Mar 20, 2020
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Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab: a hybrid between tablet and “smart display” under Google Assistant

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Far from the Samsung Galaxy Tab or even the iPad, Lenovo offers a version of the tablet that can be adapted as an intelligent assistant, a kind of hybrid that stands out from the landscape. But is this a success on these two points?

Presentation

Besides Motorola phones, Lenovo also makes tablets. Except that the company is not like the competition since this Yoga Smart Tab is not just a tablet. Belonging to the smart display category , this model benefits from Google Assistant.

Offered at € 249 in the 3 GB RAM version or € 299 in the 4 GB RAM version, the tablet is the main competitor to the 10.1 “Samsung Galaxy Tab A or the 10.1” Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite.

Ergonomics

The Yoga Smart Tab spiritually succeeds the Yoga Tab 3 Pro that we tested in 2016. Overall, the design does not really change, a screen accompanied by a cylindrical protuberance which this time contains two speakers – on Yoga Tab 3 Pro, this tube contained a picoprojector. It largely keeps the same format. It is a little smaller and a less wide coat and weighs a little less also (580 g).

At the front, we end up with a 10.1 “slab which occupies 70% of the total surface. The borders on the sides are rather reduced, which is not the case of those present at the top and bottom A front sensor is housed in the upper edge.Not much more to say on this front since the most interesting is on the rear.

On the back, place a 8 megapixel photo sensor on which we will come back in this test. Below is the button that releases the kickstand (which can also be used to hang the tablet!). Moreover, it is at this point that the tablet changes utility and turns into a smart display .

The placement of the buttons was thought for this last use. The start and volume control keys are on the bottom edge, while the USB port is opposite. A way to easily connect the cable when activating the “smart display” mode which is quite energy consuming. All the interest of the tablet lies in the left edge. Indeed, the latter is none other than the cylinder which serves as a speaker, but also as a base since it is much thicker than the rest of the tablet (24 mm).

Audio

The 3.5mm mini-jack output from Lenovo’s tablet isn’t the best we’ve seen. Its output power is far too low for gourmet headsets. The dynamic range is not wide enough and its stereo reproduction not really up to par. Only the distortion is doing admirably well compared to the rest.


For speakers, Lenovo has partnered with JBL. The sound is satisfactory, but tends to offer an echo effect when the volume is raised a little too high. Surely the fault, the way the enclosure is designed. We will tend to use it most of the time when using Google Assistant or for occasional watching videos.

The right audio output with the 3.5 mm mini-jack on the edge.
The right audio output with the 3.5 mm mini-jack on the edge.

Screen

The Yoga Smart Tab offers an 8-inch panel with the definition of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (224 ppi). By default, the display is not very well calibrated and you will have to go to the settings to get the best of what it has to offer.

It will be necessary to choose the color mode “bright” then “warm” to obtain a delta E of 4.2. Which is above the standard of 3 and is unfortunately the closest we can get. Almost all tones drift above a delta E of 3, with some reaching a delta E greater than 6 or even 10. Even the most seasoned eyes will easily notice.

COLORIMETRY

Regarding the color temperature, the above-mentioned setting achieves 7,418 Kelvin (instead of 9,000 K by default). However, this value is still much higher than the video standard of 6,500 K.

During the day, the tablet offers a maximum brightness of 383 cd / m², which is average. The screen absorbs reflections quite well with a reflectance of 49.9%, which allows a rather comfortable reading under the rays of the sun. At night, the minimum brightness of 4.2% will allow you to read in the dark without damaging your eyes too much.

Performances

The tablet contains a Snapdragon 439 coupled with 4 GB of RAM. A slightly aging and not very powerful chip that does not offer high performance. A weakness that is not as important as on another tablet since its hybrid use means that it does not really require the most powerful chip on the market.

In fact, it is not as powerful as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 , the only other tablet to have submitted to our new test protocol. However, it stands up to some smartphones like the Oppo Reno2 Z or the Redmi Note 7 . It is on the management of its RAM that the Yoga Smart Tab is doing best with an index of 82, not so far from the index of 99 on the Samsung tablet.

In play, however, it’s another song. With a score of 41, it is clear that the tablet will not be the favorite medium for playing. Especially since the horizontal grip is not the most optimal because of the tube containing the sound. It will be more enjoyable to play turn-based games for example, which do not necessarily require having the tablet in hand. In terms of graphics, the majority of the Play Store catalog can be installed on the tablet but big games may not always have their optimal graphics. The only real problem happens to be the horribly long loading times.

Our performance tests are carried out with viSer, the application developed by the company SmartViser.

Being a tablet lined with a smart display , the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab does not shine with its photographic capabilities. Equipped with a single 8 megapixel sensor, taking a photo with the camera is a challenge. The fault of a sensor placed at the retractable foot, a less than optimal position.

By day, the image captured with the Lenovo tablet is slightly overexposed compared to that of the Galaxy Tab A. Software smoothing is very present and erases most of the details of our scene. Finally, the color rendering is dull.

At night, don’t expect to get anything out of the photos. The image is completely blurred and will in no way honor what you may be photographing.

Portrait mode, front sensor and video
The Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab offers a 5 megapixel front sensor. Far from being efficient, it will mainly be used for facial unlocking – for those who wish to use it.

Obviously, you can imagine that no portrait mode is available on this device, whether front or rear. For video, you can shoot up to 1080p at 30 frames per second. But as with any tablet, filming will not be its vocation. Especially since at arm’s length it weighs heavily.

Autonomy

Lenovo’s hybrid tablet has a 7,000 mAh battery. During our test on SmartViser, it lasted 17 h 29 min before going out. An honorable autonomy but less than that of his opponents of the day. Note that the battery may discharge more quickly with the “Ambient” mode activated. The fact that the screen is constantly on necessarily has an impact.

To fully charge the tablet, it takes just over 4 hours. The supplied charging block delivers 10 W, basic power.

Our battery tests are automated by viSer, the application developed by the company SmartViser .

The results obtained with viSer come from measurements carried out under real conditions of use (calls, SMS, videos, launching of applications, web browsing, etc.).

Interface & OS

Yoga Smart Tab can also act as a home assistant since it integrates Google Assistant. Therefore, it is possible to exchange voice with the device and control it by voice. In order to access the multiple features offered by Assistant, it is first necessary to add your Google account at the time of pairing and then go to the assistant’s settings to select certain functions of your choice such as Voice Match or Face Match.

Obviously, the primary function of a voice assistant (or smart display ) is to be able to respond vocally to its user. You can ask him basic questions like asking for the weather, creating a reminder, setting an alarm or even putting on a radio station. Too bad, the Yoga Smart Tab does not offer to follow a cooking recipe step by step as it is the case on the Nest Hub Max for example, so there will not really be any point in placing it in the kitchen.

There is direct access to YouTube (unlike Amazon) and Netflix but also to live news channels by simply asking “Ok Google, put BFM TV live” . It is possible to listen to audio content via a wide range of platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, YouTube Music, Play Music. You will have to think beforehand to associate your account with the music service of your choice.

Routines are always present: they provide access to a plethora of scenarios: the “Hello” function, for example, gives access to the day’s weather, information on the trip to work, or reminders for the day . The user can add new routines in addition to those already configured on the application.

By integrating the Ambient mode which is also found on the Google Nest Hub smart display , the Yoga Smart can display information when it is in standby, such as the day’s weather, its agenda or its personalized news feed.


CONCLUSION


In addition to its original format, the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab is doing pretty well. Obviously, its processor does not work miracles, but can easily satisfy a family wanting to have a versatile tablet. As said in the preamble to the test, the whole point of this product lies in its ability to become a smart display and, on this point, it allows itself to do as well as the other domestic assistants present on the market. It does not do better than a Huawei MediaPad M5 Lite , but its quality of hybrid could tip the scales when choosing.

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