Two years after the original Yoga Book was showcased at the IFA 2016, Lenovo has updated its Yoga Book range with the new C930. If the first one stood out for its unique ‘Halo Keyboard’, the 2018 version now sports two displays.
The Yoga Book C930 now has a E-Ink Digital display, instead of a physical keyboard, while the top is the traditional LCD panel. Like the original Yoga Book, this remains a light and portable device, weighing only 790 grams.
Lenovo has also bumped up the performance on the new Yoga Book, which was an issue on the original given it was powered by the Intel Atom series. The new Yoga Book C930 comes with up to Intel Core i5 processor, though RAM is limited to 4GB with up to 256GB SSD storage. The base variant will offer Intel core M processor.
With a starting price of $999, the Yoga Book will go on sale from October 2018. Last time, the Yoga Book was launched in India at a starting price of Rs 50,000. Lenovo has not confirmed a price for the India market yet.
Also, there is no Android version this time. Yoga Book C930 will come only in Windows 10. Battery life being promised on this device is around 10 hours, which is a big claim by Lenovo. Usually slimmer, flexible devices mean a compromise on battery life.
No doubt, the Yoga Book C930 is an eye-catching device. Certainly at Lenovo’s launch event and IFA booth, this is the device that attracts the most crowd. The E-ink display can be used in multiple ways. One can read PDFs on this, when they have converted this into a tablet. Remember, the Yoga Book also functions as a tablet and one can simple turn the LCD display all the way to one side 360-degrees to only read on the E-Ink display.
The E-ink display space can also be used as notepad to doodle, draw, etc via the Active Pen from Lenovo. And a user can also switch the E-ink display back to a ‘digital keyboard,’ and type on it as they would on a traditional laptop.
Another interesting feature that Lenovo has added to the keyboard this time is haptic feedback and audio sound, which are similar to what one experiences when using an actual physical keyboard. But it felt a bit disconcerting using this ‘digital’ keyboard. After all one is aware that this is not an actual keyboard, but as you type, the haptic feedback and sound will remind you of real one, which can play on the mind a bit.
Lenovo has also added 30 languages support to the customisable keyboard. It is also promising that the keyboard will understand your typing skills over time, thanks to artificial intelligence, and will be more accurate.
That last bit is really key on devices like the Yoga Book. No one is doubting that this is innovative, but learning how to type on this might be a challenge for most traditional laptop users, especially the enterprise users. It was a problem I faced with the original Yoga Book, when I reviewed it. Of course, the device is aimed at those who are more creative, and need options like which are more flexible.
Still, Lenovo Yoga Book’s keyboard will take some getting used to for most users, even those who are proficient when it comes to typing out long emails on the touchscreens of their smartphones. The product does have a learning curve involved, especially with the keyboard.
The other key point with the Yoga Book C930 will be the speed, which it offers in terms of performance. Also E-Ink readers have a slower refresh rate than traditional displays, though Lenovo has not confirmed the same for the second display. It means that while reading PDFs, the next page will likely take some seconds extra to load. Even switching from keyboard to E-Ink reader does take a few seconds as we observed in the demo zone.
Yoga Book C930 certainly looks like an intriguing device, though it might not be the right device for all users. There’s no doubt that Lenovo has innovated further on a device, which was innovative in the first place. It also gives a broad hint at where the evolution of laptops is headed in the future.
Disclaimer: The author is attending IFA 2018 in Berlin at the invite of Lenovo India.