Yoga Tablet Software
Fortunately, Lenovo resisted the urge– all too common among vendors of Android devices– to impose their own skin or user interface on top of the standard Android interface. Aside from a pre-configured home screen and some utility software, it’s pure standard Android 4.2 Jelly Bean:
The application screens are where one of the weak points of these tablets becomes evident: at only 1280 by 800 pixels, the screens are low-resolution when compared to many other tablets in the market. Granted, they’re IPS (In-Plane Switching) screens, so they have excellent color reproduction and very wide viewing angles, but the images can be a little “chunky”, especially on the larger pixels of the 10″ version. Lenovo apparently tried to minimize the visual impact of this by increasing the font size used for icon titles, but this resulted in longer titles being cut off, as shown in the “Amazon Kindle” and “News & Weather” icons in the image below.
The Lenovo Yoga tablets come with Dolby-certified sound systems controlled with a special application. Using this app, you can define customized sound profiles, and even set the tablet to automatically select a profile based on its position and whether or not the aluminum foot is extended. For example, if the tablet is in landscape orientation with the foot out, you could set it to use the “Movie” sound profile. The sound produced by the Dolby-enhanced front-facing speakers is (to my ears) noticeably better than the sound produced by the iPad Air’s speakers, which fire to the side, but remember that these are still very small speakers that are limited by the physics of their size; a common, no-name brand of cheap unpowered desktop speakers will probably sound better overall.
Lenovo’s “Smart Slide Bar” can be invoked with a swipe from the right side of the screen when the tablet is in landscape mode…
Or the left side of the screen when the tablet is in portrait mode:
Note that when in landscape mode, the large upper icon will invoke your Movies, while when in portrait mode the large upper icon is for the Kindle application.
Swiping down from the top right portion of the screen opens this quick-access control panel. The “Sound & Visual” icon lets you invoke customized settings you’ve configured for each of the three given orientations.
You can make very fine adjustments to the tablet’s power usage with the Lenovo Power Control application. You can set timers (sleep, auto-power off and on), enable and disable various subsystems (WiFi, Bluetooth, audio…), and even display a chart showing the historical power usage of various applications and hardware bits, so you can see what’s using the most power. This is all cool, but in real life I found the power capacity of the tablets so large that I pretty much ignored this stuff.
In the next section I’ll present my final thoughts and conclusion.