It’s rare that we get surprised by a hardware release these days, but Lenovo managed at IFA this year when they introduced the Yoga Book. The Yoga Book looks like a 2-in-1 laptop/tablet convertible, using the same 360-degree watchband hinge found on the Yoga Pro series, but there’s one thing missing — a keyboard. Instead, the Yoga Book has a flat slate that can be used as a touch keyboard or a writing tablet — using the stylus with real ink cartridges copies everything you write on paper onto the screen. Losing the keyboard also helps make the Yoga Book one of the thinnest and lightest notebooks or tablets we’ve ever used, making it very travel friendly. There are downsides — typing on an off-screen touch keyboard isn’t a great experience — but it’s a nice little device in the right hands.
The 10.1″ Yoga Book is incredibly thin for a clamshell device. It’s 9.6 mm thick and weighs 1.52 pounds, making it ideal for travel — in an empty bag, I could barely feel the difference between having the Yoga Book in and not. Lenovo also went all-in on construction, using magnesium and aluminum in the frame along with a soft-touch finish that makes the Yoga Book feel like a premium device. The watchband hinge is just like what’s on the Yoga Pro 910 laptop, which is key — when Lenovo introduced that hinge on the Yoga Pro 3 in 2014, one of the biggest benefits was that its construction allowed Lenovo to make thinner devices. The Yoga Book demonstrates just how thin Lenovo devices can be — basically, as thin as ports will allow.
Speaking of ports, the Yoga Book has a Micro USB port for charging, microHDMI out, an SD card slot, and two side-firing speakers behind small grilles (supported by Dolby Atmos sound processing, making for much richer sound than you’d expect from something this size). The funniest and most telling part is the 3.5 mm audio port — the opening extends slightly into the bottom of the device, and you could tell the team just barely squeezed it in there (we’re appreciative of the effort). As we’ll get to later, we’re looking at tablet-level performance here, so despite appearances, the addition of Micro USB makes sense. The only other option would have been USB Type-C, but the Yoga Book has been in the works at Lenovo for a long time. Implementing USB Type-C properly isn’t simple, and would have probably required changing a lot of the hardware inside.
Open the Book, and you’ll see the display surrounded by an unfortunately large bezel, which is the weakest part of the Yoga Book’s design. The bottom part is a flat slate that feels a little smoother than the outer surfaces. It’s blank, but you can see the outline of the Halo Keyboard, which lights up when the device is turned on. The Halo Keyboard is a six-row touch keyboard (function keys included) that also outlines a small space for a touchpad flanked by two bars that serve as left and right clicks.
The design is fantastic. Large bezels aside, the Yoga Book feels premium, and its lightness will be awesome to anyone used to using heavy laptops. But, it doesn’t feel like a feather, either — the metal construction gives it a sturdy feel. That said, I’d advise caution. Anything this thin and light isn’t going to survive many drops, but it should be fine getting jostled around bags and backpacks. There’s no special protection on the screen, either, but it’ll always be closed up and protected when in transit, anyway.
Read on for the Performance and Verdict…