Testing the Lenovo Yoga Pro 2 Projector
Recently, Lenovo announced that they were releasing a new tablet with a built in pico-projector, so naturally we were intrigued. Claiming “design intervention” from Ashton Kutcher (Steve Jobs) the tablet boasts some pretty gaudy specs and a very flexible design (hence, its name). There are a number of existing reviews of the tablet, (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C), so we aren’t going to dive too deep into reviewing the device. We did, however, get to test it out against a couple of our favorite pico projectors, the AAXA Technologies P3-X and the AAXA Technologies P300. Admittedly, the tablet’s projector only clocks in at about 50 lumens, so a comparison against something like the P300 isn’t entirely fair, but it was fun, so we did it anyways.
The Yoga Pro 2’s projector has some pretty decent numbers for being housed in the small battery case at the bottom of the tablet. Lenovo did a fantastic job of making the tablet look and feel like a complete unit, fitting the projector into a snug, unassuming corner of the device. It turns on quickly, and seems to be a natural fit with the design of the tablet. The projector itself is an approximately 50 lumen LED with a sliding focus tab underneath it. The picture only projects one way, which requires the tablet to be resting on it’s side with its kickstand in support. Focusing the picture is pretty tough, and the final result never really looked too sharp and there was noticeable blur when conducting most activities. It runs surprisingly quiet and cool, which is really a testament to how far the technology has come in the past few years. Additionally, the massive battery powering the tablet means that the tablet can run in projector mode for at least 4-5 hours, which puts it well ahead of many similar projectors at the moment. Overall, we were pleased with the innovative approach Lenovo is taking (even though its not the first to do so), and expect to see similar features from their competitors.
TEST # 1
Our first test pitted the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Tablet against the AAXA P3-X pico projector. With about 70 lumens, native WVGA (720p) resolution, the ability to project ~80″ image, and a two hour battery, the P3-X is a really nice little projector in an extremely portable size.
As you can see from the video, the two devices both performed rather well. The contrast on the P3-X seemed to be a little high, which distorted the color of the video, but it was considerably sharper and brighter. The color of the Yoga Tablet was by far its best feature, and it had a little more of a “true color” look to it on the wall. Also, the stability of the tablet, afforded by its “kickstand” made it a little easier to work with than the small tripod we set up with the P3-X. However, in the end, the P3-X outperformed the tablet, as it should, since it is a machine solely designed for the purpose of projecting an image, while with the tablet, its just a perk.
TEST # 2
In our second test, we decided to up the ante a little bit and pit the Lenovo Tablet against a higher powered pico projector, the AAXA Technologies P300, just to give people an idea of what is possible from a projector with a relatively similar price point. The point being, if the projector on the tablet is the selling point, there are alternatives in the market which can provide a far superior performance for a cheaper price.
Surprisingly, despite being next to the vastly brighter P300, the Yoga 2 Tablet projector held it’s own. However, the differences in resolution do matter, and the P300 projects at a healthy 1280×800 while the Yoga tablet shuffles along at ~854×480. The brightness was pretty apparent as well, my old Nikon DSLR wasn’t quite able to meter for the contrast in brightness, which makes the P300 seem somewhat distorted in the video, it did not appear that way in person. You can really see the difference when the light is on at the beginning of the video, the tablet’s projection fades dramatically while the P300’s remains rather visible.
I think it goes to show that the tablet projector is going to be a thing in the future, particularly as the prices for the LED optical engines become cheaper. If you don’t have a tablet and you do have a disposable $500, the Lenovo tablet could certainly seem like a buy. However, if you are looking to build a small home theater, or have portable projection capabilities, a dedicated pico projector would probably give you the most flexibility and bang for your buck.