lenovo-yoga-book--04Achieving efficient handwriting on a smartphone or tablet has been a dream of innovation teams around the world for decades, and Lenovo may have mastered it with its new Yoga Book.

The lightweight and ultra-thin Yoga Book is a 2-in-1 tablet that opens just like a book. On one side, you have the FHD 10.1-inch touch display and on the other side, there’s the virtual keyboard, dubbed the Halo Keyboard by Lenovo. With this super innovative computing machine, Lenovo re-invented the wheel for digital handwriting on a tablet, and here’s why:

The panel that houses the Halo Keyboard switches into the Create Pad, which allows users to take notes directly on its surface using the Real Pen. The tip of the Real Pen can be replaced by a regular ball point tip, to take notes on a regular piece of paper placed on top of the Create Pad! Everything written is recorded digitally (in real time) in the Yoga Book Tablet. You no longer have to choose between digital notes and the feel of writing on paper.

The Yoga Book Android version will be available in gold champagne and gunmetal grey in October 2016 for $499, and the Windows version, only available in black will cost $549.

Quick Specs

Let’s have a good look at the specs to have an idea of what’s inside and get these out of the way. This is more or less a mid to high-end tiers CPU with a decent GPU, but neither claims to be “the best” in their category, but the specs are largely enough for the use case Lenovo is pitching.

  • 10.1” FHD (1920×1080) IPS Display. 400 NITs touch screen
  • Intel Atom X5-Z8550 CPU (2.4 GHz, 2MB cache)
  • Intel HD 400 GPU
  • 64GB internal storage + MicroSD (128GB max)
  • 2MP Front camera + 8 MP main camera
  • 8500 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 6.0.1 / Windows 10 Home
  • Dolby Atmos sound
  • Micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio connectors
  • Optional 4G LTE broadband (not in the USA), WiFi AC, BT 4.0
  • 256.6×170.8×0.96mm, 690g
  • $499 Android, $549.99 Windows 10

Product Design

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Made of magnesium-alloy and aluminum, the build quality of the Yoga Book is quite impressive, and the device looks robust despite its super-light and thin body. Weighing only 690g, the 2-in-1 tablet is only 9.6 mm thick when closed and 5.5 mm when open. It measures 4.05 mm at its slimmest edge.

According to Lenovo, the Yoga famous “watchband-style” hinge has been designed to be smaller and features a custom 3-axis hinge with 130 different mechanical pieces made of five different materials. It is the essential feature that allowed Lenovo’s laptops to be very slim and 360-degrees swivel capable at the same time. The same concept is used to great effect here.

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lenovo-yoga-book-review_022In closed form, the Lenovo Yoga Book has the weight, width, and height of a regular 10.1” tablet. However, it is thicker than recent Android tablets because of the folding keyboard. However, it still has a definite (mobile) tablet feel and not a 2-in-1 laptop.

The Power and Volume controls are on the right side of the keyboard. It works, but I think that both would have been better if placed on the right side of the display, because in laptop mode, the table surface gets in the way when you want to use these buttons. No big deal, but it would be extra nice to make those more accessible.

As you can see in the photos, the Yoga Book is slightly bigger than the iPad Air 2. I’m using the Air as a reference because many people have seen one, and know how it feels to hold it. Either half of the Yoga Book is thinner than the Air, and it is the most impressive clamshell lightweight computer that I have seen to date. If you try adding a keyboard to the iPad Air 2, the YOGA Book wins hands downs when it comes to industrial design and price point ($499, Android).

Multimode

Like every other YOGA devices, the YOGA Book does support “multi-mode,” which means that it can be positioned in different ways to best fit your current usage. MultiMode was created by Lenovo then copied by other OEMs because it works well. Positions range from clamshell laptop to multimedia viewing (no visible keyboard) to tablet mode (keyboard folded 360 degrees).

Ports and extensions

Because it is essentially a mobile tablet design, the Lenovo YOGA Book does not have a lot of ports, but it does have more than most of its peers. First, it’s possible to extend the storage by an additional 128GB for a very low cost, which is great when compared to the iPad and other storage-locked products.

"SEE HOW POWERFUL THIS DEVICE COULD BE FOR POWERPOINT"There’s also a mini-HDMI port in case you want to connect the YOGA Book to a projector, or display. I haven’t done this myself, but when used in conjunction with PowerPoint for Android, you can see how powerful this device could be for PowerPoint.

Finally, the micro-USB port is there for charging and data transfers. Of course, it would have been nice to get a USB-C which can also handle monitor and other types of connectivity (a dock?), but the current setup works very well and doesn’t get in the way. Also, micro-USB is a little thinner than USB-C, so I wonder if this has something to do with the design and how Lenovo will handle this in 2017.

Filed in Computers >Reviews >Tablets. Read more about Android, Editorspick, Laptops, Lenovo and Yoga Book.

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