KEYBOARD BEGONE! Lenovo’s new tablet wants to make the physical keyboard a thing of the past. That the Yoga Book still manages to offer note taking and sketching features is surely the work of the dark arts, so how has the firm managed it?
We’re reviewing the Windows version of the Lenovo Yoga Book, but an Android model is also available.
The Lenovo Yoga Book is impossibly thin. So thin, in fact, that the 3.5mm audio jack barely fits, and when the two pieces shut together it has a combined thickness of just 9.6mm.
On the negative side, that does make it rather tricky to open, hindered also by the flush angles. However, it weighs a mere 690g so we’re inclined to ignore such transgressions. If you were in a hurry you could almost mistake it for the included Book Pad (more on that later), but we’re not admitting that we did.
The Yoga Book made from a heady mixture of magnesium alloy and glass. The Windows model is available only in Carbon Black, but the Android variant comes in Gunmetal Grey and Champagne Gold as well.
The right side houses power and volume buttons, plus the aforementioned 3.5mm audio jack. On the right, there are microHDMI and microUSB ports. The tiny form factor means that full-sized USB is impossible, so you’ll need an OTG adapter to restore the connectivity to its full potential. Speaker holes are on the left and right of the device.
You also get that beautiful watchband hinge. We may have seen it before, but it’s a lovely piece of engineering and far better than Microsoft’s Fulcrum monstrosity. The hinge opens forwards and back, turns in on itself, and can even fold completely flat like an open book. Yep, Lenovo’s newbie certainly keeps the Yoga brand alive.
The Yoga Book craves attention. It effortlessly drew a crowd in the office, and the Space Age looks would be equally suited to the decks of the SS Enterprise. It’s the complete lack of physical keys that draws you in. Lenovo calls this the Halo Keyboard and it doubles as a Wacom digitiser.
A lot has been packed into a space that measures just 4mm thick: Gorilla glass, an LCD panel, light guide film backlighting, an electromagnetic resonance (EMR) film and various system components.
With a single tap the entire keyboard area turns into a sort of graphics tablet – a Create Pad, if you will.
The EMR film that sits beneath the keyboard layer uses the Real Pen accessory to recognise handwriting, and employs palm detection to prevent accidental brushes ruining your creations.
The stylus (or Real Pen) looks like a proper pen, but hides some impressive pressure-sensing tech. The 2,048 levels of sensitivity don’t match the Galaxy Note 7’s 4,096, but are more than the Surface Pen’s 1,024. The pen cap can be used to swap the stylus head for an ink refill, and this is when the Yoga Book really shows its cards.
Place the bundled Book Pad over the keyboard and draw onto the paper directly and the Yoga Book can take your ink-based doodles and transfer them to screen. It’s a stupendous feat, but won’t help those of us who can’t draw.
If you plough through the paper in your Book Pad any A5-sized paper will do just as good a job, so you needn’t worry about costly replenishments.
However, you might want to hang onto that pen cap, as losing it could scupper your artistic endeavours. Likewise, we found it all too easy to bend the stylus head when removing it. Treat it with care.
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