If you look at the tablet market closely, it is clearly divided into two halves; one that is geared towards “pro” consumers and the other aimed at average consumers who want a tablet-like device for content consumption. The latter has seen maximum traction during the pandemic but mostly in the budget segment. However, now brands like Lenovo are experimenting with tablets at a slightly higher price point that excels in upping the entertainment quotient and can be shared by the family.
Lenovo’s latest Yoga Tab 11 is a tablet to read on, watch entertainment on, play games on, and can be used for checking emails and browsing the web. The question is: why would I pay a much higher price for the features that I can use on a budget Android tablet. I try to find the answer to why a device like the Tab 11 exists and what is the future like for semi-premium entertainment tablets?
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 price in India: Rs 29,999
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 review: Design and aesthetics
Often companies go back to their previous products in search of inspiration and try to revive the design for a new audience. The Yoga Tab 11 is heavily inspired by the Yoga Smart Tablet 2 but the design has been tweaked. The tablet has a cylindrical tube-like bottom featuring two of four Dolby Atmos JBL speakers and a stainless steel kick-stand on its back. This unconventional design makes the Yoga Tab 11 immediately different from the likes of iPad and Galaxy tablets. Because the tablet has a surgical steel kickstand, it is easier to watch a movie on a plane or a train. In my case, I hung the tablet on a wall and watched the entire episode of Special while making myself comfortable on a sofa. Even if the kick-stand doesn’t sound too impressive, its use cases make the tablet actually useful. The kitchen is the perfect place where Tab 11 can be hooked onto a clip and be used to play tutorial videos while cooking.
The Tab 11 is no doubt a better-looking tablet. It has a thinner design, with minimalistic looks. The entire tablet is made of metal, but its top half is coated in fabric, giving it a premium look. The curve edge rolls over onto the back, making it appear as if I am flipping over a magazine page. I did enjoy reading a book as the tablet was much easier to hold one-handed but the device felt too heavy to hold for a longer period of time. In terms of connectivity, you’ve got a USB-C charging port sitting on the right side of the base. A textured power button and volume rocker are on the right edge of the display. A single-camera is placed on the back of the tablet.
As I said in the beginning, the Tab 11 comes without “pro-grade” features, including the ability to attach a keyboard accessory. That means I cannot use my tablet to its full potential, like in the case of the iPad Air (4th gen). This is not a flaw as such because the Tab 11 is primarily designed for entertainment purposes, and I bet consumers who opt for this tablet wouldn’t want to use this as a secondary work machine. That said, I paired my trusted Logitech K480 keyboard via Bluetooth and this entire review was written on the Yoga Tab 11. The tablet, however, supports Lenovo’s Precision Pen 2 which is perfect for drawing and taking notes. Unfortunately, you have to shell extra for the Precision Pen 2.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 review: Display and speakers
Although it lacks an OLED display, the IPS touchscreen gets plenty bright, producing rich and bright colours. Movies and games look fantastic on the 11-inch screen which has a 2K (2000x1200p) resolution. Colours and viewing angles are both excellent. While I could play HDR-supported content via YouTube, the tablet doesn’t support HDR playback from Netflix. A little flaw, if it matters to you. Lenovo clearly states the tablet has support for Dolby Vision so maybe the functionality can be added in the future via a software update. The tablet lacks 120Hz support, meaning the display doesn’t support smooth-out scrolling. Clearly, the feature has been chopped out to cut the cost.
Here’s where Tab 11 really shines. The quad speakers are loud enough for watching movies or YouTube videos. They together create a stereo effect and are mind-blowing in their power or dynamic range. Quad speakers are mostly reserved for high-end tablets, so it is good to see Lenovo adding quad JBL speakers on a mid-tier tablet.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 review: Performance and software
The Yoga Tab 11 is powered by a MediaTek Helio G90T processor with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM. There’s 128GB storage on board; plus, there is a MicroSD slot for additional storage and support for LTE. There’s no headphone jack (I still like plugging it sometimes). Even though Lenovo is using a mid-level processor inside the tablet everything runs smoothly and speedily. Apps like Zoom, Facebook, Netflix and Skillshare work fine on the tablet. During the course of the review, I used the tablet for light photo editing, played Genshin Impact, and wrote stories on Google Docs. I have never faced any kind of slowdown.
Speaking of its battery life, I was impressed by the device’s longevity. On a typical day, I watched one or two episodes (not more than 30-40 minutes for each episode) of Sex and the City, attended Zoom/or Teams calls, and listened to music for 30 minutes. And that’s about it. Nobody uses a tablet all day, unlike your phones and laptops. Lenovo claims the tablet’s 7700mAh battery provides up to 15 hours of video playback. I did get about between 9 and 10 hours of mixed-use. There’s a 20W of charger inside the box for fast charging.
The Yoga Tab 11 ships with Android 11. It’s a stock version of Android that doesn’t come with bloatware or pre-loaded apps. Unlike the iPad which Apple is slowly making a productivity device through improved software experience, Android tablets are, well, still not great. Sure, they are fine for consuming media but getting work done is nearly impossible. Android apps are still not designed for the larger screen – and well, that’s just the beginning. Google is making changes lately but it is taking a route different from that of Apple. I like the Entertainment Space feature, which is designed specifically for tablets, where you will see a curated selection of apps, books, podcasts, and TV shows. The idea is still new, but it needs better implementation. Then there is Google’s Kids Space, which makes the tablet kids-friendly.
If your goal is to replace your existing laptop, Lenovo’s Tab 11 is not that device. This is an Android tablet where you won’t get features that rival a PC running Windows 11. Still, you can use the tablet as a secondary work device – like writing assignments on Google Docs, working on a presentation, or attending video calls. I like the Productivity Mode which tweaks the interface whenever you pair a mouse and keyboard with the tablet. It does not exactly transform the tablet into a laptop but you can navigate the interface more freely, away from clunky, mobile-style touchscreen controls.
An 8MP camera and time-of-flight (TOF) sensor can be found on top of the tablet. The main front camera works well for video calls. The TOF sensor, however, is a miss. The 8MP camera on the back is useful for scanning documents but it’s bad for taking pictures.
Lenovo Yoga Tab 11 review: Should you buy it?
With the Yoga Tab 11, Lenovo is not trying to copy Apple or any other competitor in the tablet market. A look at the Tab 11 will give you a rough idea about what to expect from this tablet. It neither falls in the budget nor high-end category. Rather, the whole idea is to design a tablet that’s high on entertainment. I believe its sticker price of Rs 30,000 is justified for a tablet with a different design, stunning display, and speakers. However, Android tablets still pale in comparison to the iPad, and companies like Lenovo and Samsung know this very well. Google is to be blamed for messing up with the software. But the renewed focus on the Android tablet market is exciting at many levels.