Ah, another laptop-that's-also-a-tablet. Why should I care?
You should care because Lenovo's Yoga line pretty much wrote the rulebook on how to make really good hybrids. In fact they're almost good enough to make us give up our Macbooks. No, they haven't quite managed it yet - stubbornly, we continue to clutch Apple's world-conquering laptop firmly to our bosom - but the new Yoga Book might just convince us. It pairs an incredibly thin and light chassis with a lovely new hinge mechanism, and a stylus that's also an actual pen. Oh, and it starts at a very wallet-friendly £449.
A stylus that's actually a pen? Explain yourself!
Patience, Moleskin-lovers. The unique part of the Yoga Book package is that it comes with Lenovo's new Real Pen Stylus. As the name suggests, it’s an actual pen - you can use it to write on a paper notepad if you believe all the research that says it helps with memory retention. But thankfully, the Yoga Book's digital nature means it can also protect you against the downsides of paper, namely its ability to get lost, soak up liquids and generally set on fire quite easily. As long as your notepad isn’t thicker than 10mm, you can place it on top of the laptop’s keyboard, and it will replicate whatever you write/draw - meaning your notes are safe in the cloud. Perfect for when the school bully steals your backpack during playtime.
Do I look like the sort of person who still uses pen and paper? I'm a digital native, fool!
Well, Lenovo claims the Yoga Book was designed specifically for you, my analogue-hating friend. The company’s research showed that under-30s were using their tablets for productivity all through the day, and the Yoga Book is for this “Touch Generation” (their words, not ours). It's created what it calls the Instant Halo Keyboard: it's a touch-based keyboard, so no physical keys, but keystrokes are registered through haptic feedback. The keyboard also adapts to your style of typing over time, so that if you’re constantly short hitting the “A” key, for example, it'll work it out. And much like a mobile phone, predictive text will be key.
Digital keyboard? I had enough problems adapting to the MacBook “Butterfly-mechanism” keyboard.
We hear ya, buddy. An initial (very brief) hands-on with the Yoga Book’s Instant Halo Keyboard suggested a typing experience that will take some getting used to, especially if you’re coming from a traditional desktop keyboard. However, Lenovo is bullish about the quality of its design - in testing, it claims users average 91 characters-per-minute on an on-screen keyboard such as the iPad’s, but a whopping 149 on a 10-inch physical keyboard and a slightly-better-still 151 on the Halo.
I’m a keyboard maverick - sign me up.
If you're on-board with the keyboard, the rest of the laptop stacks up really well for the price. There’s a full HD, 1920x1200 IPS display, Dolby Atmos sound, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage - expandable by up to 128GB via microSD - a 15hr battery life with fast charging…the list goes on. And it starts at just US$500 for the Android version, with version 6.0 of Google’s ubiquitous OS being used, on top of which Lenovo has added a task bar for a laptop-like experience.
Wait a minute. I thought this was a work laptop? What about the IT manager's operating system of choice, Windows 10?
Rejoice, Microsoft die-hards - there's also a Windows 10 version, available for US$600, and it’s compatible with OneNote in terms of the aforementioned note taking. Both versions are shipping now, and should be available to buy in September.