A new Yoga for a new year.
Though it just announced the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 about six months ago, Lenovo is already introducing a new version of the Yoga 10 tablet. This one is called the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ and, as you probably guessed, has an upgraded display. Alongside a higher resolution display (1920 x 1080 as opposed to 1280 x 800), the device has a Snapdragon 400 processor instead of a Mediatek chip, twice the RAM, and the promise of an update to Android 4.4 in April.
We got a chance to play with the Yoga 10 HD+ last night at Pepcom's Mobile Focus event in Barcelona and were pretty impressed with the form factor as well as the UX. The model we tried was the champagne gold version (though it looked more rose gold to us), and we actually didn't end up seeing a plain silver model on the table at all. The little stand extends if you roll your hand across the thick, rounded edge of the tablet, and the device has a good weight. The tapered design makes it feel slimmer than it really is. Coupled with the bottom-heavy design, this lends a substantial feel without giving the impression of excess weight or bulk. It's not very noticeable (well, we noticed) but the kickstand is a bit longer on this model, too. This increases the range of angles when it's on the stand.
The software running on this prototype Yoga 10 HD+ was Android 4.3 with Lenovo's own skin on top. The company doesn't have a name for this skin, and it's not difficult to understand why. It's much less intrusive than other UIs we've run into in the past. The biggest difference (in our opinion) is the elimination of the app tray. Most Android users are used to tapping that button with the dots symbol to see the complete list of applications. Lenovo has tried to bring everything 'to the front' by getting rid of that. Instead, you have a more iOS-like experience, where all apps installed on the device are available on the swipable homescreens. The company has also added a nifty app suggestion type feature that offers a slide-out menu based on the orientation of the tablet. For example, if you slip the device into portrait mode, the tablet will offer the book application, or the camera app. Horizontal, and your tablet assumes you want to watch TV or a movie. This can be turned on and off at will, or put into manual mode.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the fact that this version of the Yoga 10 won't replace the "old" model. A Lenovo rep told us today that the Yoga 10 HD+ will exist alongside the current generation model. Priced at just $50 more for a very affordable $349, we find it hard to imagine why anyone would go for the lower-powered option. "We hope everyone thinks that way!" a Lenovo rep responded when we asked, adding, "That $50 matters a lot to some people."
The Yoga 10 HD+ is out in April and will cost $349. The regular Yoga 10 will continue to sell at $299.