Lenovo Yogabook Review
So every now and then a manufacturer steps up and makes something completely different to the norm. Lenovo has never been shy of this, often coming up with innovations that can set a trend among laptop makers. They pretty much pioneered the 2 in 1 design with their Yoga range proving very popular with consumers, which led to many other manufacturers catching up. Now most manufacturers have 2 in 1 devices and Lenovo continues to innovate with their “watchstrap” hinge.
That said they also came up with the Yoga tablet, an unusual shaped tablet sporting many features and stand out looks. This however didn’t catch on as much and no other manufacturer bothered to adopt this design due to lack of interest.
The YogaBook when I first saw it, felt like a game changer. It had the ooh factor and intrigue with its “halo” keyboard and super thin design. It was great to see it came with a pen and supported almost graphics tablet like support when you switch over into pen mode. The “watchstrap” hinge also allows it to fold back into a tablet and unlike other 2 in 1 devices, since there is no physical keyboard, it feels much more comfortable, thinner (4.05 mm) and lighter (690 g) in one hand working great in portrait mode. This 2 in 1 comes in 2 OS forms, Windows and Android, with a hint at a possible Chrome OS version too. The version is used to make this review was the Windows flavour.
Typing on the halo keyboard is very strange to people who are used to a physical keyboard. That said if you are used to typing on a tablet screen keyboard, you will feel much more at home. This is probably why this design wasn’t attempted years earlier, since it has taken some time for people to get used to the idea of typing on a virtual keyboard, that this design now makes more sense. It would however, if the haptic feedback provided was sharp, strong and consistent. It is not. You can type quite confidently on the keyboard, but every so often the vibration feedback either skips a beat or has a moments delay. This can cause your brain to hesitate and for you to check if you made the keystroke. A software fix may sort this but even then, this keyboard is not for everyone.
When you switch into pen mode you can take real advantage of the key-less base. Draw anywhere on the base and you get very fluent reactions. There are a few drawing apps available for Windows or Android that work really well with this, and the results in drawing are quite impressive. The only thing to note with this is you are using an Atom processor, so advanced illustration programs probably won’t function very well and layer lovers will undoubtedly come across lagging issues as a drawings complexity increases.
Then there’s the “pen-on-screen” mode that Lenovo doesn’t mention, but I tried anyway, with mixed results. I found I could draw directly on the screen using say MS Edge drawing tool, but opening up a drawing app and the pen would not be recognized. Moving the pen back to the base, and it would work again. I’m assuming it’s not supposed to work in this mode, but if it did it would add more versatility to artists who like to draw on screen as apposed to “Wacom” style.
Classic Pen and Paper
You not only get the digital tablet mode, but if you prefer, you also get ink nibs and a paper pad. This isn’t just to make notes on the side, but actually converts anything you draw into a digital version on the screen. This is ideal for those artists who still like to draw on paper.
I take my hat off for Lenovo’s attempt at a beautiful design and features. Its just a shame that the processor can’t handle the top end illustration packages that most artists, this device would appeal to, want to use. The keyboard is fine for occasional typing, just like any tablet is, but for longer sessions, which is usually what a laptop would be used for, then the virtual keys and just not quite there.
Lenovo Yogabook Review
- Innovative head turning design
- Wacom users dream toy
- Super thin and light for a 2 in 1
- Available in Windows and Android form
- Atom processor can lack power for some drawing apps
- Virtual keyboard isn't for everybody