Lenovo YogaBook Review: Has the laptop been replaced?

Does the Yogabook flex its muscle?

The market for tablets has slowly been replaced by hybrid computers over the past year. With many companies looking to cash in on growing consumer interest, the Yogabook is Lenovo’s best attempt. The Yogabook combines portability with functionality to appeal to a large customer base. But does it do enough to stand out?

Build and design

It doesn’t take more than a few glimpses to realise how well the Yogabook is built. The cold metallic feel, a versatile hinge and the machine-drilled speaker holes scream premium. The power and volume buttons are also sturdy and show no signs of creaking.

I/O options include microUSB, microHDMI and microSD ports 

The laptop-esque hybrid design makes the Yogabook suitable for use in many situations. It can be used as a tablet or a traditional notebook. For the most part, I used it in the latter form because I wanted to acquaint myself with the Halo keyboard, which we’ll come back to.

Specifications

There are two variants of the Yogabook available to public. One runs on Windows 10 while the other, which we reviewed, uses Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The hardware in both is identical, though the price isn’t. The device sports a 10.1-inch Full HD touch display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,200. Inside, there’s an Intel Xeon 2.4GHz quad-core processor alongside 4GB of RAM.

The 10.1-inch Full HD touchscreen displays vibrant colours

An 8MP primary camera is stationed at the top right of the Halo Keyboard while the 2MP front camera is on the bezel. On the sides are the dual Dolby Atmos-supported speakers that sound phenomenal. With I/O options such as HDMI out, microSD support and SIM card support for LTE, users should have few complaints on the connectivity front.

User experience

Interacting with the device regularly, I was impressed with the display. It had great viewing angles and was sufficiently bright in outdoor scenarios. Even when dimly lit, it stopped glare from hampering the experience. This, combined with the speakers, makes the device great for multimedia consumption. The added benefit of propping it on a surface comes in very handy when viewing content with multiple people in the room.

The buttons and ports are conveniently placed

In terms of software, Intel processors have been known to present slight issues with running Android OS. While the general experience was good, the unpolished animations and minor pauses stopped it from being excellent. Running games didn’t pose issues and memory management was very good. Lenovo’s skin does not bring any significant bloatware but, like in every other Android device we test, stock firmware would have enhanced the experience.

4GB of RAM allows for efficient multitasking, but unpolished animations and minor pauses are a slight letdown

The Halo keyboard was a hit and miss. The functionality it provides is great but the typing experience was below par. With no travel for keys, it essentially serves as a touchscreen keyboard. Having to hover your hands above the keyboard can get tiresome and touch typists will find the keyboard difficult to adapt to. For extensive use, the keyboard should be used on a flat surface whereas typing on your lap will be very difficult. I used the added mouse pad sparingly, with much of the onscreen interaction carried out via touch.

The Halo keyboard provides an underwhelming typing experience

There’s more?

The stylus accompanying the Yogabook was one of the major reasons it interested us. The ability to take notes on the device is its unique selling point and it did not disappoint. Pressing the pen icon on the Halo keyboard transforms it into a canvas for sketching and writing. The pad uses WACOM technology to sense varying pressures and simulate accurate strokes. Palm rejection functioned very well, something I was very impressed with as a left-handed writer.

You can change the nibs on the included multipurpose Lenovo stylus

For a more traditional approach, the ability to write on paper will please many. The paper pad magnetically attaches to the Yogabook and you can replace the nib to a ball point variant found in the box to write. For students, this feature will be useful for taking notes in class and storing them digitally. However, users may encounter some alignment issues and not being able to use any household pen is a bit restrictive.

Note-taking made easy, even for a lefty

Camera

I personally believe there is nothing worse than people using large devices to take pictures. Not only do they block the view of many behind them but in most cases the cameras aren’t very good. Unfortunately, the Yogabook does not do very well terms of camera performance. The pictures taken are satisfactory but colour reproduction is poor. The front camera can be used primarily for video calling but does not do enough to become a primary choice for selfies. A device like this cannot match the quality of smartphone cameras but can do the job if you find yourself in tight situations.

Awkwardly placed camera module

Battery life

For an Android device, the Yogabook can be deemed quite large. With a capacity of 8500mAh, the battery does well to get through a few days of light to moderate use. However, it cannot quite match the 15 hours’ active use Lenovo claims. I was not disappointed with battery life and for the most part, the device did well to remain functional. The added fast charging function via microUSB also helped reduce charging times.

Conclusion

There are hardly many devices that rival the Yogabook’s functionality. The features it brings to the table are unique and the approach taken from Lenovo is commendable. In a sea of hybrid offerings, the company has done not only enough to make the device stand out but arguably provide the best Android tablet experience to date.

 

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