Lenovo Yoga Tab 13, hands on: A versatile Android tablet, with entertainment front and centre
Lenovo is clear that the £599/$629.99 Android-based Yoga Tab 13 has entertainment as its primary focus. That’s evident in the 13-inch 2K screen — and to emphasise the point, Lenovo doesn’t provide the Yoga Tab 13 in a bundle with a keyboard (nor is one available as an add-on).
The tablet can be used as a secondary display for a laptop, Lenovo says, thanks to its bundled Micro-HDMI to USB-C cable. But the Yoga Tab 13 is definitely regarded as an adjunct to productivity rather than a productivity device in its own right.
As an entertainment tablet there is a great deal to like here. The 13.3-inch touch screen has a resolution of 2160 by 1350 pixels (191.5ppi), a refresh rate of 60Hz and maxes out at 400 nits of brightness. Along with support for 100% of the sRGB gamut, that’s enough to display text and visuals very clearly. Its touch-responsiveness is excellent, too.
Great sound matters on any entertainment device, and the Yoga Tab 13 excels in this department with four JBL speakers that throw out superb-quality sound even at the highest volume – which is higher than many laptops can muster. Neither bass nor treble distort as the volume is raised, and both are well balanced.
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The Yoga Tab 13 runs Android 11 with Google Entertainment Space built in. Accessed with a right screen swipe, this is a bucket for subscription services that’s designed to help users manage multiple subscriptions from one central location. There are Watch, Read and Games tabs, with the inevitable Google TV link. This isn’t the answer to everyone’s entertainment dreams, though. For example, I still needed to install the app for my library e-books separately, and Netflix isn’t included (there is a separate Netflix shortcut on the main screen).
The Yoga Tab 13’s kick-stand holds the screen in landscape orientation at a range of angles. But, solid and efficient as it is, as the angle of the screen to desktop gets shallower the stand becomes unable to take the tablet’s weight and physics forces it to fail, the tablet descending to the desktop. The stand is also no help if you want to prop up the tablet in portrait orientation. There’s an Alcantara fabric panel across half of the back of the tablet, while the other half displays the grey aluminium that helps to create a robust chassis.
The large screen may be the Yoga Tab 13’s greatest asset, but I also found it to be a drawback. I’ll carry an iPad around in a backpack for a bit of light entertainment or reading while travelling, but the size and weight here were just a step too far. Even though the screen sits in small bezels, the Yoga Tab 13 measures 293.35mm wide by 203.98mm deep by 6.2-24.9mm thick (11.55in x 8.03in x 0.24-0.98in). That massive thickness range is due to the bulge created by the cylindrical soundbar on the bottom edge, at whose left and right ends sit the Micro-HDMI and USB-C charge ports. At 803g (1.83lb) there’s just too much weight to drop into a bag without thinking about it. The lightest laptops aren’t much heavier.
The specifications are a mixed bag. The 60Hz screen refresh rate seems a little lacklustre, although it didn’t detract from my experience of the tablet. It’s disappointing that there’s no MicroSD card slot to augment the 128GB of internal storage, and there’s no rear camera to complement the front-facing 8MP unit, which includes a time-of-flight (TOF) sensor. But you do get Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.2, the battery is rated for 12 hours and supports 30W fast charging, and the Snapdragon 870 SoC with 8GB of RAM performed well during testing. The Yoga Tab 13 also supports Lenovo’s Active Pen 2 stylus (£69.99/$89.99).
The Yoga Tab 13 will inevitably be compared to alternatives from Apple. The iPad Air starts at £579 and has a smaller 10.9-inch screen, while the more expensive iPad Pro starts at £749 for the 11-inch model and £999 for the 12.9-inch model. This is before keyboard covers are added on.
There are other options in the Android market, including Galaxy Tab devices from Samsung that cater for mobile broadband (including 5G), keyboard covers and styli. But none have that useful integrated kickstand, and there’s no doubt that Lenovo really knows how to handle audio.
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