Lenovo tablets are known for innovative designs that thoughtfully take into account the functions of a tablet in everyday use. The Yoga Tablet 2 hits that nail on the head but disappoints almost everywhere else.
While most manufacturers are busy building razor-thin, light-as-air slates, Lenovo takes a more practical approach. Its best feature is the built-in kickstand, which is undeniably useful for activities like watching video, playing games or emailing.
Good design only gets you so far, however. The Yoga Tablet 2 has a plain user interface that oversimplifies the Android experience and cuts out some of the customization features the OS is known for. The slate's unique build can't save it from that awful overlay, and its lackluster performance also doesn't help the cause, making the tablet tough to recommend.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2's starting price is set at $269 in the US, £200 in the UK, AU$299 in Australia and €299 in Europe, though you can currently find it on Lenovo's website for less.
The Yoga Tablet 2 is similar in design to last year's models. Coming in 8- and 10-inch sizes, the tablet has an aluminum frame that culminates in a chunky silver spine on the bottom. The rounded edge is home to the front-facing speakers and, on the rear side, the built-in kickstand.
The kickstand is easier to pull out on this Yoga than on the 2013 models -- you simply pull it down by twisting at the spine -- and it securely locks into a 90-degree angle, though you can easily adjust it to your liking. The stand also has a little hole in the middle of it, in case you're the type who likes to hang a tablet.
The Yoga Tablet 2 can sit upright or be set down at a lower angle. I found myself using the tablet propped up, for the most part. It's great for hands-free casual use, especially watching video.
On the left edge, at the tip of the spine, you'll find the power button, with Micro-USB port and volume rocker located slightly above. The headphone jack is found on the opposite, right end of the spine. The spine is smooth, but the back of the tablet has a bumpy texture, offering some grip support.
Thanks to the chunky rounded spine, gripping it in one hand is rather comfortable -- in portrait orientation. Holding it in landscape orientation took some adjustment; my hands naturally gravitated to the comfier bottom edge, causing me to hold it like a barbell. Personally, I was fine with this, except my tendency to accidentally hit the power button became frustrating after a while.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 runs on Android 4.4 KitKat, and it features a regrettably familiar overlay. Just as on last year's models, the Android skin on the Yoga Tablet 2 is simplified to a fault.
Mostly notably, the UI lacks an app tray. Instead of all of your app shortcuts being in one organized place, they're placed on the homescreens. You can make folders to organize your shortcuts and choose which homescreen to place them on. Organizing everything, though, can be time-consuming, especially if you don't stay on top of it.
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 has multiwindow capabilities that work well for nominal multitasking. For a relatively basic tablet, it's a nice addition if you want to do several simple activities, like respond to an email while watching a movie. Not all apps are multiwindow-capable; however, the Chrome browser is, and I found it to be the most useful.