Tablets Lenovo Yoga Book (experiences/thoughts?)

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by sracer, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. sracer, Oct 31, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017

    sracer macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #1
    In pursuit of my "holy grail" multi-purpose mobile device, I recently purchased a Lenovo Yoga Book (Android) new for $270. It ticked off many of the boxes on my list that such a device should have. With just a few days of mild usage it is difficult to say just how well it is suited for my needs.


    Requirements for a mobile device (in no particular order)
    1. Easily transportable - must be small enough to be able to carry around in a small case or by itself.
    2. Dedicated keyboard - because of the requirement of a small size, onscreen keyboards are not practical. They take up too much space of the limited screen space available.
    3. Touchscreen - The ability to interact directly with the screen for certain tasks is helpful.
    4. Tablet mode - related to touchscreen, the ability to use the device as a tablet for media consumption.
    5. Dedicated pointing device - The option to use a pointing device (trackpad/mouse) other than the touchscreen for certain tasks.
    6. USB accessory support - I occasionally have need to use a USB microphone or presentation remote that uses a USB dongle. Support for these at the very least are needed.
    7. USB storage support - I occasionally have need to access large data files on-the-go. Remote/cloud access to these files is not practical.
    8. Access to the file system - being able to manage and access files into logical groupings is needed.
    9. Removable storage support (preferred/not a show-stopper) - It is very convenient to be able to expand internal storage or swap memory cards out to easily switch "perspectives". (think "office work" vs. "home/leisure")
    10. Stylus support (preferred/not a show-stopper) - support for stylus w/palm rejection is nice at times. Even support for a small-tip capacitive stylus is helpful.
    11. HDMI support - There are times when I need dual display support. A hardwired HDMI connection is preferred as it is universally accessible for the scenarios in which I need dual displays.

    Anyone else own and use(d) the Android version of the Yoga Book?
    If so, what have your experiences been like?
    What were some of the challenges?
    What were some of the unexpected but pleasant surprises?
    Did you make use of the traditional pad/pen elements?

    Over the next few days, I'll post replies to this thread with my observations and comparisons of this to my other devices.

    For those who don't know what a Yoga Book is, here's an excellent review/explanation:
     
  2. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I was very interested in this (more so the Windows version of it) when it first came out, but decided against it. What put me off was:
    - The screen ratio. For a small device like this, I dislike 16:9 and 16:10. Would have liked 3:2 or 4:3
    - The placement of the pen digitiser layer in the touch keyboard. I'd like to have it in the screen for direct writing/drawing on the screen.
     
  3. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #3
    Here's how the Yoga Book is sizing up compared to my requirements....


    1. Easily transportable - 10.1" 16:10 screen makes it just about the same size as my iPad Air 2.
    2. Dedicated keyboard - Halo keyboard is interesting. I like the spacing and the size. I can touch type on it but have to look at the keyboard (for now) because I can't keep my fingers resting on the keys.
    3. Touchscreen - The multi-touch screen is very responsive.
    4. Tablet mode - this thing is incredibly thin. When folding the keyboard/digitizer back on itself, it looks, acts, and feels just like an Android tablet. Having the smooth Halo keyboard on the back is a much nicer feel than the physical keys when I fold back the keyboard on my Acer R11.
    5. Dedicated pointing device - the trackpad is VERY responsive and supports multi-gesture. The trackpad area is a bit small so that will take some adjusting to.
    6. USB accessory support - all of the USB accessories that I tried are perfectly supported with it. I was even able to use a USB hub to attach multiple devices. Including a game controller, USB microphone, USB presentation remote, USB mouse, USB keyboard, etc.
    7. USB storage support - it supports all of the USB storage devices I've attached to it.
    8. Access to the file system - decent built-in file manager app. Plenty of other Android file manager apps available.
    9. Removable storage support (preferred/not a show-stopper) - micro SD card support including the ability to store apps on it.
    10. Stylus support (preferred/not a show-stopper) - This has been over-the-top great. A terrific WACOM digitizer with just enough resistance on the Halo keyboard area to feel like I'm writing on real paper. (using the Apple Pencil on my iPad Pro is fine, but a bit too slippery) Also, being able to use the same stylus directly on the screen as a "dumb" capacitive stylus is a bonus.
    11. HDMI - haven't tried this feature out yet.
     
  4. hallux macrumors 68030

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #4
    Thanks for this. I actually seriously considered this device to replace my tablet but I finally settled on getting another Samsung. While Samsung isn't GREAT with releasing updates for the tablets, they're still better than Lenovo has been (Nougat for that device is still in the works from what I hear).

    What's the security patch level? This was another factor for me. Even if I don't get an OS update, there's no reason they can't release the monthly patches, especially with the BlueBorne and Krack exploits recently.

    Another consideration for me was the charge port. My Nexus 6p uses USB-C, if my tablet used it also, I could swap out charging blocks/stations to support that and I'd be sitting pretty for a while.

    I settled on a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7" from Best Buy where I could get one with 128 GB internal storage and also have MicroSD support. This device came with Nougat on it already and installed the August security patch when I booted it initially.
     
  5. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020

    jamesrick80

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    Sep 12, 2014
    #5
    Its a hot mess. Your videos will lag alot with that idiotic intel processor they put in it. I had the android version for one month and then sold it. Do not buy.....
     
  6. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #6
    Interesting. I’m playing videos from the web, internal storage, microSD, and usb thumbdrive, all without stuttering. I heard that the initial version of Android on it was not optimized and didn’t perform well. The latest version, Nougat, runs extremely well and has added features like multi-touch gestures for the touchpad.
     
  7. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020

    jamesrick80

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    Sep 12, 2014
    #7
    So you no longer see a lag in netflix movies or hulu videos? Its like a slow display refresh rate which can be seen easily. Also, the display colors are inaccurate as well.
     
  8. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #8
    I've only owned this thing for a week. My experiences out-of-the-box were not like yours. After upgrading to Nougat, it was even better. Video playback has always been smooth and solid. Display colors are accurate (well, at least as accurate as the technical limitations of the display allow=91% sRGB).
     
  9. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #9
    The shine is beginning to fade a bit. :(

    I love the Halo keyboard. Not only is it backlit (by necessity) but is a smooth surface that feels great when folded back in tablet mode. The spacing of the keys really helps to allow for fast typing. Because there is no resistance from mechanical keys, my typing speed has increased dramatically... or I should say COULD increase dramatically if the Yoga Book could keep up.

    There is an annoying millisecond lag when I start typing, and I can type nearly as fast as on a convention mechanical keyboard, but when my typing speed exceeds that, keystrokes tend to drop. ARGH! I have tweaked the Halo keyboard settings in Settings, which helped a little but didn't completely eliminate the issues.

    Having a touch keyboard that does NOT take up screen space is very nice. For slow hunt-n-peck speed, this is fine. The upside is that it is far more responsive than the Surface TouchCovers I've owned. I have to adjust my expectations a bit.
     
  10. macgeek18 macrumors 68000

    macgeek18

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    #10
    I was curious about it. I ordered one but decided against it and bought a Surface Pro instead.
     
  11. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #11
    CodeWeaver's CrossOver for chromeOS installs and runs on the Lenovo Yoga Book. This is the commercial version of WINE, allowing Windows apps to run on non-Windows systems. Now to make time to try installing some Windows apps on it. There is where the 64GB internal storage will come in handy.
     
  12. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #12
    Another test of capabilities... screen mirroring to Roku.

    This isn't an extended display or dual display capability, but simply mirroring what is on the Yoga Book onto the display connected to a Roku.

    I need to further investigate whether or on a true dual display mode is capable. At the very least, I know I'll be able to use this for presentations and be able to use my wireless Targus presentation remote control with it.
     
  13. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

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    #13
  14. jamesrick80, Dec 11, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2017

    jamesrick80 macrumors 68020

    jamesrick80

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    #14
    After all of my criticisms, the updates has made this device perfect for me. I said bye bye to my tab S3 and im enjoying this yoga book once again. I also discovered that the Firefox browser is perfect for this device. The tab S3 battery life is unacceptable and no HDMI or mhl support was unacceptable as well no matter how nice that amoled display was.

    Sracer was completely right......about what nougat did for this device. It's a steal currently.
     
  15. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #15
    great to hear! It certainly explains how our individual experiences could be so drastically different. (absent a hardware issue)

    On another positive note, I found a solution to my keyboard issue. The lag was caused by TouchPal (Lenovo's autocorrect keyboard for the halo keyboard). I switched it to Gboard, and the lag disappeared! I can hover-touch type on the halo keyboard as quickly as on a physical keyboard. Wow. I'll give TouchPal another shot hoping that as it learns it will be able to keep up better.

    I'm also getting accustomed to writing on the touch panel while watching the screen when taking notes during meetings. I orient the Yoga Book as a traditional notebook with the touch panel on the left and screen on the right. (I'm left handed) Although I like the option for physical paper and pen, I'm not crazy about transporting and swapping nibs. But being able to write on the touch panel with enough "bite" to feel like writing on paper is very nice.

    This thing is so stinkin' cool. :)
     
  16. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020

    jamesrick80

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2014
    #16

    I use only gboard....i would never touch that touchpal virtual keyboard or anything touchpal....its a mess. Gboard functions perfectly with the yoga book and the halo keyboard doesn't need touchpal. It was a mess on my first yoga book so i learned my lesson. Dont even give touchpal another chance...
     
  17. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #17
    In that (TouchPal) our experiences are identical. lol.gif

    I can't believe how badly it impacts the experience of using the Yoga Book. Lenovo really shot themselves in the foot with that. But I'm delighted at how well Gboard works, so all is well.
     
  18. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #18
    I received a Mr Shield anti-glare screen protector for Christmas for my Yoga Book (as well as a set of replacement pen tips). Easy to install and the matte finish looks great and matches the finish of the Halo keyboard. This is the best matte screen protector that I've used. Text remains sharp and crisp, not "rainbow" or "shimmering" that can happen with similar protectors.

    It really improves the use of the Yoga Book as a tablet.
     
  19. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #19
    I just returned from a week-long trip to see family on the east coast. Beside taking my iPhone SE, the Yoga Book+Pen (YB) was the only tech I brought with me. Having previously taken my 12.9 iPad Pro + Apple Smart Keyboard + Apple Pencil (iPP) on that same trip a year and a half ago, I wanted to compare my experiences between the 2 devices.

    Clearly the experiences will be different simply because one is a 12.9" screen and the other is 10.1". But my iPad Pro-related comments would still hold true with a 9.7 or 10.5 iPad.

    PACKING/TRANSPORTING

    The YB was easy to stow away in my backpack. It got lost in the cavernous laptop space. (no appreciable difference to the iPP)

    TERMINAL USAGE

    Taking out the YB to use as a tablet while waiting to board was very pleasant. The fact that the halo keyboard of the YB folds back on itself to feel like a tablet really made the difference. Trying that with the iPP was a bit of a challenge as the ASK doesn't secure itself to the back of the iPad.

    IN FLIGHT USAGE

    My experience with the iPP in flight was not enjoyable. The tray table is small and when the person in front reclines back, there is little maneuvering room. Because the ASK on the iPP has only 1 position, it couldn't accommodate the sharp angle of the seatback in front and so had to be pulled in closer to my chest. This would be similarly true when I used my iPad Air 2, but not as severe due to the smaller size, but the single angle does still cause issues. It was not possible for me to type on the 12.9 iPP, but it was with the Air 2 (and Belkin Ultrathin keyboard cover).

    In contrast, the YB fit very well on the tray table. In "presentation mode" there is still plenty of room on the tray table (even with the seat back reclined) as the halo keyboard is behind, and the continuous angle mode allowed me to adjust the angle to exactly where I needed it. In "laptop mode", it was a bit cramped for keyboard usage, but because of the continuous angle of the hinge, I could adjust the screen so that I had a bit more room to type.

    I used Sony on-ear noise-cancelling headphones with the YB. They worked well... it became even better when I turned on the Dolby Atmos processing on the YB.
    2018-03-09 10.21.09.png 2018-03-09 10.47.34.png

    IMPROMPTU FAMILY SCENARIOS

    My family isn't tech-savvy so their setups are very basic. In wanting to show photos and videos, during my last visit everyone had to huddle around my iPP. But this time with the YB, I could cast the YB screen to their smart TV. I had loaded up my YB with photos and movies (64GB internal storage + 128 microSD). It couldn't have been easier.

    They wanted copies of some photos and videos, so I simply attached their USB thumbdrive to the YB, and dragged-and-dropped them to the drive.... done.

    Battery life on the iPP has taken a dive since upgrading to iOS 11. (I have done all of the usual and unusual methods for attempting to improve it with no success) Battery life on the YB was outstanding. Using it all day during travel (10+ elapsed hours, 5 hours of usage) I had about 70% battery remaining.(it seems to be VERY efficient in video playback)

    All in all, the YB performed extremely well. Having notebook-like ports and connectivity in such a compact package was really helpful and made those last minute "oh, I have something to show you" type things fun instead of frustrating.
     
  20. kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

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    Location:
    On the silver scream
    #20
    @sracer thanks for the update. That's very interesting. I wonder if Lenovo will continue forward with this? Would you upgrade if they do?
     
  21. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    #21
    I highly doubt that Lenovo will produce a follow on product. It didn't sell well which explains why there are a few ebay resellers selling them new-in-box for $250-$290. That IMO is a steal.

    One of the reasons it is not selling well is because of the Halo keyboard. Reviewers simply don't "get it". Just because the keyboard panel is permanently attached, they compare it to a notebook rather than a tablet. Nothing prevents someone from folding the Halo keyboard back (as a kickstand) and using a bluetooth keyboard.

    Typing on the Halo is no different than typing on the onscreen keyboard of a traditional tablet. They don't complain about THAT. Yet, for some reason the Halo keyboard is the reason to avoid it... even though it doubles as a wacom digitizer and has a superior feel when folded back and using it as a traditional tablet. #shrug

    It is doing nearly everything that I was hoping my iPad Pro could do... and then some. As for upgrading, if Lenovo somehow managed to make a newer model that has even more features and capabilities, then yes i would probably upgrade... and I wouldn't wait for a clearance price... because even at full MSRP it is far less expensive than a comparable iPad Pro configuration. Well worth the full MSRP for what I'm able to do with it. :)
     
  22. kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

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    Location:
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    #22
    Cool. Thanks for posting. I must hold off on any tech (a replacement for this iMac is my next tech purchase), but I will continue to consider this. I hope Lenovo tries again as it's an interesting concept and for that price you mentioned, it sounds like a steal. I like the idea of the second panel as keyboard and wacom digitizer too.
     
  23. Vegastouch macrumors 603

    Vegastouch

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    Jul 12, 2008
    Location:
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    #23
    I don't have one of those. I have a Yoga 11S with Windows. I've had it for a while and it is working ok now but overall, it has been hot garbage. Good thing i have a power cord with it. It needs a battery replacement and the battery has never been that great. One day I will replace it with a Surface Pro.
    I do have a tablet but there are just some things that are easier to do with a laptop device than a tablet and I like having the extra ports as well.
    I dont know if your device has these extra ports like USB and HDMI.
     
  24. sracer thread starter macrumors G3

    sracer

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    Apr 9, 2010
    #24
    Sorry to hear of your experience with your Windows notebook. There is virtually nothing in common between the Yoga Book and the Yoga notebooks other than the name. If you think the Yoga 11S is hot garbage then going to a Surface Pro is going out of the frying pan and into the fire. I have extensive experience with the Surface line and they are terrible.

    The Yoga Book has USB, HDMI, and microSD. Generally speaking, you are correct that there are things that are easier to do with a laptop than with a tablet. In attempting to use my iPad Pro (instead of a laptop) as my mobile device I was able to accomplish quite a bit by "thinking different" about what I needed to get done. But in the end the iPad Pro wasn't able to close the gap enough to make it viable.

    Interestingly enough, because the Yoga Book is so much more capable than the ipad Pro, I found it EASIER to perform the same tasks on it than on the iPad Pro. It also allows me to do tasks on the Yoga Book that aren't possible on the iPad Pro.

    A device with a mobile OS is not going to be able to replace a device with a desktop OS if one needs the functionality of a desktop OS, but sometimes a mobile device can do enough to supplement a home-bound desktop computer.
     
  25. BravoTangoPapa macrumors member

    BravoTangoPapa

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    #25
    FYI - Windows 10 versions of the Yoga Book are starting to show up around $250 as well. I picked one up (in addition to the Android model I already have) a few weeks ago, and have been very impressed with the performance. I can run the following with no lag or issues (real world example)...
    • Edge browser with 5 open tabs
    • Opera Browser with 7 open tabs (one of which is actively playing a YouTube video)
    • MS Word two 10+ page documents with heavy formatting) - full version of Word, not mobile
    • MS OneNote (Full version)
    • MS Mail and Calendar apps
    • File Explorer
    • And, Task Manager, Malwarebytes AV, and iCloud services running in the background
    This puts the memory usage at 94%, and the CPU at around 35%, but the machine is very usable (I am typing this on the Yoga Book while all of the above apps and processes are running).

    I also like the fact that Windows will continue to get updates on the Yoga Book. Whereas, the Android Yoga Book will likely stay right where it is (i.e. no OS or security updates).

    @sracer has done a really nice job of covering the Android version of the Yoga Book, so I just wanted to share some thoughts on the Windows version for anyone interested in this rather unique tablet/ultrabook.
     

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