Lenovo Yoga Book Review: A 2-In-1 With A Trick

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Yoga Book Design And Layout

Despite having an attached keyboard, Lenovo’s Yoga Book looks and feels like a standalone tablet when the keyboard is flipped into tablet mode. The Yoga Book is small, at 10.1 x 6.72 inches (when closed) and just 0.38 inches thick. That’s not nearly as thin as the 0.25-inch-thick Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, for example, but then, the Galaxy TabPro S has a detachable keyboard. And at 1.52 pounds, the Yoga Book is just a hair lighter than the Galaxy TabPro S2.

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A fairly-thick bezel surrounds the Yoga Book’s 10.1-inch display, but glass covers everything, letting a user easily swipe onto the screen from the edges. The display supports Lenovo’s Real Pen, which is handy for those times when the Yoga Book is in tablet mode.

One of two cameras sits at the top of the display (when the Yoga Book is in laptop mode). It’s a standard, 2MP fixed-focus camera aimed at video chatting and the like. The 8MP, auto-focus camera sits at on the keyboard side, so that it’s at the back when the Yoga Book is in tablet mode.

Lenovo squeezed a few ports and buttons onto the slim Yoga Book, opting to put them on the keyboard, rather than the display. The left side features a Micro-USB port, a micro-SD card reader, and a Micro-HDMI port. The right side of the tablet includes a headphone/mic jack, volume buttons, and the power buttons. A small power adapter plugs into the Yoga Book’s Micro-USB port to charge the device.

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Note that the keyboard is disabled in this image...

Lenovo’s Halo keyboard has a futuristic look and is tricky to use well. The completely-flat keyboard face is dark until you tap the keyboard or press the power button, at which point lighting creates the outlines of keys and a touchpad on the keyboard. The key layout is much like any other laptop key layout, complete with Function keys that double as volume- and media player controls. The only unusual key is the Backspace key, which is larger and taller than it is on other boards. That was good news for us, because we needed the Backspace key more often on the Yoga Book than we have while typing on any traditional keyboard.

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...and enabled here.

Typing on the Halo keyboard is a different experience than typing on even low-profile keyboards. For one thing, we found it somewhat difficult to place our fingers correctly above the keyboard, thanks to the lack of raised ridges on the F and J keys. We trained ourselves to stop feeling for the ridges, but the best solution was to look at the keyboard each time we went to type. Some touch typists may find this extra step to be annoying.

Lenovo uses vibrations and audio feedback to signal each keystroke, which we found to be helpful. Still, we often missed the correct key, which resulted in multiple incorrect keystrokes as our fingers brushed nearby keys. In some cases, we made enough errors to justify using the touchpad to select and delete swaths of mistyped characters.

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The touchpad, which is also defined by LED outlines, is excellent when active, but it sometimes didn't register the initial touch right away. As a result, we sometimes weren’t able to move from the keyboard to the touchpad (and back again) as quickly as we are accustomed to with traditional laptop keyboard/touchpad combos.

Once the touchpad is ready, however, it is very responsive to taps and swipes. The touchpad recognizes double-taps as clicks, as it should, and although it didn’t support double-tap-drag, the touchpad’s mouse buttons solve that issue. The buttons, which sit on either side of the touchpad, make it easy to select and move items with one hand.

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Before we dig into the Halo keyboard’s pen mode, we should mention a critical feature: the tablet’s hinge. Unlike your typical laptop, the Yoga Book has a single hinge that runs the length of the tablet’s body. Composed of three long cylinders and a series of gears, the hinge, which is familiar to anyone who has owned previous Yoga devices with the watchband hinge, is extremely flexible and sturdy. In the case of the Yoga Book, the hinge doubles as an accent on the tablet’s otherwise-dark magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis.

Now let’s take a look at how the Yoga Book handles pen input…

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