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Innovative Design

Lenovo's new Yoga Book isn't an out-and-out laptop and is so much more than a tablet. Truly a product unlike any other

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Over, the past few years, Lenovo has largely been responsible for the popularity of the flip-around convertible laptop form factor, but the signature 360-degree watchband-style hinge is about the only thing that the new Yoga Book shares with the existing Yoga 2-in-1 laptops. The Yoga Book isn’t an out-and-out laptop, and it’s so much more than a tablet — it truly is a product unlike any other.

Straight out of the box, it’s amazing how small the device actually is, and the book aesthetic is very evident in the design of Yoga Book. The slim dimensions and the sub-700-gram weight, thanks to a magnesium-aluminum alloy build, allow the Yoga Book to be an extremely light and portable device. Ease the lid open and you’re looking at a sharp 10.1-inch touch-screen display, which in true Yoga style can swivel back a full 360-degrees to use the Windows 10 device in tablet, laptop or tent mode. But it’s the space where the keyboard would normally be which is immensely more fascinating. Instead, you get a completely flat and button free matte-finish surface that does double duty as a drawing tablet (Create Pad) and a virtual, futuristic-looking keyboard (Halo Keyboard), and you switch between the modes on the press of a small stylus button. The Halo keyboard is extremely cool to look at, and the way it lights up is part of the edgy appeal of the device. That said, since it is really is just a flat surface with no physical keys, it takes a lot of getting used to if you intend to use it for extensive typing, even with the vibration feedback. Even after several days of use, my typing is still riddled with typos.

With the keyboard switched off, you can use the included Real Pen stylus to write and draw on the Create Pad just as you would on any graphics tablet, and the 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity allow for subtle shading effects. Interestingly, you can swap out the Real Pen’s stylus nib for an actual Lenovo ballpoint refill, place the included paper pad on top of the Create Pad surface and draw on the paper, while the Yoga Book automatically digitises your pen strokes on screen. Great for taking notes in class or in a meeting, or for digitising your artwork if you’re so inclined.

All things considered, you get pretty mediocre performance for a laptop at this price, with components that are about bare minimum for a Windows-based PC. More galling is the compromise on ports — not that I was expecting a lot of ports on a device this thin, but only one micro-USB port for charging and connecting any storage or peripheral devices means you’re stuck with slow USB 2.0 speeds and having to buy a dongle to get a full-sized USB port. A legacy micro-USB port on a device like this is just plain anachronistic, and USB Type-C would have been a smarter choice. Fortunately, battery life is acceptable at over eight hours on a full charge.

For a completely new product, a slice from the future that’s available for purchase today, the Yoga Book comes at a very reasonable asking price. I’m still not convinced this could be anyone’s primary PC, and it’s a nice little indulgence if you want something super light for travel and love scribbling and doodling as well. An innovative design accompanied by first generation execution, the Yoga Book is a device that’s begging for a version two that builds on the concept.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tushar Kanwar

The author is Technology Columnist and Program Manager in Bengaluru, India

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