Lenovo's best convertible ever would be even better with Chrome OS.
Lenovo's new Yoga Books are simply beautiful. If you haven't yet seen what I'm talking about, take a minute, scroll down and watch our hands-on video — really, you need to see it. With a full size (10.1-inches) touch screen keyboard that doubles as a drawing surface, 64GB of storage and modest but adequate internals (Intel Atom, 4GB RAM) it flips all the switches that tell me to buy it. Except one. It should be running Chrome OS.
Lenovo was smart enough to make two versions — one runs Windows 10 and one runs Android — so potential buyers have a choice. Unless you're an ultra power user of some sort, the Windows version should be able to handle anything you need while away from your desk, and the Android version gives the mobile experience for folks that prefer it. We still get to make a choice, but either can be a sleek Yoga Book with a sexy Halo Keyboard. It remains to be seen how well the fancy keyboard and drawing surface actually works for people who need or want to use either input method. I can't see myself fiddling around in the back-end of AC at 60 words per minute too often while typing on glass, but it's so damn pretty I want to try the Windows version.
All this gushing (dare I say excitement?) is echoed by most people talking about the Yoga Book, so Lenovo is probably happy. Yet every time I watch that video or read the words someone had to say about it, the Android model is still just an Android tablet. There's plenty you can do with an Android tablet, and some things are even better than they are on other platforms — watching YouTube or Google Play Movies, for example. But when it comes to using it on the internet through a browser, nothing is better than a Chromebook. I'll say it — a Yoga Book running Chrome OS would be better for folks who primarily work or play through the browser than both the Windows and Android models. Chromebooks are faster, more secure and maintenance free. Plus, they run Android apps. All the Android apps.
A Chromebook can run all the Android apps as well as the very best web experience.
That's the kicker. A Yoga Chromebook could have been done exactly like the ASUS Flip. It runs Chrome OS, which includes a complete Android subsystem and everything from the Google Play Store(s). Any app you can use on the Android model would also run — exactly the same — on a Chrome model. And when it comes time to hit the web, Facebook or Google Docs or any other website is better on a desktop browser with full extension support than it is on anything built for Android. This is a no-brainer. Nothing is lost, and for all of us who would primarily use the thing on the web, things just got a whole helluva lot better.
The Yoga Book is both innovative and beautiful. And I really do want to try the Windows 10 version and see if it could be a MacBook Air replacement or if the keyboard just doesn't cut it. If nothing else, I could use it to draw cartoons of me being frustrated at the keyboard. But I have no desire to buy the Android model. I already have a Pixel C and Google's folio keyboard, and the pretty factor doesn't sweeten the deal enough for me to spend my
hard-earned dollars. And honestly, with an ASUS Flip in my bag I couldn't go back to using something only half as good.
Unless there is a third model coming later in the year, I haven't found the Flip replacement I've been looking for. Sorry, Lenovo.