Tablets have been largely hit or miss over the past couple years, especially with the growing popularity of larger smartphone phablets. In order to stay relevant, companies are definitely having to try harder to set themselves apart from other tablets on the market. Lenovo first introduced the addition of a hinge for multiple modes on their Yoga tablets, and it’s that hinge that allows them to introduce a tablet with a projector included inside. Read on in our Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro review to see if this addition is enough to set it apart in the 10″ tablet market space.
Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 3 features the following specifications:
- Processor: Intel® Atom™ x 5-Z8500 Processor (2M Cache, Quad Core™, Up to 2.24 GHz)
- Operating System: Android™ OS v5.1
- Display: 10.1″ QHD (2560 x 1600), 299 ppi, 70% Color Gamut, IPS with 10-point Multitouch
- Memory: 2 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 32GB eMMC ROM
- Sound: 4 Front-facing JBL® Speakers with Dolby® Atmos™
- I/O: Micro USB, 3.5 mm Audio Jack
- Card Slot: microSD Card Slot Expandable Up to 128 GB
- Battery: 10200 mAh with fast charge, up to 49 days standby, up to 18 hours usage
- Integrated Camera: 13 MP Auto Focus Rear, 5MP Fix Focus front
- Projector: DLP, 50 lumen output, up to 70″ (178cm) image projection
- Sensors: G-sensor/Vibrator/Ambient Light Sensor/E-compass
- Bluetooth®: Bluetooth® 4.0
- Material: Metal, Plastic and PU Leather
- Color: Puma Black
- Dimensions (W x T x H): 9.72″ x 0.18″ x 7.05″
- Weight: 1.47 lbs
What’s in the Box
- 10.1″ Yoga Tab 3 Pro tablet
- Micro USB to USB cable
- AC adapter
- Microfiber screen cloth
- User Guide
The Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10.1″ tablet features the same design as the rest of the Yoga Tab lineup. When holding the tablet in portrait mode, the left side contains a circular hinge which houses the battery. On the top of the hinge (or the left side when in landscape mode) is the power button with the microUSB port and volume controls just to the right of it on the top (or left when in landscape) edge of the tablet. Just behind this is the back facing camera. On the bottom of the hinge (or right side when in landscape mode) is the projector button with the headphone jack beside it.
The hinge on the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is locked in a closed position, and a button on the bottom middle of the tablet hinge unlocks it allowing it to be used in the other three modes. As previously covered in our other Yoga Tab reviews, the Yoga tablets feature four modes — hold, stand, tilt, and hang — which allow for different usage scenarios. When the hinge is closed, you’ll find the DLP projector lens about a third of the way up the hinge near the projector button; when the hinge is opened for tilt mode the projector lens is angled towards the front. Under the hinge you’ll find the microSD card slot.
The front of the tablet features the Lenovo logo in the bottom left corner when held in portrait mode, the front facing camera at the top in the middle, and the JBL speakers are housed along the left side under a speaker grill.
My only complaint about the design of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro is the placement of the projector lens itself. When using the tablet in portrait mode, the hinge is on the left hand side. Being right handed and holding the tablet with my left hand, I found that I was covering the projector lens and often times getting fingerprints on it. It’s not a major issue, but did require quickly wiping off the projector lens before use due to it being dirty just from holding it through normal use.
The Yoga Tab 3 Pro features a QHD display, and the 2560 x 1600 resolution is super crisp and sharp and is a real treat to use for an extended period of time. Reading is crisp, and games look fantastic in the higher resolution and rich colours. With the automatic brightness, the tablet was easily viewable in pretty much any lighting condition it was tested under.
Lenovo has also included their AnyPen technology with this tablet, which allows any conductive object to be used as a stylus. It was my first time trying out the AnyPen technology and it worked quite well, and it was nice to be able to use finer tipped items to take notes with.
The tablet shipped with Android 5.1, so it’s now a couple of versions behind the current Android 6 Marshmallow. During the time I had it, there were a couple of small updates which I suspect were security patches. While Lenovo has kept the Android experience pretty close to stock, they have made some changes to it — most notably in the settings section. One of the changes Lenovo did make that I liked was the ability to not only close, but also block notifications from specific apps directly from the pull down notifications shade.
In addition, Lenovo has added multi-window support which is handy, especially on a 10″ tablet. As usual, Lenovo has included a few apps including their SHAREit, SYNCit HD, Lenovo Sketch, and Lenovo eFrame apps, as well as some third party apps like Evernote and McAfee Security which can be uninstalled should you choose.
The Yoga Tab 3 Pro performs very well, games and apps launch quickly and run smoothly. I didn’t have any issues performance wise with any task I performed. In addition, as mentioned above, the multi-window feature is definitely a handy feature to have and works quite well.
Now on to the main specialized feature of this tablet, the projector. My first thought when I saw it came with a built-in projector was “gimmick,” but after using it in a few different scenarios, it definitely has its uses. The main issue with the projector however is that it only outputs 50 lumens, which isn’t very bright considering your stand alone projectors are generally in the 2000 lumens plus range. That being said, the projector did work well enough in a boardroom with the lights off and blinds closed, or in a dark room with no windows or the blinds/curtains closed. In a normal lit room, you could see the image but it wasn’t as bright as it could be for obvious reasons, and even a 100 lumen projector would make a lot of difference. Understandably this is a small, portable, DLP projector and for what it’s intended for it worked well enough. Focusing was very easy with the onscreen dial which appears when first entering projector mode.
One of the cool features of the projector involved watching movies from the Google Play Movies app. When projecting the movie on the wall, the tablet screen acted like a second screen and showed the actor information, or other information about the movie.
Lenovo tablets have generally had decent sound, and the inclusion of 4 front-facing JBL speakers with Dolby Atmos sound is no exception in this case. Watching videos, playing games, or listening to music, the Yoga Tab 3 Pro provides clear, loud, and dynamic audio. Given the fact that it includes a projector, sound is definitely important for presentations and/or watching movies while projected and for the most part the sound levels were more than acceptable when used at less than full volume.
I’ve never been a fan of using tablets for photography, and the Yoga Tab 3 Pro features a 13MP rear facing and a 5MP front facing cameras. There is no flash on either, so for taking photos you’ll definitely need to be in a well lit area indoors or out. The camera app does feature some useful options including a Smart Capture, Action Shot, Panorama, and Video modes in addition to the default Photo mode. You can also select Auto, Action, Barcode, Fireworks, Landscape, Night, Portrait, or Sports modes when taking images, and there is even a slider control to adjust the exposure (brightness or darkness) of the photo when you take it. There is also a Denoiser option and Countdown Timer available for photo taking.
I must admit, I was impressed with the few pictures I did take with it. The Denoiser option works well, and the exposure slider was a nice feature for squeezing that extra bit of light out of a darker scene, or scaling back in brighter areas. The front facing camera worked decent as well, again it definitely works better in brighter lit areas but produced more than acceptable selfies for those who are interested in that sort of thing. The tablet also worked well in video calls, with a pretty clear picture on the receiving end and no issues with sound quality.
With a huge 10200mAh battery, Lenovo claims that it will last up to 18 hours on a single charge. During my testing, I did indeed get great battery life out of it, well over two to three days with normal use which included web browsing, video watching, music streaming, and many rounds of Hearthstone before having to recharge. With the changes to some of the settings pages, in particular the battery page, it took a bit of digging to find the exact statistics but the power consumption details page tells you how long you’ve had the tablet in use and how long it’s been on standby since the last charge. I was able to get between 14 and 17 hours use on average with plenty of standby time over the course of a week.
A bonus with having such a big battery is that the tablet also supports USB “On the Go” which allows you to charge other devices from the tablet.
With a $499USD MSRP, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is in line with — and cheaper than some — other 10″ tablets. With a QHD screen, great sound, and the inclusion of a built-in projector, this tablet definitely offers you value for what you pay.
While some may see the projector as a gimmick, it certainly has its uses from the boardroom to the living room. The great performance, multiple usage modes, and given the price point the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro is an excellent value.
*We were sent a demo unit of the Lenovo Tab 3 Pro for the purposes of this review.
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