Lenovo Yoga Book Review: Stunning But Badly Flawed

The Lenovo Yoga Book is small and when I say small I mean small like you wouldn't be believe a laptop can be. Thin, light and very, very black. In truth though, the compromises which Lenovo has made to deliver this incredible portability are a step too far, and you may find that, beautiful and innovative as it is, the Yoga Book is one you leave on the shelf.

Once you get past the Carbon Black exterior, with Lenovo's trademark Watchband hinge allowing it to flip and rotate like other Yoga devices, you open up the Yoga Book to a bright 10" display and the Halo keyboard. It's not a keyboard and in my experience it isn't even close. I found that it was infinitely more difficult to use than an iPad or standard Windows touchscreen keyboard. I suspect that's down to the flat angle of the keyboard which really isn't usable - your hands block the view of the keys and you can't feel your way around the keyboard. 

I have used some different keyboards in my time. The Microsoft Type Cover and MacBook 'no-travel' keyboard, the two I rate as the worst I've used thus far, are leagues ahead of this implementation.

There's a pen and paper notepad included in the box. This allows you to either use the keyboard portion as a Wacom tablet or place the pad over the keyboard (it attaches magnetically) and write on the paper whilst having your sketches appear on screen.

For note taking it was a passable experience, but it strikes me that this is a vanishingly small niche market.

Halo keyboard aside, this is a small, entry-level Windows 10 tablet. It's not powerful enough to be your main PC and although its capable enough as a tablet I can't help but feel that you're carrying around a useless half of a device for no good reason.

And yet it's such a uniquely attractive thing, you can almost forgive its shortcomings. The problem for the Lenovo is that at NZ$1199 its more expensive than an iPad Pro 10.5" and the latter just feels like it offers more value for each of those dollars.

I've focused on the looks, keyboard and pen / pad because these are the things which make the Yoga Book different.

You'll need to fall for the Lenovo Book's charms pretty heavily to choose it at that price, but I guess if you do, there's nothing else which can compete.


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