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LENOVO YOGA BOOK C930 REVIEW: TWO SCREENS AND LOTS OF COMPROMISES

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If you traveled back in time five years and asked what a futuristic 2018 computer would look like, there’s a pretty good chance that somebody would describe something very much like the Lenovo Yoga Book C930. It’s a svelte, small, and decently powerful computer that has so many different modes that it’s difficult to call it just one thing, and there’s not much else out there that resembles it in any way.

It’s not a laptop or a tablet or a note-taking device. Rather, it’s attempting to be all of those things at once, depending on your needs. It’s smaller than any Windows computer you’ve likely tried (save maybe the Surface Go), and it has two screens. One is a traditional LCD touch panel and the other is an E Ink screen that can change its function based on the task. Sometimes it’s a touch keyboard, and other times, it’s a sketchpad or an e-reader.

Almost everything about the new Yoga Book makes you want to love it. It’s the sort of device that makes you feel like you’re living in a future that would be more commonplace if only computer companies were just a little more daring. But it is also the sort of device that, once you use it, it makes you realize why everybody else has been so risk-averse. It’s much easier to love the idea of the Yoga Book C930 than to live with its reality — especially when that reality costs at least $999.99.

LENOVO YOGA BOOK C930

GOOD STUFF

  • Thin and light
  • Fast enough processor
  • Full Windows 10
  • USB-C

BAD STUFF

  • E Ink screen software is slow and buggy
  • Not comfortable for long typing sessions
  • No headphone jack
  • Too expensive

This is the second time that Lenovo has taken a shot at releasing a futuristic computer without a traditional keyboard. The basics of the new Yoga Book’s overall design are nearly unchanged. It’s incredibly thin and light for a full Windows PC, measuring just under 10mm thick when closed and weighing just 1.71 pounds. It has a 10.8-inch, 2560 x 1600 display that, sure, can feel a little bit cramped, but you can do a surprising amount of work on it.

Outside of one mystifying design choice, the build quality of the C930 is top notch. Everything feels solid, from the “watchband” hinge that rotates 360 degrees to the matte finish on the E Ink display to the textured power button. It’s a device that will virtually force people to ask you about it because it’s so tiny and unique.

That mystifying design choice is just opening the damn thing up. You have three choices: wedge a fingernail in between the two halves, literally “knock knock” on the top when it’s closed, or long-press the volume down button. The first is super awkward and weird, the second only works intermittently, and so by process of elimination, you’ll be pressing the volume button to open it. Why Lenovo didn’t just make a little cutout for your finger to grab will be a question for the ages.

The first Yoga Book was littered with compromises: a dinky processor, the wrong ports, and even the wrong operating system. It also didn’t have a second screen, opting for a weird touch-sensitive panel that you had to slap a pad of paper on top of to record your notes.

Lenovo looked at all of the problems on the original Yoga Book and tried to address them with the Yoga Book C930. In some cases, it was successful: this machine is a much more focused, intentional device. It only runs Windows; it has a relatively modern, 7th Gen Y-Series Intel Core i5 processor; and, most importantly, it swaps out that weird touch panel for a proper E Ink display. That’s where you type, draw, and take notes using the included pen. There are now two USB-C ports for connectivity and charging (but no headphone jack, sadly). Lenovo also added a fingerprint sensor for logging in. It works, though, personally, I’d have preferred a facial recognition camera.

Battery life is nothing to crow about. Lenovo rates it at over eight hours of use, but I didn’t quite get there using just Windows. Six to seven seems like a safer bet, depending on what apps you’re running. However, if you use it as more of a mixed-use device — a little Windows here, a little ebook reading there — you’re likely to hit that number or better.

Just as a Windows computer, it does its job and performs well enough (about in line with a low-end device with 4GB of RAM). Which is to say: it will run Office and let you do basic kinds of stuff, but don’t push it too much. The small screen sort of helps set expectations here. You wouldn’t ever try to tackle a huge Photoshop project on this thing, and you shouldn’t.

Any new kind of computer needs to justify its existence. Why would you get this instead of something simpler, like a Surface Go tablet or a traditional laptop (with a traditional keyboard)? And that bar is even higher for something that starts at a thousand bucks.

So let’s talk about that E Ink screen.

The first and most important thing to know is that it’s nicer to type on than you might expect, though I suspect your expectations aren’t very high. Lenovo has a special mode that maximizes the keyboard size and minimizes the touchpad, which cleverly expands only when you tap on the bottom when you want to use it. That little bit of extra space makes the keyboard much more usable, and Lenovo is also doing the standard trick of correcting for your mistypes with its software.

But typing on glass is still typing on glass, and no amount of haptic vibration can change that. You can’t really rest your hands on the keyboard, long fingernails will be a problem, and it gets tiring after awhile.

Honestly, that is probably going to be the end of the story for most people: an incredible device with a not-so-great typing experience. The idea here is that there are other things that you can do with the E Ink screen that offset the compromise on the keyboard. But I’m just going to tell you right now that they mostly consist of more compromises.

You can also use it as an e-reader, and since the device is so small and light, it’s comfortable to hold and read with it. Unfortunately, at launch it only supports PDFs; Lenovo says that ePub, .mobi, and plain text support will come next year. It’s nice enough for simple reading, but you can’t mark up or even highlight text. You can only use a fiddly, resizable box to screengrab portions of what you’re reading. And don’t ever expect to be able to read your Kindle library on it. The whole thing is just a huge missed opportunity.

My favorite mode is note-taking, which lets you sketch out your notes on the E Ink screen. It’s really neat to just fold the Windows screen back and have a small notepad thing to jot your notes down on. You can grab the OCR text from them automatically and get them into OneNote, too. You can also grab a screenshot from Windows and mark it up, but the experience of actually doing so is hellaciously fiddly. Trying to re-crop the image to what you want to actually comment on is a huge hassle on the E Ink display.

Though the E Ink screen has a decent refresh rate relative to other similar screens, the overall experience of using it is maddeningly slow. You switch modes by tapping small little buttons in the upper-right corner, and it takes a very long time to change. You can turn off the Windows display and just use the E Ink side, but you have to double tap the screen to do so, and sometimes it just doesn’t register. The device tries to automatically present different options to you, depending on how far back you’ve tilted the hinge or what orientation the device is in. But in practice, it often gets it wrong, and you’re left sort of flipping and folding the Yoga Book around to get it working.

I admit it: I really want to like the Yoga Book C930. I like that Lenovo is not only willing to take a chance on a weird design, but also to iterate on it and make it better. Just considering the device as a physical object and even as a concept, I love it.

But even if you can get over the awkward experience of typing on glass, the software that runs the E Ink screen makes the Yoga Book hard to love. There are probably niches where this device will be interesting, like for people who need a clipboard-style computer with the full power of Windows and a quick way to jot down notes.

For a thousand bucks, though, there are much better and more versatile options. They won’t wow strangers at a coffee shop, but they will let you get your work done without getting in your way.

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SCOUT is the portable charger that’s thought of everything — and now, it’s half off

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We’re all carrying so many devices these days that our pockets are starting to look like Batman’s utility belt. Between your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet, laptop and the half-dozen other assembled gadgets and doohickeys we’re toting around, power to keep all that tech running is a primary concern at all times.

With so many different device standards, power protocols, connecting cables and more, your power answer needs to start with versatility. A great place to start is the SCOUT Wireless 5,000mAh Portable Charger. Right now, you can pick it up at half-off its retail price, just $34 from TNW Deals with promo code: PREZDAY15.

Whether your device powers up via USB-C, micro USB or Lightning cable, SCOUT is ready with 5,000mAh of power, which is enough to fully charge an iPhone two or three times. Don’t actually have your power cable? No problem, SCOUT connects via its own built-in connectors, meaning you won’t have to be scrounging around for cables ever again. There’s even a USB port just in case you do need to use an outside cable.

Does your device power wirelessly through Qi compatibility? SCOUT has you covered as well so you can simultaneously charge your full armada of devices, even via wireless charging.

And, if you want to go super old-school, the SCOUT recharges itself through conventional micro USB or your good old trusty AC wall outlet. SCOUT sports internal  intelligent charging tech that auto-detects new connections, then adjusts to the current specs to the device’s needs, avoiding any over-charging or short circuits.

This super-convenient package is about the size of your smartphone — and might be just as useful. Retailing for $80, you can get one right now at half price, only $34before this offer ends with promo code: PREZDAY15.

Like this deal? Check out Vault, the best way to secure your online data for just $9.99/month.

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Huawei Y9 2019 Smartphone Excites Customers

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The latest model of the Huawei Smartphones called Y9 2019, which is already available in Nigeria and other parts of the world, has continued to excite Nigerian customers who see it as a sleek, light wight smartphone with broad screen that allows for fuller view of images and texts.

Shipped into the country in January 2019, the smartphone comes with dual SIM card slots, including a microSD card slot for additional memory capacity to accommodate heavy downloads of photos and videos.

The dual SIM slot was specifically built to address customers’ demand in Nigeria and Africa, where most of the subscribers prefer to operate with dual SIMs from different telecoms service providers.

One of the latest customers to Huawei brand of smartphones in Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Jacob Adebayo, described Huawei Y9 2019 as rugged that could withstand pressure and shock when dropped from a distant height.

The Huawei Y9 (2019), which is an improvement on Y9 2018, Y8 Prime and Y7 Pro, is powered by Huawei’s new Kirin 710 mid-range processor. Other specifications include 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage which can be expanded using a microSD card (up to 400GB), and a non-removable 4,000mAh battery.

The battery, which is long-lasting, enables users to make maximum use of the phone all through the day without battery drainage. Experience has also shown that minimal usage of the phone could retain its battery for more than 36 hours talk time.

Dubbed the Huawei Y9 (2019), the smartphone was launched in China back in October 2018 and is the successor to the Y9 (2018). The latest smartphone from the Chinese smartphone giant, which overtook other smartphone brands to become the world’s second largest manufacturer in 2018, features AI-enhanced cameras, a notched display, dual rear and front cameras, and Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box.

Priced at N76,900 in the Nigerian market, the lone variant of the Huawei Y9 (2019) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, commenced sale exclusively via Amazon India from 15th January 2019.

The Huawei Y9 (2019) fits comfortably in the palm of the hand and feels chunky and solid. The plastic back has a high-gloss finish in a bid to imitate glass. It looks sleek and stylish but gets smudged very easily. A case is recommended to enhance grip, as the phone comes very slippery.

Colour and camera

There are two colour variants on offer — Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue. The vertically oriented dual-camera module is located in the upper right corner of the smartphone, with the words AI camera emblazoned underneath it. There’s also a centrally located fingerprint sensor and a Huawei logo on the bottom right. The power button and volume rocker are placed on the right edge of the phone, and the left side houses the SIM tray, which has separate slots for two Nano SIMs and a microSD card.

Up front, there is a 6.5-inch full-HD+ display, with a 1500:1 contrast ratio, and a pixel density of 397ppi. The notch has become the new normal in smartphone design and the Huawei Y9 (2019) also embraces the design trend. The dual cameras are housed within the sizeable notch, which can be be masked via the settings.

The Huawei Y9 (2019) has four cameras in total — two at the front as well as the back. Up front, there is a 16-megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/2.0 and a pixel size of 2-microns, and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor with an aperture of f/2.4. At the back, there is a 13-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/1.8 alongside a 2-megapixel secondary sensor with an aperture of f/2.4.

The camera app is loaded with features such as intelligent scene detection, a fully featured Pro mode, AR stickers, filters, light painting, panorama, and time-lapse.

Other features

The display seemed to have adequate brightness, good viewing angles, and punchy colours. Huawei offers two colour modes for the display — Normal and Vivid — and users can also calibrate the colour temperature according to their own preferences. There’s also an Eye Comfort Mode which reduces harmful blue light. A detailed analysis of the display will have to wait till we conduct our full review.

Huawei has retained the legacy 3.5mm headphone jack. It still uses the old Micro-USB standard for charging and data transfer.

The Huawei Y9 (2019) runs Honor’s EMUI 8.2 skin atop Android 8.1 Oreo. EMUI is smooth and fluid, but the software experience is let down by the sizeable amount of clutter and bloat.

There is a dedicated night mode as well which allows you to tweak the exposure and ISO. Huawei’s flagships are known for their camera quality, and it is expected that the Huawei Y9 will maintain high quality images.

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Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10 and 5G phones unveiled at Unpacked event

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  • Samsung has revealed its latest S10 smartphone in San Francisco
  • Here is a hands-on first look at the Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10E
  • The Korean giant has unveiled a folding phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Samsung has launched a new 5G smartphone
  • Why Samsung’s folding phone could be a blueprint of the future

Samsung has unveiled a folding phone that doubles as a tablet, which the Korean company hailed as the biggest development in smartphones in a decade.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which was launched alongside four other smartphones on Wednesday evening, functions as a typical smartphone but can be unfolded to a second 7.3-inch touchscreen.

The device, which will be released in April, will cost at least $1,980 (£1,516), making it by far the most expensive smartphone on the market.

It is the first of its kind from a major smartphone company, with Samsung claiming the device “answers sceptics” who claim that innovation has dried up in the industry

Samsung’s folding smartphone that transforms into a tablet

Samsung also unveiled the latest version of its flagship smartphone line, the Galaxy S10, releasing three models that cost between £669 and £1,099.

The phones – the cheaper S10E, the S10 and the S10+, feature a fingerprint scanner embedded within the touchscreen and three rear cameras that allow for wider-angle photos.

The smartphone-maker also teased its largest phone yet, the S10 5G, which offers 6.7 inch display and promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity. The phone will be available later this year, when 5G networks, that offer faster mobile data connections, come online.

The company is hoping 5G support will give it a leg up over Apple, which is not expected to unveil a 5G phone until next year.  All these devices are capable of wirelessly charging other Samsung phones and accessories.

Image result for samsung fold

The Galaxy Fold in its “closed” form

Phone makers have spent years attempting to develop flexible touchscreens that allow devices to fold in two, answering consumers’ demands for ever-bigger phone screens, without sacrificing portability. Several manufacturers are now working on their own foldable phones, hoping the technology will breathe life into a saturated smartphone market.

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market,” Samsung’s mobile chief DJ Koh said. “We are here to prove them wrong.”

Samsung said folding the phone out into a bigger-screened version will allow multi-tasking features such as split-screen apps and better video watching.

However, the high price of the device means it is likely to sell in small numbers. Some versions are likely to sell for more than $2,000, just 18 months after Apple introduced the first $1,000 17 months ago.

The presentations are winding down, and Samsung has left us with their vision of the future in their latest commercial featuring the classic song made famous by Doris Day.

But there’s more to come, keep up to date with the latest Samsung news here and follow @JamesTitcomb on the ground as he elbows everyone out of the way for a first look at the folding phone.

Samsung’s 5G phone

The Galaxy S10 5G is being introduced with a fanfare – a 6.7 inch display that promises to be the future of smartphone connectivity.

This is the biggest screen on a Galaxy device. It comes with a 25-watt charger, so it will charge a lot faster. It has a 3D depth-sensing camera.

Verizon customers will be the first to receive the handsets.

New smartwatch with a full week’s charge

Samsung’s new Galaxy watch features a battery that lasts up to a week and can continually analyse your stages of sleep – this is a huge part of the company’s push into healthcare.

They include heart monitors and “continuous stress tracking when life gets overwhelming”.

Galaxy Buds with Bixby

Samsung has just launched wireless, Apple-style earbuds. Hot take from the Samsung stage: “They are so cool”.

They feature a high efficiency chip set for which allows for 5 hours of calls on a single charge. They are also Bixby-enabled, so you can interact with them remotely and give them instructions (and why wouldn’t you?). They will be available from March.

Incidentally, Bixby can now apparently tell the difference between the Queen’s English and English from Queens (cue laughter from stage). Samsung’s AI assistant also understand three different languages.

S10 price starts at £799 and will be available from March 8

The Samsung Galaxy S10 will start at £799, up to £999. The S10 Plus will start at £899 with a £1,099 version. The S10E will begin at £669.

You can find pre-order details on the Samsung Galaxy S10 here.

Samsung bets on Instagram feature with the S10

The S10 presentation featured Instagram chief executive Adam Mosseri, who presented an “Instagram mode” that will allow users to quickly post any photo onto the social media site.

Of course, there was a rather awkward selfie on stage with DJ Koh….

Here is everything you need to know about the new S10

Matt Field has gone through all of the bells and whistles of the new phones here – here are the highlights and how they differ from the S9.

S10 specs

First photos of the Samsung S10

Here’s the S10

The S10 introduction has come hot on the heels of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. But what does it bring to the table? Read Matthew Field’s guide to the new devices to find out more.

Forget the £1,000 smartphone.

“Samsung just announced the price of the fold – $1,980 and up – and the crowd here literally went ‘ooooooooh'” like a pantomime,” says James Titcomb.

The era for smartphone innovation is not over

DJ Koh Samsung presents the Galaxy Fold.

Samsung chief executive DJ Koh said that the company will prove critics wrong with the lineup of products and services launched this evening. He said:

“The Galaxy Fold breaks new ground not just because it defines categories. It breaks new ground because it answers sceptics, who say that everything has been done, that the Smartphone is a mature category in a saturated market, we are here to prove them wrong”

“Today marks a new beginning, a shift.

“The next decade of progress and innovation. I am excited by what we have achieved, but I am even more excited by what we have enabled.”

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Price and availability

The new device will cost $1,980 (£1,516) and will be available from April 26.

Six cameras, but kind of clunky

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Galaxy Fold: the specs

The new Galaxy Fold has a 9nm processor and 12GB of RAM, making it one of the most powerful smartphones on the market (and ever). It has 512GB of on board memory. Because the phone folds up like a tablet from essentially two “smartphone” bodies, it has a dual battery, one in each side of the device that link together.

Samsung has claimed that the Galaxy Fold will fit in the palm of the hand when it’s folded.

Galaxy Fold, revealed

It’s here – within a couple of minutes of the launch, we’ve seen the first official photo of the foldable phone. The first official description is “It’s gorgeous”.

Samsung has called the new device part of a “whole new category” and confirmed the name: Samsung Galaxy Fold – with a 7.3-inch folding infinity display that folds the phone out into a tablet.

Samsung says it has invented a whole new hinge system with “multiple interlocking gears” that are hidden away.

And… here we go

It’s kicked off in San Francisco, with some distinctly creepy music. It looks like they are starting with the folding phone…

Watch it live here

The expert’s take

We’ve been stuck in a camera race, Peter Jarich of analyst firm GSMA Intelligence argues, as smartphone makers have struggled to stand out with a “series of black rectangles”.

“If you’re trying to convince people to buy, then foldable is the way to go, ” he says. “This is all taking place at the same time as 5G. Will this have 5G? Doubtful.”

Could Samsung launch the iPhone killer?

Samsung’s launch today could provide the smartphone market with a much-needed jolt this year. In January, Samsung was forced to issue a profit warning as sales fell 11pc and profits dropped dropped 29pc on the back of slowing phone and chip sales; just days after Apple chopped its sales forecast due to an economic slowdown.

So can the S10, a foldable phone or a 5G device turn the tide? One market analyst told us this evening that the smartphone market is so competitive that Samsung can’t afford not to try.  “What if this were the next big thing and they missed out on it?”

Live from San Francisco

James Ticomb (@jamestitcomb) is up and running from the launch in San Francisco. First thoughts?

“Samsung has to pull off the trick of convincing us that the S10 matters and is worth buying, and that phones these days are so boring that you need one that folds in half.”

View image on Twitter

A folding phone is on the cards

Rumours ahead of the launch included a foldable phone, nicknamed Samsung Galaxy X or Galaxy F (for fold), which was teased back in November. It would be a first for the technology company and could be a game-changer in the smartphone market.

Why foldable phones are the next big thing

But that’s not all. Several rivals are rumoured to be launching 5G smartphones at Mobile World Congress next month, which could prompt Samsung to release a rival product today.

Here’s what we know so far

Samsung’s main new phone tonight is expected to be the Samsung Galaxy S10. It is due to feature some “very significant” design changes, according to Samsung’s mobile chief executive DJ Koh. You can read all the rumours here – but we’re expecting more cameras, more memory and a larger display.

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