Review: Lenovo’s Yoga Book with Windows 10

Dec 5, 2016

The Lenovo Yoga Book used in this review was provided by Lenovo. In November, Joe reviewed the Android-powered version and it was not provided to GWW.

The Lenovo Yoga Book with Windows 10 is a tablet with a clever twist. Attached to the screen is a flat surface that, with the push of a button, transforms from a backlit, keyless keyboard into a Wacom pen tablet. Other than the pen tablet, the Yoga Book has the signature spine from the Yoga series that allows the attachment to be positioned anywhere between 0 and 360 degrees to the screen. This means the tablet can be held in several different ways: traditionally with just the screen exposed, at a 90 degree angle in either typing or drawing mode, flipped into an A-frame shape for viewing movies, or completely closed to protect the screen while not in use. This mostly works great in practice, but some shortfalls make it hard to recommend this version of the Yoga Book to anyone.

Immediately the Yoga Book stands out as a nice looking tablet. Its metal construction feels solid while still being slender and lightweight. Both the screen and keyboard attachment are roughly the same thickness and feel neither flimsy when separated or bulky when together. While the back-bending spine is a bit of an eyesore compared to the smooth carbon black surface of the rest of the tablet, its functionality more than makes up for it.

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Also notable is the tremendous performance, with a quad core processor and four gigabytes of RAM. Along with streaming videos and normal web browsing, it handles complex graphics and physics of 3D games without a hitch. It has a bright, high resolution screen and ample battery capacity.

This Yoga Book has two primary downfalls. The first is the operating system; Windows 10 is simply the worst tablet operating system on the market. It is well suited to a desktop where users have huge displays and the precision of a keyboard and mouse for input. But Windows 10’s inadequate soft keyboard and tiny UI elements on this high resolution screen make usability extremely frustrating. Making the situation a little better is the included stylus, which is primarily intended for use on the pen tablet, but works equally well on the touch screen itself to more precisely it your intended target.

The second downfall is the combination keyboard and pen tablet. As a keyboard, it’s less usable than a soft keyboard (on a decent operating system, that is). Without being able to place your hands on the keyboard surface before you actually begin typing, you’re reduced to “hunting & pecking” for keys, which is slower than on a soft keyboard because it’s over a larger surface. It’s also more error prone because it doesn’t include the generous auto-correct we’ve come accustomed to with soft keyboards. The pen tablet, on the other hand, is a delight! But unfortunately it’s simply too niche to be appealing to most users.

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Overall, despite the great aesthetics, performance, & concept, the Lenovo Yoga Book with Windows 10 is not a recommended purchase. Artists and architects who could get a lot of use out of the pen tablet should definitely take a look at the Android version of the tablet, which offers a lot of the same benefits but without the clunky operating system. Others should choose between a tablet without an attached peripheral or a tablet with an attachment more closely resembling a traditional keyboard.

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