Several years ago, Lenovo stirred up the tablet market, which had become a bit stale, with its unusual Yoga Tabs. At first glance, the unique shape with its battery cylinder at the bottom edge looked impractical, but it turned out a great idea in everyday use. First, it offered a great way to hold the tablet, and second, it gave a place for Lenovo to attach the hinges for the built-in kick-stand.
Several models even included a built-in projector, turning out to be an extravagant, but well-thought-out, alternative to the omnipresent iPad.
For some time, the new Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 has been a new tablet that continues the design tradition and is particularly predestined for multimedia tasks. With 4 JBL speakers, a 2K display, and a powerful processor that is also supposed to be suitable for gaming, Lenovo is trying to convince the fans of entertainment.
On the other hand, you also have to pay a hefty price for this: Lenovo is asking for 749 Euros (~$878) for its tablet. Is it worth that?
The particular shape of the case is the distinguishing feature of the Yoga Tab series. On one of the long sides is a cylindrical bulge, which offers space for several particularities. It houses the hinge for the integrated stainless steel kick-stand that allows you to prop up the tablet or even hang it on the wall and offers good stability. And then Lenovo also uses the additional space for more speakers, a micro-HDMI port, and more battery capacity.
What does this mean in terms of the ergonomics. In actuality, the cylindrical bulge also becomes an advantage here. It offers a good grip to hold the tablet very safely in one hand. In landscape operation, it also rests on the index fingers as an additional safety. If you place the tablet on a table, the display will always be slightly slanted, which makes typing on the virtual keyboard easier.
The only disadvantage is the additional space the tablet will need in your bag due to its unusual design. It is also significantly heavier than comparable models. 830 grams (~1.83 lb) are considerable, and with this, the weight of our test unit isn’t very far anymore from an ultra-mobile notebook such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano, which brings again significantly more performance and battery capacity.
In terms of the materials, Lenovo uses Gorilla Glass 3 in front. Even though this offers some protection from breaking the display, it is also already several years old. Considering the price and size of the display, we would have liked to see a slightly more current and with that also more robust protective glass. The case is made from aluminum, with the top half and back being covered by Alcantara fabric. This offers an attractive surface but also attracts dust.
For such a large tablet like the Yoga Tab 13, stability is of course crucial. While pressure won’t reach the screen, the tablet can be warped, and in the area of the volume rocker on the bottom right, the case can be fairly easily separated a few millimeters from the display, accompanied by some noticeable creaking. This is not a big deal in everyday operation, but it diminishes our impression of the quality.
Android 11 is preinstalled on the tablet, and Lenovo’s in-house ZUI does not make many changes to the basic structure. At the time of the test, the security patches are on the level of June 2021, so an update would be urgently necessary.
Unfortunately, the tablet is (still) not listed in Lenovo’s update matrix, making it difficult to predict any new software versions. The smaller Yoga Tab 11 is supposed to still get Android in mid 2022, and we assume that this should also happen for the Yoga Tab 13.
The operating system is fully set up for entertainment. A right swipe from the home screen will bring up Google’s Entertainment Space, which bundles all the entertainment apps in one place. Those include games, video apps such as YouTube, music apps, and also streaming services such as Netflix. Apropos Netflix: with its DRM-L1 certification, you can also enjoy streaming content in HD on the tablet.
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is currently only available in a Wi-Fi version, so it does not offer support of mobile communication. On the other hand, you get a modern Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO and decent speeds, as the test with our Netgear Nighthawk AX12 reference router shows. However, our test unit still does not reach the speeds of the Huawei MatePad Pro 10.8, which despite using the older Wi-Fi 5 apparently has more built-in antennas, allowing it to reach a higher speed.
With Bluetooth 5.2, the most current Bluetooth version is supported, but you have to make do without NFC. The Wi-Fi version also does not offer a GPS module, so that you can only get an approximate location via the WLAN network.
Lenovo isn’t stingy with the accessories. In addition to the charger and USB cable, the box also includes a micro-HDMI-to-HDMI cable and an adapter from USB-C to 3.5mm audio for analog headphones.
It is also interesting that you can use a digitizer pen with the Yoga Tab 13. This will cost almost 60 Euros (~$70).
In Europe, Lenovo offers a two-year warranty for the tablet.
The touchscreen can be operated accurately but does not seem to be quite as smooth as that of the iPad Pro 12.9, which uses a 120-Hz panel. While the differences are noticeable, they are probably not as important in everyday operation, depending on your usage.
Google’s standard solution is used as the on-screen keyboard, but it can optionally also be replaced by other keyboard apps from the Play Store.
If needed, you can unlock the tablet via face recognition, which works reliably and is quite fast, as soon as you turn on the tablet from standby. However, it is just a software solution, which is not quite as secure as hardware-supported systems.
The heart of a tablet is its SoC. Lenovo has decided to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, which was a decision for power. The eight processor cores, which have a clock speed of up to 3.2 GHz, produce a high performance in everyday operation. Although the tablet is still unable to reach the performance of Apple’s iPad Pro 12.9 with its M1 processor, it surpasses all the other Android alternatives.
In terms of the graphics, the SoC also shows its power, offering a lot of performance there as well.
We see a fairly similar picture when surfing the Internet. The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 is peerless at the top, and at the same time the expensive Android tablets from other manufacturers are unable to keep pace with the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13.
In practice, this is reflected by quickly loading web pages and images being displayed immediately while scrolling, without the user having to wait. Some small nitpicking: Due to the 60-Hz display, scrolling isn’t quite as smooth.
The high performance capabilities of the tablet also continue with the storage. The UFS-3.0 storage used here proves itself to be fast while reading as well as writing data.
|Maximum: 37.3 °C=99 F
Average: 30.7 °C=87 F
|Maximum: 40.8 °C=105 F
Average: 32.7 °C=91 F
Power Supply (max.) 42.3 °C=108 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C=71 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Voltcraft IR-260
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.7 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 30.5 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Tablet.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 37.3 °C / 99 F, compared to the average of 34.5 °C / 94 F, ranging from 22.2 to 53.2 °C for the class Tablet.
(±) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 40.8 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 33.9 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.4 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 30.5 °C / 87 F.
At this point, four speakers are not a rarity in high-end tablets anymore but rather the standard. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 fulfills this requirement and even potentially brings some additional sound volume with its cylindric bulge. Will this also have a noticeable positive effect?
At up to 86 dB(A), the four speakers that were tuned by JBL can get fairly loud, so that you can even use them in medium-sized rooms, as long as the environment noises are not too loud. In terms of the sound quality, you can also hear some lower frequencies, but the speakers don’t sound as voluminous as Apple’s top tablet. At maximum volume, the high frequencies are a bit overemphasized.
You can also connect external speakers or headphones via Bluetooth or USB-C. There is also an included adapter to 3.5-mm audio. The sound quality is decent.
The Yoga tablet produces a mixed result here. On one hand, the consumption is higher than in other tablets under very low or very high load, but on the other hand, it is overall very efficient during idle operation.
At 10,000 mAh, the battery has a fairly large capacity, and the tablet is then also able to last for more than 40 hours in idle mode. The practical effect is that you can also leave the tablet lying around in standby mode for several days, without the battery being depleted.
Lasting for 17:36 hours in our WLAN test, the tablet achieves a very good result. So several days of using it away from the power plug shouldn’t be a problem with medium usage. Under high load, you can also work for several hours with the Yoga Tab 13, before having to plug it in.
The tablet is charged via the included 30-watt charger, and charging takes about 2 hours.
Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 13 is different. You already notice this looking at the design with the cylindrical handle. This proves to be surprisingly ergonomic, as demonstrated in the previous models. The built-in kick-stand is also very practical, even allowing you to hang it on the wall.
You get one of the fastest Android tablets that is currently available, whose performance is even able to compete with older versions of the Apple iPad Pro. At the same time, the Yoga Tab 13 isn’t really suitable for using it outside, since the display is too dark for this. And for travel, there are also lighter and slimmer companions.
Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 13 is a flexible, large-format tablet that is mainly designed for entertainment and scores with a high performance.
Despite the pen support and micro-HDMI port, Lenovo targets friends of entertainment rather than professional users who don’t like any compromise. Those users will probably prefer the iPad Pro, which is again significantly faster, has a higher resolution, and offers a 120-Hz display.
However, those who don’t want to use the Apple ecosystem for whatever reason or those simply looking for a more affordable alternative will get what they paid for with the Yoga Tab 13: a long battery life, good sound, decent gaming performance, modern equipment, and fast WLAN are some good arguments.
On the other hand, the lack of a camera in the back and no 5G option are clear disadvantages that you have to accept with the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 in contrast to the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE, for example. Or arguments that speak for the Huawei MatePad Pro are the brighter panel and better workmanship, but the problems there are the lack of Google services and the fact that you cannot reproduce streaming content in HD, since that lacks the Widevine certification.
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is only available in a single version with WLAN and 128 GB of storage. In the US, Lenovo sells the tablet for about $680.