Yoga Book ditches a physical keyboard for pen and touch

Lenovo had a busy day at the IFA trade show. The company introduced a dramatically different new take on the 2-in-1 tablet called the Yoga Book. This 10.1" machine is Lenovo's first with a new interface it's calling the "halo keyboard." This design turns the half of the machine where a keyboard would traditionally go into a blank slate that can serve as both a keyboard and a pen input area. What's more, the Yoga Book is just 9.6 mm thick.

The "halo keyboard" uses illumination to outline a haptic keyboard and touchpad area that can turn into a pen-input surface at the touch of a button. That seems like an ideal note-taking interface on its own, but for folks who still prefer dead trees, the Yoga Book's stylus can also accept an ink tip that produces electronic input, too. That means the Yoga Book can digitize paper notes as the user creates them. Lenovo uses a high-quality Wacom digitizer to achieve the Book's dual-input prowess.

Lenovo will release the Yoga Book in both Windows 10 and Android versions. The company sat down with The Verge for an extensive discussion of the device's design, and it revealed that the Android version of the device will run Android 6.0 with an extensive Lenovo-built multitasking interface on top. An update to Android 7.0 is apparently in the works. The machine is powered by an Atom X5 CPU (presumably Cherry Trail) paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and its main display is a 1920×1080 IPS affair.

The Android and Windows versions of the Yoga Book will be available "globally in September" starting at €499 for the Android model and €599 for the Windows version, although that window apparently doesn't include the United States. Lenovo says Yankees should expect the machine to be available at online retail in the States by the end of October.

Comments closed
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 3 years ago

    The design is beautiful and intriguing. But as sighted by others, I’m dubious if the machine has enough battery, power, or general utility given its OS options/diversity. It lacks to targeted design philosophy of apple when they create something of this nature.

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Yup.

      As an OEM that just assembles parts designed and made by others, Lenevo lacks the control needed to really make this idea work.

      Only Microsoft or Apple (companies that can control the whole stack) could make this really work. But I think it’s telling that neither of them are attempting it.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 3 years ago

    A very interesting product for sure. I still want a macbook pro type laptop for under 1,000 dollars.

    • End User
    • 3 years ago

    Windows + Atom = no
    Android + Atom = no
    64GB of internal storage = no

      • synthtel2
      • 3 years ago

      The target market may not care. Atoms don’t feel that slow if the software isn’t too bloated, and I for one am currently using ~18 GB of drive space for all the stuff that isn’t games (~7.5 GB core data, ~4 GB temp/unimportant data, ~6.5 GB OS/programs/caching). They’re not going to sell anything on the basis of those specs, but (a) for many people they’re not crippling specs at all, (b) they’ve got other unique stuff going on (even if I don’t like it much), and (c) if the build quality is good, then the price isn’t too far out of line (though they could have doubled the storage for chump change).

        • End User
        • 3 years ago

        The uninformed can have at it but that does not change the fact that this device has some serious drawbacks.

          • synthtel2
          • 3 years ago

          All users who don’t need more than that are uninformed?

          Some people just don’t have a use for more powerful hardware, you know.

            • LostCat
            • 3 years ago

            Atom since Bay Trail has been pretty damn nice, I’d do any of those three.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            I get it but this Atom is a bottom of the barrel clear out the final inventory kind of CPU. Should have had a Kaby Lake low power CPU.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            It’s low-end, but sometimes low-end is fine. CPUs in general are pretty powerful these days.

            Kaby Lake would mean beefing up the cooling, probably spending quite a bit more space on electronics, and raising the BoM on CPU alone by $200+. It’s far from tradeoff-free.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Sorry. They cheaped out by going with a dead CPU.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Dead how? It’s perfectly functional. I’ve used much worse Atoms with no trouble (and non-terrible system responsiveness) back when I didn’t game, and they’ve made great strides since.

            That’s not a “sorry I’m disagreeing with you” sorry (which wouldn’t make sense to start with), that’s a “sorry you’re wrong” sorry. You’re not being objective enough to be able to do that. If you really want to, then be a bit more specific about where you think I’m wrong.

            How much of their target market do you think would really notice Kaby Lake’s performance gains more than the extra $$$ this leaves in their pockets? I’d guess somewhere under 50%.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Why are you willing to give Lenovo a pass on a class of CPU that was pathetic when it was launched in the Surface 3 over a year ago?

            Intel killed the Atom line for a reason. It sucked. The fact that Lenovo is using an Atom in 2016 just highlights its utter contempt for its customers.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Because a CPU can be pathetic for your use cases while being no problem at all for others’.

            However power-user we may tend to be around here, there are plenty of people who just use FF or Chrome, MS Office, and not much else. The most compute-intensive things they’re likely to do are watch 1080p video and go to some site that pulls in 20 MB worth of ads. CPUs aren’t the limiting factor here, storage is, and guess what, this has solid-state storage. It’ll almost certainly feel faster for them than a typical i7 + mechanical HDD laptop, and apparently the average joe doesn’t mind that either (somehow).

            • sweatshopking
            • 3 years ago

            oh synthtel. you’ve been well trolled.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Only for as much time and effort as I allow, which isn’t much if nobody else is taking a convo seriously. Said time/effort is only non-zero here because Poe’s law is involved. End User is well known to actually hold opinions like this.

            If you’re pondering a couple of recent convos I had with a certain CaptTomato as any kind of reference point, the first couple posts in the first thread were legit and then I was just trying to keep him talking for other reasons, which I’ll bet you could figure out if you read closely. 😉 That all might become more clear in a few months.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            I’m not trolling you. I’m laying out my argument clearly and backing it up with facts.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            That was a good laugh, thanks. 😛

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Lets wait for the reviews.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Oh look:

            [quote<]I’m a little less convinced about the Yoga Book’s internals. The device runs using an old school Intel Atom 64-bit CPU and features a modest 4GB of RAM. If the CPU plays nice with Google’s software, which Atom chips don’t always, the specs should be ok for Android. But I wouldn’t want to run Windows 10 on these specs. The specs also mean the device may struggle with larger digital painting or RAW photo editing projects – though I didn’t get to test this during my hands on and wouldn’t recommend doing this on a 10-inch device in the first place.[/quote<] [quote<]The use of Micro USB rather than USB C tech also feels a little archaic. A year ago the use of micro USB would be forgivable, but these days I expect anything but truly budget devices to use the new type C tech, which speeds up charge times and data transfer speeds.[/quote<] [url<]http://www.trustedreviews.com/lenovo-yoga-book-review[/url<] Micro USB. What an utter farce. It sounds like Lenovo stopped development on this thing 2 years ago.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            I’m not easily impressed by appeals to authority, and as a highly satisfied user of decades-old tech, I’m even less impressed by “there’s a newer thing so this old thing must be bad.”

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            The CPU is not bad because it is old. It is bad because it is underpowered. It’s use in devices such as this 2016 Lenovo and the 2015 Surface 3 was simply for cost savings.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Cost savings is a legitimate reason for a design choice. I’d rather compute power were cut to meet a price point than build quality.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Build quality is not the issue. Usability is. This CPU can’t deliver on the usability portion of the equation.

            Dual core smartphones have twice the CPU power of quad core Atoms. If we talk about GPU power then the Atom sinks even lower in the performance charts. It’s a horrid CPU.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            You’re still failing to convince me that this lack of performance actually matters. Try couching something in real performance terms, not just comparisons to other CPUs.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            The Yoga Books is basically a ThinkPad Tablet 10 2nd Gen:

            [quote<]once again, there are big issues in terms of performance.[/quote<] [quote<]We can recommend the review unit as a typewriter[/quote<] [quote<]The usage scenario is limited to everyday applications like web browsing and simple office tasks.[/quote<] [quote<]Cinebench R15 and R11.5 determine a very low performance for the CPU[/quote<] [quote<]The system performance is satisfactory as long as operation is focused on one single application.[/quote<] [quote<] You will have to live with delays and stutters during multitasking or when the system has been running for a while.[/quote<] [quote<]Our review unit is sometimes overpowered by multitasking, so it gets noticeably warm.[/quote<] [quote<] There is hardly any headroom and even multitasking can be too challenging [/quote<] [url<]http://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-Tablet-10-2nd-Generation-Tablet-Review.152645.0.html[/url<]

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<]During the test, the CPU started at 2.4 GHz and dropped steadily during the first half of the test, before it leveled off at 430 MHz. It then increased again to 1 GHz in the second half of the test. The Surface 3 managed clocks of up to 2.3 GHz in our review.[/quote<] Yeowtch. No, I don't think that's comparable to a decent implementation (not that I know anything about the implementation in question). Also, some of those things like Cinebench are entirely expected, but [quote<]The system performance is satisfactory as long as operation is focused on one single application.[/quote<] [quote<]You will have to live with delays and stutters during multitasking or when the system has been running for a while.[/quote<] [quote<]There is hardly any headroom and even multitasking can be too challenging[/quote<] all directly contradict my experiences with much weaker (though non-throttling) Atoms. If you insist Atoms are really that bad all around, my conclusion is gonna have to be that Win10 is garbage on weak computers, which does match [url=https://techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=117898<]my previous experiences[/url<].

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Windows 10 is on the device in question so that is what we must focus on.

            Here is a blurb from notebookcheck.net on the Surface 3:

            [quote<]Still, we would not recommend our tested high-end version of the Surface 3 (128 GB eMMC, 4 GB RAM) for picture editing.[/quote<] That is just sad.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            Then I conclude that Win10 is garbage on weak computers.

            [quote<]Windows 10 is on the device in question[/quote<] It's also got an Android option, and I don't know if it's likely to be locked from Linux or not. [quote<]so that is what we must focus on.[/quote<] This was about Atoms, not a particular OS. If in Linux this Atom is more than fast enough and in Win10 it handles like as much of an overloaded zeppelin as claimed, that's a really big deal.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Holy crap [url=http://www.windowscentral.com/lenovo-yoga-book<]what a piece of sh1t the Yoga Book is under Windows[/url<]: [quote<]just make sure you're not doing anything else at all whilst Photoshop is open[/quote<] [quote<]Another problem I've ran into is that sometimes I'll put the Yoga Book to sleep, and it'll refuse to wake back up. [/quote<] [quote<]Heavy sites like TweetDeck will bog-down performance[/quote<] [url=http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/8/9869980/google-pixel-c-tablet-review-android<]Android on tablets is a joke[/url<]. Linux on the Yoga Book? Really? I bet that keyboard is going to work really well. CPU performance (Geekbench 4): Yoga Book Single core - 1039 Multi core - 3146 My personal smartphone Single core - 3400 Multi core - 5600 No matter how you slice it the Atom in the Yoga Book is next to useless.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            I think all this does is confirm that Win10 is obnoxiously heavy.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            You don’t equip a 2016 device with a CPU that can barely deal with the OS.

            Correction. You can equip a 2016 device that barely deals with the OS but that is totally a dick move.

            This is my final word on this device: The Yoga Book ships with micro-USB as its primary port. That is just inexcusable.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Not all solid-state storage is created equally. I’ll wager this thing has sluggish storage. I’ll keep my eye open for reviews and report back to you.

            I don’t think you are aware of the current state of mobile CPUs:

            A tired old iPad Air 2 [url=http://browser.primatelabs.com/geekbench3/compare/1734220?baseline=2520414<]trounces[/url<] a quad core Atom based Surface 3. A 2016 smartphone with a Snapdragon 820 just crushes the Atom. If this piece of crap ran Nougat on a Snapdragon 820 it would be mint.

            • synthtel2
            • 3 years ago

            I’m aware of the performance gap and no more convinced of its relevance that I was at the beginning of this thread.

          • Klimax
          • 3 years ago

          It doesn’t sound like you have any experience with Silvermont and newer Atoms.

            • Concupiscence
            • 3 years ago

            It’s true. We’re a mercifully long way away from those arduous, in-order early designs.

            • End User
            • 3 years ago

            Silvermont? As used in the horribly underpowered Surface 3? #getoutahere

            How’s Broxton working out for you?

            Edit: Turns out the Surface 3 has an Airmont series CPU – so newer than Silvermont. I don’t know about you but I think that a Windows device that scores 38/103 in single/multi core Cinebench R15 is just a disgrace.

            I have to ask, if the successor to Silvermont was so poor, how bad was Silvermont?

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Courier (somewhat) lives!

    [url<]https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--0Pkyoq3U--/17wj5q452y89yjpg.jpg[/url<]

    • Tumbleweed
    • 3 years ago

    “Key travel? You want more key travel? FUCK YOU. There’s your key travel.”
    – LeNOvo

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      Life forms, you tiny little life forms, you lovely little life forms, where are you?

    • Antias
    • 3 years ago

    So we’re getting closer and closer to the glass top input surfaces of STNG.. cool 🙂

      • Ifalna
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah.. only ours do all kinds of unwanted crap when phaser fire smashes your head into the console or when you stuntman slide over it.

      At least they don’t explode in your face…. yet. So I guess that’s a plus. 😀

    • ImSpartacus
    • 3 years ago

    I don’t think the market is ready for this, but kudos to Lenovo for pushing things forward. Gotta start at version 1.0.

    • Pitabred
    • 3 years ago

    Ugh… a keyboard with no physical feedback? No thanks. Even “good” chiclet keyboards like a Macs are terrible for actually using compared to a real keyboard, and my mistype count goes way up. Looks like a largely useless machine for anyone that doesn’t hunt-and-peck, and if you type that slow, you’re probably not technically adept enough to really deal with making it do all the things it’s supposed to do…

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      Have you seen how fast teens can type on touchscreens these days? No, you get off [i<]MY[/i<] lawn!

        • Generic
        • 3 years ago

        Get off my lawn, indeed.

        I wondered if the power user for this device is one who excels at swipe input for texting.

        Good on Lenovo for releasing something truly different regardless (long live Courier).

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 3 years ago

        LOL URite I cn sspel gr8 on T Uoch U old folkzzz

        • Pitabred
        • 3 years ago

        I use touchscreens too, quite often. Teenagers aren’t magical creatures. They’re just humans with crappy attitudes and zits (why yes, I have had two, with 4 others barreling into it soon…). I type very quickly with a good keyboard, quickly with an ok one, and tolerably with a touchscreen. I’m not saying that typing will be impossible with it. Just that it will be a significantly sub-par experience compared to physical buttons, and relegate the machine to use by people who don’t need to type a whole lot.

          • Ifalna
          • 3 years ago

          Well I guess typing blind will be difficult w/o feedback.
          But if you look at the KB while typing, no buttons should not slow you down, after all you still have the tactile feedback when you touch the surface.

          Typed via “hunt and peck” never got the hang of typing with all 10 Fingers. MMO chats made me resonably fast by necessity though. 😀

          • Hattig
          • 3 years ago

          One thing you need to be aware of is just how bad Lenono’s physical keyboards are on their (non-high-end) <11″ devices… There is a strong chance that this implementation (although I think it’s fixed, rather than being a monochrome OLED with reconfigurable key layouts that works as a standard Android keyboard) won’t be that much worse.

          And otherwise, it’s a giant trackpad … which when you consider Lenovo’s typical trackpad implementation on their <11″ devices cannot be a bad thing.

          What I would say though is get the Android version unless you have a really compelling reason for Windows. Windows 10 Just Sucks on these combo touch/keyboard devices, it doesn’t know what it is doing. Android 7 will give semi-decent multitasking capability too.

        • green
        • 3 years ago

        coming in 2036: iLawn. giant gorilla glass XX display + terapixel live photo of a lawn so you can enjoy the sense of having a lawn without the burden of maintaining one, nor needing to tell people to keep people off of it

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    So all the Surface4 Pro users in the office say basically the same thing;

    “The pen is a gimmick because most software isn’t there yet”

    And the SP4 is supposedly the best example to date.

      • sweatshopking
      • 3 years ago

      Gimmick? My wife stands by her sp2, and the power of one note. Fantastic for chemistry, math, biology, etc. Nothing gimmicky about it, but certainly not all use cases. For Student uses it is unrivaled, and only improved with the anniversary update, though her and i have both been traveling since it launched and haven’t tried the new features.

        • DrDominodog51
        • 3 years ago

        Yeah. For some specific usages, the pen is quite useful.

        I know OneNote 2016 (the paid version) integrates with the pen well (and is good as a whole. I still prefer actual paper over it for most things though.) I’ve heard some Adobe products like Illustrator use the pen’s features as well.

        Outside of the specific uses, a regular stylus will do about as well as the pen and be a lot cheaper at the same time.

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