Lenovo's Yoga Tablet 2 Pro was practically built for business presentations. The slate has a projector built right into its bottom edge, letting you beam content straight onto any wall. That could really come in handy during your morning meetings.
And the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro has a lot more to offer, including a huge 13.3-inch display that gives you tons of room to work, and a built-in kickstand that props up the device when you're typing with a Bluetooth keyboard. Add fast performance and handy multitasking features, and you've got a killer business tablet — albeit one for a niche market. On the other hand, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro has some significant downsides: The device is big and heavy, and doesn't last that long on a charge. So, should the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro be your next work slate?
If you've never seen a Yoga tablet before, the first thing you'll notice about the Tablet 2 Pro is its odd design, which includes a cylindrical battery along one edge. That cylinder doesn't just give the tablet a battery boost; it also hides a handy kickstand that pops out at the push of a button, letting you easily prop up the tablet in a variety of positions. You can stand the tablet upright, or lay it down and prop it up by just a few inches using the kickstand, which provides a good angle for typing on the touch-screen keyboard.
The second thing you'll notice is that the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is really big, with a whopping 13.3-inch display. It's heavy, too, tipping the scales at 2.09 lbs. It feels noticeably heavier than the 12.2-inch Galaxy Note Pro (1.6 lbs.) and 12-inch Surface Pro 3 (1.8 lbs.) If you're looking for a portable device to carry on your daily commute, this is not it. It felt uncomfortably heavy after holding it for just a few minutes, and it even started to feel heavy when I propped it up in my lap.
Where the device really excels is on the desktop, and that's mostly thanks to the kickstand. Lenovo's kickstand lets you position the display at a variety of viewing angles, while only adding a couple of extra inches to the tablet's footprint when it's standing on a desk or table. The kickstand comes in handy for consumers who want to prop up the device to use it while watching movies, but it's just as valuable for business users focused on productivity. You'll never have to search for something to prop up your tablet if you pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard — and you should, if you want to get real work done.
Usability aside, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a beautiful device. Its metallic, matte-finish silver paint is almost as eye-catching as its sleek profile. The sophisticated design is reminiscent of an Apple device, making it one of the best-looking Android tablets out there.
I've long thought that a 13-inch screen strikes the best compromise between portability and productivity. If a device is much bigger than that, it starts to feel cumbersome; if it's much smaller, the screen starts to feel cramped. That's why I love the big 13.3-inch screen on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which gives you tons of space to get things done. Editing a spreadsheet in Google Sheets felt completely comfortable; I liked being able to see numerous columns, even after zooming in. The big screen also makes the tablet's multiwindow multitasking feature — which lets you view multiple apps at once — feel practical.
The Tablet 2 Pro's screen is extremely sharp, too, with a quad-HD resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. That's a plus for business users, since a pixel-dense display can show more content on-screen at once. Text is crisp and readable, and images are sharp and colorful.
If I have one complaint, it's that the slate's extra-wide 16:9 aspect ratio, coupled with its asymmetrical design, makes holding the tablet in portrait mode feel extremely unbalanced. While the battery cylinder does give you something to grab onto, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro just feels too tall and lopsided to comfortably use it in that orientation. And when viewing documents and Web pages in landscape mode, I longed for an extra bit of vertical screen space, especially since the touch-screen keyboard takes up so much room. The Tablet 2 Pro's 16:9 aspect ratio is good for viewing multimedia, but for productivity, I prefer the more balanced 16:10 aspect ratio on devices like Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air.
If you want to share a video, slideshow or PowerPoint presentation, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro makes the process totally painless. Just press and hold the hardware button located on the edge of the device to activate the built-in Pico projector, which is embedded in one side of the battery cylinder. Point the image at the nearest wall, and you're good to go. It really is the easiest way I've seen to share a presentation; there's no need to fuss with extra cords, adapters or dedicated projectors. You can share your screen with a large group, since the projector produces an image that's 50 inches wide from just 6.5 feet away.
To get a good angle for projection, you'll need to prop up the tablet in Tilt mode. From there, you can turn on the projector by pressing and holding the dedicated button located on the side of the tablet for a few seconds, or by tapping Projector on the Quick Settings menu. By default, the projector will mirror whatever is currently on your display, with no discernable lag. I tested it with a PowerPoint presentation, and swiping through the slides felt effortless and responsive.
The projector isn't perfect, especially if you want to present video. The beam simply isn't very bright compared to what you'll find on stand-alone high-end pocket projectors. Colors looked a bit washed out, even in a dim room. The Tablet 2 Pro's projector has a brightness rating of 30 to 40 lumens, compared to 50 to 100 lumens for stand-alone projectors. It's still a great value, though, since stand-alone projectors can cost between $200 and $400. While the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro projector might not produce home-theater-quality images, it's more than adequate for business presentations, whose primary objective is to convey information.
Lenovo also included the Projector app, which lets you share PDF documents, slideshows, videos, pictures and other content with a few taps. You can also turn on Split Screen projection, letting you multitask in one window while beaming the content of the other window onto a wall or screen.
My Yoga Tablet 2 Pro review unit was running a modified version of Android 4.4.2 that takes more than a few cues from Apple's iOS 8 interface on the iPad, right down to the design of individual app icons that are taken almost directly from Apple. Lenovo also eliminated the app drawer that's standard on most Android tablets, so all of your apps appear on one of your home screens, just like on an iPad. To me, it makes things feel a bit cluttered, though I'll admit this system might be more user-friendly for people who are new to Android.
Another iPad-esque detail is the Quick Settings menu, accessible with a single swipe up from the bottom of the screen. It lets you easily toggle settings like GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, without digging through the main Settings menu. It's so useful that I wish all Android devices would adopt the feature, and it will certainly help iPad fans feel right at home with the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.
The Tablet 2 Pro came with a few good widgets installed, including a monthly calendar. Widgets are like miniature apps that sit right on your home screen and update in real time to show you the weather, appointments, stock updates and a lot more. They're handy because they let you access a lot of information at a glance, with no need to launch multiple apps.
Lenovo also added the multiwindow multitasking feature, which lets you run multiple apps on-screen at the same time. You can view up to four apps in a split-screen mode — one in each quadrant of the screen — or launch up to three floating apps in small windows over the top of your main app. You can even minimize a floating app just as you would in Windows; it will appear as an icon at the bottom of your display.
Multitasking functionality like this is notable, since most Android tablets only let you view a single app at once. It's handy for browsing the Web or using the calculator while composing an email, for example. And it's especially useful on a big tablet like this one, which offers enough screen space to make it really useful.
Unfortunately, Lenovo's implementation is seriously limited by the small number of compatible applications. There are just six multiwindow apps: Email, Gallery, Chrome, File Browser, Calculator and Video. And you can't drag and drop content between windows, as you can on a Samsung tablet.
With a 1.33-GHz quad-core Intel Atom processor, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro offers very good performance for everyday productivity tasks. Opening and closing apps was smooth, but I sometimes noticed a few moments of lag while switching between applications. It also takes a few seconds for the screen orientation to change when you rotate the tablet to portrait or landscape mode. Premium slates like Samsung's Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Apple's iPad Air 2 offer faster, more responsive performance, but the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is more than fast enough to satisfy most business users.
The Tablet 2 Pro's big, sharp screen is apparently a battery hog; the slate has a shorter battery life than competing devices. In our battery test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi, the tablet ran for 8 hours and 11 minutes. That's a bit shorter than the average tablet (8:37), as well as the iPad Air 2 (9:20) and the Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (8:57).
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is an excellent tablet with a few killer business features, but it's not the best slate for every task. The tablet's big display gives you plenty of breathing room to work, especially if you plan to take advantage of its multitasking capabilities. The kickstand is a real asset, since it makes this big slate easier to use on the desktop. The built-in projector is the star attraction, providing a painless way to share presentations. On the other hand, the Tablet 2 Pro is big, heavy and a bit awkward to hold, and has lackluster battery life. Regardless, it's one of the most versatile business tablets on the market.