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Lenovo Yoga Book

Editor's rating (1-5): rating starrating starrating starrating star

What's Hot: Fantastic futuristic design, excellent build quality. Bright IPS display, 2 digitizers for pen. Very light and portable. Good battery life, low price.

What's Not: Capactive keyboard and trackpad are trying. No palm rejection or pressure sensitivity for display digitizer. CPU fine for Android, slow for Windows.


Reviewed October 17, 2016 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)

Lenovo Yoga Book

When you see the 10.1" Lenovo Yoga Book, you'll want it. It's that good looking and that unique. From the matte carbon black magnesium alloy stiff casing to the watchband hinge, it looks like something that might cost one or two thousand dollars. Instead, it's just $500 for the Android model and $550 for the Windows 10 model (they share the same hardware, only the OS is different). If you go with the Android Yoga Book you'll have a few other colors to choose from too, but I particularly like the carbon black because it looks like a classy journal book. This is a convertible like Lenovo's other Yoga laptops--it does laptop, tablet, tent and presentation modes via a 360 degree hinge, and the capacitive keyboard and trackpad are automatically disabled when you rotate it out of laptop position (at least it should, our early model had some issues with it forgetting to do so, but we expect that to be fixed). The Yoga Book has a 1.44 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8550 CPU with Boost to 2.4 GHz, 4 gigs of RAM, 64 gigs of internal storage, dual band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth and optional multi-carrier LTE 4G with a nano SIM card slot. It weighs just 1.5 lbs. and is a mind-bogglingly skinny 9.6mm (0.38"). Yet it's super stiff and sturdy. Ports are scarce, and this clearly isn't meant to be your main laptop--there's a lone micro USB port (you'll need a micro USB to USB dongle to use USB peripherals) that doubles as the charging port, a 3.5mm combo mic-headphone jack, micro HDMI and a microSD card slot that lives in a smartphone-style pop-out tray with the optional 4G LTE SIM nano card holder. Alas, there's no USB-C, which seems a little old fashioned and less versatile compared to recent competition from the 12" MacBook, Asus ZenBook 3 and HP Spectre. The Yoga Book comes with a digital pen, Yoga Book Pad (a pad of paper with magnetic holder), ball point pen nibs for the pen (the standard digital nib is pre-installed in the pen) and a smartphone size charger with a very short USB cable.

Open the Yoga Book and you'll see that there's no keyboard in the traditional sense--that smooth surface has the faint etched outline of a full keyboard, and when in use the Halo keyboard lights up and seems to appear from nowhere. Lenovo calls this bottom area the Create Pad, because with the press of a button it turns into a Wacom EMR digitizer with included pen that supports palm rejection and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Lenovo Yoga Book

The IPS 1920 x 1200 touch screen supports Lenovo's AnyPen technology--the included pen works there, albeit without pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. It works with most any implement that has a modicum of metal in its tip--ballpoint pens, lead pencils... Lenovo has incorporated AnyPen in previous Android tablet models and they invited us to try writing with screwdrivers and scissors (we did, the display was undamaged). With the Yoga Book there's no such invitation, so we haven't tried to write with anything other than the included pen. That pen has a removable nib--one is a traditional fine Wacom tip and the other is a ballpoint pen. We used both on the display and the ballpoint left faint ink traces that wiped off. I personally would rather not use an ink pen on my capacitive touch screen, but that feature does work.

Lenovo Yoga Book

So what's with the pen nib that's actually an ink pen? The Yoga Book's bottom Create Pad digitizer uses similar technology to Wacom's own Bamboo Slate: you can place a pad of paper (everyday normal paper, not special stuff) and write or draw on it with the ballpoint pen inserted in the Wacom pen. Lenovo includes a magnetic Book Pad holder with lined A5 paper, but you can use anything you want--graph paper, calligraphy paper or art paper. And yes, the pen really works through the entire pad of paper--nice! Whatever you write or draw will appear on screen in the program of your choice, be it OneNote, ArtRage, Adobe PDF or Photoshop. The reproduction is faithful. Lenovo says they're targeting the Yoga Book at young professionals, and I get why the "grew up with the iPad" generation might be comfortable with the capacitive zero travel keyboard, but I do have a hard time believing they're so wedded to pen and paper. That feature seems better suited to older users who've never grown comfortable with writing on glass screens. The Create Pad's surface (should you choose to forgo the paper) has a non-slick feel, similar to Wacom's USB digitizer tablets that plug into a PC or Mac. I don't think anyone would want to take notes that way, because you're writing blind--you'd have to move your gaze from the tablet portion to the screen to see what you're writing. Though some pro photographers still use Wacom USB tablets like the Intuos, I suspect they're rolling that way because they're using Macs and have no touch screen or active digitizer options like Surface Pro 4 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga. Lenovo argues that this way is better (effectively, the old USB tablet way--working blind on a blank black surface) because your hand doesn't block your view. I haven't heard note-takers complain that their hand blocks their view, nor do sketch artists and painters complain about their pencils and brushes. As someone who does paint and draw digitally, I feel the way many graphic artists do: the day we got the ability to draw directly on screen was liberation day. A photo editor might prefer to not block her view when making a careful masking selection, but as someone who also edits photos and is seriously into photography and Photoshop advanced use, I still find the indirection of a separate drawing pad leads to difficulties with accuracy too.


That Keyboard

The capacitive keyboard is exactly like using the on-screen iPad or Surface Pro 4 keyboard, only bigger. The Yoga Book has a 10" netbook footprint, and a keyboard sized to match (a little wider since it goes nearly edge to edge). I'm very comfortable typing on Android and iPad on-screen keyboards, so the Lenovo capacitive keyboard is fine for short typing sessions. I tried for days, and couldn't come to love it for long form writing, such as writing this review. Why? It has haptic feedback and auditory feedback (too loud, but you can turn it off), so you have some sense of making positive contact with each virtual key, but that's it for tactile feel. Even the old Surface Pro Touch Cover was more tactile. OK, I might be able to live with that, but it's hard to touch type when you're often looking at the keyboard to check your finger position. OK, I could live with that too-- but should I have to just because it looks so cool and allows for a thinner device? Dubious. The deal breaker for long form typing is that you can't rest your fingers ever so lightly on the keys because they're very sensitive and register the slightest touch. That means keeping your elbows bent at a constant 90 degrees and raising your hands completely off the keys, which is very tiring on the shoulders. And forget about typing on the bouncy bus or train. The Halo keyboard would be much better if it used something like Force Touch--require a bit of pressure to actuate the keys and that would allow touch typists to gently rest their home fingers on the f and j keys, and slight contact with other keys wouldn't create a mess of word jumble. Oh well... it looks so darned cool!

Lenovo Yoga Book


The Trackpad

Like the keyboard, the trackpad is a virtual capacitive affair with right and left click buttons at the sides rather than along the bottom. There's simply not enough space to fit them below, and the trackpad's height (but not width) is already limited. The trackpad works OK and supports two-finger scrolling, though it's too short to do much of that. What doesn't work well is that the trackpad is automatically temporarily disabled if you touch a virtual keyboard key, and the spacebar is so close to the trackpad that you'll accidentally touch the spacebar all the time (remember, there's no tactile feel to warn you that your finger has wandered too far north). Suddenly, mid-mouse, the trackpad seems to stop dead and your file drops goodness knows where. You'll have to tap the dot in the center of the trackpad to activate it again (rather than wait for the deactivation to time out eventually). Clearly, Lenovo noticed the problem too since they added that little activation dot. Lenovo could add a physical ridge around the trackpad to help keep us on the trackpad, but that would get in the way of drawing. I honestly think I'd love a version of the Yoga Book that ditches the digitizer in the base and went all out trying to give us a fantastic virtual keyboard with force touch and physical guide lines to aid in typing and mousing. I'd be thrilled to have just a good Wacom digitizer in the display in place of AnyPen.


Windows or Android?

Lenovo first designed the Yoga Book as an Android device, and that makes the best sense given the challenges that the keyboard and trackpad offer. Most folks don't use mobile OS tablets to write War and Peace, and Android's user interface is perfectly touch-centric so you can use your finger or the pen rather than the trackpad. You're probably using your Android tablet for email, Facebook, streaming video and occasional Office document edits rather than serious long form business work. Lenovo has a few value-added software touches that are Android-only too: you can write on the Create Pad without turning on the screen (this saves battery, though battery life is honestly stellar). The Android model ships with TouchPal, a system-wide auto-correct app that takes care of those generally more common capacitive keyboard typos.

Lenovo Yoga Book

For those worrying about bloatware on the Windows version-- nothing to see here. This is a very clean Windows 10 Home 64 bit experience with no bloatware. Lenovo loads their Halo keyboard app and drivers necessary for the features to work, but nothing else. In fact, there isn't even a Lenovo updater program, which we'd have liked to see since it helps users keep their drivers up to date without hunting on the Lenovo support website.


Deals and Shopping:


Lenovo Yoga Book Video Review (Windows)


Lenovo Yoga Book Video Review (Android)



Horsepower and Performance Better Suited to Android

With a 1.44 GHz Intel Atom CPU, the Yoga Book is relatively unpowerful as Windows tablets and laptops go. The Atom sits below the low power Intel Core M CPU, and benchmarks around 1/3rd the speed of a Core i5. But that same quad core CPU is plenty powerful enough to make Android smooth and responsive, and the 4 gigs of RAM is generous by Android standards though now considered the bare minimum for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition laptops. The 64 gigs of eMMC storage isn't very fast compared to Windows SATA M.2 SSDs, but it's par for the course and fine for Android. Still, we can understand why Lenovo wanted to offer a Windows version--the hardware is so darned cool, after all. And Android tablets, unlike phones, aren't big sellers, so why not widen the appeal? The selection of Android tablets has dwindled given tepid sales, and quite a few makers are focusing on Windows instead. Android's tablet app selection is still weak, but there are office suites and art programs that can make the Yoga Book a very fun and productive tool.

Windows artists, this tablet may be too slow for you if you do most of your work in heavier programs like Adobe CC or Corel Painter. 220 meg PSD files with several layers really slow down the Yoga Book, even if Photoshop is the only program running. Pen tracking often lags in Photoshop when working with those kinds of files. Art Rage is much lighter, as is Sketchbook, and the pen tracking is decent, though it occasionally falls behind. I'd go with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 or the very good Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet (both are much more expensive though) if serious artwork with Windows is your thing.

If you're OK with Android and ArtRage and Sketchbook on Android, you'll get better performance. When drawing and writing directly on screen rather than the Create Pad, there's little parallax (pen tip offset), but plenty of jitter. There's very little jitter on the Create Pad. It's pointless to talk about parallax on the Create Pad since you're not looking directly at what you're writing or drawing.

Lenovo Yoga Book

So why use that relatively slow Intel Atom CPU in the Windows Yoga Book? It helps keep the price down, and believe me, the Yoga Book's low price tag is an accomplishment. The Intel Atom, like Intel Core M, requires no fan so it's silent. Atom runs even cooler than the Core M, so the back of the display area (where the brains are) never gets beyond vaguely warm when working hard.

Benchmarks - Windows

PCMark 8: 1303
Geekbench 3: 1005/3283
wPrime: 24.6 sec



The IPS 1920 x 1200 display is a little taller than the average Windows laptop. It has a 16:10 aspect ratio rather than the 16:9 in 1920 x 1080 laptops and tablets. We like the added height for tablet use, particularly in portrait mode. This is a very bright display that Lenovo claims is 400 nits (our colorimeter measured 386 nits, which is close). It's also very reflective and glossy, so you'll want to angle it to avoid glare. Color gamut is good at 93% of sRGB and 91% of Adobe RGB-- that matches $1,000 laptops currently on the market! Black levels at max brightness are 0.51 and contrast works out to 690:1. Gamma is perfect at 2.2 but the hardware white point is considerably too high (toward the blue) at 7900K. Still, it calibrates well and is accurate enough for pro work in the sRGB color space for web work.


Battery Life

The Lenovo Yoga Book is the veritable Energizer Bunny. It averaged us 12 hours of actual use time, which is good for an Android tablet and stellar for a Windows tablet where runtimes are often closer to 6 hours. When we put the Windows version to sleep, it sometimes wouldn't wake up and we had to use the power button to reboot it (shades of the early Intel Skylake issues coming back to haunt Intel Atom?). Hopefully, Lenovo can fix this.

The tablet has a relatively large 8500 mAh battery that's sealed inside along with all other internals (there are no upgradable parts). It comes with a very compact 5v 2 amp charger (the same as that included with pre-USB-C smartphones and tablets) and a too short USB charging cable.

Lenovo Yoga Book



The Lenovo Yoga Book stirs emotions like few other recent pieces of consumer electronics. Practicality or need be damned--I just want one! I seriously applaud Lenovo for taking a chance on a product like the Yoga Book, and I want them to continue evolving it. It has a lot of promise, but right now I feel that the Windows version is an answer to a problem few of us had--the main advantage of the virtual keyboard beyond good looks is that it allows for a rigid yet insanely thin laptop. Unless you type very little, I'm not sure it's worth the tradeoff. Maybe we'll see laptops of the future with something like Force Touch for the keyboard that will make typing easier and more natural. The Create Pad feels like an unwanted revival of the old USB Intuos digitizers when most of us would rather write and draw directly on screen. Of course, you can do that here, but the screen's digitizer lacks palm rejection and pressure levels, so that's not great--no variable line width and no resting your hand on the screen. In its current iteration, the trackpad borders on being a torture device.

On the plus side, the Yoga Book is wildly affordable for a convertible with this sort of cutting edge design, build quality and dual digitizers. If you're an Android tablet person, you know that Samsung hasn't updated the Galaxy Note tablets is a long time, so it's great to see a new pen-centric tablet hit the market. The display is lovely and its brightness and color gamut matches $1,000 competitors. Battery life is stellar and the tablet is cool running and silent. The Yoga Book is also extremely portable given its small 10.1" footprint, light weight and slim design--it's a take anywhere product.

Price: $499.99 for Android, $549.99 for Windows 10



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Display: 10.1", 1920 x 1200 IPS display. Intel HD 400 integrated graphics. Micro HDMI.

Battery: 8500 mAh Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside.

Performance: 1.44 GHz Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor with boost to 2.4 GHz. 4 gigs DDR3LP RAM, 64 gigs eMMC solid state storage.

Size: 12.00 x 9.78 x .53 inches. Weight: 1.52 pounds (960g).

Camera: 8MP rear camera and front 2MP camera.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos audio software, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone/mc combo jack.

Networking: Intel dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth. 4G LTE.

Software: Windows 10 Home 64 bit or Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Expansion and Ports: 1 micro USB port (also used for charging), micro HDMI, 3.5mm audio and microSD card slot and nano SIM card slot.



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