November 01, 2013, 12:25 PM — If you're interested in getting actual work done on a tablet, the iPad Air may not be your best bet. Instead, check out the new Lenovo Yoga, which is better priced and in the long run may be better for productivity.
The Yoga Android tablets come in two sizes, one with an eight-inch screen, and one with a 10-inch. For productivity, you want the 10-incher. It costs $299, compared to $499 for the lowest-priced iPad Air. (The 8-inch Yoga costs $249.) True, the Yoga's specs don't match the iPad Air's when it comes to the screen and processor. But for getting work done, rather than watching videos or playing games, those specs don't matter much.
Why is the Yoga a productivity tablet? For one, it's got a Micro SD card for easily expandable storage, something the iPad Air doesn't. And with it, you'll be able to work for much longer on a single charge when getting work done -- 10 hours on the iPad versus 18 hours on the Yoga, according to manufacturer specs.
The Yoga also has a clever cylindrical grip that's also an integrated stand that you can use in two configurations, one for watching video, and another lower-profile one that's suited for typing. If you want the equivalent on an iPad, you'll have to pay for it. With the Yoga, it's there for free.
For an extra $70, you can get a keyboard and trackpad combo that doubles as a cover. True, you can buy keyboards for the iPad Air, but consider the cost: With the Yoga for $369 you get a completely outfitted productivity tablet. With the iPad Air, your price starts at $499 and goes up from there when you buy a keyboard and stand.
As for productivity software, the iPad Air comes with iWork, which in its most recent upgrade has been roundly criticized for being dumbed down compared to previous versions. Users have been flooding Apple's forums complaining about it, with some saying they'll switch to Microsoft Office.
You can, of course, get a number of free productivity suites such as QuickOffice or Polaris Office for iOS, but they're available for free for Android as well. The fact that Apple dumbed down iWork shows that the company is less interested in designing tablets for productivity than for entertainment.
The Yoga isn't the only tablets that is suited for productivity. For more, check out my blog post, 4 productivity-boosting tablet alternatives to the iPad Air.