154 percent).
The Yoga's colors aren't very accurate, either, with the tablet registering a Delta-E score of 10.3 (0 is best). The Galaxy Tab S' colors were more true, notching 3.4, while the iPad Air 2's 0.99 result makes it a category leader.
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's JBL speakers and onboard woofer provide big sound to accompany your big-screen entertainment. Songs such as "Jealous" by Nick Jonas, "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy and "Cool Kids" by Echosmith all sounded clear and distinct, easily filling my small living room.
I strongly advise using the bundled Dolby Audio app, which lets you choose between Movie, Music, Game, Voice and 2 custom sound profiles. Songs sounded canned and metallic in the default Movie mode, but much better in Music mode, which brought out the vocals. A trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in Movie mode had good surround, but sounded a bit noisy.
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro also has an embedded Wolfson Master Hi-Fi audio processing chip for noise reduction.
When we played a tone on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro and measured it from 13 inches away, the slate notched 93 decibels. That blows away the 81dB iPad Air 2 and the 79dB Galaxy Tab S 10.5. The tablet category average is also 79 dB.
The Yoga Table 2 Pro's 1.33-GHz quad-core Intel Atom Z3745 processor was powerful enough to handle multitasking fairly well. The N.O.V.A. 3 game ran smoothly while Google Maps, Contacts, Camera and four Chrome tabs were open in the background. However, I noticed some lag when switching between apps and screen orientations (portrait to landscape and vice versa).
On synthetic tests, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro came in just above the average slate. Its Geekbench score of 2,511 is higher than the tablet category average (2,375), but less than the octa-core Exynos chip-powered Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (2,776) and much lower than the 64-bit A8X-backed iPad Air 2 (4,547).
Taking 5 minutes and 27 seconds to transcode a 203MB 1080p video to 480p, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is much faster than the average slate (9:07), but slower than the Tab S 10.5 (4:17).
If you're looking to play more than just Angry Birds or Candy Crush, you'll be pleased to know that the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is quite capable of delivering on graphics-intensive games. The slate didn't flinch as I battled (and more often got fragged by) hordes of enemies in N.O.V.A. 3.
The Tablet 2 Pro's 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited score of 16,722 is better than the average slate (12,118) and the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (13,481). But the iPad Air 2 notched a much higher 21,660.
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The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's 8-MP camera was good, but didn't impress. While red Flatiron buildings were accurately rendered, orange-and-brown exposed bricks on a roof facade were washed out. Outlines of window sills in buildings were clear. My 1080p video of Manhattan street traffic showed similarly clear images, and yellow cabs popped against dull brown buildings.
The 2-megapixel front camera captured vibrant but slightly blurry portraits. While my acid green headphones and brown hair were accurately colored, individual strands of my hair looked smudged.
Software and Apps
The Tablet 2 Pro runs Android 4.4.2 KitKat with some handy Lenovo customizations that make common settings easier to reach. Swiping up from the bottom of the screen pulls up what Lenovo calls Bottom Switch, which is essentially a control panel. From this menu, you can toggle brightness and connectivity options such as Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and Airplane mode, as well as start the projector and camera. Holding down each button in this panel takes you to more settings for that option.
I like the idea of Lenovo's MultiWindow feature, which lets you launch up to three apps in floating windows on top of open programs. You can also open two apps side by side. Too bad only six apps support MultiWindow, and you can't drag and drop content between windows.
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro also comes with Lenovo's ShareIt, CloneIt and SyncIt HD apps, which are also available for iOS and Windows. You also get Lenovo eFrame, which turns your tablet into a digital photo frame, and Lenovo Sketchpad for drawing over whatever is on your screen.
Lenovo says the Tablet 2 Pro's 9,600-mAh battery can last up to 15 hours on standby, 8 hours on Wi-Fi browsing and 5 hours of projector streaming. On Laptop Mag's battery test (Web surfing at 150 nits), the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro lasted 8 hours and 11 minutes. That's shorter than the average slate (8:37), the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (8:57) and the iPad Air 2 (9:20). The Galaxy Note Pro 12.2 lasted 9:19. To be fair, the Yoga does has a bigger screen to power.
Lenovo includes a one-year parts and labor warranty with the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.
A brilliant QHD display, booming JBL speakers, a handy onboard kickstand and a built-in projector make Lenovo's handsome Yoga Tablet 2 a winning multimedia device that could almost replace your TV. Plus, nifty software customizations make the Android slate easy to use. Though I wish it offered longer endurance and a brighter picture in projector mode, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro packs in a ton of fun for its price.