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Lenovo Yoga Book Review - Novelty or Revolutionary Device?

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Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Overview

If you look at the current 2-in-1 notebook market, it is clear that the single greatest influence is the Lenovo Yoga. Despite initial efforts to differentiate convertible Notebook-tablet designs, newly released machines such as the HP Spectre x360 series and the Dell XPS 13" 2-in-1 make it clear that the 360-degree "Yoga-style" hinge is the preferred method.

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Today, we are looking at a unique application on the 360-degree hinge, the Lenovo Yoga Book. Will this new take on the 2-in-1 concept be so influential?

The Lenovo Yoga Book is 10.1" tablet that aims to find a unique way to implement a stylus on a modern touch device. The device itself is a super thin clamshell-style design, featuring an LCD on one side of the device, and a large touch-sensitive area on the opposing side.

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This large touch area serves two purposes. Primarily, it acts as a surface for the included stylus that Lenovo is calling the Real Pen. Using the Real Pen, users can do thing such as sketch in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator or takes notes in an application such as Microsoft OneNote.

The Real Pen has more tricks up its sleeve than just a normal stylus. It can be converted from a pen with a Stylus tip on it to a full ballpoint pen. When paired with the "Create Pad" included with the Yoga Book, you can write on top of a piece of actual paper using the ballpoint pen, and still have the device pick up on what you are drawing.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Lenovo Yoga Book.

While an artist working on an intensive sketch likely wouldn't want to keep switching out the physical paper as they continued to draw, the ability to use a tangible piece of paper for stylus input is a benefit for note taking.

If you were taking notes in class or a meeting, you would be able to use a standard piece of paper (you don't need to use Lenovo's special notebook, although it's the perfect size) on top of the touch area of the Yoga Book, and your notes will be transcribed into whatever application you are using.

I think the ability to use see your drawing can help users bridge the gap between something like a Microsoft Surface Pro where the entire screen is the digitizer for the stylus, as opposed to the traditional tablets where you are relying on the coordination of your hand gliding across a separate device from your display.

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The other function of the touch area on the Yoga Book adds more notebook-like functionality to the tablet. The touch area can serve as a virtual keyboard and mouse input device. When you put it into this mode, you'll find the outline of a standard QWERTY keyboard overlayed, as well as a small notebook-style touchpad.

As you might expect, using the Yoga Book in this mode isn't an ideal input method. Since you are just typing on a large capacitive touch area the keyboard, as well as the mouse buttons have zero travel (you can however, enable a haptic-style vibration when you press a button.) While I managed to get used to the keyboard after a while, I think the mouse was the bigger deal breaker. Trying to navigate Windows with actions such as clicking and dragging were almost impossible with a mouse button that has zero feedback. 

It's impressive to have any sort of keyboard and mouse in such a thin device, but it's really a last resort in case you have to do some more intensive work than just the touch screen will allow, rather than a device you would look forward to doing work on.


March 21, 2017 | 12:29 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Since we can write on the actual screen this is pointless.

March 21, 2017 | 02:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Exactly.

Ironic that the reason you use to deem this niche product "pointless", is the EXACT "point" of its existence altogether.

It's for users that, for whatever reason, aren't not satisfied with the more popular digitizer/stylus input method.

March 22, 2017 | 02:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

What I need is seamless pen support in OS (or Windows?) not going backwards.

March 21, 2017 | 04:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Looks pointless to me too, needs the chicklet keyboard back.

March 22, 2017 | 06:44 AM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

As someone who bought the yogabook week one (After seeing it at IFA when it was announced). I do love mine, but it took a long time, at least 2 months before i came reliant on it.

As a university student, handwritten notes synced to OneNote is awesome, the fact that I can send off notes to classmates for projects etc.

The keyboard took me the longest to get used to, literally months of daily usage. In the end I turned the sounds and vibrations off and learnt roughly where it all went. Ivstill isn't perfect, as a right pinky shift user, I usually hit # instead of shift, ending in loads of unintended hashtagging on twitter.

It's not perfect, the I/O is pitiful, it takes forever to charge, it doesnt last anywhere near hte 12 hours that LEnovo Claim and the screen does not look like 400 nits in anyway shape or form.

Though i've gotten very used to a sub 1cm roughly 700g laptop, and I dont really want to trade it in.

March 22, 2017 | 06:45 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Thanks for your insight, I have been eyeing this Yogabook since it was announced as well. Playing with the Android one at Walmart, it seems nice but i just dont know about the keyboard :-(.

March 23, 2017 | 09:12 AM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

I'd avoid the Android one a all costs, it's just not worth the $50 savings.

March 28, 2017 | 11:53 AM - Posted by rndness (not verified)

I have been using the Android version of this device for many months now.

The noise and vibrations for the key press are incredibly annoying an frustrating.

I think 95% of people will have a hard time with the keyboard. Its important to not rest you fingers on the home keys. This is best done when you wrists are off the table. I didn't have a huge learning curve because I was taught to touch type by a real school teacher who used to hit my wrist with a wooden ruler when my wrist wasn't parallel with the keyboard.

For the Android version, the CPU is quite slow. My cellphone has benchmark numbers that were twice as fast. The screen resolution is quite low for a tablet. I really hate holding it in portrait mode because its heavy and the hinge is annoying because it digs in to your palm.

On the Android side of the world, the only other device similar to it is the Pixel C. That costs more and weighs more. If Nougat actually had better support for multiple windows then I would have bought that.

Although I could easily imagine having huge problems with right clicking with the track pad in the Windows version of this device, I think that problem can be solved by using a Bluetooth mouse. Frankly, I always us a mouse with my Yoga Book when working on a table. It just seems a nicer way to interact.