Lenovo has debuted a new Android tablet that’s easily one of the more intriguing two-for-one specials I’ve ever seen.
Dubbed the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, the 13-inch device offers all the usual bells and whistles you might expect from a high-end tablet computer: an advanced edition of the Android operating system, a high-speed processor, and high-quality camera.
Where the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro differentiates itself, however, comes on the outside: Lenovo has crammed a miniature projector into the side of the device, so you can project the screen of the tablet onto a nearby wall.
It sounds like a gimmick. But after checking out this tablet at a meeting with Lenovo, I became genuinely intrigued by the possibilities of a tablet with a projector.
Like the company’s previous Yoga tablets, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro sports a thin body that gradually grows into a large cylinder along the tablet’s base. The look is meant to ape that of a magazine with one side folded over.
That bulky cylinder makes the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro thick at its base, but it also makes holding the tablet in portrait mode a bit more comfortable than a normal flat slate, like your typical iPad or Kindle Fire.
The cylinder also houses the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro’s massive 9,600-mAh battery, which Lenovo says should get you a whopping 15 hours of usage. Compared with the 10 hours of usage Apple says to expect with the iPad Air, that’s a big difference. (The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is also much, much larger than the iPad Air.)
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro’s cylindrical base is also where you’ll find its projector. For something that’s been slapped on the side of a tablet, the Tablet 2 Pro’s projector offers a surprisingly clear picture. I watched a video with the projector in a dark room and was surprised at how clear the image looked.
Lenovo says the projector creates an image with an 854 × 480 pixel resolution at 50 inches, which is lower than your average 20-inch TV. I also noticed that the projector’s image was a bit dim. That could change when the device hits stores, though; Lenovo says it’s still perfecting the projector.
Thanks to the Tablet 2 Pro’s huge power plant, you can expect to get up to three to four hours of playback with the projector alone.
You can enable projector mode by either long-pressing the dedicated button on the side of the Tablet 2 or selecting Projector from the slate’s quick settings menu.
As tablets go, the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is on the large side. Its 13-inch display dwarfs the likes of Apple’s iPad Air, which sports a 9.7-inch screen. And at 2 pounds, it’s a full pound heavier than Apple’s offering.
Still, the Tablet 2 Pro’s 2560 × 1440 resolution screen looks absolutely gorgeous. Text and images looked exceedingly sharp, and when viewing photos and videos, the colors really popped.
Lenovo has also incorporated powerful speakers into the tablet’s base. There’s even a subwoofer on the slate’s backside that pumps up the bass.
Like its Yoga family of laptops, Lenovo’s Yoga tablets bend and flip in a variety of ways. (Hence the name “Yoga”). A hinged kickstand on the back of the Tablet 2 Pro lets you stand up the slate to watch movies or prop it up on its back to type.
Lenovo even made a small cutout in the kickstand so that you can fold it completely flat and use it to hang the Tablet 2 Pro on a wall. Naturally, you can fold up the kickstand to lay the tablet flat on its back, too.
Inside, the Tablet 2 Pro features an Intel processor and 32 GB of storage. You can also insert a microSD card to add up to 64 GB of space.
Yoga Tablet 2 line-up
In addition to the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, Lenovo also debuted 8-inch and 10-inch versions of its new Yoga Tablet 2 running Google’s Android KitKat, as well as 8-inch and 10-inch versions of the Tablet 2 running Microsoft’s Windows 8.
The four tablets pack many of the same features, including 1920 × 1080 high-resolution displays, Intel Atom processors, and 8-megapixel rear cameras. Like the Tablet 2 Pro, the Tablet 2 slates also feature cylindrical batteries and hinged kickstands.
Lenovo says the Android versions of the Yoga Tablet 2 will last up to 18 hours on a charge, while the Windows 8 versions will last 15 hours. Thanks to their large batteries, the tablets can also be used to charge your smartphone.
According to Lenovo, the Android versions of the Yoga Tablet 2 will come with 16 GB of internal storage, while the Windows 8 versions will get 32 GB of space. Both versions also come with 64 GB microSD card slots.
Windows 8 versions of the tablets also come with a free one-year subscription for Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite.
Each of Lenovo’s tablets goes on sale this holiday season. The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro will cost $499, while the 8-inch Android version of the Tablet 2 will be priced at $249. The 10-inch Android tablet and the 8-inch Windows 8 slate will both cost $299.
Lenovo will be selling only the 10-inch Windows 8 version of the Yoga Tablet 2 with a bundled keyboard, which is why that tablet will cost $399.
Stay tuned for our reviews of Lenovo’s latest tablets in the coming months.