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Lenovo Yoga Book is a pocket-size laptop with a secret keyboard


One of the things that makes it hard to produce a truly portable hybrid computer is the need for a traditional keyboard. You either have to fold the keyboard away somewhere, which adds awkward bulk; or instead detach it completely, which inevitably means when you need the keyboard the most, it’s probably been left behind at home or at the office. Lenovo is shrinking the hybrid idea down into something closer in size to a paperback book than a laptop. The new Yoga Book has a clamshell hinge and a 10.1-inch full-HD-resolution display, but where you’d expect to find the keyboard is instead a blank slate.

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-size Laptop With A Secret Keyboard Sarah Tew/CNET

In one mode, that acts as a Wacom-style drawing tablet1, and works with the included Real Pen stylus. A few built-in Lenovo apps helps you take notes and annotate documents, and it should work with Photoshop and other visual art programs. But, at the touch of an on-screen button, the drawing tablet is replaced with a backlit keyboard, which Lenovo calls the Halo Keyboard. It’s akin to on-screen typing on an iPad2, but the matte surface is much better for finger control than a shiny laptop or tablet screen. In a brief hands-on test, I found finger-typing on the Halo Keyboard to be very doable once you get used to the key size and placement, but in the pre-release version I tried, there was a little more lag than than I’d like when typing quickly.

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-size Laptop With A Secret Keyboard

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-size Laptop With A Secret Keyboard

Sarah Tew/CNET

If this idea sounds familiar, and not in an iPad on-screen keyboard kind of way, then you’re a real connoisseur of obscure computers. I reviewed an early version of this concept back 2011, when Acer released its 14-inch Iconia dual-screen laptop3. In that case, the bottom of two touchscreens could display several on-screen keyboard layouts, other touch tools, or just extend the desktop onto both screens. The idea clearly didn’t catch on with the public as there was never a version 2.0 of that Iconia, and this is the first no-physical-keyboard Windows clamshell I’ve seen since then. And when you’re not typing or drawing, the system can fold into a kiosk or tablet mode, just like any other laptop with the Yoga name — it’s just that this one is a lot smaller. Powered by an Intel Atom x5 processor, the Yoga Book is available in both Windows 104 and Android versions, and weighs around 1.5 pounds (680 grams). Worldwide pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but in the US, it’ll start at £499 (roughly 380 or AU£665) and should be available immediately.

References

  1. ^ tablet (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ iPad (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ Acer released its 14-inch Iconia dual-screen laptop (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ Windows 10 (www.cnet.com)

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Lenovo Yoga Book is a pocket-sized laptop with a secret keyboard


One of the things that makes it hard to produce a truly portable hybrid computer is the need for a traditional keyboard. You either have to fold the keyboard away somewhere, which adds awkward bulk; or instead detach it completely, which inevitably means when you need the keyboard the most, it’s probably been left behind at home or at the office. Lenovo is shrinking the hybrid idea down into something closer in size to a paperback book than a laptop. The new Yoga Book has a clamshell hinge and a 10.1-inch full-HD-resolution display, but where you’d expect to find the keyboard is instead a blank slate.

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-sized Laptop With A Secret Keyboard Sarah Tew/CNET

In one mode, that acts as a Wacom-style drawing tablet1, and works with the included Real Pen stylus. A few built-in Lenovo apps helps you take notes and annotate documents, and it should work with Photoshop and other visual art programs. But, at the touch of an on-screen button, the drawing tablet is replaced with a backlit keyboard, which Lenovo calls the Halo Keyboard. It’s akin to on-screen typing on an iPad2, but the matte surface is much better for finger control than a shiny laptop or tablet screen. In a brief hands-on test, I found finger-typing on the Halo Keyboard to be very doable once you get used to the key size and placement, but in the pre-release version I tried, there was a little more lag than than I’d like when typing quickly.

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-sized Laptop With A Secret Keyboard

Lenovo Yoga Book Is A Pocket-sized Laptop With A Secret Keyboard

Sarah Tew/CNET

If this idea sounds familiar, and not in an iPad on-screen keyboard kind of way, then you’re a real connoisseur of obscure computers. I reviewed an early version of this concept back 2011, when Acer released its 14-inch Iconia dual-screen laptop3. In that case, the bottom of two touchscreens could display several on-screen keyboard layouts, other touch tools, or just extend the desktop onto both screens. The idea clearly didn’t catch on with the public as there was never a version 2.0 of that Iconia, and this is the first no-physical-keyboard Windows clamshell I’ve seen since then. And when you’re not typing or drawing, the system can fold into a kiosk or tablet mode, just like any other laptop with the Yoga name — it’s just that this one is a lot smaller. Powered by an Intel Atom x5 processor, the Yoga Book is available in both Windows 104 and Android versions, and weighs around 1.5 pounds (680 grams). Worldwide pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but in the US, it’ll start at £499 (roughly 380 or AU£665) and should be available immediately.

References

  1. ^ tablet (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ iPad (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ Acer released its 14-inch Iconia dual-screen laptop (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ Windows 10 (www.cnet.com)

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) review:


Has it really only been four years since Lenovo’s first Yoga hybrid1? That 13-inch two-in-one PC was the biggest argument in favor of the then-new Windows 82 and its tile-based interface, because it could transform into a touch-friendly tablet3 with ease, and because it did so without compromising the familiar clamshell laptop experience that nearly every PC user is accustomed to. It turned out that the Yoga really was the one hybrid to rule them all, and every other major PC maker, including Dell, HP, Toshiba and others, experimented with all sorts of flipping, folding, rotating, and shifting hybrid PC design before settling on a similar 360-degree hinge. Today, you can’t even casually browse a computer store (either brick-and-mortar or online) without tripping over Windows PC with kiosk and table tent modes.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) Review: Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo went on to make several variations on the Yoga, including different screen sizes, different colors and higher-end models with watchband-style hinges4. But the overall best Yoga design the company produced was the ThinkPad Yoga5. This variant, part of the buttoned-down ThinkPad line of business computers, kept the best parts of the transforming Yoga experience, but also added a clever keyboard trick. When the hinge rotates from its clamshell position all the way to its tablet position, the keyboard tucks itself away inside the base. It looks and feels like a retractable keyboard, but in reality, the outer edge of the keyboard tray raises up slightly to be flush with the keys, which are in turn locked into position. But the end effect is the same, so feel free to keep calling it a retractable keyboard. It’s a great feature missing from the standard IdeaPad Yoga systems, which leave a deactivated keyboard clacking under your fingers when in tablet mode.

Still, the ThinkPad Yogas were never as thin, flashy or lightweight as the consumer models, so I could see going with a slim IdeaPad Yoga 9006 instead. Until now.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) Review:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) Review:

Sarah Tew/CNET

The latest 14-inch ThinkPad model, called the X1 Yoga, adds an OLED display (in its highest-end pricing configurations), making it one of the first laptops7 anywhere to have this stunning new type of screen. This isn’t a surprise development, Lenovo announced OLED was coming to the Yoga back in January at CES 20168, but it’s taken until now for the first units to finally ship. We recently reviewed a version of Dell’s Alienware 13 with an OLED screen9, and my colleagues and I were blown away by what a big difference it made in everything from gaming to video viewing, and to a lesser extent, casual web surfing and productivity work. The Samsung TabPro S10, a Surface-like tablet hybrid, has a similar AMOLED screen and was also very impressive. Here in the larger 14-inch X1 Yoga, you can really appreciate why OLED screen technology sets the standard for excellence in the best-looking current-gen big-screen televisions11, and why, despite the very high costs, TV buyers crave them. Even for a smaller laptop screen, there’s still a premium to pay. The exact high-end configuration we tested, with the OLED 2,560×1,440 display, a Core i7-6600U processor, 16GB of RAM and a big 256GB SSD, costs £2,289, as configured through Lenovo’s website. In the UK, you can get an identical OLED configuration for 2,286. In Australia, the same configuration costs AU£3,999.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) Review:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED) Review:

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you’re looking for OLED on a budget, Lenovo also offers a Core i5 version in the US with the same OLED display but half the RAM and SSD storage for £1,682. ThinkPad Yogas always cost a few hundred dollars more than the consumer versions, because of the retracting keyboard, better construction and built-in IT-friendly security features. Adding OLED drives the price up even further, but it’ll be a least a few more years before OLED laptops and TVs are as inexpensive as their LCD counterparts.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (OLED)

Price as reviewed £2,289 Display size/resolution 14-inch, 2560 x 1440 OLED touch display PC CPU 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6600U PC Memory 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 1866MHz Graphics 128MB Intel HD Graphics 520 Storage 256GB SSD Networking 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.0 Operating system Micorsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)

This new X1 Yoga keeps much of the look and feel of previous models, from the low-key matte black color to the red trackpoint nestled between the G, H and B keys — a throwback to an earlier era of laptop computing that feels more like a branding play than a practical navigation tool these days.

References

  1. ^ Lenovo’s first Yoga hybrid (www.cnet.com)
  2. ^ Windows 8 (www.cnet.com)
  3. ^ tablet (www.cnet.com)
  4. ^ higher-end models with watchband-style hinges (www.cnet.com)
  5. ^ ThinkPad Yoga (www.cnet.com)
  6. ^ IdeaPad Yoga 900 (www.cnet.com)
  7. ^ laptops (www.cnet.com)
  8. ^ CES 2016 (www.cnet.com)
  9. ^ Alienware 13 with an OLED screen (www.cnet.com)
  10. ^ Samsung TabPro S (www.cnet.com)
  11. ^ best-looking current-gen big-screen televisions (www.cnet.com)

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