MILAN: CHINESE HARDWARE FIRM Lenovo unveiled its Android powered Yoga Tablet on Tuesday, a £199 10in Android device with a hinged stand that allows users to use it in a variety of modes.
Touted as the firm's biggest launch of the year, the Lenovo Yoga Tablet was revealed at a dramatic event in Milan, along with the announcement that the firm has hired Hollywood movie star Ashton Kutcher as a "product engineer".
The main feature of the Yoga Tablet that Lenovo has boasted about is that it will run for 18 hours.
We had a short play with the device at the launch event to see how well it fared against its competitors in the overcrowded tablet market, such as the Nexus and the iPad.
Design and build
The Lenovo Yoga Tablet is all about design, with a new form factor for Lenovo but not for the market, as it has a cylindrical end design - apparently based on a folded magazine - that is reminiscent of the Sony Tablet S, which was launched in 2011.
Lenovo claims that this folded magazine design makes it easier and more comfortable to hang on to. During our hands-on, we found this is only really the case in portrait mode, giving you something to grab with your left hand when reading a portrait based article page, for example. In landscape mode, the Yoga Tablet feels no better than a standard 'flat' tablet, because it just means that it's slightly heavier at the bottom and doesn't balance as well in your hands.
The cylinder end does bring some other welcome benefits though, such as a hinged stand that folds out at the back so it can be stood up in what Lenovo calls its "stand mode" allowing you to watch movies and free your hands for other things.
Lenovo is touting three of these "multi-modes" in the Yoga Tablet's design: the above-mentioned "stand mode" as well as "tilt mode", which refers to placing the Yoga Tablet on a flat surface so that the rounded part angles the screen towards you, and a rather ridiculous sounding "hold mode", which basically just means holding the thing in your hand by the rounded end.
That said, the different modes are useful, especially compared to standard flat tablets, for which you must buy an additional case if you want to tilt or stand them up in similar positions.
The cylindrical handle also holds a dual battery, which Lenovo compares to those "typically found in laptops" to give it 18 hours of battery life, though this is something we will need to test in a full review before confirming Lenovo's claims.
The Yoga Tablet has a solid and premium feel to it due to its half aluminium construction. The rear cover and screen surround are plastic while the stand and edge of the tablet are aluminium, making it feel strong but lightweight. There are also front-facing speakers for clear sounding audio, plus a headphone jack at the right of the cylindrical end, and a power switch on the left side.
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