Lenovo Legion Y700 Review: Quick Overview
- It’s the best 8-inch Android tablet on the market today. The only and in some cases better alternative is the iPad Mini.
- The biggest highlight is its high-resolution 8.8-inch display which is very bright and supports up to 144Hz.
- I like that in addition to a powerful chipset, we also get lots of RAM and storage options, as well as two USB C ports.
- Biggest drawback is that it’s available in China only. But you can import it.
- The Legion Tab Y700 2023 is a great choice if you’re looking for an 8-inch gaming tablet with an amazing display. But you have to be willing to import it. Everyone else is better of with an iPad Mini.
With the iPad Mini 6, Apple finally released an updated version of its smallest tablet that has lots of new features. We get a completely new design, much more processing power, Apple Pencil 2 support, as well as a bit bigger screen. The display does have a huge downside, however. Still, is it a good buy at around 500 US Dollars? That’s what you’ll learn in this Apple iPad Mini 6 review.
The Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 Edition is by far the best 8-inch Android tablet on the market, in some respects even better than the iPad Mini. It has a 144 Hz display, two USB C ports, very powerful hardware, and an optional stylus. However, it’s not available internationally, but has to be imported from China. Is that worth it? That’s what you’ll learn in this Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 review.
A few words about pricing. I imported it from China for 439 Dollars excluding shipping and it worked without any problems. However, you always have to be aware that you are on your own in case of warranty or support issues with such an import. There can be positive surprises, of course, but when I import something from China, I always assume that I am on my own in such cases. By the way, it’s available in China directly for around 300 Dollars, so if you’re planning a trip there anyway, it’s worth buying it locally.
Design & Build Quality
The Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 is almost completely made of aluminum and feels well built. While the transition from the display to the body is not quite as elegant as on premium devices from Apple and Samsung, I think that’s okay in this price range. At 7.6mm, it’s quite thin and at the same time quite light at 348g.
I think it’s a shame that a fingerprint reader is missing and there is no headphone jack either. However, the Legion Tablet not only has a microSD card slot for memory expansion, but also two USB C 3.1 Gen 2 ports. That’s right, not just one USB C port, but two. You can also connect an external monitor but to the lower one only. But yes, external monitors are supported and I will tell you more about that later.
There is an 8-megapixel front-facing camera that is fine for video chats, but it’s certainly not the best of the best. The same applies to the 13-megapixel main camera on the back. Pictures look fine, but there is a lot of room for improvement. In addition, we get a 2-megapixel macro camera on the back, which works, but I don’t think you’ll need it much on a tablet. Maybe to scan small business cards.
Unfortunately, there is neither an earpiece, nor a version with LTE and phone capabilities. So, it can’t replace a smartphone, which I think 8-inch tablets should be able to do. It’s small enough for many jacket pockets and also for trouser back pockets.
Display & Speakers
The Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 has an 8.8-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. So, the resolution is higher than on all other current 8-inch tablets and texts and icons look sharp. In general, the display is a highlight of this tablet, because not only are viewing angles and contrast great, but it’s also very bright at 500 nits, so you can definitely use it outdoors.
It’s really exciting that the display supports up to 144Hz, so animations and some games can look particularly smooth. It also eliminates any jelly effect, which the iPad Mini struggles with. You can also select 120Hz and 60Hz in the settings. The latter is good if you want to have the longest possible battery life.
I also like the fact that the tablet has a Widevine level of L1, so you can watch Netflix and other streaming providers with HD resolution. That is not possible with most imports from China.
There are two speakers on the sides, which are quite loud for an 8-inch device and even have a surprisingly strong bass. The bass is noticeably stronger than on other 8-inch devices that I have tested recently. So, it’s quite a good entertainment tablet.
Lenovo Tab Pen Plus: An Active Pen
On the Legion Tab Y700 2023, you can write with an active pen called Lenovo Tab Pen Plus. This is a stylus that is also available in the US and Europe, because it’s exactly the same one that works with the Lenovo Tab P12. So, you don’t have to import the pen from China.
The Lenovo Tab Pen Plus is made of plastic, but it is quite comfortable to hold. It supports over 4000 levels of pressure sensitivity, has a button on the side, and is charged using USB C and connected to the tablet via Bluetooth.
I wrote some handwritten notes with the pen myself and also gave an artist the Y700 with pen and the iPad Mini with Apple Pencil 2 to try out. Interestingly, the pens behave quite similarly when used in the same good app – in this case Sketchbook. So, just like the Tab P12, the pen works pretty well with the Y700 and is precise.
However, it also depends a lot on which app you use the pen with. For example, the preloaded notes app is not good and the pen can lag a bit.
Lenovo has included a few software features that allow you to quickly create a new note or annotate screenshots. And that also works. But in the end, the software features from Samsung and Apple are a good deal better – and especially for iPadOS, there are many more apps that are optimized for pens.
If you are looking for an 8-inch tablet with a really good pen, I would rather recommend the iPad Mini. With the Lenovo Y700, the stylus is a cool additional feature, but I wouldn’t choose it mainly for that.
Hardware & Performance
The Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor along with 12GB or 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of internal storage. I love that both storage options are so large. My version is the cheapest with 12GB and 256GB.
You can see in my Geekbench 5 benchmark comparison that the Legion Tab Y700 2023 is more powerful than most Android tablets. It’s even snappier than the much more expensive Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 – but the new Galaxy Tab S9 series is more powerful. The iPad Mini, which is the only serious competitor, is also faster.
The 3D Mark Wild Life test shows exactly the same. This small Lenovo tablet is stronger than almost all other Android devices. But the S9 and iPad Mini are also snappier in this graphics benchmark.
Y700 Gaming Test
In fact, this is exactly what my real-world gaming test confirms. In Genshin Impact, I was able to select very high graphics settings, most on “Very High” or “High”, and the frame rate on 60FPS. And with these settings, the game runs very smoothly. Almost as on the iPad Mini. However, there is a difference in a direct comparison. On the Apple tablet, you can set the Visual Effects to “Very High”, while on the Y700 it only goes to “High”.
And that is exactly what is reflected in the real graphics quality. On the iPad Mini, lighting effects look better and the graphics are even a bit more detailed. Details are not quite as sharp on the Lenovo.
Sure, that is critique on a high level, because overall, Genshin Impact runs great and looks good. But Apple’s chip is not only stronger in benchmarks.
Other games run great as well. I played PUBG Mobile and was able to set the graphics to UltraHD, which is currently the highest on Android. And I also played Diablo very nicely with high graphics settings and the game runs smoothly and looks nice.
I’ve also played Shadow Slayer, also with the highest graphics settings, and it runs very smooth. I played that in between while working in PC mode – with external monitor and keyboard and it works great. I’ll get to the desktop mode later. You can open almost all games in desktop mode, but many like Genshin Impact don’t support keyboard control.
Another game I tried is Fortnite. Here, I first set the graphics to “Epic”, the frame rate to 60FPS and the 3D resolution to 100%. However, then it actually stuttered every now and then. It ran quite well once I set the 3D resolution to 75%. The real frame rate then settled at 48 FPS, so it runs quite smoothly.
Software: Android 13 in English
The Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023 runs Android 13 out of the box and has the ZUI on it, which international Lenovo tablets don’t have. So, the interface looks a bit different than what we are used to from other Lenovo devices. However, the customizations are not too heavy and ultimately, it’s just normal Android.
Well, not quite as normal. It’s a version for the Chinese market and when you start the tablet for the first time, you have to select English as the language. You can get to the right menus with the Google translator. Other European languages and many other Asian languages cannot be selected as the system language with the Chinese ROM, which is a bit of a shame. However, the keyboards can be set to almost all languages.
Lenovo is not a front-runner in updates anyway, but most international tablets get one or two major version updates. I don’t know what the situation is like with the Y700. It has already received smaller updates since I got it, so there will be at least a few.
The Google Play Store and other Google apps like Chrome, YouTube and Gmail are missing out of the box. However, you can easily install them yourself by simply downloading the corresponding APKs. I have uninstalled the Chinese apps as far as possible. And once the Play Store is installed, it’s just like any other Android tablet. I installed all games and other apps like Office, Lightroom and so on as usual using the Play Store.
PC Mode: A Desktop Mode?
The software on the Tab Y700 is basically normal Android including the dock and taskbar. You can open two apps directly next to each other and so on. However, Lenovo has included a few more additional features besides the stylus features, and the most exciting is the PC Mode. This is a kind of desktop mode.
It’s especially exciting when you connect an external monitor, mouse and keyboard. This works well using Bluetooth and USB C. If you then activate PC Mode, you can work on your large screen just like on a desktop PC running Android. Apps can be opened in freely movable windows, there is a desktop, and a task bar.
Among other things, I wrote this test this way and it actually works surprisingly well. The monitor was connected via USB C and the mouse and keyboard via Bluetooth. Then Chrome and Microsoft Office were open, just like on my PC, and YouTube was running in the background. The processor performance is definitely good enough for this together with the large memory.
However, it’s not quite the same as with my laptop. First of all, I think it’s a pity that the screen is only mirrored and not expanded. It’s also a pity that there are no display settings – the font is too big and not the entire screen is used, there are black borders on the sides. I also encountered bugs from time to time.
So, the tablet won’t replace my laptop forever, but I think no Android tablet can. Nevertheless, the PC Mode is a cool feature that can be useful every now and then.
By the way: You cannot expand the external screen in PC mode, but you can with normal Android. You can then, for instance, open YouTube on the tablet and Chrome on the screen.
In my battery test, the Lenovo Legion Y700 2023 achieved a runtime of 6 hours and 30 minutes. For this, I always run an HD YouTube video at maximum brightness in an endless loop. These 6.5 hours look short, but they are actually not, because the display was set to 144Hz and it’s brighter than other 8-inch tablets. With reduced brightness and 60 Hz, 9 hours are easily possible.
Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 Review: My Conclusion
So, can I recommend the Lenovo Legion Tab Y700 2023? Yes, I think it’s a great tablet. We get a bright and high-resolution 8.8-inch display with 144Hz, powerful hardware with plenty of memory, and with this chip you can easily play the latest games with high graphics settings. There are also two USB C ports, the PC mode works well, and the optional stylus, while not perfect, also works good.
I think it’s a shame that there is no fingerprint reader and no LTE version. But that is criticism on a very high level, because it’s cheaper than the iPad Mini, which is the only direct competitor. That’s why I think it’s really unfortunate that Lenovo doesn’t bring it to most countries officially. It’s a real sad.
Is it worth it importing the Legion Tab from China? If you are looking for an 8-inch premium tablet with Android and you are aware that you have to import it from China, then yes. Because there is no other high-quality 8-inch premium tablet with Android, so you have no other choice. And you’ve seen it, it does really well in most respects.
The only real alternative is the Apple iPad Mini. Here, we only get a 60Hz display with Jelly Effect and only one USB C port, but a fingerprint reader and actually better gaming performance. Above all, excellent support, which Apple is really good at, and better than an imported device anyway.
- Premium build
- Bright 144hz display
- Fast processor
- Large storage options
- Two USB C ports
- Optional pen
- Up-to-date software
- PC Mode
- Not available internationally
- No fingerprint scanner
- English & Chinese languages supported only
- No Google Apps out of the box
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