Lenovo Yoga Book: An Android tablet like none other

I've seen lots of Android tablets in my day. Even the odd Android-powered laptop. I've seen Android tablets that sort-of try to become laptops. Today, though, we truly have the first one that's able to both — and then some. That beast, of course, is the Lenovo Yoga Book, which the company sent me to take a look at.

It's one part tablet. Another part laptop. Another part futuristic sketch pad. And it pulls off all three in a way that you almost don't expect, given the state of large-form Android devices. But it's pretty easy to nail down just exactly what Lenovo did to create such a unique product.

See at Lenovo

The hardware and that hinge ...

Start with the basics, of course. You've got a 10.1-inch tablet that's impossibly thin, with a gorgeous 1920x1200-resolution display. That's married to a keyboard unlike any that you've ever seen before — because there aren't any keys at all. Instead you get a flat surface on which the outline of keys will present themselves when it's time to type. The rest of the time that area is a high-tech sketchpad, using a souped-up pen to instantly digitize anything you write or draw. It's almost hard to believe how accurate it is, and it turns the worst of scribbles into something that can be stored and manipulated across all kinds of cloud-based ecosystems.

Keeping all that together is the innovative watch-band hinge that Lenovo has made itself famous for. Nothing else looks like that and provides the sort of range of movement. (Never mind that it looks ridiculously cool.) You can easily go from tablet mode to laptop mode to sketchpad mode, with very little effort at all, and without fear of breaking anything in the process. It's as simple as it is innovative.

There's plenty to like under the hood as well. The Yoga Book is powered by an Intel Atom processor, sports 4 gigabytes of RAM, and has 64 gigabytes of storage, with the option for a microSD card to add even more. And the 8500 mAh battery keeps everything powered up. All of this runs Android with aplomb, though there is also a Windows 10 version of the Yoga Book if that's more your thing.

That Real Pen — and that Any Pen ...

For as cool as the hinge is, and as futuristic as that keyboard looks, it's the pen input that's going to grab a lot of folks' attention. But it actually goes way beyond that.

The "Real Pen" is the main method of drawing, writing and digitizing. It's got a more typical stylus nub on it, but you might well want to go with the ballpoint tip so that you can actually put ink to paper while you're putting pixels to the screen.

But then there's "Any Pen" — a technology that lets you take any sort of conductive metal to the display and have it serve as a stylus. Only have a spork handy? So long as it's metal, that half-spoon, half fork will interact with the Yoga Book's display same as the Real Pen. Or a key. Or a knife. You'll obviously want to be a little careful about your writing weapon of choice, but the point is you've got myriad metal options.

The bottom line ...

It's not too often that you get a product that's worth more than the sum of its parts. The Lenovo Yoga Book appears to be one of those, however. You can't overstate the design — just how thin and light and innovative it is. The keyboard has to be seen to be believed. The options for Real Pen and Any Pen add the sort of extras that you won't find anywhere else.

Or boil it down to this — it's just cool. It looks cool. The metal body feels cool. You're going to pull it out of your bag and attract a gaze or two. And you're also going to get stuff done.

And that's truly what it's all about.

See at Lenovo

Phil Nickinson
  • I checked it out at Lenovo's site. Seems pretty bad ass as the reviews have indicated. But could it honestly be used as a daily driver with productivity in mind?
  • Depends on what you intend to install in it and what your definition of productivity is. If you can be "productive" with an Android tablet using only PlayStore apps, then yes, sure. If you aim for real productivity then you'll need the Windows version and there you won't have a good experience with the havy traditional desktop programs which the ATOM processor can't really handle well.
  • Low end power processor, 1.6-1.8 Ghz isn't very powerful, going to slow a bit with multi tasking, IMO and experience. There are like 4 different types of Atom processors, he could of been more specific. Think the 1.8 Ghz is the most powerful they have in the Atom series. But software too has a role play to play as well for processor power consumption IF it was configured to it specifically. Newer chromebooks will probably be coming out in 2017 with more powerful processors just because they have to deal with android apps now. And multitasking takes up a lot of processor and Ram in mobile devices. I'm still waiting for a chromebook to come out with at least a 2.3-2.5 Ghz processor and 4 GB ram, probably this year, which would be able to handle a power user who multi tasks.
  • Looks cool. Probably a bit small for a every day driver, but a good value. I wonder though about the value of a ANDROID OS on a device with a keyboard now - as opposed to CHROME OS, given that the play store is coming to newer Chromebooks. Is there some advantage of having Android OS on this device as opposed to a potential Chrome OS (+ Play store) model?
  • I like this new guy Phil, he's good.
  • Jury is still out on the new guy... Spending too much time in coffee shops being jelly of the big boy laptops,.
    Thought I saw him on some modern dad thing a while ago. Guess he wasn't modern enough.
  • Yeah he's alright! lol Great vid Phil - Spoonman!
  • It's less than what I paid for my Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 a few years back... May have to look into this.
  • It looks good, but won't hold a candle to your Galaxy Note.
  • I stopped reading at Atom processor...
  • I see no value in an Android tablet. I've used them for a few years, still own a Galaxy Note 10.1 and Tab S2, not good for anything but consumption of media. I feel it's easier to get work done on my phone, there's little benefit to a larger screen in Android. This is the device I want to see packing an ARM chip while running Windows 10.
  • Agree. Seems more compelling as a Win 10 device.
  • Also available running W10. Same processor though, I believe
  • An Atom processor running W10? That can't be pretty.
  • I wonder if it has the Chinese spyware included like their desktop computers?
  • Nah, I'm gonna stick to my Yoga laptop instead because it's pretty much the same thing and it has 12 inches screen. I cannot work on a 10 inch tablet. Too small for me.
  • Is the "any pen" thing really a new feature? I've used all sorts of metal things as styli on my Note 5, including a titanium spork.
  • You're right, it's not new. Several companies already implemented that on their devices. For example, Sony did that on some of its smartphone and tablets
  • Not sure why the author mentioned it only accepts metal input (like most other touch screen). It actually accepts a lot of other stuff as input. I've been using a real pencil to draw on a Yoga Tab 3 screen (which also has AnyPen tech) and it's awesome.
  • So Fat Azz Phil went and got the Lap Band, huh?
  • I like the look of Lenovo's Yoga tablets (even the older models), but I think I'd prefer an actual keyboard, not to mention Chrome OS.
  • Chrome on this is in the works for 2017 according to The Verge. That is what I am waiting to see.
  • For 20% more $, you're loosing 40-50% of the functionality you'd get buying a Surface Pro 4. Android is not an OS I'd consider a laptop replacement for yet. I tried and it doesn't work. Try using it to build a real CAD schematic for a professional application... Not so good at any of that. The apps are too chincy and multitasking is clunky at best. It's closer than it was 5 years ago but fundamentally challenged. Android is a phone OS at it's core. People try to jam Android into niches of their life that they've create but they're just creating a hole and filling that hole they with a consumer toy. Just call it what it is: A tech toy. There's no shame in spending your cash on gadgets purely for entertainment. There's a reason Apple doesn't try to make iOS run a Mac and a reason Windows doesn't jam their mobile OS into a real PC.
  • Just dropped a SSD into my 8 year old Acer with a first gen Core i5 and Windows 10, works better than any Chrome Book or Android tablet I've ever used. In fact, it boots in 5 seconds, my Axon 7 with a SD820 4 GB of RAM takes 30 seconds, I wish my smartphone was half as fast as my 8 year old pc. Battery life is still terrible but it's 8 years old. Point is, Android works good for my smartphone, but Windows 10 is a rockstar on a laptop with a good SSD and at least 4 gigs of RAM.
  • Both Apple and Microsoft's Mobile OSes (iOS and W10 mobile) are inferior to the Android OS which behaves more like a desktop and has more functionality and can work as a desktop OS with a few minor adjustments because of Android's desktop like nature.
  • It looks like the win and droid versions have same hardware. So can win be fudged onto the droid version?