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Hands On: Lenovo bends over backward to improve its Yoga Tablet with new HD version

Lenovo is bending over backward to fix its Yoga, and it may have done it. The first Yoga Tablet (read our review) had some great qualities, but suffered from a dated, buggy interface and weak specs. We haven’t seen any shots of the interface yet (stay tuned this week), but the Chinese manufacturer just announced that it has refreshed the specs of the 10-inch version.

Called the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+, the new 10.1-inch version will have a Full HD 1920 x 1200 pixel screen, a 1.6GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.3, 8-megapixel rear camera, and a new line of home-grown apps. This means it finally has a decent screen, won’t slow down as much, and will hopefully take slightly better pictures.

Updated by Jeff on 2-26-2014 from Mobile World Congress: I’ve added in my hands-on impressions of the Yoga 10 HD+, which has a few more enhancements than we thought.

The design hasn’t changed at all, which is a good thing. The Yoga still looks different than any other tablet because of the hot dog-sized cylinder on the bottom of it. This houses the audio jack and power button on either side, but it also gives the Yoga all its power thanks to its built-in stand and because Lenovo put the whole battery inside it, giving the Yoga 14-18 hours of battery life, or almost twice as much as tablets like the iPad.

We played around with a champagne-colored version of the tablet here at the show, and found it better put together than the first Yoga. Most notably, it no longer falls over with a stiff breeze. Lenovo has lengthened the kickstand inside the cylinder so it holds the tablet up properly. It still rotates out very nicely.

Because all the weight is inside the cylinder, and that’s naturally where you hold it when reading it vertically, the Yoga Tablet 10 feels unnaturally light and comfortable to hold when reading.

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Lenovo’s interface could still use a little work, but the high-resolution screen really helps smooth over some of its uglier aspects. We may still install a Launcher when we get our Yoga, though. Everything runs a little speedier as well, though this is no workhorse like the Xperia Z2 Tablet. For this new version, Lenovo has also fixed up its Mode selector. Now, when you put the tablet into a standing or reading position, it will bring up a menu to auto suggest apps and actions. You can turn this feature off if you’d like.

This was our first time trying out Lenovo’s slide-on keyboard attachment as well. It slips on the front of the Yoga, protecting the screen. Set it on a table and the keyboard will slide off and help you type. It has a Micro USB port to charge, and can be juiced up by the Yoga, which is capable of reverse charging.

Lenovo will ship the tablet with its new “DOit series of apps.” These are pretty standard.

  • ShareIt: Shares information between devices without using data.
  • SecureIt: Speeds your Yoga up and protects it from viruses.
  • SyncIt: Backs up your contacts, texts, and call logs to a Lenovo account.
  • SnapIt Camera: This is a new camera app that replaces the default Google Android camera.
  • SeeIt Gallery: This is a photo editor and manager.

ShareIt was our favorite app of the bunch. It lets you use Wi-Fi Direct to send images and content to other devices, and they don’t have to be Lenovos – not that your entire family isn’t using Lenovo phones, right? Several devices can create an impromptu chatroom and send files to one another.

We’ll learn more about the Yoga Tablet 10 HD+ later this week when we see it on the show floor of Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona. Lenovo is aiming for an April release for $350.

News post originally published 2-24-2014.

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