It doesn’t resemble any other tablet on the market, with its unusual metal kickstand to prop the tablet up. Don’t be fooled by it being a “protrusion” when in fact, it’s a very clever design for a tablet.
The unique design offers three modes – hold, tilt and stand. This feature is especially handy when you’re out and about catching up with email, etc. If you’re basing yourself at a coffee shop to get things done, you will appreciate that the tablet will stand or tilt ranging between 110 and 135 degree angles.
On any other tablet, you would need to purchase an accessory to let you prop your tablet at a more comfortable angle. I absolutely love taking this tablet around with me for this very reason. It doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk, and it’s quite light for a metal tablet at 404g.
When the kickstand is folded back into its slot, you can hold the tablet very comfortably in the hand – it is curved in all the right places. You can wrap your fingers around the the circular edge like you would hold an ebook reader, with one hand without needing to shift it around because of its weight.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 is the little brother to the Yoga Tablet 10 and both share the same specifications: a 1280×800 screen resolution, 1GB of RAM, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 16GB storage (expandable via micro SD), 5-megapixel rear camera & a 1.6-megapixel HD front camera, dual front facing speakers, and connectivity options of 3G, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. They differ in weight and battery size, with the Tablet 8 weighing 404g with a 6,000mAh battery and the Tablet 10 weighing 610g with a 9,000mAh battery.
The tablet runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean and thankfully, Lenovo didn’t add too many software tweaks, like other manufacturers. It comes preloaded with the basic apps and other useful ones like ES File Explorer, Power Manager and Norton Mobile Security. Lenovo also included a Dolby app, which works with the Dolby Digital Plus enhancement on the stereo speakers. The icons are fairly large and some app names are cut off. What the tablet is lacking is an app drawer. So what appears to be your second home screen is where every single app sits, which I personally find a bit messy. Every single app you download will sit on these home screens.
There is a main dock that appears on all screens, with the standard home and back buttons below, and a button to kill apps running in the background. To the right of the screen you will find a three-dot menu that lets you add more home screens, change the theme or wallpaper, go into preferences or settings. The notifications tab is on the top left corner and one-touch access buttons are on the top right. I quite like what Lenovo has done with its Android offering, it doesn’t feel like it added tons of bloatware to it.
General use of browsing and launching apps was alright, nothing spectacularly fast. It took a few seconds to switch orientation modes. The standard video app isn’t great, it doesn’t play videos in full screen, so opted for a third party media player from the Google Play Store. Dolby Digital Plus makes a huge difference to sound, and it’s one of the better sound experiences I’ve had on a tablet. I had a slight issue with the SIM card not slotting all the way in, but Lenovo assisted me with it, and so far it’s been sitting in its slot.
The 5-megapixel camera is pretty average, but like most tablets, you’re not getting it for the camera, so I’d say rather use your mobile phone to take pictures. When you switch to video mode, it starts recording immediately. The front facing 1.6MP camera takes decent selfies – I can’t see why else one would use it, unless you’re big on video calls.
The battery is on the tablet has a capacity of 6,000mAh, which is what you’d find on a laptop battery. This also means it’s pretty impressive. I tend to turn my devices off to save battery life instead of leaving it on stand by, so that’s also been helping.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 stands out from other tablets because of its unique design, which I think works to its advantage. If you’re looking for an 8-inch Android tablet, consider the Yoga Tablet 8 for the way it props itself up on flat surfaces and its excellent battery life.
PRICE: R3 699
Lenovo also makes covers for the Yoga Tablet. I ended up winning this one on the night of the launch. They are priced at roughly R300 based on US$ conversion.