I like to read the news on my tablet because it does away with the talking heads and all the fluff that is modern televised or streamed news. At least with my tablet I get to choose what story to read, what story to ignore and what story to rant at. I can read the comments or ignore them. It's a tool to gather news that fits me instead of being shouted at or having things shoved down my throat. I don't watch a lot of video on tablets because that is what large screen televisions are for. I waited too long for 72" to go back to 10" or less! Still I pick up a tablet every morning and some evenings to get caught up on what is going on outside of my little cyber dungeon so I substituted the Yoga Book for my regular tablet, a Surface, in my daily routine for close to thirty days. What I found was very surprising even to a jaded user such as myself.
Besides the news, I also use a tablet for notes. When I say notes, I don't mean written notes either. Usually verbal but the writing surface of Yoga Book might just change that as for some of us it's faster to write something than it is to key it in when using a tablet. Plus verbal notes can be hard to organize. This could be a real boon to those that scribble things down. I must confess to not really thinking about or even wanting to have a tablet with a keyboard AND writing/drawing surface but the Yoga Book has significantly altered that perception as far as the writing surface is concerned.
Ok, I'll admit it. My first experience with this feature was very positive. A note application popped up when I pressed on the "pen" icon and it was clear how to proceed with note taking and sketching. I am also not a person to use the tablet for drawing or sketching unless it's very rudimentary diagrams or ideas. I'm short on memory and long on ideas, not necessarily good ideas but I still want to keep track of them. The older I get the more I rely on audible notes but I still like good old hand scribbled notes particularly if they are easy to catalog or organize. If only Lenovo made a program that could read my handwriting months or years later when I can't read it or make sense of it, I would then have all that I need in this area. The Yoga Book comes with a note taking program that is simple to use. Everything you write or draw is saved in digital form.
I usually keep a small, clipboard size, whiteboard around so I can scribble down ideas or diagram projects. My workgroup is big on diagramming. Having the dual keyboard/writing surface attached to the Yoga Book makes perfect sense once you've had a need for it. In fact, why am I just looking at one now? This would have a been a real time saver on projects out in the field and, perhaps more importantly, those great ideas that wake you up in the middle of night and need to be quantified before slipping back into the darkness.
Using the Stylus/Writing Pen
As you can imagine you want to have the correct pen tip inserted depending on the task but don't worry because you won't be constantly changing out pen tips. At least I wasn't. When I took notes, I wrote them on paper (the pad included with the Yoga Book) on the writing surface instantly transferring them to the note application. I did use the stylus tip to draw/write on the surface without paper and while it was a bit disorienting at first it wasn't impossible by any means. There is a small cursor that shows your pen tip location and once you adapt to that it gets much easier but I would recommend using paper for the immediate visual feedback on the drawing/writing surface.
Changing out the stylus with the Real Ink tip was no big deal either. You just place the cap around the tip and use the little hole in it to grab whatever is in the Pen and tweak it out. Replacement is a matter of seconds.
Physical Side of Things
The Yoga Book shined bright with its clear screen and in keyboard mode the keys are brightly lit and easy to see. This puppy is surprisingly thin. The Yoga Book tends to get a tad bit heavy after holding it for extended periods. It's certainly not alone in this department. Of course, it has a keyboard/writing surface attached so this is understandable. I'm not considering it to be a negative but more of a necessary nuisance because it does take extended use to become a minor irritant.
Typing on the Keypad
Well, like any keypad it's not a keyboard. You cannot physically rest your hands on the keypad while you type as it will trigger the keys. I was limited to a hovering, hunt and peck, kind of typing. I loaded Word but no way was I going to use it in any form after one attempt with the keypad so that was a waste of time and space. Let's just say this reviewer finds this to be the only glaring negative with the Yoga Book. Old school keyboarders like myself will not be typing much of anything on this keyboard.
I was fortunate enough to get an Android update while researching this review so I let it rip and I am pleased to say it work as advertised. No sweat, no tears ... just a straight forward upgrade that came off without any problems or need for intervention on my part.
If you're in the market for a new tablet, the Yoga Book would certainly be a contender and it is due to drawing/writing surface. While I'm not a fine artist I am as stated earlier an avid note taker and this little feature alone sold me on the handiness of having this dual-purpose surface. Also, having a written copy of your notes to go with the digital copy was nice bonus, or vice-versa depending on how you look at it. Over the past few reviews, Lenovo has continued to impress this reviewer with products that ranged from powerful $30K workstations to the $499 (Suggested) Yoga Book. Each time the product Lenovo provided was solid and performed as advertised which at the end of the day means a happy Lenovo camper.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.