Lenovo attempts to leverage itsbrand with new 8- and 10-inch Android 4.2.2 tablets. The tablets hit stores on Wednesday at $249 for the 8-incher and $299 for the 10.
Though they're aesthetically unique, the tablets' specs prove less than exciting. The Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 and Tablet 10 feature quad-core 1.2GHz MT8125 MediaTek CPUs. MediaTek isn't known for making powerful tablet processors, and although I've yet to delve deeply into this one's capabilities, based on past performance, I'll be keeping my expectations low.
The tablet designs are also reminiscent of the Sony Tablet S and with a cylindrical edge at one end.
Lenovo says it also moved most of the tablet's heavier internal components to the cylinder side of the tablet, giving it better balance and encouraging users to hold it by the cylinder where it's easier and more comfortable to hang onto.
The tablets do feel well-balanced and light when held this way -- especially the lighter 8-incher -- and the cylinder gives your hands something smooth and easy to grip.
There's an aluminum kickstand that allows you to stand the tablets up or lay them down at an angle, making them more comfortable to type on. The back is polycarbonate, and overall the tablets feel pretty well-built.
The power button is large and easy to find, but also flush to reduce the chance you'll accidentally press it.
There's a Micro-USB port for charging, a 1.6-megapixel front camera, and a 5-megapixel back camera. Also included are a microSD storage expansion slot, a headphone jack, and a volume rocker.
The 1,280x800-pixel-resolution screens are backed by IPS panels and are frankly low-res by today's standards, especially on the 10-incher. We've moved on to expect at least 1,920x1,200, even on smaller tablets. That said, while the Tablet 10 looked dismal compared with most tablets on the market, the Tablet 8 was fairly sharp.
The Dolby Digital Plus DS1 front-facing speakers sounded fine when listened to for a brief time only, so it still remains to be seen if they're truly anything special.
Lenovo says the batteries in each tablet should last 50 percent longer than those of any other tablet on the market, which is saying something, as tablets on the market can last up to.
Lenovo outfitted the Yoga Tablets with batteries usually intended for laptops -- 600mAh for the 8-incher and 9,000mAh for the 10-incher -- so it'll be interesting to see how long they actually last.
And in order to further differentiate the tablets from others, Lenovo's added a media shortcut menu, called Smart Bar, that pretty much does just what you'd imagine a media shortcut button does: it allows you to go directly to your stored videos and music.
Also, expect accessories, including a $70 keyboard dock and a $30 cover case that comes in four different colors for each tablet.
The Yoga Tablet 8 ships for $249 with 16GB of storage, and the 10-inch tablet costs $299 for 16GB of storage. The 8-inch tablet will be exclusive to Best Buy and Lenovo.com for 2013, but you can pick up the 10-incher at pretty much all the usual places, like Amazon and Newegg. It's difficult to muster much excitement for these tablets. Each seems to have plenty of useful features, and the design is unique and seems thoughtful, but it's the underwhelming screen resolution and inclusion of a MediaTek CPU that can only inspire indifference in me. I hope to be pleasantly surprised after we've spent some extended amounts of time with these new tablets. Look for full reviews of each tablet soon.