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

Yoga Book User Experience And Software

In general, the tablet stylus doesn’t get much love. Many tablets ship without out one, relegating the stylus to “optional accessory” status. Those tablets that include a stylus usually have few (if any) unique design features that would make better use of the device. But Lenovo’s Yoga Book goes out of its way to encourage pen use, dedicating its entire keyboard area to pen input, when the Halo keyboard is switched to what Lenovo refers to as the “Create Pad”.

Lenovo Yoga Book 12

The Real Pen, which can be replaced for $39.99, doesn’t require batteries. Swapping from the digital tip to the ink pen tip is a piece of cake, thanks to a tip-removal tool built into the pen’s cap. The pen is thick and just heavy enough to sit comfortably in the hand. It looks and feels just like a real pen and – with the right tip in place, it is. You can use the ink tip on the Real Pen on any paper, not just the Yoga Book Pad.

Using the Real Pen to write on the Yoga Book is just plain fun. We fired up the included trial of ArtRage Lite and quickly found that the Yoga Book responds perfectly to the slightest touch of the Real Pen. The Wacom input pad in the Yoga Book sense the pen tip even when it’s hovering over the surface, letting users move the cursor (to access toolbars, for example) without putting down the Real Pen. The pad senses pressure, thanks to Wacom’s Feel tech, so we were able to broaden our strokes simply by applying more pressure as we “painted.”

The Yoga Book ships with Microsoft OneNote and other Office programs installed, though users will need to sign up for a trial or enter their existing account info to dive into them. Once in OneNote, we started taking notes by hand. At first, we simply selected a pen tip size from OneNote’s options and wrote directly on the Yoga Book, which worked fine.

Lenovo Yoga Book With Pen In Hand

Next, we attached the Yoga Book pad, which has magnets that lock it onto the Yoga Book, and switched the Real Pen tip to an ink pen tip. The Yoga Book’s copy of Windows 10 Home has the “Anniversary” update from this summer, which has a new feature for tablets: Window Ink Workspace. The tool, which has an icon next to the Windows clock, suggests apps for use with your Real Pen.

The Yoga Book picked up our handwriting very well, providing a nearly-identical image of our text on the screen as we wrote on the sheet of paper. The process took a little getting used to – in some cases, we would inadvertently hover the pen over a toolbar when we were about to write, which sometimes caused it to select a tool once we put our pen down. But once the pen was on the page in the right spot, we could write naturally without worrying about whether the digital notepad was picking up our every stroke: it was. 

Lenovo Yoga Book With Pen and Paper

Any paper works with the Yoga Book (size A5 fits best on the digitizer), which is a nice touch on Lenovo’s part. Users can buy paper refills for the pad if they choose, or they can supply their own paper, once the starter pad runs out. We suspect most users will stock up on Lenovo’s paper, however, as the pad lines the paper up perfectly and holds it in place.

Update 11/25/2016 - We found this great demo of indie developer Arthur Walker using the Yoga Book for some pretty fantastic digital artwork. The vine here is sped up in time lapse but it shows you the precision the digitizer is capable of... 

Credit: Arthur Walker 

Finally, the Yoga Book is also perfectly capable of handling other tasks, including streaming video. Although the display struck us as a little less vibrant than some tablet displays we’ve seen recently, we expect most users (particularly home users) to be very happy with the screen. We streamed video via the Sling TV app without any trouble.

Next, we’ll take a look at the tablet’s performance and see what kind of multimedia chops it has…

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