Ashton Kutcher is a Lenovo Product Engineer. I used to dismiss that as being akin to will.i.am's honorary title of Director of Creative Innovation at Intel, but Mr. @aplusk appears to honestly fancy himself a Hollywood version of Marc Andreessen: investing his time and effort into tech projects that take his fancy. Kutcher's been flying to Beijing to meet with Lenovo designers, hosting focus groups to learn what people want, and now he's introducing the first product of what the company calls a collaborative relationship: the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro.
This is a 13.3-inch Android tablet with a difference. Inside the large, grip-friendly cylinder that runs along one of its sides is housed a pico-projector. It'll mirror whatever content you have on screen and actually performs very respectably. It falls short of Lenovo's ambitious claim of delivering "an instant 50-inch theater experience," but is just good enough to be an intriguing extra for niche use instead of a pure gimmick. A set of stereo speakers and the first subwoofer built into a tablet augment the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro's credentials as an entertainmen hub. As Kutcher recited excitedly during last night's presentation, Lenovo's data shows that as much as 80 percent of tablet use occurs at home, so giving people more while sacrificing some portability is a trade the company is willing to make.
Trading away some portability for more of everything else
The Yoga Tablet 2 Pro will never be mistaken for an iPad Air, but it's also not as heavy or awkward as one might expect from a 13-inch tablet. An integrated kickstand allows it to rest at a variety of angles and includes a cutout that can be used to hang the entire device up on a wall. Unfortunately, with the power button on one side and the projector-activating switch on the other, the Tablet 2 Pro won't happily stand up in a vertical orientation. It has a bright, attractive display with decent viewing angles and a QHD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution that comes in a lot more useful at this size than on smaller devices like the LG G3. Alas, the projector is limited to a mediocre WVGA resolution, so you'll never get the highest image fidelity out of it, but it can still be a neat way to watch a movie with someone else. Plus, the speakers do indeed pack a bigger punch than you'd get from any other tablet. The best way to look at this tablet is as a portable, projectable TV that can also run the full gamut of Android apps.