Lenovo has unveiled three new tablets this year, and for this review we’re going to focus on the most economical variants of the lot, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0).
Not only is this tablet entering a segment where it will face stiff competition, but being a budget friendly device with decent specs, it stands out through its unique design.
Unique in a good way? Well, that is for you to decide. But I will say this – the device does tick some of the right boxes.
Let’s get going, and see how it lands once we’re done reviewing it.
On the display front, the tablet does leave you wanting more. There are a couple of good features here but overall, the display does not seem to be upto the mark. There are other tablets in the same price segment as the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0), carrying better displays.
So, let’s start off by talking about what is good with the display. The display is an 8 inch IPS LCD panel with a 1800×1280 pixel resolution with 189 pixels per inch.
The screen has accurate colour representation, and about-okay sharpness. The screen is of the ‘super sensitive’ variety, which essentially means that you can use it with gloves on as well. This sure is a nice thing.
Well that is about it, that is all that is acceptable about this display. Now this is an 8 inch display and 189 PPI does not seem to cut it. Neither does the resolution. Those by themselves are inadequate. While the specs may be similar to other tablets’, yet they are undeniably lower-mid-range. A bigger screen does need more pixels and if it lacks in that respect, you would certainly see it.
Plus it does have problems with sunlight visibility and viewing angles. The screen does not do very well under bright sunlight. Normally as well, the screen seems to lack vibrancy. It is not as bright as it should have been even at the top brightness levels. I would say that all of this is quintessential for a tablet.
Also there is another side to the one of the very few good things about this display. The ‘Super Sensitive’ screen is actually too sensitive! It registers almost every touch. Be it your sleeves, your charging cable or any other part of any other thing. In the touchscreen realm, nobody likes things that are overly sensitive. And this issue really becomes annoying after a while.
Well, I do feel Lenovo could have done a lot better with this display. Economical device, or not.
Ok, so this is where the device finds its uniqueness. It is your normal 8.0 inch tablet when you look at it from the front. It comes with a built in kickstand and a rotatable camera.
As soon as you pick the device up, you will notice a bulging cylinder at the bottom of the device. This sure seems strange. It really feels awkward in your hands. It really is a design feature that people can reject. For most people this bulging cylinder design may be a change too big because in reality it does change the way you handle the device. The weight feels a little unevenly distributed and the tablet also feels bulky.
To tackle this Lenovo seems to have worked on making the tablet as compact as possible. And, there’s ‘grippability’ coming through the matte finish plastic back. The kickstand that you get here is a metal one. It does not have a lot of settings as you can only set it up in tall or slightly bent mode. This may be enough for some to watch videos but for those who would like to type with two hands, it may get uncomfortable.
The kickstand also has a hole in it for you to be able to hang it. What? Hang it? Seems bizarre doesn’t it! I mean why would I ever want need or even dare to hang my device from a nail next to my clothes. But it is there, if you feel like getting adventurous. I can’t think of any use-case for this utility except in the case that you decide to use a Bluetooth keyboard with the tablet. Even in that case, you’re going to have to touch the screen plenty often, for even that use-case to become a no-go.
Worse still for this wall-hanging facility is the fact that the tablet is heavy. It weighs in at 467 grams (most similar tablets weigh in at 300-340 grams). Most of the weight seems to come from the metal kickstand, the huge battery and of course the bulging cylinder.
The device may be heavy but it is sleek at just 7 mm thickness. That is of course leaving the cylinder – of which it would seem more suitable to measure the radius. Wierd isn’t it?
The kickstand to me is not as useable as in many other devices. You can only use it for multimedia tasks but can’t really work on the tablet. Fortunately, you can remove the kickstand – there’s a button placed to release the kickstand and it sits in the very cavity that allows you to hang the device when the kickstand is closed.
On one end of the cylinder sits the power button and next it is the volume rocker. The USB port is in close vicinity as well. At the other end is the headphone jack.
Here is another unique aspect of the way this device has been designed. There is a camera placed on this cylinder on a rotating hinge that allows you to use it both as the front and back camera. Innovative? You can say.
Anyway when you open the kickstand you find a plastic cover that houses the micro SD card slot.
Well, it is really difficult to judge if this design is unique in a good way or other wise. It is different, that we can say with certainty. But I would suggest you experience it personally, and assess how you feel about it and only then go for this device.
Apart from this aspect of the design, the device does seem pretty well built. The plastic used here is of good quality and the matte finish is fairly nice.
Being a ‘budget’ tablet the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0) sits in a segment where it is set to face tough competition. The spec sheet of this device is by no means impressive. You can expect that somewhat (mid-level specs) from similarly priced tablets as well, and most people accept it too, as long as the device proves to be well optimised and performs upto the mark.
Does the The Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0) do that? Nope.
Let’s start off with the specs. The device packs a Snapdragon 212 processor with four cores, an Adreno 304 GPU and 1 GB RAM. The specs are fairly entry level but the device does not seem to be optimised.
The low specs do translate into a poor performance – daily tasks (such as opening and closing of apps, browsing and scrolling through web pages or switching between apps), you will be able to do those comfortably. But you encounter lag and stutter throughout your slightly more rigorous usage. Some apps may take time to open or close, you will experience a lot of dropped frames while performing CPU-intensive tasks and you will be able to play only some basic casual games – at best.
There’s only one storage option – 16 GB internal memory, thankfully you can increase that to upto 128 GB via a micro SD card.
The best thing or the only good thing let’s call it, about the performance of this device is its battery.
If you have been wondering about what purpose does that cylindrical bulge serves, well, this is it. incorporated in that bulge is a huge 6,200 mAh battery. The battery is upto the task of powering the biggish screen. It can provide upto 11 hours of onscreen battery life and upto 3 days of standby battery life. This here is probably what can qualify as the selling point of this device as the battery life that you get with this device would leave you other tablets behind, at least in this price segment.
All in all the device really does perform poorly. True, it is an entry level tablet but, even in that range, there are acceptable performance standards. Lags and stutter are not cool anymore. You may overlook the specs at this price range but performance is something that can never be overlooked in any price segment. The only thing good about the performance here is the amazing battery life. But to me,that alone cannot sell devices.
For software there is not much to discuss. The device runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, fortunately a near stock version of it . There are only a few tweaks here and there to enhance the user experience.
The software experience here thus far better than previous Lenovo devices. Also, there is an App Drawer which is something that was not seen in previous Lenovo devices.
Keeping with Google’s design ethos, Lenovo has stuck with the tenets of Material Design, which keeps things nice and clean, and flat.
There’s almost no bloatware on the device and all of this is refreshing to see and it really makes the OS feel light and clean.
As mentioned earlier, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0) jumps off the “standard approach” bandwagon with its camera.
Instead of having two different cameras, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 (8.0) instead comes with a single 8 megapixel camera mounted on a rotatable hinge. This allows you to use the same camera as a front or back camera depending on your current requirements. There are many other positions in between, that you can align this camera to.
Well this certainly is a unique design aspect, one that can come in handy… but only if the camera is good enough in the first place.
And there’s a problem there. The quality of the camera is not upto the mark. The 8 megapixel unit does not seem to do justice, to most photos & scenarios. Now, I know that tablets are not meant to replace your primary or smartphone camera. True, but even after considering that and also the knowing that this is an entry level camera, the camera just does not cut it.
In the snaps, you can notice a huge the lack of details. Colours appear to be washed out and there seems to be a fair degree of pixelation too. Night time shots are predictably even worse as there is a lot of noise and the camera blows out the picture if there are any light sources in the frame.
The camera app does seem to have been improved. The stabilisation issues are no longer present and there are quite a few settings available for you now. You even have manual mode available.. on a tablet!
Overall, the camera is a let down and the uniqueness of the way it has been designed bears no significance whatsoever owing to the poor performance.
The entertainment on this device is good.
The audio quality of the device is fairly good and it compliments movie viewing on the mid-sized display.
Playing games is fun but the performance is hindered by the hardware.
Videos too, are hindered by the poor-density screen and sharpness takes a hit.