With tablet sales sagging, devices that only deliver a solid media experience are no longer good enough. To help give its Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch for Windows broader appeal, Lenovo packs its slate with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard you can use to get work done, along with a bright screen and superb battery life. You'll have access to all the same apps as you would on any PC but with the portability to easily slip this slate into a backpack or purse. Aside from a few design flaws, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 is a compelling multi-purpose performer.
Unlike most tablets, the Yoga Table 2 10 features a cylindrical grip that runs along the bottom (in landscape orientation). This design provides a magazine-like reading experience in portrait mode, as well as room for a bigger battery and a place to hide the hinge for the device's kickstand. However, this versatility comes at the cost of increased size and weight.
The front is mostly glossy black, broken up only by the silver capacitive-touch Windows button on the bottom, and stereo speakers on both sides of the tubular grip. The left side features a big round power button, microUSB port and volume rocker, and microHDMI port and headphone jack on the right. The black matte back features a subtle criss-cross pattern with a Lenovo logo in the middle, a camera in the lower right and the foldout kickstand on the bottom (which covers the microSD slot behind it).
When it comes to the kickstand, the 10-inch model lacks the push-button release of its bigger brother, the Yoga Tablet 2 13. This makes using the metal kickstand problematic, forcing you to push and twist the grip in order to crack it open. I challenged some co-workers to open the kickstand, and even with the aid of Lenovo's diagram, not a single person was satisfied with the kickstand's operation or without suggestions for improvement.
At 10 x 7.3 x 0.3-0.85-inches and weighing 1.39 pounds (sans keyboard), the Yoga Tablet 2 10 is about the same size and weight as the E Fun Nextbook 10.1 (10.1 x 7 x 0.39-inches and 1.4 pounds), and smaller and lighter than the 11-inch Asus Transformer Book T200 (12 x 7.9 x 1-inches and 1.76 pounds). However, the Lenovo still weighs more than a more traditional tablet such as the LG G Pad 10.1, which weighs just 1.15 pounds.
When combined with its keyboard, the Yoga Tablet 2 10's weight jumps to 2.06 pounds, although that's still less than the Nextbook (2.97-pounds) and Transformer Pad T200 (3.2 pounds) when docked with their keyboards.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Yoga Tablet 2 10 comes with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard that Lenovo says doubles as a cover. In practice, however, it doesn't do this very well. The keyboard attaches to the tablet with magnets, but its grip is so weak the keyboard often slides off, which makes using the tablet and keyboard on your lap more of a dream than a reality.
When it comes to actually using the keyboard, the keys have a somewhat shallow travel distance of 1.4 millimeters and a more standard actuation weight of 63 grams. That, combined with the cramped layout, meant it took some time for me to get used to typing on Lenovo's detachable keyboard. My first two attempts on 10fastfingers.com yielded 68 and 66 words per minute, short of my typical 75 wpm average. On my third attempt, I managed 77 wpm, but with nine errors.
At 3 x 1.6 inches, the touchpad on the bottom of the keyboard is tiny. It's fine for using two fingers to scroll through Web pages, which works well, but there's just not enough room for much else. I also noticed that after a period of inactivity, there would sometimes be a second of lag from the keyboard and touchpad as it woke up from sleep.
Since the keyboard runs off its own battery, when it runs low you'll have to recharge it using the microUSB port on the right side.
With its bright, 10.1-inch screen and superwide viewing angles, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 is great for watching movies or shows. However, like with many tablets, outdoor viewing can be challenging. When I watched "The Wheel" trailer for Game of Thrones Season 5, I liked the rich yellows and golds of Daenerys' opponents in the arena, but I noticed an overly green tinge to the snows of the frozen north.
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When measured with a light meter, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 produced 366 nits of brightness. That's higher than the Nextbook 10.1 (338), the tablet average of 279 nits and the dim Transformer Book T200 (235 nits).
Unfortunately, color range was below average, with the Lenovo recreating just 72.4 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's less than the tablet average of 83.6 percent, but more than the scores of the Nextbook 10.1 (63.6) and the Transformer Book T200 (66.7 percent).
When I tested the Yoga's touch screen, I noticed it responded swiftly to taps and swipes both when I was searching for apps from the Windows Start menu and attacking my opponent in Hearthstone.
Equipped with a 1.33-GHz Intel Atom Z3745 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 has more than enough power to handle high-def media or your basic productivity needs. I had no trouble streaming 1080p video from YouTube while installing a game, or when browsing the Internet with upwards of eight tabs open in Chrome.
Casual gaming in Hearthstone was quick and responsive, and the Yoga Tablet 2 rarely got bogged down, even during intense spell animations or when paging through my card or deck list.
To test overall system performance, we ran the synthetic benchmark Geekbench 3. The Yoga Tablet 2 10 scored 2,524, higher than the $179 Nextbook 10.1 (2,114), but lower than the $450 Transformer Book T200 (3,299).
In terms of graphics, the Yoga Table 2 10 was once again sandwiched between its competition, scoring 16,439 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark. That's better than the Nextbook 10.1 (13,260), but slightly worse than the Transformer Book T200 (16,567).
We also performed some real-world tests, such as matching 20,000 names in OpenOffice. The Yoga Tablet 2 10 completed the test in 20 minutes and 59 seconds, 30 seconds faster than the Nextbook 10.1 (21:27), but 5 minutes slower than the Transformer Book T200 (16:44).
To evaluate the speed of the Yoga's 32GB of flash storage, we duplicated 4.97 GB of mixed-media files. The Yoga Tablet 2 10 completed the task in 2 minutes and 45 seconds for a transfer rate of 30.8 MBps, slower than the Nextbook 10.1 (42.8 MBps) and the Transformer Book T200 (44.6 MBPs).
Lenovo's tablets have historically shown prodigious battery life, and the Yoga Tablet 2 10 doesn't disappoint. On the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), the slate lasted 12 hours and 3 minutes. The only non-Lenovo tablet we've tested with a longer battery life is the LG G Pad 10.1, which lasted 13:55. The Nextbook 10.1 lasted 5 hours less at 7:01, and the Asus Transformer Book T200's battery life was even shorter, at 6:27.
The Yoga Tablet 10 2 features loud stereo speakers that get help from Wolfson Master Hi-Fi audio processing and Dolby Digital Plus sound customization (which can be found only by navigating through the Windows program files). When I listened to MOON's "Hydrogen," I really liked the crisp snares and controlled mids; the only thing I was missing was a little extra oomph for the pumping bass line.
I tried to correct this by selecting from one of the many preset equalizers available in Dolby Digital Plus and later by creating my own. While I liked the music preset best for overall audio, it didn't do much to bring back the bass.
On the Laptop Mag Audio Test, the Lenovo produced 90 decibels of sound from 13 inches away, louder than the Nextbook 10.1 (77 dB) and the tablet average of 87 dB.
Unlike its bigger brother, the Yoga Tablet 2 13, the 10-inch model features both front and rear cameras. The rear camera can snap photos of up to 8 megapixels, with the front limited to 1.6 MP.
Indoors, the 8-MP rear camera took some nice shots of nearby action figures with good sharpness and color. However, when I took the tablet outside, my picture of the New York skyline was underexposed and too heavy on the browns. I also noticed that on moving subjects, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 often struggled with autofocus.
In front, even with just 1.6-MP to work with, the front camera takes a solid photo. In a selfie at my desk, the Lenovo captured stray hairs and my skin tone with detail and without becoming blotchy or pixelated.
Most tablets don't have issues with heat, but we noticed that after playing 15 minutes of HD video from Hulu, the center-left portion of the screen reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit. This is above our typical 95-degree comfort threshold, although the rest of the tablet never got above 75 degrees.
Software and Warranty
The Yoga Tablet 2 10 comes with Windows 8.1, a free one-year subscription to Office 365 and 1 TB of cloud storage on OneDrive. The tablet also ships with some helpful Lenovo utilities, including Security HD for blocking ads and setting permissions, and SYNCit for backing up your files. The most useful app is SHAREit, which when combined with the free Android or iOS app, allows you to share files to almost any other device with ease.
Lenovo also includes a standard one-year warranty, which covers defects and broken parts, although you can choose to upgrade the warranty to cover an additional three years with optional in-home service.
After reviewing this tablet's somewhat-awkward bigger brother, I found myself tempering my expectations for the Yoga Tablet 2 10-inch with Windows. But in just a short time, I discovered that my apprehension was largely unwarranted. The Yoga Tablet 2 delivers a bright screen, detachable keyboard and a stunning 12 hours of battery life, and even has cameras on the front and back, unlike the 13-inch version.
At $350, the Yoga Tablet 2 10 has better performance than budget competitors such as the E Fun Nextbook 10.1, but without feeling inadequate next to $450 tablets like the Asus Transformer Book T200. The kickstand could be easier to use, and this system can't really replace your laptop, but overall the Yoga Tablet 2 10 deserves a look for those wanting a tablet that can do more than just play music and movies.