Lenovo Yoga Book
The finer, the weight, available on Windows or Android, the pen that works on Wacom slate as well as on paper with its ink mine, the backlit sensitive keyboard that clears with a touch
The Yoga Book is a 2 in 1 hybrid that is excellent with a stylus. But its keyboard prevents it from being a really practical laptop.
From the outset, Lenovo’s Yoga Book stands out for its original design. This portable PC and tablet hybrid incorporates a Wacom electronic slate that instantly turns into a keyboard. The result is an ultra portable terminal that will seduce the creative. But it is not as practical as Lenovo claims.
However, the Yoga Book could very well be an option as a second machine to travel, instead of a Chromebook , an iPad or a small low-end laptop. It will first determine the use, creative or recreational, and in the first case know what we want to work.
One of the most amazing features of this 10.1-inch hybrid (available on Windows 10 and Android) is its touch-sensitive keyboard. Where a physical keyboard should normally be, there is a button-free surface that alternates between an electronic slate and a backlit sensitive keyboard.
For the rest, the configuration is similar to that of an entry-level laptop, with an Intel Atom x5 processor, 64 GB of SSD and 4 GB of RAM. The Android version and the Windows 10 version. The configuration is identical, with some keyboard and software adjustments for the Android model, which is available in gold and gray metal while the Windows model is available in black carbon.
With only 0.9mm thick and 680 grams, the Yoga Book is hard to beat. You can slip it under your arm like a book. If Lenovo had designed the same machine with a real keyboard, it would certainly become our favorite laptop.
A Keyboard That Does Not Exist
There have already been many attempts to offer touch sensitive keyboard terminals, but they have all failed. Only smartphones do not fare too badly, but it is because we use only one or two inches to type texts in general quite short.
Acer had tried to integrate a virtual keyboard into a laptop. This was the Iconia 6120 released in 2011. It consisted of two 14-inch LCD touch screens whose lower part could display a keyboard. This model has never had a successor, which says a lot about the viability of the concept.
In the case of the Yoga Book, the keyboard, named Halo Keyboard, is a digital slate that reveals a backlit sensitive keyboard. The absence of movement of the keys requires typing while looking at his fingers. Some will not like it at all, but it’s also how many of us type. There are still two types of feedback when using the keyboard. The first is a small haptic effect on each hit that is useful to confirm that it was supported. The second effect is just horrible. This is a beep sound with each keystroke. If you hit fast, you get a sound almost continuous unpleasant.
Fortunately, you can disable one or both of these effects through the control panel that also adjusts the backlight intensity of the keyboard. Without the beeps and retaining the haptic effect, the keyboard becomes more pleasant and accurate, but this system is really not suitable for typing long texts.
Under the keyboard is a small touchpad that is wide but short. It is sometimes difficult to understand its limits if one does not look at one’s fingers. Scrolling with two fingers on long pages is surprisingly effective. On the other hand, you can not do type-move or type-move-select selection actions that are common on physical touch pads. If, for example, you want to highlight text in a document, you will need to maneuver with the right and left buttons on the keypad using both hands.
Ink And Paper
If the keyboard is really not the highlight of the Yoga Book, we were significantly more impressed by the included pen named Real Pen. It is used on the digital slate on which the Halo keyboard is displayed. It is used with different applications and works really well. The Yoga Book gives the impression of being really thought for the stylus, although some improvements would be welcome.
The pen is bulky, it is surmounted by a hood very difficult to remove. But why a hood on a stylus? By that we can change the mine to turn it into an ink pen. It works well with preinstalled Windows In Workspace applications as well as with OneNote. But that’s not all.
The Yoga Book comes with a paper notebook named Book Pad that is placed on the slate and is magnetically fixed. You can then write or draw on paper and get the result in digitized form. The input is very accurate and there is no latency. The stylus does not have a battery, it works thanks to the electromagnetic resonance technology incorporated in the slate. You can use the Real Pen with the Book Pad or use any sheet of paper placed on the slate. On the other hand, you can not use an ordinary pen.
Note only grievance towards this device is that there is no compartment to store the stylus which is rather bulky. So, carrying the Yoga Book and the stylus is not practical.
Consumption Vs Creation
Let’s come to the type of use: consumption of content or creation. Hybrids try to reconcile the best of both worlds, without always succeeding.
In terms of consumption, the Yoga Book was comfortable playing HD video on its 10.1-inch 1.920×1,200-pixel display. The texts of the websites and the e-books stand out as well. But the weight does not make a reading as comfortable as a Kindle.
In terms of creation, we have here one of the easiest hybrids to draw, take notes and sketch. This is partly due to the fact that everything works very intuitively and partly because the system does not require you to do everything with OneNote as is the case with some pen terminals on Windows.
On the other hand, if the content you create is mainly written, the Halo keyboard will not give you satisfaction. You will spend a lot of time looking at your fingers and tapping the back key to correct typos.
A Closed Book
The Yoga Book has a micro USB port for connectivity and charging, a headphone jack, a microSD card reader and a micro HDMI port. This means that it will be difficult for you to connect a USB key, a mouse or any other accessory without an adapter. We are a bit surprised not to see a USB-C port.
Despite its past reputation, the Atom processor here is doing well by offering enough power to enable smooth web browsing, HD video playback, and latency-free stylus use. Of course, you will not make it your everyday machine. But in any case, we never took the default Yoga Book.
Regarding autonomy, the low power processor is an asset, as well as the screen resolution close to full HD. During our endurance test (video playback loop), the Windows version held 8 hours while the Android version was only 5h57mn. Note that this specific test was not necessarily adapted to the Google OS.
The Yoga Book is pleasant for its atypical design, its impressive finesse and lightness as well as its functional richness. The performance and possibilities offered by its stylus are bluffing, especially if we use all the accessories. And despite a long list of unusual features, it remains intuitive to use.