Friday 24 November 2017

Lenovo Yoga Book: Tech review

A little sluggish, but Yoga Book is innovative

Lenovo Yoga Book
Lenovo Yoga Book
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Our technology editor reviews the Lenovo Yoga Book

Price: €499 Compare prices

Rating: 4 Stars

Here's a product that will instantly divide opinion based on age. If you're over 35, you won't get it. If you're under 25, you'll think it's handy.

It's Lenovo's Yoga Book, a sleek, 10-inch touchscreen laptop with a hard keyboard that doubles as a drawing pad and notation transcriber.

When closed, the 10-inch Yoga Book looks like a (gorgeous) super-thin laptop, measuring just under a centimetre thick. But open it up and it's two hard surfaces: screen on top, keyboard-cum-artpad on bottom.

You can put any piece of paper against it, start scribbling on it with any pen, and the Yoga Book will record that handwriting as digital text. (You can also write or draw directly on the surface using the digital pen that comes in the box.) Otherwise, it acts as a hard keyboard (Lenovo calls it a 'Halo' keyboard) that performs as an advanced version of typing on a tablet screen keyboard.

This Halo keyboard 'learns' from your typing usage patterns. If you often tap on the edge of a certain key, for example, it will learn and - over time - credit you with having tapped that key. It also has some predictive typing technology built in which is calculated to speed things up.

Obviously, you have to get with the idea of a hard keyboard. But Lenovo is positioning this as something portable that you can takes notes with, not something to write a novel on. I found the hard keyboard surface far more usable than an LCD screen. And I had no problems with typing at speed. Indeed, there's also a touchpad area of sorts that lets you move a virtual cursor style artefact around the screen.

What I also found really useful was the ability to open four different windows on the desktop screen. These can be used with most apps.

I did feel a bit tired from having to keep the base of my hand and the palm elevated from the surface in case I accidentally swiped or touched something and triggered a mistake. I also thought it performed a little sluggishly at times due to its modest processor. Still, there's 64GB of storage, which is expandable via an SD memory card slot, and battery life is up to 15 hours. The Yoga Book comes in either Android or Windows versions. (The latter is €100 more.)

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