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Review: Yoga Book - Android Version
Guru
‎11-19-2016 12:50 AM

Pat_box's review:


I have used the Android version of the Yoga Book for around three weeks. My personal experiences with the device are highlighted in the review below. However, a one-sentence summary of the entire review would be plain and simple: This is the best android tablet on the market, if you need an android tablet, look no further, this is the one!
 
At home, I use both the Yoga Book Android and a ThinkPad notebook. However, the Yoga Book quickly started to take over a large portion of activities I would usually do on a notebook, such as browsing internet, social media, watching videos, or e-mails. In addition, Android has many unique android apps that are not available in Windows.
 
I also used the Yoga Book while traveling abroad as my only device. While the Yoga Book is not designed for heavy duty office work, it's sufficient for almost anything else, including writing up to one-page-long e-mails. The Yoga Book is also very light. You don't even notice carrying it in your bag or backpack. It is a fantastic on-the-go device.
 
As a potential buyer, tech enthusiast, or a new owner, you might be interested in different aspects of the Yoga Book Android. Thus, please navigate to or skip any sections below depending on what is most relevant to you. If you have additional questions please feel free to ask below or at the android-tablet section of the forum (link). 

 YogaBookgGoldc1.png

Design and specs – fantastic design and solid specs

 
Yoga Books looks and feels like the most spectacular tablet design since Steve Jobs first introduced tablets to the mass consumer. I attended the Lenovo launch event where the Yoga Book was first shown to the media and saw seasoned journalists (who covered tablets for a decade) whispering in awe "What is that?".
 
The Yoga Book is incredibly thin. When used in the notebook mode it is still way thinner and lighter than other ultrabooks or 2-in-1 notebooks (which cost three or four times the price). If your intentions are mostly browsing the internet, social networks, android apps, or watching videos, the Yoga Book is fantastic for that.
 
All Yoga Books have the same specs, the only variations are in colors and the inclusion (or not) of mobile internet. For a tablet, the specs are solid with an Intel processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of storage, which can be extended with a microSD card. For simpler tasks, Android can even be quicker and more battery efficient than notebooks.
 
The two panels of the Yoga Book are connected with a fantastic watchband hinge. The watchband hinge looks and work really well and could also be described as high-tech jewelry. There is hardly anything that could be designed better (USB-C charring and port would be cool, but some users might prefer it's micro USB).

 

Display – bright, vivid, and clear

 
The Full-HD IPS display is bright and vibrant. It certainly exceeded my expectations. In this price range, it is a fantastic display. It subjectively feels like a premium display on some of the more expensive ultrabooks with a Full-HD screen.
 
The wide bezels around the touchscreen (around 2cm) did not bother me at all. Rather, I see bezels as an advantage in tablets, because when holding the touchscreen you are not unintentionally touching it with your palms.
 
Increasing the screen resolution beyond the Full-HD would increase the price and battery consumption, which would not be desirable. Only an AMOLED display could offer any marginal improvement but probably at a higher price.
 
In summary, the display is exactly right or slightly better than exactly right. Good value for money. In three words, bright, vivid, and clear. The fact that the resolution is Full-HD (and not QHD or UHD) is good news for the battery.

 

YogaBookHinges.png

 

Keyboard – cool, sci-fi, and typos
 
Only keyboards in sci-fi movies are cooler to look at. In particular, at night, the undelight Yoga Book keyboard shows it's full beauty. Lenovo calls it the "Halo Keyboard" but calling it the "Sci-fi Keyboard" would describe it much better.
 
You won't be as accurate or comfortable as when using a real keyboard but it's much better than touchscreen keyboards on other tablets. It's a touch keyboard that still allows you to typewrite with 10 fingers and that's unique.
 
Those typing with two or a few fingers while looking at the keyboard will achieve almost 100% typing accuracy. Those typewriting with 10 fingers (like myself) will start at around 70% accuracy and improve up to 90% accuracy over time.
 
The keyboard consists of a gorilla glass, under which is a printed film with the keyboard, under which is the backlight of the keyboard. Different countries will get different keyboard layouts. Thus, check if you are buying the correct layout.

 

Typewriting – skip this section if you do not intend to typewrite with 10 fingers
 
The main drawback for typewriting with 10 fingers is that you cannot rest your fingers on the keyboard or on the F & J letters while typing. While you can rest your palms, your fingers will have to hover slightly above the keyboard.
 
If your fingers hover in the exactly correct position, your typing accuracy will almost match the real keyboard. However, seconds later as your fingers move slightly while hovering, you suddenly get an unexpected series of a few typos.
 
Luckily, the backspace button is the biggest key on the keyboard. I am not sure if this was intentional, but it is definitely something that helps to quickly correct any typos. Lenovo should definitely keep this intentional-or-not design feature.
 
In summary, typewriting with 10 figures on the Yoga Book is possible. Subjectively, it feels good enough for up to a one-page-long texts or e-mails. For longer texts (e.g. long reports or a master's thesis) a real keyboard will be preferable.

 

 Android_touchpad.png

Touchpad – took Android by surprise
 
Lenovo introduced the Yoga Book Android with a touchpad as an integral part of its "Halo Keyboard". Keep in mind that Android devices and apps are optimized for touchscreens, not for touchpads. You can always use the touchscreen, but if you are keen on using the touchpad beware that Lenovo took Android by surprise.
 
I have only tested the touchpad on the Android version of the Yoga Book. While it works, it definitely requires some further fine tuning. Some users have reported random activation of scrolling while using the touchpad (link) and multi-finger gestures on the touchpad common in Microsoft Windows don't seem to work in Android.
 
Keep in mind that this is Android and you have a beautiful vibrant touchscreen in front of you that you can use instead of the touchpad. However, there are still some users who want to use the touchpad and expect a windows-like level of touchpad usability with a multi-finger support and this is not possible at this moment.
 
The Yoga Book is in my view the best Android Tablet on the market. The touchpad on the "Halo Keyboard" is an additional new feature that other Android tablets don't even offer. However, Lenovo could look into ways of improving the touchpad and also allow a setting to switch off the touchpad for those users who don’t use it.

 Create Pad – drawing pad, taking notes, and writing on a paper

 
In addition to the keyboard, the so-called Create Pad also includes a high-quality digitizer which can be used for drawing or taking notes. I am not very good at drawing myself, but I saw a few artists using this device and the results were fantastic (e.g. link). The palm rejection and different levels of pressure are a matter of course.
 
The average user will not utilize the drawing feature on a daily basis, but as this video demonstrates everybody can learn how to draw (link) so why not try. The drawing pad could also be an amazing way how to keep your children busy and creative. In addition to the pre-loaded art app, Android offers numerous others. 
 
The digitizer can also create instant digital copies of handwritten notes written on a piece of paper that needs to be put on the create pad. To do so you will need to insert an included ink refill into the digitizer pen. There's a preinstalled notetaking app and you can download any other notetaking app, including Microsoft's OneNote.
 
Personally, I have not been utilizing this feature that much. However, I can imagine how useful this could be for students or for sharing or digitizing business meeting notes. On the downside, the paper format is non-standard, the notebook paper flips horizontally, the paper is not cheap, and the notetaking app has room for improvements (link).

 YogaBookHandwritingDigitizedc2.png

Yoga Book Colors – which color should you pick?
 
The Yoga Book Android comes in three different colors: Champagne Gold, Gunmetal Grey, and Carbon Black. The Yoga Book Windows only ships (at this moment) in Carbon Black.  For those who hesitate, I describe my subjective impressions below.
 
The Champagne Gold is a definite favorite of most ladies I spoke to. It is good that the Champagne Gold is matte and not shiny. It looks elegant and cozy. It rhymes well and looks great on photos with coffee, marble, or a glass of champagne. 
 
The Gunmetal Gray is favorite of most men I spoke to. Gunmetal Gray looks awesome along with black, gray or silver accessories,  or a business suit. It rhymes well with productivity, active lifestyle, silver-like watches, and corporate elegance.
 
Black is back in fashion! Lenovo introduced this year a black variant of its high-end ultrabook Yoga 910 and Apple introduced two different versions of black for its iPhone 7. It's not a surprise that the Yoga Book also comes in a nice Carbon Black.
 
Suggestions and bugs – nearly flawless but some fine-tuning settings would be nice
 
Lenovo has got almost everything right with the Android version of the Yoga Book. The display, the design, the specifications, the sci-fi keyboard, and the create pad work nearly flawlessly. I see a small room for improvements mainly in introducing additional options for users to fine-tune the device by personalizing it to their needs.
 
For example, in my specific case I would welcome if there was an option to turn off the CAPS LOCK as I never use it, but when I hit it unintentionally it slows me down considerably. Also, there's only one touch-tone sound for the keyboard, while I would welcome to have three different touch-tone option (standard, retro, & sci-fi).
 
The touchpad requires some further fine-tuning. Some users raised concerns about the lack of multi-finger support or an unsolicited activation of scrolling when using the touchpad (link). Other users prefer to use the touchscreen and would benefit from an option to switch off (or on) the touchpad in the settings.
 
For me, the touchpad is too small to be useful. Rather, I would envisage a separate touchpad mode (in addition to keyboard mode and create-pad mode). Finally, turning on the create pad automatically starts the pre-installed notetaking app, but not everybody uses the app (e.g. link), thus there should be an option to switch it off.

 

 Models.png

Summary, pros, and cons – the best android tablet on the market
 
PROS: Based on my experience, the Yoga Book Android is the best Android tablet on the market. Even as a first model of its kind it is somewhat surprisingly absent of any major bugs or flaws. The design is fantastic, the specs are solid, the display is vibrant and bright, the battery will last for up to 2 days, and the speakers are decent and loud.
 
CONS: Lenovo could have hardly done anything better. Some might encounter issues with the touchpad below the keyboard as Android is not originally designed with touchpads in mind. Additional settings to personalize the device would be nice. Some users would welcome improvements of the Lenovo notetaking app or USB-C.

9 Comments
Puppy
Bit Torrent

Does it receive regular monthly security updates or is it left unpatched and thus vulnerable similar to majority of Android devices ?

Guru

UPDATES & SECURITY: It is a new device so we have received 3 or 4 updates since the initial version but it's unclear what the updated were. However, it is fair to assume that the updates won't be any different than for the majority of other devices. Google does not push updates to all android devices automatically, such as MS Windows. The upside of this is that Android does not need to be as robust as MS Windows and thus can boots faster and for simpler tasks (browsing, e-mail, social networks, videos, simple apps) can also be quicker than MS Windows. If all apps are installed from the Play Store and not from "unknown sources", then Android is reasonably safe for the average common user. The Yoga Book is a premium tablet, market leading innovation, it seems to be selling really well, and most Lenovo tablet and android developers and managers will use it as their main tablet; for this reason, it's fair to assume that it will be well optimized and updated at least for now.

Puppy
Bit Torrent

Android does not need to be as robust as MS Windows

 

Translates to: can never be as robust as ... No OS connected to Internet is safe without regular security updates these days, especially when the vendor (Google) monetizes user's private data only by selling targeted ads so privacy/security is no concern. I am still wondering how it is possible that people have accepted such elementary security and privacy issues that can not be fixed. Because it is $50 cheaper than the Windows version ? Sad.

 

As for these performance issues of Windows version, I own ThinkPad 8 tablet that's more than two years old and there are none. Everything is pretty fast, very responsive (and secure), the wakeup from connected standby is (after several fixes and updates) always immediate, below one sec. I still don't get what the opinion is based on because it is proven the Android is slower than Windows on the same hardware spec. The boot time is not important at all since you typically restart the device once a month after windows updates (I know you have to hard reset Android devices here and there).

 

Maybe a side-by-side comparison video of two Yoga Book devices (Windows and Android) in action would help to understand that and picture these differences.

Guru

My conclusion is that for those users who want to buy Android tablet, the Yoga Book Android is the best available Android tablet on the market. As an Android users, I reviewed the Android version and I can attest this is an amazing Android tablet. Android is a relatively simple phone & tablet operating system and the Yoga Book takes Android to the next level. So if people want an Android tablet, the Yoga Book is probably the best option. If people are deciding between Yoga Book Android and Yoga Book Windows that is an entirely different story as both are amazing tablets and both come with some advantages and disadvantages. This depends on individual preferences and how they intend to use the tablet. I did not yet see a side-by-side comparison of the speeds of both tablets but for simple tasks they should both be very fast. As for myself, I already have a very fast Windows ultrabook, so as my second device I preferred an Android-versioned tablet. However, each user will have different preferences. For that reason, Lenovo has released the tablet in Windows and in Android at a very competitive prices and the users can choose what they prefer - well done by Lenovo. Does the Yoga Book Windows  sell at a very good price compared to other notebooks or 2-in-1 devices? Absolutely, it is a very thin device and the price is great. Is the Yoga Book Android the best Android tablet on the market? In my view, and based on my review, also absolutely yes. Both seem great, but I only tested the Android version.

 

divingwithchris
What's DOS?

Great review Pat! Question for you...do you know if can you make notes, scribbles, underline etc whilst viewing either pdf or using powerpoint.

 

I will be using Android version and intend to use it for presentations but would love to know that during a presentation can I highlight something to show to the students?

 

Or if a video or .jpeg is on screen can I highlight over areas of importance.

 

To complicate matters I would like to do all this whilst using projector.

 

Any suggestions welcome

 

Many thanks

Guru

Regarding notes during presentations, I did not test this, but I think as long as you can underline or highlight in these apps with a finger or with a mouse, you will be able to do it with the active pen on the digitizer pad as well with a greater precision. You can connect the projector to the HDMI port of the Yoga Book, it is a microHDMI port so you might need a different cable but you can connect it to a monitor or projector. You can also highlight or write over the JPEG as long as the app where you are showing the JPEG supports it. You can put the picture in some app for editing images or in powerpoint and then draw over it as much as you want. The android system is based on apps, so if what you are asking is possible in the app that you are using, it will also be possible with the digitizer pad. If the app does not support it, then Lenovo did not make any enhancements of writing notes over apps that don't support note writing, if you know what I mean. This all depends on the apps and there are many apps in the app store. Regarding powerpoint, during the launch event to the public, the developers of the Yoga Book told me that they do all their powerpoint presentations in the Yoga Book Android. I did not test it myself but I guess you would prepare the powerpoint in windows if you wish, and you can comfortably present it from Android & potentially write over it (just test the android app to be sure). You can also use a mouse with the Yoga Book Android either via Bluetooth or via the microUSB slot (the microUSB port is only one and used for charging as well).

 

JustMark
Punch Card

Pat,

 

Fantastic write up.  This is one of the most innovative new products from Lenovo and when I first saw the keyboard, I wondered how well it was going to work in practice.  Based on your experience, it sounds like it works much better than I thought it would and I might just have to get one of these for the cool factor of it.

 

Thanks again for your in depth coverage!

 

Mark

Aprilxms
Punch Card

It looks great!!!

frits183
Punch Card

Will there be upgrades for the software soon ?

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