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The Yoga Smart Tab with Google Assistant ($299.99) is an interesting tablet. On one hand, it’s a basic Android slate with pretty average specs and performance for the price. On the other hand, it doubles as a very capable smart display thanks to a solid screen, good speakers, and deep Google Assistant integration. And that’s the point: The Yoga Smart Tab isn’t meant to be
a productivity powerhouse; it’s built for media consumption, and that’s where it excels.

Design and Display

The Yoga Smart Tab doesn’t subscribe to the generic tablet aesthetic.
Instead it exhibits a thoughtful design language that’s both sophisticated and
practical.

Designed to be equally at home on the kitchen counter or in your hands, the Yoga Smart Tab sports a curved edge the gently bows
out from the bottom (or side, depending on how you hold it). It makes for a comfortable grip when holding the tablet in
portrait mode and serves to create a solid base in landscape.

While the tablet can be used in either orientation, its
design lends itself best to landscape mode. The Yoga Smart Tab measures 9.5 by 6.5 inches (HW) and is 0.9 inches at its widest point. It weighs 1.28 pounds.

When viewed in landscape, the top of the tablet is bare while the bottom is home to a
retractable stand. A USB-C charging port sits on the left side while the power
button, volume rocker, and headphone jack sit on the right. A pair of 2W JBL speakers
are housed on either side of the rounded base.

The back of the tablet is constructed out of aluminum covered with a soft-touch acrylic finish and Lenovo’s Yoga logo in the middle. The base and attached kickstand are gunmetal gray. There’s a
small hole where the camera and release button peek through that can also be
used to hang the tablet.

Front and back of Yoga Smart Tab

The front is dominated by a 10.1-inch LCD with
chunky bezels. Display resolution comes in at 1,920 by 1,080, for a density of 218 pixels per inch. Compared with the similarly priced Apple iPad (264ppi), pixel density is a bit lower, but it still looks great. Colors are quite saturated, and it’s bright enough to use in direct
sunlight.

Hardware and Performance

The tablet is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 chipset with 4GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of eMMC storage on board, of which 50GB is
available out of the box. You can add up to an additional 256GB of external
storage via a microSD slot that is cleverly hidden behind the kickstand.

See How We Test Tablets

The Yoga Smart Tab is quick and responsive for basic tasks
like video streaming and surfing the web. We used it with over half a dozen apps open simultaneously without any hiccups. When it comes to gaming, however, the tablet struggles. We played Asphalt 8 and PUBG: Mobile and had several issues. In
addition to slow load times, there were noticeable dropped frames, and PUBG shut down twice over 30 minutes of gameplay.

Multiple positions of Yoga Smart Tab

On PCMark
2.0 Work, a series of tests that emulate common tablet tasks, the Yoga Smart Tab scored 4,478. While that’s below the less expensive Amazon Fire HD 10’s score of 5,105, benchmarks are used to provide an object measurement and
shouldn’t be used to gauge how the tablet can handle average daily tasks. For streaming videos and music, the Smart Tab is just fine.

Lenovo claims the tablet’s 7,000mAh battery can provide up to 10 hours of video playback. In our rundown test, in which we stream HD
video over Wi-Fi at full brightness, we managed to get just a little over seven
hours. Turn down the brightness a bit, however, and you should be able to get Lenovo’s quoted 10 hours. 

Audio and Cameras

As mentioned, the Yoga Smart Tab sports a pair of 2W JBL speakers that provide impressive sound. Maximum volume comes in at 102dB, and the speakers provide an
immersive soundstage that can easily fill a room. Timbre is spot on, with nicely defined
mids and robust bass for a tablet.

There are also three microphones on board with far-field
voice recognition. We tested the microphones at distances of three and six feet
from all directions, and the tablet managed to pick up all of our queries, even when playing audio at high volumes.

When it comes to cameras, there’s a 5MP sensor on the back and an 8MP sensor on the front. In good light, the 5MP camera is fine
for scanning photos or taking a quick reference shot. It’s definitely not meant
to replace your smartphone camera or DSLR, however.

Image of streaming video on Yoga Smart Tab

The front-facing camera works well for video calls in
good light, but in low light you’ll notice lots of noise. The camera can also
be used to unlock the tablet, and it works surprisingly well.

Setting up face unlock, however, is a challenge. Since the
camera is located on the left side of the tablet in landscape mode, it’s difficult
to properly frame your face in the setup window. After setting it up in portrait mode, face unlock wouldn’t work in landscape. If you’re not storing any important information on the tablet, you’re better off setting up a trusted location in Google
Smart Lock.

Software

The Yoga Smart Tab ships with Android 9.0 Pie and Lenovo
Launcher. For the most part, Lenovo does little to change the overall look and
feel of stock Android, opting instead to add a handful of useful features that
can easily be disabled in the Settings menu.

Two features worth highlighting are
the Lenovo Entertainment Tab and Smart Assistant. The Lenovo Entertainment Tab is a persistent icon on the
home screen that allows you to quickly access your favorite streaming services.
It opens YouTube by default, but can be changed to open other
streaming apps.

Yoga Smart Tab in Google Ambient Display mode

Smart Assistant lets you to easily access commonly used
features like screenshots and Do Not Disturb mode. You can activate and
customize the feature by swiping your finger from the right edge of the
display.

In addition to Lenovo’s features, the Yoga Smart
Tab also has Google Ambient Mode on board. When enabled, Google Ambient Mode essentially turns the tablet into a smart
display like the Google Nest Hub (though based on size, the Nest Hub Max is a closer comparison). You can set the feature to turn on
automatically when the kickstand is open and the tablet is charging, or leave it
turned off altogether. But it definitely adds value, and is how I imagine most people will be using the Yoga Smart Tab the majority of the time.

Lenovo has a good
track record of providing security patches and minor feature updates, but it’s unlikely the tablet will see an update beyond Android 9.0, which is already a generation behind the latest software. That said, it should work just fine for multimedia streaming and smart display features for at least a few more years.

Conclusions

If you’re looking for a tablet to get some work done with or to play games, you don’t want the Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab. But if you’re looking for a tablet to watch movies and stream music on, and you like to use Google Assistant, the Smart Tab becomes a lot more compelling, with more functionality than you’ll get from a dedicated smart display. If you’re looking to spend less, the Amazon Fire HD 10 provides much of the same functionality for half the price, although it doesn’t look or sound quite as good. 

Lenovo Yoga Smart Tab Specs

Operating System Android 9.0
Dimensions 9.5 by 6.5 by 0.9 inches
Weight 1.28 lbs
Screen Size 10.1 inches
Screen Resolution 1920 by 1080 pixels
CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 439
Storage Capacity 64 GB
Battery Life 7 hours, 1 minute

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