Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 – Review 2021

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The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 ($679.99) is an unconventional tablet. It’s powerful enough to take on most tasks, but that’s not its primary concern. This is a tablet that’s built for entertainment, and it does that incredibly well. Its massive size makes it best for a kitchen counter or a nightstand, as it’s not something you’ll want to lug around on your daily commute; it’s bigger, heavier, and more expensive than the Apple iPad Air ($599), which remains our Editors’ Choice in this price range. But if you think of it as a small, battery-powered, touch-screen TV rather than a large, unwieldy tablet, there are a lot of ways that it makes perfect sense.


More Than a Handful

The Tab 13 is a new take on Lenovo’s widely popular Yoga Smart Tab. It sports the same general design language, but with a few remarkable differences.   

To start with, the Yoga Tab measures 11.5 by 8.3 inches (HW) and is nearly 1 inch thick with the stand extended. It weighs 1.83 pounds. With a display size that matches what you’ll find on most 13-inch laptops, it’s not a tablet you’ll want to pull out on the train or use to read a book. It’s simply too large and heavy to hold for long periods of time. If you’re dead-set on using it on the go, the Yoga Tab 13 has a curved edge that gently bows out from the bottom (or side, depending on how you hold it). The bulbous edge makes it easier to grasp and serves as a solid base in landscape mode.

The top of the tablet is bare. A USB-C charging port sits on the right side of the base, while a micro-HDMI port is on the left. A textured power button and volume rocker are on the right edge of the display. Four front-firing JBL speakers are housed in the base.

Back of tablet with stand engaged

The back of the Yoga Tab 13 has an Alcantera finish and large stand.

The back of the tablet is constructed out of aluminum and is partially covered with Alcantera fabric. There’s a stand attached to the bottom of the base that can be flipped out completely to hang the tablet from a wall. It’s not as elegant as the one you’ll find on the smaller Yoga Smart Tab, and the sheer size of the Yoga Tab 13 prohibits it from being as effective. If the slate is positioned at a 90-degree angle or greater, you run the risk of it toppling over.

The 13-inch LCD’s resolution comes in at 2,160 by 1,350, for a density of 196 pixels per inch. That trails the iPad Air (264ppi), but both displays are crisp and bright. Colors are vivid and dynamic, thanks to Dolby Vision support, and the Yoga Tab 13 is certified for Netflix HD streaming.


Keeps Up With the Competition

The Yoga Tab 13 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 mobile platform with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There’s 128GB storage on board, of which 110GB is available out of the box. There’s no microSD slot for additional storage, but the tablet has Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 onboard for quick file transfers to and from the cloud.

Right side of tablet with port in focus

The USB-C charging port is on the right side of the tablet.

This quick and responsive tablet can handle multiple tasks with ease, and you won’t have to worry about background caching. We tested it with dozens of apps running in the background and didn’t experience any hiccups.

Despite its size, the slate is also great for gaming. We tested it with Alto’s Odyssey and the power-hungry Genshin Impact. Both games loaded quickly, and we didn’t encounter any skipped frames. The Yoga Tab 13’s bulky size and unique design make it a spectacular option for playing games on Google Stadia or other streaming services with a wireless controller.

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On Geekbench 5, a synthetic benchmark that measures raw power, the Yoga Tab 13 scored 922 single-core (SC) and 3,012 multi-core (MC). That’s a tad slower than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (976 SC, 3,148 MC), and significantly trails the iPad Air’s scores (1,571 SC, 3,941 MC). That said, all three tablets offer lag-free performance and can handle the most demanding tasks.

Lenovo claims the Yoga Tab 13’s massive 10,000mAh battery provides up to 12 hours of video playback. In our rundown test, in which we stream HD video over Wi-Fi at full brightness, we managed to eke out 9 hours, 41 minutes. When we tested streaming at about 30–40% brightness, however, it easily passed the 12-hour mark. There’s a 30W charger in the box for fast charging.


Immersive Audio

As mentioned, the Yoga Tab 13 sports quad JBL speakers that provide immersive sound. The maximum volume is 104dB, and the speakers have a large soundstage. Timbre is lush, with well-defined mids and a rumble of bass.

Left side of tablet with micro-HDMI port in focus

There’s a micro-HDMI port on the left side of the Yoga Tab 13 if you want to use it as an external display.

An 8MP camera and time-of-flight (TOF) sensor sit on the top of the tablet. The camera works surprisingly well for video calls. The TOF sensor, on the other hand, is a miss. When we tested the Face Unlock feature, we found it worked about 50% of the time in good light and about 25% of the time in low light.

There’s no rear camera on the Yoga Tab 13. That’s a pretty big omission, especially if you use your tablet for scanning documents or quick reference snaps, and is another hint that this tablet is meant to sit still on a desk or table, not to be picked up and waved around like a phone.


Android 11 and Google Entertainment Space

The Yoga Tab 13 ships with Android 11. It’s a stock version of Android that doesn’t come with any preloaded apps or bloatware. You’ll find a few customizations in the Settings menu and the option to add your Lenovo ID for additional features.

This is the first tablet we’ve tested with Google Entertainment Space baked in. The feature, made specifically for tablets, lets you swipe right from the home screen and see a curated selection of books, movies, podcasts, and TV shows. Currently, Google has partnered with a few dozen streaming services. Simply sign in and Google creates a Netflix-like list of recommended streaming media. It’s an incredibly helpful addition to the Yoga Tab 13 that’s still in its infancy. We anticipate seeing additional providers in the future.  

Tablet with Google Entertainment Space on display

The Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is the first tablet we’ve tested with Google Entertainment Space baked in.

The Yoga Tab 13 also supports Lenovo’s Active Pen 2 with 4,096 levels of pressure. Thanks to the micro-HDMI port, you can connect the tablet to your computer or laptop to use with a pen while working in Adobe Creative Cloud or other editing apps. It also functions as a portable monitor.

Lenovo has a solid track record of providing security patches and feature updates, and it’s likely we’ll see at least one OS upgrade. We wish Lenovo were more forthcoming with its tablet upgrade roadmap and offered at least three OS upgrades like Samsung does.  


All-Around Entertainment

If you’re looking for a tablet that’s made for entertainment but can handle gaming and creative tasks as well, the Lenovo Yoga Tab 13 is a great option. It has plenty of power, an excellent display, and long battery life. However, it’s among the least portable tablets we’ve seen.

If you want versatility and performance in an Android tablet, consider the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 ($649.99). It has almost all the features of the Yoga Tab 13, is more compact, and has built-in support for Samsung’s Bookcover Keyboard. If your priorities are Android and a large screen, the Editors’ Choice–winning Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ ($849) is the best Android productivity tablet you can buy, and worth the extra cash for the S Pen, 5G connectivity, and a stunning display. If you want to stay under $700 and you’re not choosy about your OS, the iPad Air is our top pick. But if you’re short on space and want a small TV or a second laptop display that you can occasionally pack up and take with you, the Yoga Tab 13 will suit you well.

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