I tend to keep saying this, but the Lenovo Yoga Book is stupid good. It has a nice screen, a laundry list of capabilities, and decent to good enough performance to power you through. Of course, with any good hardware, good software has to play an important role because if it doesn’t, the product will likely flop. And this is where the Yoga Book gets interesting because it’s capable of running two different OSes which present two different visions Lenovo has for the device. And unsurprisingly, the more expensive option may be the way to go.
I’m not gonna lie, I loved using the Android version of the Yoga Book. It had improved speed over the Windows variant, took better advantage of the fact that it’s a tablet at heart and is an ultraportable computer as an added bonus, and enabled Lenovo to build its own multitasking skin on top of Android to better suit the Create Pad, pen, and other unique hardware elements. But while using the device, you’ll immediately realize this thing runs Android, and since it runs Android, it can only run Android apps. And if you’ve ever used apps on an Android tablet, you’d know the experience is pretty bad. Yes, Lenovo’s windowing skin atop the OS helps a bit, but apps like Instagram, Apple Music, or any other phone-oriented piece of software can’t entirely be helped.
And then you have to worry about software updates. Considering the Yoga Book has such a heavy skin on top of it, it would presumably take Lenovo quite some time to push out any major upgrades like Android Nougat (yeah, I know, it still runs Marshmallow for whatever reason). The company originally stated this particular update would roll out Spring 2017 but later changed this timeframe for October 2017. And personally, I don’t feel like waiting another four months for a software update that will be a year old in two.
So clearly, at first glance, the Android version of the Yoga Book is good. It’s how it holds up in the long run is what you have to worry about. And this is the main reason I’m now choosing the $549 Windows version over the $499 Android version.
As is the case with any device running Windows 10, you’re bound to receive future software updates one way or another. The manufacturer may not push out upgrades like the Creators Update themselves for a period of time, but you always have the option of opting into the Insiders program to receive the latest software versions before anyone else. Luckily, the Yoga Book did, in fact, receive the Creators Update when I opened its box a little over a month ago, and I have since enrolled it in Microsoft’s Insider program to begin beta testing what’s coming in the Fall Creators Update. Therefore, the Windows Yoga Book is the most future-proof of the two device versions software-wise.
Using Windows 10 with the Create Pad is also pretty great. As I said in my initial review of the device, using apps like OneNote and the built-in Windows Ink tools with the Yoga Book is an overall great experience and provides a better canvas over simply writing on the screen. And the Creators Update, with apps like Paint 3D, makes the experience even better. So anytime Microsoft announces something for artists or creators in Windows, I immediately grab my Yoga Book and begin fiddling around. I don’t have to wait for Lenovo to push out a heavy software update just to enjoy myself like I want to.
It’s also just nice to have something as portable as the Yoga Book in my bag at all times if I want to write a quick post with the Halo Keyboard for the site using WordPress opened in desktop Google Chrome. I find this just too convenient not to have, and once you try out a Windows Yoga Book for yourself, you’ll fully understand where I’m coming from.
Of course, Windows 10 also offers its own suite of tablet-esque features. There’s a dedicated tablet mode, multi-touch gestures throughout the OS, and touch-friendly applications that work better for tablets than any Android apps do. Even pure desktop apps offer a pleasurable experience while using the Yoga Book as a tablet. And yes, the Windows Store still needs to grow in order to be able to compete with the Google Play Store, but with the recent introduction of Windows 10 S and Apple & Spotify bringing their music services to the store, I can’t help but think Microsoft’s multimedia market will simply evolve into something absolutely killer to use on the daily. At least I hope so, anyway.
I won’t go too far into the hardware as I’ve already covered it, but the Yoga Book still offers a great experience in this regard for debuting last year and being so far into 2017. The Intel Atom chipset is sufficient enough for light workloads and some casual gaming (e.g. Crossy Road, Asphalt 8), 4GB of RAM seems to offer enough memory for a few Chrome tabs open and a word processor in a separate window, the speakers offer excellent sound quality and get really loud, and the battery life is top notch by lasting at least 7 hours on a single charge, something I call all-day usage. Even the 10.1-inch 1920×1200 display looks great. And yes, the lack of ports on this Windows device is pretty bad with just a microUSB port for charging and data transfers, a mini HDMI port for outputting to a larger screen, and a headphone jack for personal audio listening, but it’s all manageable as long as you won’t be connecting a billion peripherals to your ultraportable.
Overall, while the Android Yoga Book may show Lenovo’s true vision for its 2-in-1 oddball of a product, the Windows Yoga Book is the one to get if you’re worried about what the future may bestow on the hardware. Windows is simply more versatile than Android, and every time Windows 10 is updated, the Yoga Book is too. And Android fragmentation is still a thing, so until it actually gets fixed, I wouldn’t buy anything running Android unless it’s a smartphone or made by Google.
You also have better opportunities with the Windows variant if you feel like fiddling around with different OSes and developing for the device. (I personally tried installing Remix OS on the device. I’ll let you know if I ever get lucky and it actually works.)
So I say spend the extra $50 for the Windows 10 version of the Lenovo Yoga Book and survive the future. Unless you already have your heart set on a new Android tablet for doing very light productivity and watching Netflix all day, the Windows variant will keep you satisfied for the longest time. Trust me.
Nice commentary. I really look forward to seeing what the Yoga Book 2 brings. A Yoga Book will likely be my next portable computer if it continues to mature. A USB type C Thunderbolt port would be very alluring.
I agree. The Yoga Book is my new travel laptop as odd as it sounds. I’ve gotten used to the Halo Keyboard after using it for so long. And after spending time with the Android model, I find the Windows version the better overall buying option.
Do you think its possible to install an android emulator like bluestacks (or Remix OS like u said) without causing too much lag to the tablet?
Do you think its possible to install an android emulator like bluestacks (or Remix OS like u said) or an iOS emulator, without causing too much lag to the tablet?
p.s. sorry for the double comments.
The Yoga Book lags just by running Windows on it, and considering it only has 4GB of RAM, I could only imagine it would slow the thing to a crawl.
I actually am really in love with the Android version, although I do agree with your point about the Android update situation, which is a disaster. On the ports – so I am also a road warrior and stopped carrying my Macbook Pro in favor of carrying my Yoga Book, and I’ve found I rarely pull my Macbook out except to do creative tasks (Pixelmator, Keynote, iMovie, etc). Interestingly, I actually see the apps as having a lot of upsides, although some apps are not great, for sure, over their desktop experience (but some are better!).
I created a little travel kit for my Yoga Book – on Amazon, there’s a micro-HDMI to VGA+HDMI adapter, I added a micro USB cable with a clip on USB-C adapter, and charging brick, a micro USB to USB female adapter (so you can plug in things like a flash drive), a flash drive, and my USB pointer. This accessory kit is SO much smaller and lighter than the kit I had with my MBP, and also actually I kind of like the Micro USB, because the same charging cable charges my Yoga Book, my pointer, my wireless noise canceling headphones, and with the little clip on adapter, also my Axon 7.
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