The Yoga Tab 13 is Lenovo’s attempt to create an Android powered rival to Apple’s iPad Air 4. The device isn’t cutting edge from a hardware perspective, featuring a locked 60Hz refresh rate screen. But the innovative hinge/hook design and powerful speaker setup make it a solid entertainment device for watching Netflix and YouTube on the go or at home.
- Versatile hinge/hook design
- Powerful audio
- Decent picture quality for a non-OLED panel
- Screen isn’t the best for gaming
- Uses older silicon
- UKRRP: £599
- USARRP: $629
Custom hinge designCan be set to free stand, as an easel or hang
The Yoga Tab 13 is the latest Android tablet aiming to dethrone the iPad Air 4 as Trusted Reviews recommended $500-$600/£500-£600 tablet.
But unlike Samsung, Xiaomi and pretty much every other Android OEM this year, Lenovo’s chosen not to attempt to replicate the productivity perks of an iPad and load the slate with a keyboard dock and stylus.
Instead, it has tried to differentiate the Yoga Tab 13 through a hook/stand design and speaker setup made for one purpose: entertainment.
This makes it one of the most interesting tablets I’ve tested in quite some time. And after a solid fortnight with the device, it’s clear that while it isn’t a technical marvel, for those who just want a tablet for entertainment it is an excellent option.
Design and display
- It has one of the best stand designs I’ve seen on a tablet
- But its design means there’s no chance you’ll be able to dock a keyboard to it
- The screen is good, but it doesn’t match some similarly priced rivals in one key area
The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 features a similar design to past Android tablets to carry the branding. This means the 13-inch slate has a cylinder shaped bottom housing its quad-speaker system and stainless steel kickstand on its back.
As a piece of kit, though it looks a little quirky, it has an undeniably premium feel. The device’s chassis is predominantly made of metal, but its top half is coated in a soft-touch back made from Alcantara fabric. The device feels solidly built, with the back offering no flex when pressed. It’s also yet to pick up any visible marks, despite being lugged around London in a satchel without a protective case.
The fabric on its back adds to the device’s allure. I found it is pleasant to the touch and makes it quick and easy to get a solid grip on the tablet. My only slight concern is that the fabric does pick up moisture fairly fast, which might not be great in the long term.
The big selling point for the Yoga Tab 13 is its kickstand, however. The system is completely different to competing tablets, like the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and iPad-line, which have an overt productivity focus and are designed to work with attachable keyboard docks. As a result, if you want to use the device for work, you’ll likely be disappointed.
But I’m quite a big fan of the design for home use. As I found while reviewing the Yoga Tab 3 Pro many moons ago, the kickstand design makes it easy to stand the Yoga Tab 13 at any angle you choose. The stand feels sturdy and is capable of rotating 180 degrees.
During my fortnight with the Yoga I was able to allow the tablet to free-stand when watching Netflix or lie flat like an artist’s easel when taking advantage of its Precision Pen 2 active stylus support for a spot of doodling.
The stand is surprisingly sturdy, with it offering little to no flex while I was doodling, which is more than I can say for some of Microsoft’s Surface kickstands. The only downside I experienced using it for creative work is that, without keyboard shortcuts, most of Android’s best digital painting software are all a little fiddly to use on the Yoga Tab 13. There’s also no way to dock the pen, unless you invest in a case.
What I found really useful, however, was the ability to use the stand to hang the tablet. I’ve constantly hooked the Yoga Tab to a clip in my kitchen and used it to play tutorial videos while cooking, or basic Netflix to keep me entertained while I do prep work. It sounds small, but the ability to keep using the device without using up much needed counter space was one of my favourite things about the tablet.
Outside of this the only other potential productivity perk is the inclusion of a micro HDMI input, which lets you use the device as a second screen when it’s cable connected to a Windows laptop. I’ve used the feature a few times while working from home and have been impressed how well the system works.
The 13-inch screen is competent, featuring a 2K resolution that’s suitably sharp for office tasks. My only real criticism is that it uses a 13-inch LTPS (Low-Temperature PolySilicon) panel with a locked 60Hz refresh rate. It’s not the only tablet at this price to forgo OLED, but given its entertainment focus and size I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. OLED screens offer wonderfully deep blacks by charging individual pixels to create light, rather than the whole panel as LCD displays do.
The 60Hz locked refresh rate also puts it behind most other 2021 flagship tablets. The Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and Xiaomi Pad 5 support 120Hz refresh rates, by comparison. A higher number makes devices feel smoother to use and can offer a competitive advantage when doing things like gaming online by reducing the game between each frame. Considering how good the stand is for cloud gaming on GeForce Now or Xbox Game Pass, the lack of a high refresh rate on the Yoga Tab 13 will feel like a missed opportunity when these services add high refresh rate support,
Thankfully, the screen performed wonderfully well during my real world and synthetic tests.
To the naked eye, the Yoga Tab 13 offers solid max brightness levels, decent contrast, particularly when playing HDR Dolby Vision content and good enough viewing angles for two people to comfortably watch content on it. It was only when I put the tablet head-to-head with the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus that I really noticed the slightly less inky black levels.
The tablet’s excellent speakers also made up for the difference in black levels. The quad JBL speakers offered wonderfully impactful audio that beat anything I’ve experienced on competing devices. The speakers offered more detailed and precise audio than I expected when watching movies or gaming. As an added bonus they are Dolby Atmos ready. for some virtual surround sound.
Cracking out my trusty colourimeter, the display readings matched my naked eye impressions. The screen’s 0.3 nit black level is solid for a non-OLED screen. Paired with the 391.3 nit max brightness I detected it gave the screen a solid 1287:1 contrast ratio.
Gamut coverage is the only area it didn’t excel at, which is hardly surprising given its entertainment focus. Here it covered 94.7% of the sRGB gamut, which is more than good enough for most users. But it only managed 66.4% of the Adobe RGB and 68.6% of the DCI P3 gamuts favoured by creatives. These figures are distinctly average and mean you wouldn’t want to do serious artwork or photo editing on the Yoga Tab 13.
- The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 uses a very capable chipset
- But it’s still powerful enough for most users
The Yoga Tab 13 is powered by a Snapdragon 870 chipset that’s backed up by 8GB RAM. The 870 isn’t Qualcomm’s flagship chipset in 2021, that crown’s held by the Snapdragon 888, which is used in most top-end phones this year, including the Galaxy S21.
The silicon may not be cutting edge, but I found it’s still powerful enough to d