The 10 Best Android Launchers of 2019One of Android’s most popular features, and undoubtedly a primary reason for its dominance of the smartphone market, is the operating system’s (OS) limitless customization options. Personalization possibilities abound, at both the default OS level or by installing one of the hundreds of launchers (just under 300 at Google Play Store as I wrote this).

You can find launchers that cause your phone to emulate other devices, such as iOS (iPhone) smartphones, or to help integrate your phone into your home- or business-office ecosystem, or even to make your Android device behave more like another Android device. There are a few launchers, for example, designed to give your smartphone a look and feel of the popular (yet costly) Google Pixel.

All Android smartphones come with their own, or a default, launcher, which is usually the result of the joint effort between the phone manufacturer and the cellular service provider. As you probably know from cruising around in the Settings menus, your Android’s default launcher comes with a lot of its own customization options – so much so that the myriad of choices can be daunting.

If for no other reason than simplicity, often, letting a launcher do the bulk of modifications for you is preferable to trying to customize the phone yourself.

What follows is a list of the 10 “best” Android launchers available. Again, Google Play Store lists over 275 of them. Some are free; some cost a few bucks; all are easy to download and install and just as easy to either deselect and then switch back to your previous launcher or uninstall altogether.

Even so, to settle on these top ten launchers, I did not download, install, and evaluate them all. Instead, I narrowed them down to the top 20 by choosing those with the highest user ratings and the most downloads, then I installed and evaluated the results.

Note: The following list of the 10 best Android launchers, then, is derivative of a combination of user popularity, product circulation, and my experience with each app. Note also that the stats accompanying each launcher is solely Google Play Store data and therefore does not reflect all available info from all the various download outlets; also, install numbers reflect the current version of the app, not its entire history.

Read the entire review at OnLineTechTips.com



Microsoft Launcher Brings Windows Integration and a Lot More to AndroidAndroid smartphones are capable of many things that you just can’t do on Apple’s iOS (iPhone) devices. One of the slicker Android-only features is the ability to change how your device looks, feels, and behaves—a complete makeover—by simply installing a third-party launcher.

One of the more popular launchers is Microsoft Launcher (an upgrade of the Microsoft Garage project Arrow Launcher).

Designed primarily to help your Android integrate into the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft Launcher will not make your device look and behave like Windows 10.

Instead, in addition to providing a highly customizable user interface (UI), it helps ease your Android smartphone’s assimilation in to your Microsoft workflow of apps and services, as well as your Windows laptop or desktop PC.

Read the entire review at OnlineTechTips.com



Currently a contributing editor at PCMag, William Harrel has been writing about computer technology for more than 30 years, since well before the advent of the internet and has authored or coauthored more than 20 books.

Review of the Canon IVY Mini Photo Printer at PCMag.da

  • PROS 

    Good print quality for its class. Easy to set up and use. Tiling feature allows for bigger images and collages. Competitive running costs.

  • CONS

    Can’t print from a PC. Bluetooth is only connection option. Lacks support for Wi-Fi. No savings for buying paper in bulk.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    With on-par output quality, print speeds, and running costs for a Zink-based photo printer, the Canon IVY Mini is a solid portable model that churns out 2-by-3-inch prints.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a surge of pocket photo printers that you operate solely from your smartphone or tablet. A few, notably the HP Sprocket Photo Printer and the Lifeprint 2×3 Hyperphoto Printer, have managed top ratings in PCMag reviews. Now, along comes Canon’s IVY Mini Photo Printer ($129.99), which, aside from a few set-apart print features, is essentially a “me-too” model. It prints as well as most of its competitors, and it comes with an easy-to-use app for printing, as well as for cropping and enhancing your photos. In our testing, though, little about the IVY stands out. It’s as good a choice as most of its competitors, assuming what you’re after are tiny, on-the-fly prints from a mobile device.

Read the entire review at PCMag



Review of Lifeprint 2x3 Hyperphoto Printer at PCMag

  • PROS

    Innovative “hyperphoto” technology for turning stills to videos. Prints well. Small and light. Easy to set up and use.

  • CONS

    No way to print from PC. Relatively high running costs.

  • BOTTOM LINE

    With its innovative photo-to-video technology, the Lifeprint Photo and Video Printer 2×3 proves itself an intriguing novelty snapshot printer.

Pocket photo printers such as the HP Sprocket and the Kodak Photo Printer Mini offer the convenience of printing on the go from your phone or tablet. The Lifeprint 2×3 Hyperphoto Printer ($129.99) takes this a step further: It comes with its own social media site for sharing photos, and using an augmented reality (AR) technology, it allows you to turn stills into movie clips, or what Lifeprint calls “hyperphotos.” Overall, Lifeprint 2×3 prints well, and it’s an appealing option if you’re open to a unique twist on photo sharing.
Read the entire article at PCMag


[amazon_link asins=’B01LB08BH6′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’ed298214-c577-11e7-bc59-137fc9ea5efc’]The release of new Android-tablet contenders has slowed to a trickle over the past few years, and many of these models have been designed to mimic one or the other of the immensely popular Apple iPads. Take today’s review unit, the $259.99-MSRP Mi Pad 3 [amazon_link asins=’B01LB08BH6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’7800fc75-c577-11e7-b214-7560558b02e8′], for example, from Xiaomi. Aside from the Android operating system and the differences that brings with it, the Mi Pad 3 is an Apple iPad Mini 4 [amazon_link asins=’B016PW4NX6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’91b09c49-c577-11e7-bb55-799ef44c3cff’] at any distance greater than arm’s length, and shares a lot with that iconic tablet if you look at it closer.

The review of the Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 at Computer Shopper

The Mi Pad 3 comes, for example, with a screen of the same size and same resolution: 7.9 inches on the diagonal, and 2,048×1,536 pixels. And, as you’ll see in the next section, the two tablets have several other like physical attributes. Where these Android-based iPad-alikes usually differ, though, is in their pricing. Unless you’re dead-set on Android, why would you pay the same price (or close to it) for a facsimile?

The Huawei MediaPad M3 [amazon_link asins=’B01LB08BH6′ template=’CopyOf-PriceLink’ store=’store-1′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a7ec9898-c577-11e7-b469-991f50198c46′], another iPad Mini lookalike we reviewed recently, for one, lists for $299.99, or $100 less than the Mini 4 (and $50 more than the Mi Pad 3). The question is, of course, do you get the same value and ease of use from an Android iPad clone as you do from an actual iPad? Obviously, given the popularity, build quality, and overall user experience of the iPads (including the Mini 4), and the strength of the Apple iOS app ecosystem, these tablets are tough to beat. But—we speculate—that isn’t what Xiaomi, Huawei, or any iPad lookalike maker is trying to do.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 (Introduction)

Instead, these iPad wannabes are offered as money-saving alternatives. For those who can’t afford (or aren’t inclined to spend) $400 or more for a small tablet, these “premium Android” models have a market opening. And some, we think, succeed more than others.

In the case of the Mi Pad 3, as you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it’s not the fastest tablet out there. But it holds its own, even against bigger, more expensive slates. And, from the user-experience perspective—without the benefit of benchmark comparisons—it runs well, with no real sluggishness, crashes, or other performance issues evident in our hands-on time with it. We also like the way it looks and feels. The Mi Pad 3 is thin, sturdy-feeling, and well-balanced, making it pleasant to hold and use.

Now, it does have a shortcoming or two. The body lacks an SD-card slot for expanding storage, for one thing, which is a semi-staple among Android tablets that gives them an (often much needed) edge over Apple’s stable of tablets and smartphones. Also, due to the sheer popularity of the iPad, the availability and frequent updating of tablet-specific apps is tilted a little in the iPad’s favor.

Xiaomi Mi Pad 3 (Contents)

Even so, there is no shortage of Android apps, including tablet-optimized ones. After spending a significant amount of time with the Mi Pad 3, we found little to dislike about it. We have little hesitation in recommending it as a lower-cost alternative to the iPad Mini 4.

FYI, in the U.S., the main source for the Mi Pad 3 is GearBest.com, which specializes in direct-from-Asia tech; you can find the product page here, and GearBest is also offering a coupon code at this writing (MIPAD3CANAL, good through the end of June) that knocks the price to $259.99. Just take heed, when and if you buy, of where it will ship from. It’s possible that if not warehoused in the U.S. at the time of your order, your tablet may ship direct from China, which could take longer than you might expect. Amazon Prime it ain’t.

See the entire review at Computer Shopper



 

Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 Review and RatingsA few years ago, the Android-tablet market was flush with slates in two or three different screen sizes—and economy levels—from most of the big players in PCs. Nowadays? The pickings are pretty picked over.

Whether you’re talking about compact (7-to-9-inch) or full-size tablets (models with screens around 10 inches), we just haven’t seen that many new ones in recent months to choose from—or review, for that matter. Acer, Samsung, and Lenovo have trickled out a few, but most of the full-size Android tablets that have debuted over the past year or so have been upscale, premium multimedia devices with exceptional displays and sound.

In fact, while they can do many things, most of today’s full-size Android tablets are designed primarily for watching digital video. And, much like today’s review unit, Huawei’s $419-MSRP MediaPad M2 10.0, most of these slates are quite good at it—which requires, above all else, two predictable things: good speakers and good screens. (It’s also important to note here that our review unit was near the top of its family in both components and features. As we’ll discuss in a bit, you can buy a reasonably equipped MediaPad M2 10.0 for around $349 MSRP.)

Huawei MediaMate M2 10.0Another thing that most recent full-size tablets have had in common: a tendency to be durable and look upscale, even elegant, in appearance. Dell’s $629 mid-2015 Venue 10 7000 (Model 7040), with a detachable keyboard and touch pad) is an excellent example, as is Lenovo’s solidly built, $499.99-MSRP Yoga Tab 3 Pro. As you’ll see in the section coming up next, the Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 comes with not only an excellent 1,920×1,200-pixel screen, but also an excellent Harman/Kardon sound system with four loud, clear-sounding speakers.

But this MediaPad isn’t a one-trick tablet; media playback isn’t all it can do. It also supports 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity that, when coupled with Huawei’s active stylus (in the box with our review tablet), lets you annotate, draw, and take notes with Huawei’s bundled pen-enabled apps. Unfortunately, not all of the MediaPad M2 configuration options include the stylus, which we’ll address in some detail in a moment. Suffice it to say here that the differences in what you get for $349 and $419 are significant.

In either case, whether you buy the least expensive version of the MediaPad M2, the most expensive, or one in between, you’ll get a tablet that’s impressive in appearance (a dead ringer for the iPad Air 2) and build quality for a reasonable price.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.

Lenovo Yoga Tab 3 Pro Review and RatingsBig-screen Android tablets are starting to look like bison on the Great Plains once the West was settled: thin on the ground. In 2015, we’re seeing fewer and fewer new full-size Android slates (models with screens around 10 inches) than ever. Part of the reason? The bar for these tabs is already pretty high.

The 2015 models we have seen, such as Dell’s Venue 10 7000 and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S2 9.7, are elegant, high-performing devices for media consumption. Also, some of them, such as the Venue 10 7000 and the topic of today’s review, Lenovo’s $499.99-MSRP Yoga Tab 3 Pro, are constructed quitewell, with a balanced, polished solidity to them.

Similar to the Venue 10 7000, many of the Yoga Tab 3 Pro 10.1’s most impressive features center around a tube-like appendage, or in the case of the Yoga, what’s called a “barrel hinge.” In the case of the Venue 10 model, the cylindrical portion was used to fasten Dell’s accessory keyboard to the actual tablet. The barrel hinge on the Yoga Tab 3, on the other hand, connects a thin metal “kickstand,” as shown in the image below, to the slate. But that’s hardly all it does.

In fact, aside from this slate’s gorgeous 2,560×1,600-pixel screen, much of its pizzazz and unique functionality stem from that hinge and what’s inside it. The slate’s barrel contains a larger battery than the one on the Yoga Tablet 2 of the same screen size, for a terrific showing in our battery-life testing. Also, the speakers have been updated significantly, and this Yoga has a miniature projector built in for sharing the screen contents with others, flashed onto the doors and walls of your home or office. This kind of tablet-integrated “pico” projector made its debut in the earlier Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, which was a 13.3-inch Android from 2014. We’ll discuss the projector a little later in this review, but it’s by far the least common feature in this tablet.

Nearly every aspect of this classy tablet is new and improved. Compared to the competitors of the day, its Intel Atom processor, one of the company’s late-model “Cherry Trail”-family chips, performs relatively fast and seemingly glitch-free. With a pleather backing and a few other external refinements, the Tab 3 Pro is a little heavier than the Yoga Tab 2 of the same screen size was. But considering that this slate is designed to either prop up on (or hang from) its built-in kickstand—this slate’s other defining feature—and that the tubular portion is easy to grip, the extra weight is not a huge demerit.

Lenovo Tab 3 Pro (Kickstand)The bottom line for this tablet? Like Apple’s iPad Airs or Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs, it’s designed as a media-consumption device, primarily for movies, YouTube, Netflix, and other media sites and services that serve up digital video. As you’ll see in the Performance section later on, it also did better than we expected on our gaming performance tests, suggesting that it might fare better than most others on high-end, resource-intensive games down the line.

Our one major quibble we have with the Yoga Tab 3 Pro isn’t with the tablet proper but with one of the design decisions that affects the accessory prospects of this tablet: the lack of a detachable keyboard. Because of the barrel-like kickstand hinge, it’s not possible to snap an accessory keyboard onto this tablet to turn it into an impromptu Android-based laptop. For a tablet that has “Pro” in its name, we found that a bit of a disconnect; we’d expect a “Pro” tablet to offer at least thepossibility for keyboard-based productivity work. You can, of course, always supply a third-party, separate Bluetooth keyboard of your own, but it will always be, at best, a near match and a separate piece to wrestle with.

That said, as we’ll get into in the next section, this lack of a native keyboard accessory isn’t necessarily a drawback; this is a tablet that’s all about watching video. If you use it for its intended purpose most of the time—media consumption—the Tab 3 Pro will serve you as an impressive slate that’s likely worth the price, so long as you’re not jonesing after one of Apple’s iPads. (Those top tablets, the iPad Air and iPad Air 2, come in around the same price.)

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 Review and RatingsOne thing’s coming clear from shopping the virtual aisles for Android tablets here in 2015: For the most part, today’s models are about general media consumption, not pushing the envelope on gaming or other graphically intensive tasks. Compact 7- and 8-inch models, as well as full-size 9- and 10-inchers, are, with few exceptions, all leaning in the same direction. Playing music and digital videos is the order of the day with today’s mainstream tablets, and most models are priced to match those basic expectations.

With most gaming on Android tablets dominated by casual titles, Android tablet makers haven’t seen fit to outfit their tabs with the extra oomph it takes to become graphics standouts. Only a few, notably Nvidia’s Shield Tablet (based on its own Tegra silicon), are strong gaming devices. Just like mainstream Windows tablets and 2-in-1 convertibles, most Android tablets are designed for sending and receiving e-mail, browsing the Web, interacting with social-media sites, and perhaps listening to music on headphones—you get the idea.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 (Vertical in White)

Two recent mainstream tablets that fit that description are Lenovo’s $249.99-list Tab 2 A8, a compact model we reviewed a few weeks before this review, as well as the next model up, the Tab 2 A10-70, a full-size version of that tablet (and the topic of this review). Much like the Tab 2 A8, which was outfitted with an above-average Dolby-enhanced sound system and speakers, as well as a good-looking screen, the Tab 2 A10 comes with similar accoutrements, both improvements over last year’s Tab A10. In the case of the Tab 2 A10, the audio is the most notable upgrade, with significantly upgraded speakers—a design approaching a miniature sound bar, if you will—that surprised us in a budget tablet. This Lenovo Tab also comes with a better, higher-resolution (1,920×1,200-pixel) screen, which we’ll discuss in the some detail later on.

The Tab 2 A10 comes in three possible configurations, available when we wrote this in mid-September 2015 direct from Lenovo. Two of them cost $249.99 list, with direct pricing varying a little day to day. Our tested review unit is one of these, the Tab 2 model A10-70-ZA000009US. It comes in a duotone of dark blue (back) and black (front bezel), and it’s outfitted with 16GB of internal flash storage and a MediaTek ARM CPU. After that comes the $249.99-list Tab 2 A10-70-ZA000038US. It’s identical to our blue review model, except that it’s in white on both sides.

Lenovo Tab 2 A10-70 (Colors)

A step up from those two units is the $279.99-list Tab 2 A10-70-ZA000086US, which is also blue-backed and very similar to our review unit, except that it has 32GB of internal storage, instead of the 16GB of the other two. Furthermore, at the time of this writing, all three models were on sale, with the two 16GB models at $50 off ($199.99), and the 32GB tablet at $60 off ($219.99), all sold straight from Lenovo’s online store. Lenovo’s direct pricing tends to fluctuate often; your mileage may vary when you check.

As we pointed out in our review of the Tab 2 A8 a couple of weeks before this review, most full-size tablets these days are, in terms of design and performance, premium models (Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and its new Galaxy Tab S2 counterpart, as well as Dell’s Venue 10 7000, all around $500, come to mind). Hence, when we see a relatively inexpensive full-size model like this one come around, we sit up and take notice. So it was especially refreshing that, for the most part, we found little to quibble about in its design or execution.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper

Dell Venue 10 7000 (Model 7040) Review and RatingsWe’ve been looking at Dell’s Venue line of Android tablets (not to be confused with “Venue Pro,” the company’s Windows slates) for a few years now. It wasn’t, however, until February 2015’s review of the premium Venue 8 7000 that we really began to take notice of the family. Prior to the 7000 series, Dell’s Venue tablets were, for the most part, ho-hum, budget-friendly models not much different from many others on the market.

Dell Venue 10 7000 Series

With the 7000 models, though, came a revelation. They had aluminum chassis, ultra-high-res displays, high-end sound and other hardware, and Intel’s RealSense 3D camera technology—in other words, a complete reversal, going from entry-level to premium, from previous Venue models. And now, with the $499-MSRP Venue 10 7000 Series, Dell elevates the Venue brand to an all-new level of performance and elegance.

We tested model 7040 in the new 10-inch family. As you’ll see in our Features section later on, in addition to RealSense, this Venue 10 kept many of the features that made the $399-list Venue 8 7000 such an interesting tablet. Meanwhile, this ultra-high-end slate is available at Dell.com in four configurations, starting with a stand-alone tablet with 16GB of storage at $499.

After that comes another stand-alone version, with 32GB of storage, at $549, followed by a combination tablet/keyboard dock with 16GB of storage ($629). Finally, there is the flagship configuration (our review unit), model 7040, with the keyboard dock and 32GB of storage for $679.

Okay, for starters: You’re probably thinking that every one of the above prices is way high for an Android tablet, and you’re right if you look at the field. Normally, we’d agree with you, but this Venue is, like a few other premium slates we’ve seen (such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S 10.5 and Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z2), in a word, elegant. Part of being elegant, of course, is the ability to command a high price. Also part of the deal: that you perform well. Like the Venue 8 7000 before it, as we’ll discuss in the Performance section later on, the Intel Atom-based Venue 10 7040 did rather well on our battery of benchmark tests—especially our demanding battery-rundown test, which is a further key attribute of a premium tablet.

Dell Venue 10 7000 Series (Hinge)

Unlike the Venue 8 7000, though, this Venue has several hardware features beyond an elegant appearance and 3D camera, starting with a barrel attached to the bottom edge. Somewhat reminiscent of the grip on Lenovo’s Yoga tablets, this not only holds the unit’s speakers, but also its battery, and it acts as the bulkier part of the hinge for attaching the tablet’s matching keyboard dock. All of that we’ll discuss in more detail next in the section.

Meanwhile, each time we review one of these high-end Android slates, the question that inevitably arises is, is all this high-end hardware and elegant design worth the additional expense, considering that you can buy a not-so-fancy tablet for much less, or an Apple iPad for around the same bucks? Well, one mitigating factor: We are not seeing nearly as many new full-size (9-inch screen and above) Android models anymore, and especially not 10.5-inch slates like this one. Lately, 10-inch-class tablets have become somewhat scarce, and most of them are higher-end models like this one. (One of the most significant additions to the class is actually a Windows model: Microsoft’s high-profile Surface 3, with a 10.8-inch screen and starting at the same $499.)

Even so, we’ve looked at and tested most or all of them, and few measure up to this Venue. Dell’s Venue 10 7000 Series, especially the two models bundled with Dell’s slick keyboard dock, is an impressive Android—even a suitable now-and-then laptop replacement for folks willing to settle for a 10.5-inch display.

Read entire review at Computer Shopper

In late 2013, Lenovo released a couple of Android slates literally capable of standing on their own two feet. Well, strike that—they were capable of standing on their own one foot.

Literally and technically, it’s not a foot at all. As you can see below, it’s more like a kickstand…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Feet)

 

That stand is what has set apart Lenovo’s Yoga Tablets—the first generation, and the newer Yoga Tablet 2 models we’ve been looking at here in early 2015—from the rest of the Android and Windows pack.

The tablet aisle has become quite the crowded place, and Lenovo realized it had to be bold in its design. In the first Yoga tablets, the kickstand allowed you to position Lenovo’s tablets in three distinct and often quite useful “modes,” standing free in several possible orientations. With the Yoga Tablet 2 models, Lenovo has added a new orientation called “Hang mode” (which we’ll discuss in the Design & Modes section later on). Now, you can use the Yoga Tablets in even more ways that other tablets just can’t pull off as elegantly.

Also with this round of Yoga Tablets, you have more choices in terms of screen size. Up from two screen-size options in Android—in the original Yoga Tablet 8 and the Yoga Tablet 10—now you have three to pick from: the $229.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), the subject of this review, as well as a $249.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 (10.1-Inch), and the $469.99-list Yoga Tablet 2 Pro (13-Inch), all shown below…

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Sizes)

We should point out, though, that the 13-inch model, with its dazzling QHD (2,560×1,440) display, low-power built-in projector, and JBL speakers, is actually more of a high-end entertainment device—a sleek, premium slate not really in the same class as the 8- or 10-inch Yoga Tablet 2. Here seems a good place to point out that we classify tablets with 9-inch or larger screens as “full-size,” and slates with displays smaller than 9 inches as “compact.” With the emergence of 13-inch models, though, we’re considering calling models in that size range “oversize tablets”—far bigger to handle than the dominant 9- and 10-inch tablets that orbit the Apple iPad’s dimensions.

The Yoga Tablet 2 8-incher is quite on the other end of the spectrum from “oversize.” It has roughly the same screen size as an Apple iPad Mini 3, and in our opinion that’s the smallest truly acceptable screen size for Android tablets these days. Given prices in 2015, much of the gloss has come off of 7-inch models for us, and as high-res screens have crept into tablets this small, the difference between a 7-inch and an 8-inch tablet is that much more pronounced.

While physically this Yoga tablet looks much like its 8-inch predecessor, inside it’s a completely new animal, as you’ll see in the Performance section later on. An ARM-based MediaTek processor powered the previous Yoga Tablet 8. The Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch), as well as the other two Android Yoga Tablet 2s mentioned above, have gone Intel, running on Atom CPUs. (Many competing compact slates from first-tier makers also now use Atoms.) As we’ve seen with other recent tablets, the Atom chip greatly improves performance—especially compared to some of the midrange ARM processors found in the entry-level compact slates of late 2013 and early 2014.

Even so, despite its CPU, the Yoga Tablet 8 came within about $50 (given its $249 list price) of winning our Editors’ Choice nod back when we reviewed it in late 2013. We thought—and still do—that the Yoga Tablet 8 was a $199 slate, and we think the same about this newer model. So far, though, we haven’t found it anywhere online for less than its $229.99 list price, and in places for slightly more, suggesting that Lenovo’s not having any trouble selling it.

While the Intel Atom CPU certainly beefed up this tablet’s performance, most recent competing compact models have also stepped up to the same or similar Atoms. In other words, the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) is faster than its predecessor, but so are most of its competitors. And where the 2013 Yoga Tablet 8 was generally faster than many compact slates of that era, today’s model, performance-wise, is just average—even if average isn’t so bad, nowadays.

Battery longevity is a different dynamic. On the first Yoga Tablet 8, we saw a whopping 15-plus hours in our video-playback test. Comparatively, the 8-inch Android Yoga Tablet 2 came up short by nearly 3 hours. But it still lasted long enough this time around to deliver at least a couple of days of everyday work, such as browsing the Web and answering e-mails, before we had to recharge.

As we’ve pointed out in numerous Yoga Tablet reviews, the Yoga Tablet design is unique because of the cylindrical hinge and stand built into the bottom of the device (assuming the slate is in wide/landscape orientation). In addition to providing plenty of room for a capacious battery, it also makes for a great grip point for holding the tablet in one hand while operating it with the other, as shown here…

 

Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch, Android) (Hold Mode)

We decided, even back with the first Yoga tablets, that we were fans of the overall design and its various modes, which we’ll get into on the next page. But the new innards and higher-resolution display of this latest 8-inch Yoga Tablet make this 2015 model much superior to the Yoga Tablet 8. Plenty has changed in the tablet market since we reviewed that tablet, but the improvements here outpace the field: Screen quality and performance have increased significantly, and the price went down by $20.

We’d still like the Yoga Tablet 2 (8-Inch) better at $199, but this new compact model is, nonetheless, a very nice tablet for the money.

Read the entire review at Computer Shopper.