Lenovo is one of those brands that are just not satisfied with the standard shape of laptops. Sure, there are convertibles with removable screens that turn into tablets. Or 2-in-1 laptops with screens that can be rotated by 180 degrees and then you have a tablet. But there are no radical ideas in the field. Essentially, you’re always dealing with two elements. A keyboard below and a screen above.
Lenovo’s having none of it.
The Yoga Book C930 wants to set new standards for devices that are generally considered complete in terms of development.
The C930 is a cross between a laptop, tablet and an eReader. Instead of a keyboard or the haptic surface of its predecessor, the C930 is equipped with an eInk display. It goes without saying that you can use it in keyboard mode. In this mode, the keyboard appears on the eInk display and you can start typing. Whenever you hit a key, the device vibrates a bit. It doesn’t feel like the real thing one bit. But I’m generally not a big fan of vibrations in haptic keyboards anyway. I also disable vibrations on smartphones.
The Lenovo Yoga Book C930 is not made for journalists or other frequent writers. It’s mainly aimed at people who want to express themselves in images – designers, illustrators, graphic designers. And that’s when the C930 comes into its own, when you’re not writing. Unlike Amazon’s Kindle eInk displays and those of the competitor products on the small eReader market, the eInk display of the C930 is fast. Very fast.
A Kindle is a bit sluggish. When you turn a page, you can watch the letters disappear and the new ones appear. No sign of an almost unnoticed screen change. The C930, however, reacts incredibly fast. You can scribble, draw, take notes and switch between display modes in the blink of an eye.
And this is when it got interesting at IFA in Berlin. Lenovo seems to be set on showing all the new features and not impress with numbers. The only number that is mentioned is the 10.8-inch screen diagonal, that’s 27.4 centimetres. Under the demo table, I spy an Intel logo sticker. Something I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t have plonked my rucksack there for the video shoot. Not even Lenovo’s website gives me any clues. However, the page LaptopMag.com has more information. I piece together the sparse infos at the stand as they partially contradict those on LaptopMag.
All specs are without guarantee as the official infos are still not out. Here’s an example: At the stand, the label says the screen diagonal is 10.8 inches. LaptopMag talks about 13.9 inches. In other words, although the above specs may not be accurate, they're probably not far off either. It is a shame about the missing specs, though. They’re definitely something I’d expect to read at a trade fair stand. Sure, the target group is not necessarily the spec-oriented type of person but at a trade fair, I think it’s not too much to expect the odd person who is interested in tech specs, right?
The Yoga Book C930 is equipped with a pen. The pen needs an AAAA battery before it comes to life and the button on its side gets to work. The pen works both on the eInk display as well as on the regular screen on the other side. Things start to get interesting when you write something on the upper screen.
The notepad opens a window with a line you can write on. There’s no need to write everything in block letters, you can also write in longhand or even curly writing. In any case, it’s all going to look as if you were back in primary school. That’s why Lenovo and Microsoft put a lot of work into text recognition and the interpretation of scribbles. A feature that works impressively well. Sure, the word «Hoi» is not immediately recognised as the device probably doesn’t feature a dictionary that contains the Swiss word for hi. Having said that, the device does accept the word without complaining once I’ve written it nicely. Other words work well, fast and reliably.
If you’re designing a device in a Yoga Book format, there’s not much room left for speakers. The problem is that loudspeakers need a certain amount of space in order to sound halfway decent. One positive exception is HP. The company uses Bang & Olufsen speakers for their laptops that produce a clear sound and take up minimal space.
Lenovo has cleverly built the speaker into the hinge that connects the two screens. Because this is the part where the device only needs two screws and a hinge, Lenovo made this the home for the speaker. I would love to have tested the audio but the stand of the manufacturer is drowned in your general trade fair noise plus an alarm system that’s gone off. I understand that there are thieves going around at the IFA and that everything that’s not nailed down could be pinched. However, using an alarm that is that sensitive is just absurd.
Despite the lacking audio test: The Lenovo Book C930 makes a pretty good first impression, even if the specs haven’t been officially confirmed yet.
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