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Has Lenovo pulled off the perfect tablet?

Despite being in the market for five years now, the Tablet has not been able to make its mark. Will Lenovo's Yoga tablets with full HD screens and a great battery, prove to be a saviour, wonders Rajiv Makhni.

brunch Updated: Nov 01, 2014 21:04 IST
Rajiv Makhni
Rajiv Makhni
Hindustan Times
Rajiv Makhni,Tech,Apple iPad Mini Retina

It’s actually embarrassing. For a category that has been around for about five years, has been touted as a super-hot-on-fire segment in tech, was predicted to sell the same number of pieces every year as mobile phones and would eventually replace the laptop – the Tablet has been a sensational disappointment.

Think about it. If you bought an iPad or another Tablet about four years ago, and buy a brand new one today, what would be the difference?

It’ll be a bit thinner, the screen will be a bit better and the processor will be a bit faster. That’s it? That’s what four years in this fast- paced world of tech has spawned from this super sensational device?

But, first, I’ll remind myself that my rant about how tablets have seen very little innovation is well known. It’s time to bury that and dig afresh!

A treacherous question
Unfortunately I don’t have to dig too deep. The problem is very much on the surface.

If you are in the market for a tablet, and were to meet me and ask me for advice, you would find me to be a very shifty, elusive and weasly character. Not because that’s what I am as a person (although some people would say that’s exactly what I am), but because I wouldn’t have a convincing answer.

Two to tango: Of late, I have been advising people who are still keen to buy a Tablet to go in for the Apple iPad Mini Retina (left) or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8 inch (right).

Tablets are a treacherous category. They’re divided into three strange segments. The super el cheapo ones that are truly terrible, the mid-priced ones that defeat the purpose of a tablet and the way-too-expensive ones that are fantastic but rarely deliver any bang for buck.

Of late, my advice to anyone who still wants a tablet has been to choose between the Apple iPad Mini Retina or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8 inch. There are a few more names that spring up, but frankly they really won’t make you very happy.

Dashed hopes

I had high hopes from Lenovo about a year ago when they came up with the Yoga tablets. They had taken almost all things that was wrong with tablets and tweaked and twisted them into something I called ‘Reinventing the Tablet’ from the ground up.

But some classic mistakes made sure that even those very very interesting tablets did not live up to their potential. Lenovo makes a comeback with the Yoga 2 and the claim is that this isn’t just reinventing the tablet, this is perfecting it. That’s a big claim to make.

New yoga positions
There are three new Yoga 2 Tablets, an 8-, 10- and 13-inch version.

Each is beautifully built, has an all-metal body, that smart swivel-out kickstand (now bigger and easier to use) that can place the tablet in various positions, has an add-on position to hang the tablet or wall mount it with no additional accessories.

The kick stand is now active and can sense what position it’s in and orient the screen automatically. The battery is fantastic at about 18 hours, the keyboard/cover is custom built for each and attaches magnetically and thus becomes a full fledged laptop.

New kid around: Lenovo's new Yoga tablets are beautifully built, have full HD screens and a fantastic battery too.

A wide aperture 8 megapixel camera makes an appearance. Due to the round spindle area affording more area and depth, the tablets come with Dolby and JBL speakers and a sub-woofer built in.

You can choose between Android and Windows as the OS you want and the screens are stunning, with Full HD for the 8 and 10 and an eye- popping Quad HD on the 13 inch.

Then, Lenovo took it one step further, or should I say 55 steps further.

Why didn’t I (or anyone else) think of that
The 13 inch Yoga 2 comes with a built in Pico Projector. Yes, just go back and read that again. Not an add on, not a dongle, not a cable to projector port, the projector is built right into the tablet. And it gives a perfect 55-inch picture.

I played movies, ran presentations and used it as a YouTube entertainment beamer and the picture was great. In a dimly lit room with the speakers and sub-woofer at full blast this can be quite a machine. And the mind boggles at what all this can be used for.

Think of the 13-inch with the Windows OS, the hard key keyboard that is also a cover, the built in projector, the amazing battery life and the Quad HD screen.

Now what laptop can deliver that kind of specs and performance at about Rs 45K?

Has Lenovo pulled off the perfect tablet?

Well, it’s close with the 8- and 10- inch specs and price and nearly perfect with the 13-inch.

But the main market now is in the 8-inch segment and finally I am glad to announce that there is a new entry in my recommendations list when I’m asked “which tablet should I buy?”.

The chart alongside can give some very serious answers with much less embarrassment that I felt before.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

From HT Brunch, November 2
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First Published: Nov 01, 2014 21:04 IST

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