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Lenovo’s new Yoga Book is fun, but don’t think of it as a laptop

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It looks like a laptop, but typing on it isn't very responsive.
It looks like a laptop, but typing on it isn’t very responsive.

Image: Raymond Wong/Mashable

Lenovo has brought a new version of its Yoga Book laptop/tablet/e-reader hybrid to the IFA technology conference in Berlin, and I now realize I’ve been looking at it all wrong. As a laptop, it’s not great: I don’t think I could type on its E Ink-based keyboard without throwing the laptop out the window in frustration. 

But as a tablet/e-reader hybrid, it might actually be good — if you can swallow the price. 

The Yoga Book C930 is an improvement over its predecessor in every way, but it’s conceptually the same thing: A laptop which has an E Ink screen instead of a keyboard. 

This secondary screen can be turned into a virtual keyboard and be used for typing. It can also be a surface for drawing (a pen is included), or it can simply be an e-reader. The device is extremely thin and has a hinge that lets you flip the screens 180 degrees, in which case it basically turns into a two-sided tablet. 

The Yoga Book’s main problem is that it looks like a laptop. I spent a few minutes with it, and it was immediately obvious that the Yoga Book can actually be a laptop replacement for only the most undemanding of users. Its flat, virtual, E Ink keyboard just doesn’t cut it for fast typing. 

However, if you compare it to something like the iPad…well, Lenovo might be onto something here. The device is thin and light enough to pass as a tablet and as an e-reader, and if you really must bang something on the keyboard, the option is there. It comes with Windows (there’s no Android variant), which can be a blessing and a curse, depending on your preferences. Windows-based tablets do exist, so it can’t be that bad, right?

Lenovo has addressed several issues with the Yoga Book C930’s design with some cool features. For example, the device is hard to open with one hand, but if you knock on it, it will open on its own. It’s a little thing, but it makes the $999 price a bit easier to swallow. 

The E Ink screen can also be used as a drawing board.

The E Ink screen can also be used as a drawing board.

Image: Raymond Wong/mashable

If that price sounds like a lot, consider the Yoga Book’s specs: A 10.8-inch QHD IPS screen and a 10.8-inch FHD E Ink display, an actual laptop processor (up to 7th gen Intel Core i5), and over 9 hours of battery life according to Lenovo. All of that comes in a package that’s less than 9.9mm (0.39 inches) thick and weighs less than 775 grams (1.7 pounds). 

So, a good deal? It’s hard to say. I’d need more time to test it properly, but its value definitely depends on your perspective: If you’re looking for an ultraportable, secondary PC for light work, media consumption and reading, the Yoga Book might just hit the spot. 

The Lenovo Yoga Book C930 is arriving in October, a Lenovo rep told me. The $999 is only the starting price, though — the more powerful models will be more expensive. 

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