Please accept this apology— 5 years in the making—from the guy who works at the big tech company, the guy who gets some gadgets for free, the guy who remains a tech skeptic even while swimming every day in a sea of impressive new devices.
It’s time for my complete confession and there’s no other way to say it: I was a tablet doubter. I saw that nifty thing from the famous fruit-named company and I wondered why people wanted to pay so much just to play Angry Birds and check their email. I used the original Lenovo tablets and could not for the life of me figure out how they would displace my phone and laptop.
Gadget fatigue had gripped me. I didn’t want another device to carry. I didn’t want a vanity piece, a status symbol. And I didn’t want to be a walking cliché, the guy with the 49 gadgets.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got a Yoga Tablet. My stance softened. Even with my laptop dominating my work days, I started to see a path to relevance: getting my morning news on that big beautiful screen, doing light work in the evening, projecting movies on the wall for my kids. It was fun. But it stopped there.
With this week’s announcement of the Yoga Book—a device I’m still getting my head around after 10 days of heavy use—I’ve completed the 180 in terms of how I view tablets. In my eyes, they’ve gone from irrelevant to fun to truly useful.
That usefulness starts with an assumption our engineers clearly took to heart: We are not static. We do not sit still all day. We do not use a device the same way on a Saturday morning that we do on a Monday afternoon. We touch, we type, we draw, we write. We work, we play. If we’re lucky, maybe we even sketch the skeleton of an occasional dream.
Yoga Book—or rather the team that built it—seems to truly get that we need it to be chameleon-esque. Here’s what stands out to me after more than a week of using it in all its guises.
- It’s thinner than you can imagine (~4mm when open) and about as light as a clipboard(1.5 lbs/690g). I mention this not out of vanity but as a quality of life issue for students and people who are constantly on the move. If that matters to me, it will mean even more to a teenager lugging around a 30-pound backpack.
- The now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t keyboard is impossibly cool. (It’s a keyboard WITHOUT KEYS. Lenovo engineers are high-fiving somewhere right now.) But I’ll take useful over cool any day—my typing speed on it was unexpectedly high. It compares favorably to on-screen typing or those doofy snap-on keyboards (not a fan). And because the keyboard is virtual, our engineers were able to work in this crazy error prevention element. Based on data about the 7 most common typing errors, it adjusts the (virtual) sizes of certain keys. Bananas.
- 10 seconds into using it, I’m thinking “Digital pens have come a really long way.” The engineers told me the Yoga Book detects 2,048 levels of pressure, which means it notices incredibly subtle changes in what you’re drawing and how you’re drawing it. I love that. The twist with Yoga Book is that you can also take notes with an actual inkpen and they are simultaneously converted to digital. I am the son of two journalists so scribbling ugly notes is like a religion to me—blows my mind that I can do this.
I fear I’m starting to preach now so I’ll stop there. The bottom line is that Yoga Book is useful in so many different ways, I simply can’t dismiss it. Check the Lenovo YouTube channel for much more about how this thing works. As for me, I’ll be sitting here pondering the impact of my confession & debating whether to leave my laptop at home tomorrow in favor of my Yoga Book.
My friend Kevin and I joke about the prospects of someday having “one device to rule them all.” We’re not there yet but we could be inching closer. Think about the way you use your many devices, consider what we’ve laid out here and drop us a comment saying whether is in the ballpark, either for you or someone you know. Thanks.
Gavin O’Hara is the Director of Lenovo’s Brand Newsroom.