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Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (Windows, 10-inch) review: An awkward keyboard dock can't keep a great tablet down

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The Good The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 bundles a useful kickstand, an attractive high-resolution display, long battery life and a great keyboard into a package that's light and inexpensive.

The Bad Weak magnets make the connection between tablet and keyboard dock a tenuous one.

The Bottom Line If you're willing to overlook the flawed keyboard dock, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows offers the full Windows 8 experience in an inexpensive package.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 with Windows is a $369.99, AU$499 device with a built-in kickstand and a high-resolution 10-inch display. And it runs Windows 8.1, so you can bring all of your favorite apps along for the ride. (While the tablet will be available in the UK, dates and pricing have not yet been announced; directly converted it's about £243.)

If the device looks a little familiar, that's because we've already seen an Android-flavored version -- my colleague wasn't impressed with its heavily modified Android overlay and irregular performance. I, fortunately, had a much better experience: Windows 8 shines on the Intel Atom processor, and the bundled keyboard (an optional extra for the Android model) makes this a compelling travel companion -- provided you don't mind being a little careful.

Design and specs

The Yoga Tablet 2's 10-inch display has a 1,920x1,200 resolution. It looks good: colors remain true no matter what awkward angle I turn the screen to, and the screen holds up reasonably well in a well-lit office environment -- reflections become problematic in more direct light and you'll run into trouble outdoors, but it was never very problematic.

Slap on the keyboard, and you've got a svelte productivity machine. Josh Miller/CNET

It wouldn't be a Lenovo Yoga device if it didn't contort awkwardly. In this case, a built-in kickstand spins out from the cylindrical battery. Twist at the spine and it folds out, locking into a 90-degree angle but adjusting rather easily. There's also a hole in the kickstand for a hook, so you can hang your tablet somewhere. I have no idea why you'd want to hang your tablet. But the hole doesn't detract from the experience, so maybe others will find creative uses. The headphone jack sits on the right side of the battery, while the power button sits on the left.

The keyboard's spacious keys make for fast, accurate typing. Josh Miller/CNET

Unlike Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 there's a keyboard bundled in, so you don't need to worry about paying extra. And Lenovo tends to make great keyboards: this one connects via Bluetooth and is light and thin. The roomy, spacious keys make for fast, comfortable typing. The keys also offer a fair amount of travel distance with every press, so my typing was generally rather accurate, too. There's also touchpad: it's accurate and works well enough, but on a device this small with a readily accessible, responsive touchscreen, I generally prefer to just use the touchscreen. That said, I also spent a lot of time with the keyboard and display separated, so having the touchpad as an option is nice.

But the separation between tablet and keyboard is also precisely where things fall apart. The keyboard connects to the tablet by way of rather weak magnets on the lip. The tablet makes the whole arrangement rather top heavy, so it's obvious that you shouldn't grab it by the keyboard. But I'm still tempted to lift it by the display, which causes the keyboard to flop right off. I imagine that any mechanical solution to latch the keyboard to the tablet would add to the weight and bulk, but this solution feels half-hearted. The keyboard also technically doubles as a cover, but those weak magnets strike again: it tends to slide about and will come off readily when tucked into a bag or carried about.

Software and features

The touchscreen is responsive, if you'd rather not fuss with the keyboard. Josh Miller/CNET

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