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    Lenovo Yoga Book Android test: a tablet apart

    Who I am
    Martí Micolau
    @martimicolau
    Author and references

    Lenovo has been striving for two good years now to offer atypical models of touch pads, whether with asymmetrical designs, crutches, integrated projectors, with more or less success. At the end of the year, the Chinese manufacturer is pushing its idea of ​​slate innovation even further with a Yoga Book combining Android tablets, sensitive keyboard, graphic tablet, handwritten input accessory. At least, "attempting to mix"...

    Presentation

    Accustomed to sensational designs and innovative ideas on the tablet, the Lenovo brand does not necessarily always aim right, but at least has the permanent desire to try things in a market that is stagnating in ideas and declining in trade. And its new Yoga Book – available with an Android or Windows 10 OS – certainly retains this innovative spirit, with its laptop PC look and its flat sensitive keyboard capable of becoming a drawing and handwritten note-taking tool. 




     


    So here we have a 10,1-inch (25,6 cm diagonal) IPS LCD touch screen with a definition a little more than Full HD (1920 x 1200 pixels), an Intel Atom x5-Z8565 quad-core mobile chip clocked at 1,44 GHz and up to 2,4 GHz in Turbo Boost mode, a RAM of 4 GB and a storage capacity of 64 GB (52 GB available for the user) expandable by adding a card microSD, to which are added a main photo-video sensor of 8 Mpx and a front module with 2 Mpx sensor. Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac take care of wireless connectivity, when the Yoga Book is also adorned with a micro-USB port (charging, data transfer), a headphone jack mini-Jack and a micro-HDMI output. The set runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but Lenovo adds its software paw to, in theory, correlate design and uses, while an 8500 mAh battery comes to power the machine. 


    The keyboard part, a kind of hybrid sensitive plate, hosts a classic and illuminated QWERTY panel, a trackpad, but also a delimited stylus input interface. To do this, the brand also provides the latter (electromagnetic and passive), capable of becoming a classic ballpoint pen, as well as a blank notepad, whose role we explain below in this test. Technology provided by Wacom, as was the case with Samsung for its Galaxy Note smartphones and tablets. 

    The Lenovo Yoga Book touch pad is marketed at an indicative price of €499. The version under Windows 10 requires an additional expense of 100 €.

    Ergonomics

    One thing that cannot be taken away from Lenovo is the consistent quality of the finishes and construction of its tablets. The Yoga Tab 3 Pro already offered high-end services on this point and the Yoga Book pushes the limits further to be neither more nor less than one of the most successful pieces in the world of digital slates. Designed as a bridge between the laptop and the more classic touch pad, the Yoga Book is therefore based on two parts that are impossible to detach, a touch screen and a sensitive keyboard. The second can turn around completely on the back of the first to only make a normal Android touch pad.



    The hinge is made up of an assembly of small reinforced tubes and solid-looking joints. You can also see the two layers making the electronic connection between the two parts of the tablet. The manipulation of the tablet in all directions is easy, we do not perceive a significant day, whatever the position. 

    Open in laptop mode, the Yoga Book does not display a totally perfect balance. You just have to push the screen part slightly so that the building tilts a little backwards and you may have some difficulty holding the whole thing on your knees while frantically typing text. However, the machine got through without too much trouble or frustration in most of our use cases. There's just one shot to take to tame the beast for any occasion. 


     

    Returned to simple touchscreen tablet mode, the Yoga Book is then a 10,1-inch slate weighing almost 700 grams. That's between 180g and 300g more than most high-end competing tablets, Google Pixel C included. In addition to this weight, it is also the lack of optimization of the screen that marks the outset. With an exploitation of the front surface of only 62%, the display of this tablet inevitably has extremely present black edges . We then begin to dream of the 11-inch screen that Lenovo could have inserted into this shell if the brand had played ingenuity on the integration and expression of its touch screen. 



    On the heating side, there is still a very localized temperature rise on the top and in the center of the keyboard part, which contains the entire hardware platform of the device. However, the temperature only rises to a maximum of 33°C. In practice, the user will never feel this heating, which occurs especially under heavy stress in play. Either the tablet is in PC mode, away from the fingers for heating, or in upside-down mode like a conventional tablet, and then gripping the the machine avoids any feeling of heating. 

    See you below, in our box, for a full review of the Yoga Book's keyboard which, despite its impressive build, proves disappointing in use, but we'll dwell on it anyway. about his stylus and note system. Supplied with the tablet, these accessories have a variable geometry interest. The stylus can thus be transformed into a pen by exchanging the leads (standard, ballpoint, 2 supplied). All you have to do is place the notepad on the keyboard part, both being magnetized, then press the stylus button at the top of the keyboard and finally write on the paper to see this transposed content automatically transcribed on the screen in the Notes app.


     


     

    A sleight of hand that will not work with just any ballpoint pen, since it is above all an electromagnetic link between the base of the stylus and the touch plate. It is also possible to turn the tablet over, screen face against the table and write on the notepad. The tablet will then understand by itself that it must save the notes in the device. Smart. The responsiveness of the stylus, whether drawing or typing directly on the touch plate or via the notepad, is most correct with a latency so minimal that it never disturbs the user. 

    However, this use has minor flaws. First of all, this story of notepads can quickly come to an end. The main supply only has about thirty pages and Lenovo does not yet offer refills. In addition, the grip of the block to hold the pages quickly tends to dissociate. As for the very use of the stylus, after passing the whole thing through the hands of several of our graphic designers, the conclusion is clear: it is a bit utopian to see beyond note taking and rapid drawing (the all under the same application). To see what the Windows 10 version coupled with editing software will be able to show, but the logical impossibility of not being able to use the stylus AND keyboard at the same time (goodbye hypothetical shortcuts) is already a big clue.

    Screen

    By inserting a 10,1-inch 1920 x 1200 px LCD IPS panel with wide viewing angles into its Yoga Book, Lenovo offers it a display density of 224 pixels per inch, when an iPad Pro 9,7 offers 264 dpi and a Pixel C, 308 ppi. The Yoga Book still has a certain reading comfort for any type of content. Its average contrast is 1140:1, for a maximum brightness of 418 cd / m², with correct black rendering, all topped by a light reflection rate of the panel of 15% (an iPad Pro 9,7, 2 goes down to less than 3%). Data on which the latest Yoga Tab 9,7 Pro is a bit more gifted, when the iPad Pro XNUMX (equal contrast however) and the Pixel C surpass it. 

    Colorimetry 2,8

    The color rendering, without being completely balanced, is faithful in many respects, with an average delta E set at 2,8. If it does not reach the 1,3 of the iPad Pro 9,7, we are here in rendering areas where the average human eye no longer makes the difference. For the color temperature, on the other hand, the Yoga Book displays a stable average over the entire spectrum of 7160 kelvins and a very slight drift in the blue on the light tones, without major impact on the experience. 

    For responsiveness, Lenovo does not improve what was already a point back on the Yoga Tab 3 Pro. The tactile delay is thus above the market average, with 98 ms, when the direct competition is below 40 ms. For the persistence time, there is a little better, for LCD IPS, with 14 ms (19 ms and 21 ms, at Apple and Google recently).

    Interface and navigation

    At the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow base, Lenovo adds a home interface called Phoenix OS, designed to go hand in hand with tablet-like use, one of the most recurring sticking points on slate under Google OS. At Lenovo, this results in a multi-window display of several applications simultaneously, a bit like displaying the screen of 3 small smartphones side by side. Windows that can be enlarged to full screen at any time or even pinned to the home screen and juggle the other two thirds of the display with other uses.

    On paper, the system looks promising and smart. In practice, it still lacks intuition and flexibility in the way of juggling between apps, especially since not all software is compatible. We will thus be able to open Gmail, but not Drive, the calculator or the dictaphone, but not taking notes. In short, the depth of use is not completely there. Frustrating. Another small subtlety finally limited, the fact that each recently opened application becomes a small icon on the bottom of the screen.


     


     

    We initially thought it was an icon pinning system to always find your favorite apps without going through another display, but that's not the case. Note that the Alt-Tab shortcut to switch from one app to another – using the keyboard arrows and without going through the touchscreen – in the Android multitasking pane – not to be confused with the multiwindow, therefore – is available.

    Of course, all the standard Google applications are available at startup, but also some vaguely useful software from Lenovo and of course the multi-use notes app, whether by touch or via the stylus/pen. As for the performance of the machine, if its Intel platform is lapped by the chips offered at the top of the range on a Pixel C or an iPad Pro, it remains largely sufficient to ensure very good fluidity in all uses or almost (see lower in game).

    Multimedia

    The Yoga Book has its own video player, but it will however be necessary to download a third-party player (VLC type, free on the Google Play Store), in order to have access to wider compatibility, the .AVI container, for example, not being supported by the system at the base. Note the good idea of ​​offering a window mode for reading, in order to watch a series out of the corner of your eye while performing other tasks.

    Video Audio

    The headphone output of the Yoga Book unfortunately combines fairly average power with somewhat high distortion. Otherwise, the soundstage is quite wide and the channel separation quite cleanly marked. On the other hand, there is a certain absence of the lowest frequencies.

    Not much to save on the side speakers. The sound is garish and the dynamic extremely tight.

    Jeu Magazine

    Already unable to compete with its competitors from Qualcomm or ARM-Mali with an equivalent range on mobile games, the Intel x5 platform of this Yoga Book expresses its limits all the more in the face of the premium positioning of the device. Graphics management via the iGPU HD Graphics 400 clearly lacks momentum, while the slightest 3D game that is a little searched (Riptide GP2, Real Racing 3...) is decked out with beautiful staircase effects and frequent drops in flowing rhythm. All the more conspicuous on a slab of almost 26 cm. A rather average gaming product.

    Photo

    First observation, Lenovo, by the atypical design of its device, is obliged to adopt an equally atypical integration for its main photo module with 8 Mpx sensor. It is thus housed in the upper right corner of the touch keyboard part and not on the back of the screen, in order to actually end up on the back of the slate once the keyboard has been folded down completely. In fact, if you turn on the APN when the Yoga Book is in laptop mode, all that the user will see will be... his nostril. After that, what remains of the capture via this Yoga Book? Well not much.

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    Focusing and capture are slow, the return to the screen shows a nice afterglow and the result, in addition to lacking color punch, forgets a little about sharpness and finesse, but remains usable as a last resort. A tool to capture a moment with a bit of blur no matter what, but definitely not a helpful camera. 

    • Find the Yoga Book in our Face-to-Face Photo

    By switching to the second sensor, this time housed in a more traditional way on the front of the tablet, we have to deal with a 2 Mpx element with all that that entails as a limit of use: few details, a lot of persistence in proportion to the light that is lost in the room, a general quality of the image at a discount... the experience is really not convincing.

    Autonomy

    A battery capacity of 8500 mAh is a good thing for this type of product, especially given the relative finesse of the whole. A good tour de force from Lenovo. And in practice, the Yoga Book gives birth to a very good and solid autonomy of 15:20 on our general endurance test protocol with viSer (web, video, consultation, music, download...), i.e. 2 hours more than Huawei MediaPad M2. Without the big push in terms of autonomy in recent months on certain products, such as Google's Pixel C (nearly 18 hours of autonomy) or quite simply the Yoga Tab 3 10 "from the same Lenovo, the Yoga Book could have been aimed at the 5 stars, especially when it offers close to 12 hours of streaming video playback (via Netflix), or 30 minutes more than the iPad Pro 9,7 and only 1 hour and 25 minutes less than the Pixel C.

    However, it appears not only that the Yoga Book is not able to perform as many operations as its competitors at the same time, but also that the device has an inefficient standby. The tablet thus continuously loses energy. No vertiginous fall, let's be clear, but after a night's sleep, the machine will have irretrievably lost around 10 battery points. To this must be added a long charging time of more than 4 hours. A switch to the USB-C port and decent – ​​though not blazing – fast-charging technology might have made a better impression.

    Highlights

    • A successful general design / Very high-end construction.

    • Overall screen rendering.

    • The keyboard has its effect (as long as you keep an eye on it).

    • Very correct autonomy.

    • Precise pen / Smart notepad.

    Weak points

    • In-game performance.

    • Keyboard not so practical after all.

    • Overall autonomy reduced by a very passable standby / Slow recharge.

    • Photo-video sensors at a discount.

    • Medium mini-jack headphone socket.

    Conclusion

    Note globale

    Full of promise, custodian of a stunning design, a finish rarely seen on the market, the Yoga Book knows how to catch the eye and arouse envy at first glance. It is in use that the device finally shows almost logical limits. Its keyboard is not so practical, its paper note system with instant scanning suffers from a very perfectible notepad and the "all-purpose" aspect is based on an Android base and a revamped OS which does not arrive yet to make this type of product really relevant. Maybe the Windows version will be more convincing...

    Sub Notes
    • Ergonomics
    • Screen
    • Interface and navigation
    • Multimedia
    • Photo
    • Autonomy
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