The Yoga tablet line from Lenovo shares a name with the better-known clamshell laptop hybrids, and an underlying idea as well, as both Yoga laptops and tablets were meant to transform their shapes for easy viewing and transport.
But that's where the similarities ended. While the Yoga laptop folded back into a kiosk mode, then into a flat slate, the Yoga tablet starts as a slate, but one with a single bulging cylindrical edge that includes a pull-out kickstand for a couple of different stand modes. It also ran Android, rather than Windows 8.
We frankly found the original Yoga tablets less than impressive . So it's surprising that Lenovo is not only updating them, but also expanding the line. The Yoga Tablet 2 series is comprised of two Android tablets and two Windows 8 tablets, both with eight-inch and 10-inch screens.
The basic idea, a tablet with a rounded hinge and kickstand, is the same, but the interesting thing is that the underlying hardware platform for both the Android and Windows versions is nearly identical. Both run on Intel Atom CPUs, with 2GB of RAM and high-definition 1,900x1,200-pixel-resolution displays. The major difference is that the Windows versions include a 32GB SSD, while the Android versions have only 16GB of SSD storage. The Windows versions also include a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, and the larger 10-inch Windows model comes with a detachable keyboard.
The redesigned kickstand folds out a full 180 degrees, and includes a hole for hanging your tablet upside down from a hook (with the built-in accelerometer keeping the view right-side-up). While not intended as such, the hole could also be used to secure a Yoga tablet to a table if being used as a public display.
The two Android models are available now, starting at $249 for the 8-inch and $299 for the 10-inch, and €229 and €299 in Europe. The Windows version will be available in the US at $399 for the 10-inch, which will be in Best Buy stores from late October, and $299 for the 8-inch, available in November. The Windows versions will be €249 and €399 in Europe, but the 8-inch model won't be available internationally until January 2015. Specific UK prices were not available yet, but the overall price range is roughly equivalent to £154-£247.
In Australia, Lenovo has only priced the 10.1-inch Android tablet at AU$399, while the 10-inch Windows tablet with keyboard is AU$579. Both will be available from JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman from mid-October. At the moment, there are no plans to bring the 8-inch models to market in Australia.