Lenovo didn’t forget about its quirky, keyboard-less Yoga Book. The netbook-like device that came out in 2016 was an acquired taste, to say the least, but it was also a chance for Lenovo to experiment with the traditional two-in-one form. The company returns in 2018 with a new version still named the Yoga Book (officially it’s the Yoga Book C930), but it now has an e-ink panel attached to the main touchscreen slab and powerful internals that kicked its price up by quite a bit.
Lenovo abandoned the “halo” keyboard found on the last Yoga Book and replaced it with an e-ink slab that transforms from keyboard to sketch pad to e-reader. The e-ink keyboard fills the entire screen when activated, and a small, square area at the bottom, directly underneath the space bar, brings up an e-ink trackpad when tapped. Considering the overall size of the device, the trackpad is still small like it was on the old Yoga Book. However, its collapsible nature gives the rest of the keyboard more room to breathe when you’re not using it. Also, you have two input options since you can use the trackpad or the Yoga Book’s touchscreen.
In my short time demoing the Yoga Book, I can already say I like the e-ink keyboard better than the old halo keyboard. Lenovo programmed haptic and audio feedback into the board, so you’ll feel and hear each key being “pressed.” It’s still not a device that I’d want to use to type out long-form work, but it would be fine for typing up emails and notes.
The Yoga Book also has potential as an e-reader, but two things may hold it back: size and support. The device’s FHD e-ink panel matches the size of its 10.8-inch QHD touchscreen, making it much larger than that of a standard e-reader. It has the potential to replace such a device for those who want to carry around just one thing, but it’s also currently unclear if apps like Amazon Kindle will support it.
The new Yoga Book comes with a stylus that can stick magnetically to the side of the device, so it’ll be harder to lose. Both the touchscreen and the e-ink display are handwriting-ready, and you can transfer notes, drawings, and formulas drawn on the e-ink display to some Windows 10 programs. Lenovo briefly showed this off by writing a sentence on the e-ink panel and transferring it over to OneNote, where it was quickly converted to typed text. The same can be done for mathematical equations that include numbers, symbols, and formulas.
The QHD touchscreen attaches to the e-ink panel with Lenovo’s signature watchband hinge. This setup lets you rotate the device into laptop, tablet, and other modes. Instead of being just a design upgrade from the original, Lenovo turned the Yoga Book into a much more powerful machine. It runs on either an Intel m3-7Y30 or Core i5-7Y54 processor, 4GB RAM, and up to 256GB storage, and it includes a fingerprint reader and a USB-C charging port. That’s a major improvement from 2016’s version that ran on an Intel Atom processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage—making it more of a tablet than a two-in-one in terms of productivity power.
But all those upgrades bring a higher price. The new Yoga Book C930 starts at $999, twice as much as the original device did when it debuted.
Both Wi-Fi and LTE models will be available this October.