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Grow Your Business Technology

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review: Is It Good for Business?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review: Is It Good for Business?

If you're tired of fussing with cords and projectors every time you want to share a slideshow, Lenovo's Yoga Tab 3 Pro offers an elegant solution. The 10-inch tablet has a built-in projector that can instantly beam slides and video presentations onto any wall or surface, and its long battery life and loud, clear speaker will help make sure your presentations go smoothly. And when you're away from the conference room, this slate's handy built-in kickstand will prop it up while you work. It's a bit hefty, but all in all, the Yoga Tab 3 Pro — which starts at $479.99 — is one of the most versatile business tablets yet.

The Tab 3 Pro is the follow-up to last year's Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which had a projector built in to the side of the tablet's battery cylinder. The new model improves on that design by embedding the projector into a rotating mechanism along the slate's bottom edge, which lets you easily adjust the aim of the projection. 

The 50-lumen DLP projector can produce a clear image from up to about 70 inches away or so. I just wish the projector were a bit brighter. Unless you're in a fairly dim room, images will tend to look washed out. The brightness is more than adequate to produce a reasonably readable PowerPoint presentation in a well-lit conference room, but you'll be reaching for the light switch if you want to show a video presentation. 

Lenovo included an application that helps focus your projected image from the correct distance. There's also a handy split-screen mode, which lets you project content from one window while referencing a second app that isn't projected.

Like all Yoga tablets, this one sports a large cylinder along one edge that houses the kickstand and projector, as well as the Tab 3 Pro's beefy battery. The kickstand and hinge are metal, and the back of the tablet is soft leather. The materials give the device an extremely premium feel.

The slate's flip-out kickstand is really nice for propping the device up on a table or desk. I personally love the feature, since it makes the device easy to pair with a Bluetooth keyboard when I need to get some real work done. It also comes in handy for propping the tablet up on an airplane tray table. 

A release button on the back of the tablet pops the kickstand out for easy use. You'll also find a microSD card slot behind the kickstand for expanding the tablet's internal storage.

All those extra moving parts make for a hefty tablet. The Tab 3 Pro measures 0.26 inches thick and tips the scales at 1.5 lbs., making it much thicker and heavier than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 (0.22 inches thick, 0.86 lbs.) and iPad Air 2 (0.24 inches thick, 0.98 lbs.). 

The Tab 3 Pro's smaller, 10-inch display might be its biggest improvement over last year's model, which came with a humongous, 13.3-inch screen. While the big display was nice and roomy, it made the device feel unwieldy. The smaller screen on this model makes for a more portable device, while still being large enough for serious productivity tasks like viewing large documents and editing spreadsheets on the go. 

The Tab 3 Pro's 10-inch IPS display is also sharp and vivid, with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,600 pixels and wide viewing angles. Text looks crisp and colors pop.

You'll get more than good enough performance for typical work tasks out of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro. The slate is powered by an Intel Atom x5-z8500 Processor with 2GB of RAM, which allowed for snappy multitasking during my testing period.

On the Geekbench 3 test, which measures overall performance, it racked up a score of 3,263, which is about average among 10-inch tablets. Its closest competitors fared a bit better on the same test, though, including the iPad Air 2 (4,547) and Galaxy Tab S2 (4,175).

Lenovo doesn't sell a special snap-on keyboard for the Tab 3 Pro, but thankfully it doesn't really need one. The slate will work with any Bluetooth-enabled keyboard on the market, and its kickstand will prop up the device on a tablet or desk while you type. Still, it's worth pointing out that there's no real way to balance the Yoga Tab 3 Pro on your knees to use it like a laptop.

Serious note takers should skip the Tab 3 Pro, despite the fact that it comes with Lenovo's AnyPen tech. The feature allows you to draw and write on the tablet's display using any object with a capacitive tip, including the metal end of a ballpoint pen, a car key or even a pocket knife; Lenovo says the screen is scratch-resistant, and that claim held up in our hands-on testing. Whether or not it can withstand that kind of abuse over time without getting scratched up is hard to say.

AnyPen works just fine, but keep in mind that the Yoga Tab 3 lacks the kind of pressure sensitivity that you'll find on the best note-taking tablets. Writing on the slate's screen with a ballpoint pen doesn't feel any different from writing with a standard capacitive stylus. The Tab 3 Pro also lacks palm rejection, which can lead to errant strokes while you're writing.

Still, while it's no replacement for pressure sensitivity when you want to take notes on your tablet's display, AnyPen is a nice perk nonetheless. 

The Tab 2 Pro runs on a clean installation of Android 5.0 Lollipop, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. Lenovo did add a few extra software features, though, like the ability to run two apps on-screen at once, which makes for easier multitasking 

Unfortunately, the Tab 3 Pro's multiwindow functionality is a bit half-baked. Instead of letting you launch two apps in a split-screen view, the Tab 3 Pro opens secondary apps in a window that floats over the top of the primary app. Plus, there's no way to resize the small floating apps windows. 

Although I would have preferred a split-screen setup, the feature is still really handy for particular tasks like referencing your calendar while drafting an email. I also liked how initiating multiwindow mode creates a task bar along the bottom of the screen, similar to the Windows task bar, which lets you quickly jump back and forth between multiple apps with one tap, or even minimize apps so they're available later on.

Not many tablets can match the Yoga 3 Pro's long battery life. The slate ran for an impressive 10 hours and 35 minutes on our battery life test, which involves continuous Web browsing over Wi-Fi. That means it should have no trouble lasting through the end of the workday, or through a long business flight.

Apple's iPad Air 2 died a little over an hour sooner on the same test (9:20), while Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 ran out of juice after a disappointing 7 hours and 32 minutes. The tablet average is 9 hours and 2 minutes.

If showing off presentations or slideshows is part of your job, Lenovo's Yoga Tab 3 Pro ($479.99) can make your life easier. The built-in projector is reliable and easy to use, although I wish it were a bit brighter. And even if you don't care about the projector, this tablet is a well-rounded device with a roomy 10-inch display, epic battery life and a really useful kickstand.

There are a couple of strong alternatives to the Yoga Tab 3, though, including Samsung's Galaxy Tab S2 ($499.99), which is much thinner and lighter than the Yoga Tab 3. Apple's iPad Air 2 ($499.99) is another excellent option, since it offers a larger collection of tablet-ready apps than its Android-based rivals. Just remember that neither of those slates will let you beam your latest report onto a conference room wall.

Brett Nuckles

Brett Nuckles has been a working journalist since 2009. He got his start in local newspapers covering community news, local government, education and more before he joined the Business News Daily staff in 2013. He graduated from Ohio University, where he studied Journalism and English. Follow him on Twitter @BrettNuckles.