January 21, 2014
Lenovo Yoga 8 Product Review
Lenovo has surpassed HP as #1 in the PC business. It has deep ties to IBM, the former leader in PCs, who sold that division to Lenovo in 2005. In the offing is a sale of IBM’s $5 billion PC server business, also to Lenovo. Lenovo retains IBM facilities in North Carolina and is opening a new plant there to make PCs (or possibly servers?). While Lenovo is independent of IBM, many former IBM personnel work for Lenovo, and IBM sells Thinkpads and server systems to its IT customers.
One of Lenovo’s newest devices is the Yoga 8. It is an 8″ Android tablet with 12-15 hours of battery life and a built-in flip-stand. It comes with WiFi only or WLAN capability via a micro-SIM card slot. What differentiates this tablet from others is its ergonomic design, extreme thinness and light weight, and 6000 uAH Li-Polymer battery. It also has a high-res 1280 x 800 LCD screen and Dolby digital sound. It represents a new breed of ultra-mobile devices running on the Google Android 4 OS. Google has emerged as a formidable force rivaling Apple. Its advantage is that Android, unlike iOS, is an open system available to anyone wishing to do hardware. As Microsoft acquired Nokia, Google bought Motorola’s handset division so it could experiment with hardware. The Yoga 8, like many other tablets, has few external ports (Micro-USB, Micro-SIM, MicroSD, and mini jack) and depends on Bluetooth 4.0 to attach external Bluetooth devices such as a keyboard, mouse, or external speakers.
Lenovo Yoga 8 Specifications
Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 (1.20GHz, 533MHz, 1MB)
- Android 4.2
- 8.0″, 1280×800
- 1.0GB LPDDR2 800 MHz
- 16GB eMMC
One interesting addition to the Yoga 8 is the iWerkz folding bluetooth keyboard. It has a micro-USB port for charging, and was very easy to set up with the tablet. When folded it’s about the size of a smartphone – a slick addition to the Yoga 8.
Lenovo Yoga 8: Positives and Negatives
The negatives I see with this device are the interoperability issues mentioned above and a lack of direct Microsoft Office support. It also uses an older video format which results in fuzzy resolution.
It does access Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Google’s cloud, among others. Skype provides WiFi phone and video chat support, and as an Android device has access to a large number of apps. This device is useful as an Internet appliance, for viewing emails and attachments, and displaying photos and videos, although it is not supported by Amazon Prime Video.
For the connector industry, this class of device represents fewer I/O connectors, but internally, it utilizes ultrathin, probably micro-stack and/or micro-FPC connectors, similar to an iPhone (iPhone 5s board displayed left).
We look forward to seeing a teardown of the Yoga, as it will be interesting to see how Lenovo approaches this packaging challenge.
John MacWilliams, Market Director, Bishop & Associates, Inc.
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