- Beautiful design
- Innovative Halo keyboard
- Digitizer pad for drawing
- AnyPen technology for drawing on screen
- Expandable storage
- Stereo sound with Dolby Atmos
- Hinge allows for use in several positions
- Good battery life
- Thicker than traditional tablets
- Heavy compared to other tablets
- 1080p instead of QHD
- Keyboard is not the easiest to use
The Lenovo Yoga Book is the most exciting tablet to come out this year. I didn’t say it’s the best tablet or perfect, but it is exciting. That’s because it’s more of an Android laptop than a tablet. Offering you some features both hardware and software that you won’t find from any other brand.
The Yoga Book is made with a magnesium alloy and not only looks premium but feels very solid and high end. The watchband hinge is an impressive piece of engineering. Allowing the Yoga Book to be used in several different positions. It even folds over onto itself and disables the keyboard, so you can use it as a traditional tablet.
When folded over and used as a tablet the Yoga Book isn’t the thinnest nor is it the lightest at 1.5lbs. However most tablets also don’t pack in a keyboard and digitizer either. On the right side you’ll find the power button, speaker, volume rocker, and headphone jack.
The left side houses the second speaker, HDMI out, microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB cards, and micro USB charging port. The Yoga Book provides you with a lot of options here. If I had one complaint it would be that Lenovo used micro USB instead of USB-C.
The futuristic Halo keyboard is certainly what sets the Yoga Book apart from other tablets or 2 in 1 computers. There are no physical keys, instead they just light up on a flat surface and look amazing. The Halo keyboard reminds me of something we’d see in Tron or Scifi movies where they use buttonless keyboards. Enough about how cool it is though. How well does it actually work?
Well here’s the thing without any real tactile feel of the keys it is a bit awkward to type on. Sure it vibrates and can give you sound for some feedback. However if you’ve ever used a good keyboard before, you know it’s a lot about the travel of the keys. One big problem I had was without any keys to rest my fingers on. My fingers often got off center while typing, and would hit the wrong keys causing many mistakes.
I found it faster than typing on a tablet screen, but not as fast as using a good Bluetooth keyboard. In short if you’re a writer and want this mainly for typing you’ll probably be disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, after some practice you can get pretty fast. If you’re doing a lot of typing though, you’ll be happier with a Bluetooth keyboard. For just some typing here or there the Halo keyboard gets the job done, and is an improvement over typing on the screen.
There is also a trackpad to help complete the laptop feel. Scrolling on it is not a pleasant experience. It doesn’t use two finger scrolling, and getting it to scroll reliably with one finger was too frustrating. I finally gave up and just started scrolling on the screen instead. The keyboard also features some convenient shortcuts for the home screen and app drawer. While switching apps can be done with alt+tab.
If that wasn’t impressive enough the keyboard can be turned off, and with an included stylus it turns into a canvas for drawing. The Wacom digitizing pad supports up to 2048 levels of sensitivity. I’m not a good artist but it’s still a lot of fun. There is even a notepad and pen tip in the box. In case you prefer to draw on paper, want to take physical notes, or lists and have a digital copy for backup or easy sharing. While it comes with a pad of paper I found any paper would work, but you have to use the included pen.
If you’d rather draw on the screen Lenovo has you covered there with their AnyPen technology. Which allows you to write on the screen with any conductive materials like a screwdriver, the included pen, or even a pencil.
The 10 inch LCD screen on the Yoga Book is a perfectly acceptable 1920×1200 resolution. Sure it might not QHD or AMOLED, but it’s bright and helps with the battery life. Watching movies on it was really nice, as was gaming. The stereo speakers feature Dolby Atmos which only further enhances the experience by adding great sound. While I first found the bezels a little on the large side. I found it helps with holding it in tablet mode because of the thickness and weight.
The Yoga Book is running Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with some helpful tweaks to make it easier to use as a laptop. The navigation keys are on the left side with a useful addition of an app drawer button. While the rest of the navigation bar will show your minimized apps. Much like what you’d see on a typical laptop.
I really enjoyed using this for switching apps and wish Android tablets would do this in general. It’s so much quicker than using the recent apps button. Speaking of they have changed the layout of the recent apps screen. Something I’m usually very strongly against, but this works much better with a trackpad.
There is also a multi-window mode, but sadly you cannot resize the windows and it won’t work with all apps. There is an option to pin windows to the top and that comes in handy. I’ll be more excited to see Nougat on here with some proper multi-window support in the future.
Performance is pretty good with the Intel Atom x5-Z8550 CPU and 4GB of RAM in the Yoga Book. I didn’t find it lacking anywhere even though I got a warning upon loading Mortal Kombat that it wasn’t powerful enough. Yet it played without issue and benchmarks showed it had plenty of power. However due to the weight you will notice fatigue set in quicker than with other lighter tablets. Having its built in stand can really be helpful when gaming.
The Yoga Book includes an 8MP f/2.5 camera for photos housed above the keyboard. The camera is just ok, and honestly cameras on tablets are mostly afterthoughts. Plus cameras on phones have gotten so good that you really shouldn’t be using your tablet for photos. The photos are decent, but you still don’t want to be that guy who takes photos with his tablet.
The 2MP front facing camera is a little disappointing though. I wish Lenovo put more focus on that for video chatting.
Lenovo has packed a decent sized 8500mAh battery into the Yoga Book. I was able to get 8 hours screen on time over 5 days, and 12 and a half hours in my video loop test. The battery life is more than adequate and gives me all the juice I need.
The Yoga Book isn’t what I would call the perfect tablet. There are thinner lighter tablets out there, and with higher resolution screens. Plus the Halo keyboard can never compare to a good Bluetooth keyboard. Yet I can’t help but love this tablet.
In a market where tablets have become so stale and boring. The design and innovation of the Yoga Book actually gets me excited and interested. Now add good battery life, a decent screen, Dolby Atmos audio, and the tweaks to make it more like an Android laptop and I’m totally sold on it. This won’t be the right tablet for everyone, but if you’re looking for something different and fun this is it.