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Lenovo's Yoga Book aims to be the tablet-laptop convertible the Pixel C never was

The end game for any sort of tablet is, really, for it to transcend its status as merely being a tablet. And this is the stuff of legend, folks. We're talking about the likes of the aborted Microsoft Courier. We're talking about what ASUS tried to do with its Transformer line. Or, really, what Microsoft has managed to accomplish with its Surface devices. And we're also talking about what Google generally failed to do with the Pixel C.

And now we have the Lenovo Yoga Book. Two, really. One running Android, the other Windows 10. (With the latter named "Yoga Book with Windows.") Two huge swaths of glass, but only one is a display — the other moves between a touch-only keyboard and giant stylus tablet. And it's a really neat idea — let's take a look.

The display comes in at 10.1 inches with a 1920x1200 resolution and can put out 400 nits of brightness. It's got 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM, along with an Intel Atom processor and an 8500 mAh battery inside that slim and svelte 9.6 mm thick exterior. And we know what you're thinking ... no, this isn't one of the processors that Intel has dropped support for or discontinued — Intel is still committed to the Atom line and powering convertible devices just like the Yoga Book.

The Yoga Book is unique and fantastic ... but has trade offs like any convertible tablet

But that's all of the relatively simple stuff — let's talk about the design and functionality of this thing. Clearly borrowing from Lenovo's Yoga line of laptops, this isn't a detachable 2-in-1 but rather a laptop-like form factor with its watch band-style hinge. But instead of a physical keyboard on the non-screen half, you get an expansive glass panel that pulls double duty — a press of a button turns it into a backlit touch-only keyboard or a tablet-sized stylus writing area.

The "halo" keyboard appears out of nowhere with lights defining where keys can be pressed, and while typing on it definitely takes a little bit of getting used to it's something we could immediately manage for shorter bursts of text input and if the software is done right could be something you could get quite quick with. And no matter what it beats typing directly on the screen — this way you can more easily multitask and hop between typing, writing and managing content on the screen.

And when you're not actively using the keyboard or stylus and want "just" a tablet, the hinge lets the bottom half of the device fold back completely and marry up to the back of the screen for a tablet-like form factor. Sure at 1.52 pounds (690 g) it's a little heavier than what you get in some dedicated tablets of the same screen size, but then again these convertible devices will always offer some sort of trade of in experience on one side or the other.

The Yoga Book is perhaps the most visually appealing and interesting convertible Android tablet we've seen, and we have to applaud Lenovo for trying something entirely new rather than trotting out a simple detachable keyboard 2-in-1. How it actually lines up as a device you'd want to type a bunch on or be willing to carry around the extra weight of will be something that has to be determined over more time using it. For now, color us enamored with it — the practical stuff can come later.

  • Interesting! Verrrrry.... interesting! This is the first Yoga Book that may have some lasting merit.
  • The first time I have wanted to buy a Lenovo device
  • I can't believe that people still fail to see that Google has no intention of letting anyone make a tablet with Chrome OS. Ever.
  • why do u think that?? they tried to do it and due to timing and issues they shipped it with android on it.
  • According to whom?
    Some guy speculating on the internet?
  • It sounds as if you are doing just this ...
  • Isn't it kind of silly to have the touch typing line on the j and the f when you can' know, feel for the keys?
  • I guess it's a visual indicator when you go to place your hands on the keyboard. This device is very cool but looks super hard to type on.
  • Interesting...for how much??? And can one add an SD card for more ram???
  • Has an SD card been invented that adds ram??
  • No, but you can surely download more if you want.
  • IT'S NOT ENOUGH!1! I WANT A TERROR BITE OF RAMS! Heh, never seen that site before, pretty amusing.
  • $499 the Android version
    $549 the Windows version
  • This would be something I would be interested in just for having a more accurate stylus on an Android tablet. Samsung seems to have given up on releasing a tablet with the S Pen. Nice to see an article written by Phil.
  • Interesting, if my note 10.1 dies perhaps this is something I can think about.
  • Good to see ya (and read your words!)
  • Who is this Phil guy, is he new?
  • Phil has been here for quite a while now
  • Pretty sure he was being facetious.
  • Chrome OS > Android on a tablet
  • WTF
  • Why on earth are they releasing this with Android I don't understand.
    Why on earth ANYONE with two functioning brain sells would pay 500 dollars for the Android version when for 50 bucks more they could get the far more useful Windows version, is worthy of a case study.
  • The same argument could be made about "why would anyone spend $1000+ on a MacBook when you could spend $300-$400 less and get the same functionality?" Preference my friend. Though I would never spend that much for a Android tablet, I'm sure people will purchase it.
  • Better Question — why is this not a Chromebook that runs Andriod apps atop a much superior internet experience?
  • That's what I'm curious about. This would be an instant buy for me if it shipped with ChromeOS.
  • Exactly. I was hoping Android was a misprint in the earlier press. I want my next tablet to run native Chrome OS, not Android. No sale, Lenovo
  • Are you even that sure Google is committed to Chrome OS going forward? I'm not.
    In fact, I'll bet you Chrome OS has its days numbered as Android will inevitably absorb it in the near future (regardless of that Google *now* officially says).
  • What makes you think that?
  • Well, not only is ChromeOS a flop, it makes no sense for Google to keep it around if they can expand Android. It's a waste of money and resources.
    A Chromebook is nothing more than a glorified web browser. Why keep it if you can, moving forward, make Android evolve to a more multi-device OS? Putting Android apps on it is already basically confirming the intention to move to an unified OS.
  • Lenovo can bake the necessary functionality to make this a seamless experience into Android. I don't imagine they would have that freedom with Chrome OS.
  • According to OMG Chrome! We might be seeing one. I was going to hold out for Gen2 at very least try to now I don't know if I could if a ChromeOS version slapped me.
  • Depends on whether the extra 50 bucks just gets you a copy of Windows - or enough extra storage to be able to run Windows effectively on this thing...
  • That depends also on the version of Windows you choose. If you go for the Pro, Windows itself will eat you around 50GB (counting with virtual memory, hibernation files and system restore) - basically almost the entire storage. But that is assuming the 64GB they talk about are, of course, as in phones, without counting with the OS.
    At any rate, this has microSD expansion so it shouldn't be a problem. However, if you ask if it's wise to pick up the Pro version on an ATOM chipset? Unlikely.
    Still, we'll have to wait and see. Windows 10 has, supposedly, the advantage of being able to morph itself into any device so something like this will definitely put to test Microsoft's claims.
  • Why Android instead of Windows - for me, 2 critical apps:
    1. A functioning Kindle app.
    2. Safari Books To Go with the offline book bag feature. All the Office software along with OneDrive and other Microsoft software is on Android. What else do I need? I hope Visio comes to Android. The Yoga Book will be the perfect tablet for it!.
  • Well, this is Windows not Windows Phone. So apps aren't what you're aiming at when you pick up this device. And all the pen-related stuff is thought with Windows programs in mind. HOWEVER, if what you're looking for is just a normal tablet, then sure, go for the Android version. But there are cheaper options out there for that. Seems pretty pointless to buy this sort of device just to use a couple of apps. (PS - There was a Kindle app on the Windows store...isn't it there anymore? I remember using it back when I was on Windows Phone but honestly never looked for it on Windows 10 since I don't use apps on Windows 10 because it's just stupid when I can do everything through Chrome and/or dedicated proper programmes lol PPS - I have no idea what Safari Books To Go is but I'll assume it's some sort of eBooks platform. My question is, if those two things are that important to you, why wouldn't you buy a Kindle instead?)
  • The Kindle app is still there, and still awful
  • I have a Kindle that I love and use for fiction/non-fiction reading for long periods of time.
    But I use my Samsung Galaxy Tab A (8") with the Kindle apps or Safari Books To Go for my technical and programming books that have code samples and diagrams. I use the Kindle app for books that I paid. Safari Books is an eBook service provided by my employer where I have access to books free of charge. I used Safari Books and the Android app to pass the Security+ exam. I am using it now to learn C#.
  • Love seeing something new and innovative! Would have to see what typing was like but I like the stylus screen. As someone said, haven't seen Samsung doing much with a note tablet. I'd like to be able to take notes by hand easily. As for Windows vs Android that would be hard decision. There are advantages to both. Android would run all my Android apps but Windows can do other things. I have no idea if 64 GB on Windows would be enough but its the minimum I would want for an Android tablet.
  • You've literally said everything I'm thinking
  • Oh man, this thing seems real neat. Gonna wait for reviews but I might grab one for the SO, she loved the stylus on the Surface Pro I had from work for a while.
  • Anyone else think star trek when they saw that keyboard? Nice to see you Phil. You're new project have to deal with tablets then? ;)
  • Either dealing with tablets, or it was just an article that he finished finally :)
  • I'd prefer it to run Chrome and have a detachable keyboard.
  • I'd have to wait and see the review, but I may have just found my Nexus 10 replacement. I do have to wonder though, why not use Chrome OS instead with Android apps now running on it.
  • In my opinion, people trying to type on this are gonna be screwed. I tried a keyboard similar to the Lenovo Book on a Dell computer from a friend doing homework for school, I couldn't get used to the touch keys. It was pretty bad experience. My friend said it took him weeks just to get used to it and not miss hitting the right key.
  • I don't think anyone is going to write the next great American novel on this thing, even though it'd be possible. The separate keyboard isn't going to be any worse than using the on screen keyboard.
  • I'm predicting that this device will fail miserably just like every other Android laptop before it. And with that keyboard it's almost guaranteed.
  • Oh yeah
  • The windows version could do well though.
  • Hey Phil Nickinson. Hi Phil Nickinson. god to see you Phil Nickinson. Where have you been Phil Nickinson?
  • Phil's back!
  • No he isn't, it's just a collective delusion on all of out parts ;-)
  • A full size keyboard like that doesn't make sense at all. I think this will work if it allowed you to display a phone sized keyboard to be able to Swype type on it with one finger. Then they keyboard can be on either side with the opposite side being a huge trackpad/writing area
  • It does make sense. Typing out emails by swiping is a super pain. I can type way faster with 10 fingers than you can swype with one.
  • I have the windows 10 yoga 900, and I love it! My only complaint is feeling the keys on the keyboard when i flip it to tablet mode, so this new keyboard is really appealing!
  • Can someone explain a use case for why I would want to draw on a separate drawing tablet surface versus directly onto the screen? I understand this from the days before touchscreens, but now that we have them, what advantage does this provide, other than that kind of cool setup with a literal notepad placed on top of it?
  • So that part of the screen isn't blocked by your hand and forearm
  • The demonstration didn't indicate to me that the hovering abilities necessary for being able to precisely pinpoint your spot were there, without which it's dramatically less useful than being able to put your pen DIRECTLY down on the spot you're drawing on. Precision goes out the window entirely.
  • Imagine you're an artist - you could potentially have a pallette (sp?) of colors on the bottom half and your canvas up top. Also, it's not just for drawing. Did you see that you can use the Real Pen with ink to write on paper and it digitizes instantly onto the other half?
  • None of that's relevant. For one, I mentioned DRAWING on the separate surface, not using it just to display other information you can select which wouldn't require a stylus. Also, it's not a screen, it has a pre-configured keyboard display layout that just blacks out when not enabled, so your scenario isn't possible, unfortunately. If it was a second screen I'd absolutely see the utility. And yes, I did see that pen/ink feature, which is why I specifically mentioned it in my comment.
  • Right, I did miss your point. Maybe you could use the blank surface in some kind of super zoomed mode where the top will still show the normal size drawing? Like one inch on the surface equals 10 pixels on the screen or something. I'm reaching. Anyhow, I do like the paper thing. I don't know if this will be a success, but I do like that Lenovo is trying to continue to innovate and bring fresh ideas to the market.
  • That would only work if it supports being hovered over, like a real tablet. If it does, then cool, I can see some potential use. But I'm more curious, really, if it also works directly on the screen. And yeah, overall, this is pretty intriguing.
  • It does support hover, as well as writing on the touch screen itself with a stylus
  • I prefer writing on the screen myself, but I've used Wacom tablets since 2007. On the screen is convenient, but I actually feel I have less precision, the tip of the stylus doesn't hit the exact spot I'm writing unless I'm looking at the screen from the right angle. There is glass above the display, which slightly distorts where you actually touch it's gotten better in recent years, but it's still a minor issue. Using a separate surface you still see your pointer on the screen just as if you were using your mouse, no precision problems for art work. The other thing I like about a separate surface, I can't accidentally press the home key while working. I've done it with my Samsung Note 10.1, I've done it with my Surface Pro 3, I'll be drawing and oops I'm looking at the home screen/start menu. That doesn't happen if you don't use the screen directly. Really it's personal preference, I work on artwork both ways, still use pencil and paper as well. I mostly use on screen and prefer it for convenience, no need for a second device or drawing tablet, more portable to sketch from where ever. If I was working professionally I'd work at a desk with a separate Wacom tablet connected. Oh and you can much more easily use a multidisplay setup or huge display if your not using a touch screen device for input.
  • So ... why was this excellent hardware not used with Chrome OS? And thanks to Google, we do not even have the option of replacing Android with Chrome OS down the line. Which you would tend to want to do since Lenovo has a terrible track record for updating their tablets. Oh well Lenovo ... looks like I will be getting an Acer Chromebook R11 instead ...
  • I'm only a bit concerned about the processor and how it stacks up to something like the pixel c and the tegra x1. If it beats out in that, might be worth picking up as an on the go device assuming it will stay up to date.
  • As usual with these sort of articles, the author seems compelled to throw out some Pixel C hate. Personally, I don't get it. Expensive? Yeah, a bit. However it does work really well for some of us. For me the Pixel C & keyboard combo, along with Android 7, works really well as my daily driver in a large corporate environment. Full Cisco Collaboration suite, MSFT & Google apps, access to multiple email accounts (including Exchange), lots of great applications, fantastic build quality, gorgeous screen...and a really fast processor. On those rare occasions where I do need to access the corporate MSFT-based IT environment, I've got an ASUS ZenBook UX303UB. i have quite a few tech toys, but the Pixel C is my current choice for a portable work environment. Use what you like, and like what you use. No need to dis a device because it doesn't work for you.
  • I have a Yoga 2 Pro and love it in many ways, except the screws fall out of the bottom and they want to charge me $15 a screw. Fortunately a manager got it down to only $10 each. Lenovo 's service is lacking and Best Buy is no help at all with this problem even months after purchasing it there. Feeling a bit gun shy about buying anything else from Lenovo, but this new device does look tempting.
  • " I love my yoga 2 pro but it's falling apart"?
  • I have the Lenovo Y50 touch and I will never buy another Lenovo product. This particular product has a design defect that results in the left hinge separating from the screen. The problem? The glue (Yep, they glued the hinge on) fails. Lenovo At first refused to repair the defect under the extended warranty; telling customers that the laptop showed 'obvious signs' of abuse. When the complaints started piling up in the support forums, they caved for warranty repairs. Any laptops out of warranty were offered repairs as long as their check cleared. I used an adhesive I found in Home Depot to fix mine. A year later and my repair still holds. Oh, and yeah, the screws fall out of the bottom of this one too. I found 2 of the 3 that were missing. Picked up the low strength purple locktite to secure them properly. The way Lenovo should have done it the first time around.
  • I would so get this if I could dual boot it. Sometimes an Android Tablet, and other times a Windows 10 tablet. now that would be awesome, even better of course would be Chrome OS instead of Android, but I could live with it.
  • So does the stylus slot in somewhere like on the Note line? Or is that a carry-around accessory? It looks way too chunky to stow in the tablet... Which makes for a major PASS.
  • A really interesting design. Makes me to actually want one rather than all other ones that just update specs each year.
  • that´s right!
  • Does anyone know if the notes taken using the pen/stylus can be exported out of the dedicated app that Lenovo have developed?
    The windows version writes to One Note.
    I find this device really interesting but don't want to start with yet another app for coating my notes. I use Keep (and Google Drive for larger files) but others may want to use one of the many other excellent apps/services available
  • With identical hardware.... Is it safe to assume in terms of performance Android version will be the better of the two performance wise? It's a lighter os than windows
  • If this was launching with Nougat I'd be interested. It isn't hugely practical but as a gadget I love it.