Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review

After the unfortunate loss of my 2014 Nexus 7 tablet I was on the prowl for a replacement. I prefer to keep an Android tablet due to the flexibility to use it as a mini Linux workstation if the need arises. The USB OTG support means the tablet is capable of taking on most of the tasks I use my Linux laptop with in the event I am stuck somewhere. Additionally I wanted a tablet that really excelled at media consumption as that is the primary use for a tablet in my workflow.

  • Great battery life
  • Android based
  • Media centric
  • USB OTG Support
  • SD Card support12556023_539159696241066_1175203354_n

Truth be told I prefer iOS-based devices for the security aspect, but I remove all sensitive and work related accounts from my tablets and accept Androids still broken security model.

I ended up looking at the latest and greatest from each vendor and ruled out most of them due to lacking some part of my requirements list. The one that really piqued my interest was the Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro due to the projector, integrated stand, and great battery life. I had a heck of a time tracking one down stateside, but was able to order one directly from Lenovo.

Now having traveled with the device (the true test of a tablet) I feel I can offer my overall feedback on the device.

The good

  • Battery life is easily the best for screen-on I have seen in a tablet. The iPad has MUCH better standby, but for watching TV shows and Movies it is hard to beat
  • I like the hand grip more than I expected
  • The projector is enough for watching TV shows while we fall asleep in hotel rooms. We learned from this trip though we need a better mechanism to stand it up in odd-shaped hotel rooms
  • The SD card works as advertised and we brought tons of media
  • Lenovo didn’t muck up the Android build with too much crap, but they did severely limit the device
  • Screen is beautiful and the front-facing speakers are incredible. Why any tablet ships without front-facing speakers is beyond me

The bad

  • Slow and jerky. I kid you not. It makes using an iPad an absolute joy compared to Android. 2GiB RAM appears to be the biggest hinderance, but I blame it more on the Lenovo kernel build (~800MiB in use after fresh boot) as well as Android’s piss poor memory management. I type my pin in wrong all the time due to the numbers not registering
  • Android 5.1.1 is tough to use after having Android 6. It appears that Lenovo will slowly update this device as they do all others. They have released a series of patches the past month, but none that actual fix the systemic issues
  • No accessories as it isn’t a Samsung, Apple, or Google device. Lenovo needs to build an ecosystem around their flagship devices with simple things like cases and similar
  • The screen is incapable of staying at full brightness while playing intense games like Atlantic Fleet which leads me to question what the QA process was for the device
  • It feels…cheap…the stand creaks and the edges don’t align as much as I would have hoped for a device at this price point

Overall I’d say unless you really want a projector and stand built-in; buy an iPad. I keep hoping that Google will fix their atrocious tablet OS and hoping Android vendors actually focus on delivering a quality product versus churning out SKU. If it were not for my geekiness and needing to run dual mobile OS for things I would not be tossing my dollars at them until they can get their heads on straight.

Links on the issues with the tablet:

http://www.androidauthority.com/community/threads/brand-new-lenovo-yoga-tab-3-pro-is-extremely-slow.26667/

https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Android-Yoga-Series-Tablets/Lenovo-Yoga-Tablet-3-Pro-Serious-memory-issues-bug-report/td-p/2224202