Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 review: Redesigning the premium Android tablet

Lenovo is pitching the Yoga Tab 13 as a premium entertainment slate, but its large screen, powerful processor, solid battery life, and inclusion of a handy kickstand allow it to act as much more than a Netflix vehicle. In a market dominated by low-cost fare, Lenovo has crafted a high-end tablet to compete with some of the best from Apple, Samsung, and others. Is this the playful productivity partner you need in your life or is it another me-too attempt to run with the big boys? Find out in the Android Authority Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 review.

About this Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 review: I tested the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 over a period of seven days. It was running Android 11 on the June 2021 security patch. The unit was provided by Lenovo for this review.

What you need to know about the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 laying down

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Lenovo Yoga Tab 13: $679.99 / £649 / €799

Lenovo sells more than a dozen different tablets that come in a wide range of sizes, with varied prices and features. The majority are smaller slates in the $150 to $300 range. These tablets are most often meant to serve as media machines to appease the needs of kids or novice users. The Yoga Tab 13 aims a little higher.

Like Lenovo’s similarly-branded, bendy Yoga laptops, the Yoga tablet range is unique and offers something more than the average piece of hardware. The critical component is the built-in kickstand/hook combo that allows you to stand or hang the Yoga Tab 13 just about anywhere. It opens up entirely new ways to use the tablet that most others simply cannot match.

See also: The best cheap tablets

Moreover, this particular tablet is the most high-spec’d amongst Lenovo’s Android roster, which makes it an interesting option for those seeking top performance. It competes directly with the Apple iPad Air, the vanilla Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, and the higher Galaxy Tab S7 FE models as far as pricing is concerned.

Lenovo sells a single version of the Yoga Tab 13. There are no memory or storage variations from which to choose. Unlike some competing tablets, the Yoga Tab 13 comes in a single color: Shadow Black. In the US, it is only available for sale directly from Lenovo’s website and Best Buy.

How is the design?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 standing right rear profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Lenovo’s Yoga tablets stand apart. Literally. They often feature two distinct design elements that differentiate them from the crowded field of flat slates. First, they have a bulging, cylindrical spine along one edge, and second, they include an adjustable kickstand for positioning the tablet upright on a desk or bed.

The spine makes the Yoga Tab 13 really easy to grip with one hand. This is something I’ve always liked about the form factor. On the flip side, it means you have a device that’s not uniform in thickness from side to side as most tablets are. The kickstand is truly helpful. More tablets (ahem, Apple and Samsung) should include them. The Yoga Tab 13’s thick metal kickstand doubles as a hook for hanging the tablet against a wall or similar. It’s really solid and holds any angle you set. I like that the kickstand has a rubber coating on it, which helps prevent it from slipping.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 speaker closeup

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

These may be the first things you notice about the Yoga Tab 13’s design, but the second will surely be the size. Thanks to the 13-inch screen, the Tab 13 is a massive slab of plastic and glass. It measures 293.35 x 203.98 x 6.2/24.9mm and weighs 803g. That makes it larger and heavier than the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus.

The Yoga Tab 13 is quite the whopper.

The Gorilla Glass 3-protected display glass is perfectly flat and it is fitted into the unibody chassis snugly where it meets the frame. I wish the chassis were made of metal and not plastic. That would really up the “wow” factor of the hardware. Of course, that would almost certainly add to the weight as well. The plastic material is of solid quality and feels strong and rigid. Lenovo covered a portion of the rear panel with Alcantara, a soft, suede-like substance that really gives the design some pop. The Shadow Black colorway looks good too and stands out alongside the usual gray and silver tablets (though not quite as much as the colorful iPad Air models).

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 alcantara closeup

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

One function of the spine, apart from improving usability, is housing the speakers. The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 has four JBL speakers, two in the spine and two on top, that generate Dolby Atmos sound. These speakers make the Tab 13 an excellent choice for watching movies or rocking out to tunes, as the sound is rich and loud.

A few more things worth pointing out. Lenovo built a USB-C 3.2 gen 1 port into one side of the tablet and a micro HDMI port into the other. This lets you charge the tablet while also using it as a second display (when plugged into a PC.) There’s no headphone jack, nor is there support for microSD memory cards.

It may be too large or bulky for some users, but the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is a solid tablet that does more than most competing slabs thanks to its unique form factor.

How is the screen?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 display

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

At 13 inches across the diagonal, the Yoga Tab 13 has just about the largest display available from any tablet. Apple’s iPad Pro features a 12.9-inch screen, and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus and Tab S7 FE have 12.4-inch screens. Few others are as big.

The 2,160 x 1,350-pixel panel pushes out 400nits of brightness and runs a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It’s Dolby Vision rated, which makes it a natural place to stream high-quality video content. It’s an LTPS LCD panel rather than an AMOLED screen, and that’s obvious when it comes to contrast and dynamic range.

The display is an excellent canvas for whatever activity you have in mind.

That said, the display is an excellent canvas for whatever activity you have in mind. The high resolution ensures that everything on the screen is crisp and sharp, the brightness is more than adequate for indoor and outdoor use, and the refresh rate is good enough for most tasks you assign to the Yoga Tab 13. Video content, in particular, is very pleasing on the screen, but I also found it a great place for managing documents and detailed websites.

The display settings support all the expected tools, including adaptive brightness, eye protection mode, dark theme, and so on.

It doesn’t quite dazzle like a Samsung Super AMOLED with a 120Hz refresh rate does, but the Yoga Tab 13’s LCD screen is a fine panel for a tablet in this price range.

Is battery life any good?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 Battery life

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Lenovo stuffed a 10,000mAh battery into the chassis of the Yoga Tab 13. That’s about on par with the battery size of competing tablets. Lenovo rates the battery for up to 12 hours of screen-on time.

In my testing, the Yoga Tab 13 consistently pushed past 10.5 hours of battery life, and reached just over 11 hours on one occasion. That’s a bit short of Lenovo’s claims, but still in a solid range for this class of tablet. Apple’s iPads, for comparison, top out at the 10-hour mark, while Samsung Tab S7 series slates run a bit closer to 12.

Related: The best portable chargers and power banks — a buyer’s guide

When it comes time to power the tablet up, Lenovo’s got your back. The company included a 30W charger and cable in the box that recharges the tablet in about 2.25 hours. That’s far less than the 3.5 hours it takes to charge the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE. Kudos to Lenovo for packing the high-speed charger with the tablet.

What is performance like?

Lenovo played it smart and gave the Yoga Tab 13 an excellent processor in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870. This flagship-level SoC includes an Adreno 650 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. It’s not quite Qualcomm’s top-level chipset, but it generates more than enough power to keep the tablet a rockin’ and a rollin’.

The Yoga Tab 13 excelled at everyday performance. The tablet was always swift no matter the task at hand. It never felt slow or bogged down. Memory- and processor-intensive apps such as Adobe’s Lightroom or games such as Asphalt 9 ran smoothly and without stutters or lags. The tablet also managed to keep up with multiple tabs open in the notoriously power-hungry Chrome browser.

When it came time to run some benchmarks, the Yoga Tab 13 set some solid scores. It absolutely crushed the 5G variant of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 FE in AnTuTu, Geekbench 5, and 3DMark. The tests ran smoothly and quickly, showcasing the Snapdragon 870’s power. The tablet also managed to score a solid one-minute 30 seconds on our homegrown Speed Test G benchmark, handily besting the Tab S7 FE’s two minutes 48 seconds.

The Yoga Tab 13 is packed with power but is disappointingly limited to just 128GB of onboard storage.

Beyond the processor, there are a few other things to talk about. First, storage. The tablet is, disappointingly, limited to just 128GB of onboard storage. There are no additional SKUs from Lenovo. More importantly, there’s also no support for microSD cards or expandable storage. This curtails the number of apps and the amount of content you can keep on the tablet. Samsung and Apple offer more storage options in their competing tablets.

On the wireless front, the Lenovo tablet excels. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2. While it would have been nice to see Wi-Fi 6E on board, the Wi-Fi 6 radio did an excellent job streaming content, downloading apps, and keeping the tablet connected at modern speeds. It was a much faster companion than the Galaxy Tab S7 FE (5G model) and is far better future-proofed.

This is the type of performance we like to see from an Android slate. It’s not an absolute barnstormer and it won’t challenge Apple’s tablets for the top spot, but it’s highly competitive.

Is there special tablet software onboard?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 Home screen

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 ships with Android 11 as its base platform. Lenovo has a light software skin on the Yoga 13 that mostly impacts the appearance of the settings menu and other system-level screens. The basic experience of using Android is unencumbered by Lenovo, which is appreciated.

We don’t know how committed Lenovo is to providing system-level upgrades or security updates for its tablets. The company doesn’t have the best track record for updating its phones, however. We’ve asked Lenovo and will update this review when we’re given a solid answer. For now, though, you shouldn’t go in expecting the same long-term software support as you get with Samsung and Apple tablets.

As has been the case for years now, Android doesn’t always provide the best experience on tablets. App developers don’t all adapt their applications to the tablet form factor, which means they sometimes render weird on the screen or auto-rotate to portrait view only, and so on. This is just a fact of life on Android tablets and something you have to endure on the Yoga Tab 13.

More reading: The best 8 Android tablets for kids

Lenovo did toss in a few extras, though. The first is Kids Space. Kids Space is a dedicated environment meant for young children. It provides access to a library of pre-loaded apps, books, and videos that are age-appropriate, allows kids to customize their experience such as designing an avatar, and packs in parental controls via the Google Family Link app for managing screen time and the like. If you have young ones at home, this may be the best way to manage their time with the tablet, though it requires you to create a managed Google account for each kid.

There’s also Google’s Entertainment Space. Entertainment Space gathers much of your content in a single panel that you access by swiping right on the home screen. Here, there are three tabs that let you switch between video, game, and book content. For example, after you load up the tablet with apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus, they all appear in the Entertainment Space complete with recommendations and more. It’s a convenient way to manage your content that acts a bit like the Apple TV app that’s available on iPads. The apps are still available separately in the app drawer for those that don’t want to use the feature. One thing that’s missing from Entertainment Space? Music. For some reason, music apps and services are not built into Google’s Entertainment Space.

Anything else?

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 front right profile

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

  • Camera: Curiously, the Yoga Tab 13 has only an 8MP user-facing camera. There are no rear-facing cameras for normal photography. Lenovo expects video calls to be the primary use-case for the Yoga Tab 13’s only camera, and it can capture up to 1080p video. Photos and video recorded by the camera are of average quality at best. The main problem is a tendency for the camera to blow out the background if there’s any amount of light. The tablet also includes a time-of-flight sensor for “artificial intelligence” features. These are limited to enhanced background blur in photos and videos.
  • Stylus: If you like to pair a stylus with your tablet, you can do so with the Yoga Tab 13 but it will cost you extra. The tablet is compatible with Lenovo’s Precision Pen 2. The Yoga Tab 13 does not include anywhere to garage or otherwise store the stylus, so you’ll have to manage it separately from the tablet.
  • Accessories: Lenovo-made accessories for the Yoga Tab 13 are sorely lacking. There are no custom cases, screen protectors, keyboards, or anything similar available from Lenovo itself. That means you’ll have to rely on third-party vendors to protect and augment your tablet. The absence of a dedicated keyboard is particularly vexing, as it cuts down on the tablet’s productivity appeal.
  • Biometrics: There are none. Sure, you can use the front camera for basic facial recognition, but the Yoga Tab 13 doesn’t have dedicated biometric hardware, such as a fingerprint reader or an IR camera for more accurate face scanning. That seems like a big miss in a tablet at this price point.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 specs

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13

Display

13-inch LTPS LCD
2,160 x 1,350 resolution
400nits
60Hz
Dolby Vision

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 870, octa-core, up to 3.2GHz
Adreno 650 GPU

RAM

8GB LPDDR5

Storage

128GB

Battery

10,000mAh
30W wired charging

Camera

8MP RGB + TOF

Connectivity

USB-C 3.2 Gen 1
Micro HDMI with HDCP 1.4 support
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.2

Dimensions/Weight

293.35 x 203.98 x 6.2/24.9mm
803g

Colors

Shadow Black

Value and competition

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 Tablet

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 Android tablet includes a large, 13-inch display in a slim form factor that includes a built-in kickstand, top processor, and stellar battery life.

Lenovo charges $679 for the Yoga Tab 13. That price feels right given the generous screen, top-flight processor, and the rest of the bountiful spec sheet.

At 13 inches, the Tab 13 packs one of the largest screens available in an Android tablet. The Snapdragon 870 processor absolutely delivers the goods when it comes time to perform. Battery life is competitive and the tablet includes plenty of connectivity options. Moreover, Lenovo didn’t weigh the tablet down with unnecessary user interface skins and bloatware. Instead, it included the Google Kids Space and Entertainment Space tools that help owners manage their users and content.

I do wish there were a couple of alternate SKUs offering different RAM/storage configurations. The 128GB storage allotment leaves the Yoga Tab 13 trailing the competition some. I also wish the Lenovo Precision Pen 2 stylus ($69) wasn’t an optional accessory and was instead included with the tablet as it’s an obvious match for the tablet’s large screen.

At 13-inches, the Yoga Tab 13 packs one of the largest screens available in an Android tablet.

If stylus-toting tablets are what you seek, Samsung’s trio of Tab S7 slates may be a better choice for you. The Wi-Fi variant of the Galaxy Tab S7 FE ($599) with 6GB of RAM and 128GB lines up well with the Tab 13, given its large 12.4-inch screen. The Snapdragon 778G processor won’t provide as much oomph, however, and the more expensive 5G model has an even weaker chipset for perplexing reasons. If you don’t mind a smaller screen, the 11-inch Tab S7 ($649) packs a much better processor than the FE, along with better cameras. If you can stomach the higher price tag, the Tab S7 Plus ($849) nearly matches the Tab 13’s large display and it has all the power and performance of the smaller Tab S7. All three of these tablets include a stylus.

Looking for something smaller, something with less power, or something that’s simply cheaper? Lenovo’s got you covered with a range of tablets. For example, there’s the Lenovo P11 Pro ($340), which has a smaller screen and lower spec’d processor, as well as the Yoga Tab 11 ($320), which has a grip-style form factor and kickstand similar to the Yoga Tab 13.

Apple’s iPad Air (2020) ($599) will always be a top contender in the tablet space. Apple’s mid-range slate is a bit smaller with a 10.9-inch screen, but it has the ultra-speedy Apple-designed A14 Bionic processor and loads of customized iPad apps in the App Store.

Related: The best Android tablets

Last, for $80 less than Lenovo’s Yoga Tab 13 you could score the Microsoft Surface Go 2 ($599), a laptop/tablet hybrid running full Windows with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and either an Intel Pentium or Core processor.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 review: The verdict

Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 logo with hinge

Eric Zeman / Android Authority

With the Yoga Tab 13, Lenovo has charged into the premium Android tablet space with a solid contender. It goes head-to-head with the best from Samsung and Apple and in some instances bests the competition.

The high-resolution, 13-inch display provides ample room for videos, games, and work documents when necessary. Combined with the power of the Snapdragon 870 processor, the Yoga Tab 13 has more than enough strength to tackle challenging apps and make sure they look good on the screen. Add to that the four quality speakers and you have a great media machine.

Let’s not forget the unique form factor of the Yoga Tab 13. While the cylindrical bulge isn’t standard tablet fare, the accompanying kickstand and hook give the Tab 13 the ability to stand or hang where other tablets simply cannot. This type of built-in utility goes a long way.

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is an excellent piece of hardware that’s easy to recommend.

Lenovo rounds out the experience with solid battery life, excellent wireless performance, and an Alcantara finish that adds a touch of luxe to the slate. I also appreciate the near-stock Android software with kid-focused tools that make owning the Tab 13 easier on families.

Accessories — or the lack thereof — are among the Yoga Tab 13’s biggest limitations. To start, the tablet doesn’t ship with a stylus, forcing you to spend extra should you want one. Moreover, Lenovo hasn’t crafted anything like a dedicated case or keyboard to amp up the work appeal of the machine. Not every tablet needs to be a work machine, but with this much power on tap, it’s a bit of a missed opportunity here.

There are also unavoidable question marks over software support and some questionable hardware omissions — most notably, the single storage option, the lack of a rear camera, and the absence of any biometric security options. The 60Hz-only screen also feels a little behind the curve compared to the main Galaxy Tab S7 series.

Nevertheless, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is an excellent super-sized tablet with a novel design that’s easy to recommend to anyone looking for a top-quality entertainment slate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *