Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro review:

A stand-out design with a built-in projector ...

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MSRP: $499.99
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3.5 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4.5 stars 5 user reviews

The Good The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's versatile design features a built-in kickstand and pico projector. Its HD screen is sharp and battery life is long. Its The front-facing speakers and rear subwoofer sound loud and crisp.

The Bad There's no app tray. The projector's brightness is rather dim in most rooms and its low resolution will disappoint fans of high-definition video. Also, it's a bit heavy.

The Bottom Line The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's design is great for at-home use and the built-in projector is handy for watching video or making presentations, but the UI is too stripped down.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is the most innovative tablet I've seen all year. The 13.3-inch mammoth features a familiar design with a unique twist; it packs a built-in pico projector.

Performance-wise, it's not a monster, but feature-wise, it's a unicorn. Like last year's Android-based Yoga tablets, this model has a distinct rounded spine with a built-in kickstand that makes hands-free movie watching and on-screen typing easy peasy. Turn on the projector with the push of a button and it also doubles as a quick way to set-up a mobile movie theater. It's a unique, versatile design that works well for entertainment and practical purposes.

However, it's not without its faults. Lenovo's watered down user-interface and bloatware will disappoint advanced Android users, but some newcomers will appreciate the simplified software and pre-loaded apps.

A good quality projector can easily set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars and the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro feels like buy-one-get-one-free deal. Judged only as a tablet, it's a smooth performing slate however, with an oversimplified Android skin. As a tablet with a projector though? It's awesome. From business presentations to movie night at your dorm, the innovative Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro offers a new way to share the tablet experience, and it's one heck of a deal.

Design

If you're familiar with Lenovo's Yoga line of Android tablets, this one should look familiar. If you're not, this 13-inch mammoth probably appears a little odd. It looks like a normal tablet, with the exception of its chunky, rounded spine. The silver, cylindrical looking appendage houses the front-facing speakers and, if you flip it, you'll find the built-in stand.

The rear kickstand easily pops out with the push of a button and can flip out to 180 degrees. You can stand it upright for an all-in-one-like experience or flip it over and place it down to stably type out an email. It feels sturdy, though it's a thin piece of aluminum, and, thanks the addition of the button, it's easier to adjust than last year's models.

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Projector-packed right edge Josh Miller/CNET

The stand can also be hung, thanks to a square hole in the middle of it that frames the rear subwoofer when it's stowed. During my time with the tablet, I never found a practical way to hang it, but I appreciate the option.

On the left edge, the power button is located on the top of the rounded spine. Next to it are the headphone jack, Micro-USB port and volume rocker. On the opposite end there's the projector and its separate power button.

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The kickstand is sturdy and sleek. Xiomara Blanco/CNET

The tablet is bottom heavy, so holding it in your hands isn't very comfortable, unless you're holding it from the rounded spine. It's easy to grip in one hand that way, however at a little over two pounds, it gets tiring. It's no surprise that a 13-inch tablet isn't easy on the hands, but otherwise, the build is impressively purposeful. Anyone interested in using the tablet for home use will benefit most from the adaptable design.

Software

Running Android 4.4.2, it comes with a medley of pre-loaded apps, including the full suite of Google apps, and it features a custom overlay that's slightly better than last year's Yoga tablets. The tweaks simplify the Android experience from its often overwhelming customization options and settings, but in a way that I consider more limiting than user-friendly.

It looks very iOS-inspired, especially due to its lack of app tray. After being downloaded, apps are meant to be placed into prearranged categories like games, shopping and social. The categories can't be deleted or edited. You can place individual app shortcuts on one of the home screens instead, if you'd like.

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Chunky widgets require many home screens. Josh Miller/CNET

I'm assuming it's supposed to make things easier for users, but I found it annoying. Especially since if you're downloading an app in the background, once it's done, the system interrupts whatever you're doing with a prompt to place the app in its proper category and exits you from whatever app was open. Rude.

In addition, widgets take up a lot of screen space and you can't fit many on one homepage, requiring you to make multiple ones to accommodate them. In an effort to make things

The lack of an app tray isn't necessarily a deal breaker, however, the overlay reduces the Android experience to iOS levels of constraint. Sure, it's great for newbies, but it loses the loose charm that strongly differentiates Android-based tablets to the tablet titan iPad.

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