Are we ready for Android on Desktop?? – Lenovo Yoga Book Review

Lenovo has pushed past the traditional laptop
market and introduced their latest tablet-laptop hybrid – the Yoga Book. Now, I’d already seen quite a few reviews
of the Windows 10 version of this tablet, but those seem to kinda miss the mark – the
interesting part of this product, in my opinion, was the idea that this could also be a laptop-tablet
running Android. So here’s my take on the Lenovo Yoga Book
with the Android ecosystem. I’m EposVox, here to make tech easier and
more fun via free educational videos here today with a review of a pretty cool little
product. The Lenovo Yoga Book is a 10.1” 2-in-1 tablet-laptop
combo with Lenovo’s fantastic watchband hinge. This is the same style of hinge that was on
the Lenovo Yoga 900 laptop I reviewed last year. It keeps the screen from bouncing too much
or adjusting the angle on its own, but is easy to open and shut. And it just looks cool. The screen is a very nice-looking 1920×1200
IPS display. Pretty damn good for a tablet. For a fully specc’d out unit, inside is
an Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processor, up to 4GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of internal storage. Dolby Atmos speakers are also present, along
with an 8500 mAh battery. In my month or so of use, I only had to charge
it twice and I rarely had it powered down. I was impressed. Opposing the screen is their new “Halo”
keyboard. No, not that kind of Halo. This is a capacitive touch keyboard where
there are no physical keys – just a large solid surface with backlighting to outline
where keys would be. I wrote a couple video scripts on this. It was a very different experience that took
some getting used to, but by like half an hour in I was typing pretty fast and comfortably. That was… until the Google Docs app randomly
stopped accepting letter inputs or the keyboard would randomly switch to French. More on that in a minute. I certainly wouldn’t use this as a daily
driver for typing and writing, but for quick notes in a classroom or just casually responding
to quick emails and social media posts – this is totally viable. This keyboard also houses an emulated trackpad,
which works fairly well, though it is quite small. And if capacitive typing isn’t your thing,
you can also hand-write with this! By holding down the pencil button at the top
of the keyboard and using the included stylus pen, you can use real ink to write on real
paper while having it save in the notes app digitally, as well. I was very, very impressed with how natural
this felt and with the quality of the results from doing so. Writing was detected through even the thick
notepad Lenovo provides – but you have to use their pen, which I found uncomfortable
to use. A trade-off, I guess. I’m excited to see where this technology
goes in the future. Finishing off the physical build of the Yoga
Book, it comes in Champagne Gold, Gunmetal Grey, and Carbon Black colors and looks and
feels very similar to the Yoga 900. A nice, cool metal feeling, and completely
sturdy – no flex whatsoever. Given that the folding aspect doesn’t allow
for any rubber feet or gripping on the bottom, however, it can slip quite easily on just
about any surface and scratching would be an issue to its look. On one side you get a MicroUSB port, which
is what you’d use to charge the tablet, a MicroSD slot – which can be loaded up to
128GB – in the iPhone SIM slot style, not sure I’m a fan, a micro HDMI output which
can go up to 4K 30hz, and a speaker grill. Microphones line the front bezel edge. The other side features another speaker grill,
headphone combo jack, volume rocker and lock and power button. The 2 megapixel 1080p front camera is located
on the bezel above the screen, and the 8 megapixel 1080p rear camera is actually located on the
keyboard, so that when it’s folded like a tablet it’s actually on the rear. Here’s a couple samples: This is a video in selfie mode test with the
Lenovo Yoga Book in my normal studio lighting setup. So what you normally see in the A-Roll of
videos. And this is what it looks like in a standard
room with basic CFL lighting, as if I was having a late-night Skype call or something. Obviously this is an unflattering angle down
here on my lap, but up a bit more it’s not too bad. The color is a little bit weird and it’s quite
noisy, but it’s passable for a Skype camera. Now this is the rear camera. Again, still fairly noisy under normal conditions,
but under studio lighting everything gets super over-exposed. Looks like that’s just the general limitation
of the camera. It also has a huge crop factor. We don’t really get much touch to focus action. Just a basic camera. This brings us to the software – what is using
this device actually like? Lenovo brags about their custom Android ROM,
capable of windowed Android apps and better productivity – and I’m hyped for the future
iterations of this idea – but I’m not a huge fan at the moment. The typical bottom bar on Android has been
modified to act as a taskbar of sorts – with the back, home, task switcher, and app drawer
buttons hugging the left, then open window indicators for the rest. On the far right is a button to switch to
the real pen writing mode. This is alright, and a good bridge between
expected Android and desktop experiences. The clock and notifications still occupy a
small panel at the top, and integrates quite well. I’m satisfied with this. The home screen is fluid and responsive, and
easy enough to navigate. What Lenovo has done to desktop-ify the Android
operating system on the whole is fine – the problem lies in using traditional Android
apps. Lenovo’s file manager, Google Chrome, Google
Docs and so on all work wonderfully on this device. Maximized or in Windowed mode, I feel like
I’m on a normal laptop using them. It was a welcome surprise. Other apps from the Play Store, however, not
so much. With most apps – games, Snapchat, Instagram,
etc. – you have the choice of a pretty tiny, vertical windowed mode or full-screen mode. This wouldn’t be a problem, of course, except
most of the apps I’ve tried only do Windowed mode in the vertical orientation. To make matters worse, they don’t scale
properly. The 16:10 aspect ratio of the screen means
when displayed vertically, many apps stretch out to fill the width of the screen and wind
up looking super distorted. And you’re just stuck with that. So whenever I’m using the Yoga Book in laptop
mode and Instagram opens maximized, the entire experience turns sideways until I switch to
something else. This isn’t a problem for all apps – Google
apps, YouTube, Facebook and Facebook messenger do just fine staying in landscape orientation
when maximized – but the elements are scaled so largely that they’re still not easy to
use. Android as a desktop operating system just…. Isn’t there yet. Again, I’m super stoked to see where this
idea takes us – and I will be closely following this project, along with Remix OS (another
take on the Android for PC idea), and Google’s Fuschia OS, which is rumored to be a combination
of their Android and Chrome operating systems for a more unified environment. And overall, the custom ROM just felt like
it really lacked polish. HDMI output seems to be finnicky about whether
it wanted to work with my capture device (not a problem I’ve had with other devices),
and customizing certain settings just felt… off. Not to mention the serious keyboard problems
I had while writing scripts. They were hard to capture since they were
completely random as far as I could tell – but while typing in Google Docs, sometimes it
would just stop accepting letter inputs. I could delete text, type numbers, and so
on, but it just would not accept letters. Other times, the keyboard kept randomly switching
to French. After the second time, I went in and manually
disabled all other languages myself, and it still managed to re-enable the French keyboard
and start screwing with word acceptance. Both of these issues seemed to be tied to
the auto-fill and auto-correct tools built into their Android keyboard – that’s the
only way I can really figure out how to explain it. It was incredibly frustrating when the keyboard
kept freaking out like 5 times during one script, however. So this is a really, really neat product concept. I’ve loved hybrid laptops for as long as
they’ve been a thing, and I will keep an eye on future iterations of these ideas for
years to come – but this is not a device I would use as my daily driver for anything
but a super lightweight casual travel device. If I’m someone who regularly moves between
an office and a home office, only needing something basic to engage on social media
and email at the occasional coffee shop stop or something, absolutely. But to replace my laptop with this? Not so much. Then again, the Windows 10 version seems to
be a bit more polished. I’ll include some links to reviews of that
Yoga Book in the description below. I hope you enjoyed this review. If you did, smash the like button, get subscribed
for more awesome tech videos, and I’ll see you next time.

26 thoughts on “Are we ready for Android on Desktop?? – Lenovo Yoga Book Review

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  2. sigh nice video can you send me another link to your voice recording rack? I wanna do some podcasting by most of these things are very expensive. Thanks for the video.

  3. The drawing feature seems like an awesome idea. I just wish the keyboard actually changed sort of like Apples hot bar on the new Macbooks

  4. I think a big part of the idea is the fact that it able to draw digitally for an artist who uses both windows and Android. you can draw/write on the yoga book itself not just on the pad of paper. my daughter is an artist and uses a Wacom tablet. this would be great for her on the go. love the videos keep up the great work!

  5. The Youtube card ''i'' sound is too similar to message notification sound (and I think that's the intent) but it is annoying. (Even that sound is not my notification sound, I look to my phone when I hear it)

  6. I remember HP had the Slatebook 14 which was just a laptop running Android. The Yoga Book looks so much better as an Android computer- has the tablet mode and is smaller, plus the Halo keyboard provides a keyboard if you need one, even if it's not physical

    Speaking of the Windows version I wonder how it'd run Illustrator and PS C2- they're free from Adobe rn

  7. Nice balanced review. I noticed Photoshop Express on youre Yoga Book. Does it run okay in landscape mode? thanks in advance.

  8. hi, nice review, I was wondering have you tried creating a powerpoint presentation using microsoft ppt app through android? can it function effectively as the one running windows? what about typing long documents through word doc? what are your intakes on using microsoft apps for work use through the Yoga book android? thanks

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