The whole point of a tablet device is to minimise the number of wires you need ever connect to it. While WiFi/WWAN are the key connectivity mechanisms for a tablet, there are other services which I also be useful, and I’m sure would be crucial for some users.
I’ve found Bluetooth (BT) useful for connecting keyboards, mice and headsets to laptops, and also for accessing my (non-smart) phone. I’m not really sure that I will have a lot of use for these devices with a touch platform like a tablet, but since I have some BT kit I thought I’d see how the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro would handle them.
I started out with a Microsoft BT keyboard. This is a desktop style keyboard and probably the sort of thing that I’d choose to use with a tablet device, but it’s what I could easily find.
The tablet was able see the BT keyboard and offered it on a pick list of BT devices within range. When I selected the keyboard on the list it prompted me for a pairing code to enter on the keyboard. After entering the code, the keyboard appeared on the paired devices list in Settings.
Emboldened by this initial success, I attempted to add a Logitech BT mouse as well. However, no matter what I tried in terms of BT settings, the tablet would not recognise that there was a BT mouse to pair with. My first thought that the mouse may have a fault, but I had no trouble at all establishing a BT connection from it with my ThinkPad X220.
I tried un-pairing the BT keyboard but that made no difference. In desperation, I pulled the batteries out of the keyboard, the powered the tablet off/on.
This time I had no trouble pairing with the BT mouse, but when I put the batteries back in the keyboard, the tablet just didn’t see it as an available BT device. I found that if the tablet could see a device, it could be paired it in addition to any existing paired devices - so the problem was that it would see with the keyboard or the mouse, but not both simultaneously.
So while the mouse and the keyboard each worked satisfactorily when they were connected via BT, but they would not co-exist!
I have a Netgear PTV2000 WiDi device connected to our Sony TV, and it works well with both my ThinkPad X1CT and ThinkPad X220 laptops. I had seen a Wireless display on the Display option in Settings, which when selected showed the PTV2000 and our neighbour’s (recent) Sony Bravia TV as nearby devices.
I selected the PTV2000 and was invited to enter the PIN displayed on the TV screen.
Entering the correct PIN and selecting Accept resulted in the tablet displaying a No nearby devices were found message for a while, them detecting the PTV200 again. Despite numerous attempts, no WiDi connection was ever established, though clearly the PTV2000 could see the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro, as it would display the requested PIN.
Again, to make sure there wasn’t a problem with the PTV2000, I opened up a WiDi connection from Windows 8.1 on my ThinkPad X1CT…..
… which worked immediately. Some web searching turned up several piece of commentary about interoperability issues with various generations of WiDi kit, so perhaps my PTV2000 was just too old to work with the tablet?!? This failure was disappointing, as WiDi is something that we would use,
We have two printers in the house, a HP LaserJet 4000 and a HP PhotoSmart 2610 MFD. Both are networked devices connected to the wired Ethernet part of the LAN, and have static IP addresses. I was hopeful there would be some way of connecting to them for printing from the tablet.
The default for connecting to a printer from Android 4.4.2 appears to be via Google Cloud Print. I had a look into this, and while there were a range of options, there didn’t appear to be any which suited a simple IP connection to a network printer (which works well with Windows).
Searching on the web turned up reference to an HP plug in for Android that might do what I needed. I found the free HP Print Service Plugin in the Play Store and installed it.
Running that within Settings….
… found the Photosmart 2600 but not the LaserJet 4000
I suspect that the LaserJet is just too old to be compatible with the HP Plugin – oh well! At least I was able to successfully print to Photosmart 2600.
A bit more searching in the Play Store turned up PrinterShare Mobile Print. This is available in a free demo version that you can use to determine whether it is possible to establish a connection to your target printer and print a test page. Once you have determined that it will work for you, there is a paid key (~$15) to unlock the full facilities of the program.
I installed the demo, and it was able to print a test page on both the Laser Jet and the Photosmart, so I know there is a solution for me, but right now the free HP Plug in will be enough.
Watching a Video Stream
The display on the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro is a great high resolution IPS type which is a pleasure to view. Today, I kicked-back and watched an episode of Salamader, an excellent drama series from Belgium, that was streamed over the Internet from SBS On Demand. The large screen is perfect for a squint free viewing experience, so It set it up on the table in front of me, adjusted the screen angle, plugged in the JBL ear-bud head phones and selected full screen play from the SBS web sit.
t was great, definitely the best tablet viewing experience I have ever had.
I’ve mostly been holding the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro in my hand but have recently started to use the kick stand for some tasks. The stand is good for anything larger than about a 45 degree angle…..
,…. but on anything less than that it will not support much pressure on the screen, such as when typing on the soft keys, before slowly sinking, then snapping into a retracted position. This means you need to prop one edge up on something solid if you want the screen at a good typing angle – not the end of the earth by any means but with a built in kick stand it seems there has been a missed opportunity for locking it at a low angle for typing (etc). I use my iThing in that mode a lot, through folding the Smart Cover, often enough to find it quite useful.
More Coming to Terms With Android
Jonas Hendrickx has written a comparison of the Yoga Tablet 10 and Yoga Tablet 2 10, which has a lot of useful Android information, including a video where Jonas shows the two tablets next to each other. I learned what the Lenovo Smart Switch actually does, and why Security HD is likely to be very useful, from reading the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 10" (Android) Review
Another thing I saw was that even though Yoga Tablet 10 and Yoga Tablet 2 10 were both running Android 4.4.2, the appearance of various functions and widgets was different, sometimes substantially so, between the two tablets. This is a very useful data point for me in terms of decoding information about Android that I have come across on the web. It helps explain why I’ve had trouble harmonising the various opinions and points of view on Android that I have encountered.
It seems every vendor sets their Android environments up somewhat differently, and may change their set up between model releases. While I am used to seeing some vendor variation in Windows implementations, that is relatively small compared to what I am coming to understand is normal in Android environments. IOS is a completely walled garden environment so there no similar issue in that space.
I’m not sure what I will be covering next time, so you’ll have to wait and see
Read all about BillBolton's first foray into Android in his reports here , where he embarked on his adventures on a Yoga gifted through the Advocate Program.