Most tablets have flat screens with plastic or aluminium chassis, but the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 has a cylindrical spine like its predecessor.
It reminds me of the Tablet S that Sony released in 2011. It had a wedge-shaped design with a thicker end that was easy to grip.
Lenovo has taken the cylinder further. It houses the battery and an integrated kickstand that keeps the tablet upright without the need for a separate accessory.
The kickstand can also prop the screen up at an angle for a more comfortable typing experience.
In this year's edition, the kickstand comes with a cut-out in the middle. Believe it or not, Lenovo calls this a new feature because after fully opening the kickstand, you can hang the Yoga tablet from a hook using this cut-out.
Just ensure that the hook can support this 8-inch tablet which weighs 429g.
In the earlier model, there was a button for opening the kickstand. Not any more.
Opening the kickstand on the Yoga Tablet 2 can be tricky because it is flush with the back of the tablet. My method: grip the cylindrical spine with your fingers and twist it anti-clockwise.
The smooth spine offers little grip but you should get the hang of it after a few attempts.
Behind the kickstand are the microSIM and microSD slots. The microSD slot is useful as the tablet has just 16GB of internal storage. The tablet supports 4G LTE but you need to have a data plan.
The Yoga's 8-inch screen offers good viewing angles and a 1,920 x 1,200-pixel resolution. Text and icons are sharp.
Two front-facing speakers sit just below the screen. They pack quite an audio punch. You can adjust the audio settings, such as enhancing movie dialogue with the preloaded Dolby app.
The tablet runs Android 4.4 KitKat but Lenovo has heavily skinned it with a custom interface that feels a lot like Apple's iOS.
As with iOS, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up a control panel. You use this to adjust settings such as brightness and volume.
Even the icons for these settings and the pull-down notification shade are very similar to the ones on iOS.
But Lenovo fails to deliver the buttery-smooth iOS experience. Compared with other Android devices that I have tried, screen rotation was slow while scrolling a webpage felt laggy in the Chrome browser.
To its credit, Lenovo does introduce some interesting features - Multi Window lets you run four apps at the same time.
The tablet lasted an impressive 10hr 15min in our battery-life test.
A unique and versatile design, coupled with long battery life and LTE, make up for the performance issues.
Processor: Intel Atom Z3745 (1.33GHz)
Display: 8 inches, 1,920 x 1,200 pixels
Camera: 8 megapixels (rear), 1.6 megapixels (front)
Storage: 16GB, microSD expandability up to 64GB
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 5/5
This article was first published on Dec 31, 2014.
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