The scoop: Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, by Lenovo, about $470 ($499 MSRP)
What is it? Lenovo calls this model the “Home Entertainment Tablet”, aimed at the user who wants to consume lots of content with their tablet, as well as share that content consumption with others. To accomplish this, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro features a very bright 13.3-inch QHD display (2,560 by 1,440 pixels), two front-facing JBL 1.52-watt speakers and a 5-watt subwoofer in the back.
The Android (KitKat OS) tablet also features an integrated pico projector, which can project content (photos, videos, games – or whatever is on the tablet’s display) onto a wall or ceiling (up to the equivalent of a 50-inch TV or display). Like other devices with Lenovo’s “Yoga” brand, you can operate it in different modes – such as “Stand mode” (use the metal kickstand to place on a table); “Hold mode” (use the extra base to hold it when reading the tablet); “Tilt mode” (place on table at a lower angle and use for typing); and “Hang mode”, which utilizes a square hole in the kickstand for mounting the whole tablet on a wall.
Other features include an 8-megapixel auto-focus rear camera (for taking photos and videos), as well as a 1.6-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats and/or selfies. Lenovo claims up to eight hours of battery life while in “Wi-Fi browsing mode”, and up to about “five hours” of projector time (key word is “up to”, which means your actual usage will likely be less).
Why it’s cool: The integrated projector makes this a unique tablet and will produce the biggest “wow” from family or friends when you show off the tablet. Your biggest challenge will be figuring out ways to utilize the projector to make it worthwhile beyond the initial "Oh, cool!" statement (see the “caveats” section).
The QHD screen and size also impressed me – it’s brighter and more colorful than some other tablets I’ve seen – but then again, any new tablet will have a brighter/more colorful display than previous ones. The integrated speakers produced much better sound than with other tablets, although I still wanted to keep the sound high for watching movies. If you need more sound you’d likely connect the tablet to some Bluetooth external speakers. The different operating modes were also cool, providing versatility for different scenarios (on a desk, on the couch, on the plane) for users.
Some caveats: The tiny projector does limit you a bit – for optimal viewing you need a completely (or almost completely) dark room. As you project onto a larger screen, the resolution (and brightness) tends to suffer, making you think about why you would want to display on a larger surface when other options are available (such as just using the 13.3-inch display to watch your Netflix movies, or watching videos via your 50-inch HD TV). There’s also no auto-focus on the projector – getting the image to focus involved a manual slider scale, which never seemed to get a crisp image that I wanted.
Bottom line: As an Android tablet with a large display and long battery life, the Yoga 2 Pro impresses. The additional functionality of the projector is a cool idea that quickly fades in practical usage, however. I wouldn’t buy this just for the projector function, but as a regular “home entertainment tablet” it certainly has its appeal.
Grade: 4 stars (out of five)
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