I came across the Lenovo Yoga Book C930 at Best Buy entirely by accident. I thought it was a Chromebook!
Prior to my encounter, I had zero interest in it. The very idea of using an eInk screen as a keyboard was ridiculous to me.
Once I gave it an actual, serious try, I was surprised.
I couldn’t get it out of my mind so I went back to do a Google Books PDF test on it.
That excited me but I had to know more. So I devised an All-In Test that would mirror my actual everyday use of it. Plus I wanted to see if it could handle the backbreaking PDFs from the Internet Archive that have been the downfall of many a test machine.
See the results of that test after the break.
I encountered one problem at Best Buy: The stylus was destroyed. I found it in two pieces. And the tip of it looked like it had been rubbed against a brick! The stylus wouldn’t work at all. Dammit.
Since I didn’t know if I could access the Internet Archive ahead of time, I attached the test PDFs to an email I sent to myself at YahooMail. This also included the test URLs so I wouldn’t have to remember them:
Click any image to enlarge.
I had twelve tabs open in the Edge browser simultaneously:
But there was still no joy getting to this blog (damn Best Buy WiFi!):
Scrubbing through the tabs even after doing other things revealed no reloading of the sites. The only problem was The Digital Reader site:
But that site has had sporadic, transient problems recently, so I put the blame on the site itself, not Edge or the hardware.
Onto YouTube tests!
That Sony 4K video:
Selecting 4K resolution:
Confirming the video Setting is 4K:
And BAM! Going full-screen:
Absolutely gorgeous on that screen. Zero dropped frames, no stuttering. Totally smooth playback and I could hop ahead with no problems.
Just 1080p, but again no problems.
It is here where I must note that the iPad — even the new Pro models — max out these videos at 720p in Mobile Safari. That is, YouTube won’t offer higher resolutions unless you use their app.
The hell with that! I don’t want to use their app. I hate their app! It has a screwy UI. I want the Desktop view I’m used to. The Lenovo Yoga Book C930 gives me what I want.
And keep this in mind: This is the basic model that Best Buy has in store. Just 4GBs of RAM.
Now onto the three test PDFs from the Internet Archive!
See, this is what Edge should do as its default when it encounters a PDF file (see red highlight) instead of merrily displaying a PDF in the damn browser:
That would also give Microsoft an incentive to create their own PDF reading app! And, no, you must not just bundle that goddammed abomination from Adobe. Do your own, Microsoft. Listen, trust me on this one, Adobe won’t squawk. They’re too busy minting money from their Creative Cloud and licking their chops over future iOS money. PDFs are a minor sidebar to them (which is why their app is atrocious!). Do it, Microsoft! It’s needed for the rumored Centaurus! (And while I have your attention, you should have never left the eBook market. You set it back for years and we had to wait for the iPad to give us the kind of beautiful eBooks you pioneered with LIT!)
All three test PDFs downloaded:
Castle of Frankenstein:
I chose this PDF because it’s a nasty scan. The page isn’t white as it should be. It’s gray. I was curious how it would look on the eInk screen. This was simply a display test. I would not try to read this PDF on the C930’s screen; it’s too small. The original magazine is 8.5″ x 11″.
And here is where I encountered a maddening and tragic bug in the Lenovo PDF app. After cropping and pasting that image, I tried to do another page. Despite having the confirmation that the image was pasted it to clipboard, it was not! I tried several times — which, let me tell you, was no damn fun since I had to crop using my finger (remember, the stylus was destroyed), then switch from portrait to landscape, then paste into the open Paint — and each time it kept re-pasting that first image! I finally got fed up. I closed Paint, relaunched it clean, and tried again. Same result! It wasn’t a Paint problem. It was a Lenovo PDF app problem.
I got fed up further and decided to try a different page of the magazine. That finally worked:
Whatever the hell was going on here, Lenovo needs to replicate it and fix it ASAP.
Onto the next test PDF, Life in the Crystal Palace (the biggest of them, at 16MBs):
“Wait!” you exclaim, “I’m seeing color. I thought this was an eInk screensnap!”
You’re not the only one surprised.
Next PDF, Processed World:
What’s actually going on here is that the image is of the PDF itself, not of the image on the eInk screen.
That’s actually pretty neat. After all, who really wants to send an eInk image?
Now I must yell at Lenovo to improve things.
The PDF app needs to save page image area screensnaps with one button. Expecting people to drag a selection box to snap an entire page is slow and frustrating — especially if they don’t have their stylus (or a working stylus). There should be a single on-screen button that takes a screenshot and automagically saves it to Pictures -> Screenshots folder. However, do not give it the default name Microsoft uses [Screenshot (number)]. That could cause confusion. Maybe call it “eInkScreenshot (number).”
Really, Lenovo, this change is so important that you need to assign coders to it right now and push out an update ASAP. And have them track down and exterminate that crop-copy-paste bug too!
So, how did the Lenovo Yoga Book C930 actually handle those PDFs?
I have to say it because my own eyes have seen it: Better than the new iPad Pro.
They opened instantly, turned pages as quickly as was possible with eInk, and each page was immediately rendered clearly, there was zero rendering delay. I still encountered a fraction or full-second rendering delay even with the new iPad Pro!
So, well done, Lenovo!
This is an insanely-great piece of hardware!
If Lenovo can fix the PDF app bug and add that screenshot button, it’d make a great machine even greater.
This has fantastic build quality, looks like nothing else out there, and really works!
Between this and rumored Microsoft Centaurus, my desire for an iPad Mini has just about been extinguished.
This is the Google Books PDF reading, and blogging, and web-accessing machine I’ve been waiting for.
A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.
Thanks for showing me this, Lenovo!
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