Lenovo has beaten, well, just about everybody to the punch by making a convertible tablet with an all-touchscreen keyboard.
The new Yoga Book is a stunningly thin and light device. Unlike other laptops sporting the "Book" moniker, it actually feels like something that you wouldn’t mind kicking back on the couch with to catch up with an eBook or trawl through your favorite websites.
Svelte dimensions aside, the Yoga Book also impresses with its innovative touchscreen keyboard.
Not only does this allow the device to achieve its thinness, it’s a viable way of (quite literally) hammering your words into the text field of whatever app it is that you’re working in. Keyboard fans, place your knowledge of switches, key travel and actuation points aside for a moment – it’s useless here.
Well, hold on, typists: you may be interested to learn how an all-touch keyboard affects your typing speed. Just how easy is it to use, and could you be productive with one? We got our hands on a Yoga Book at Lenovo’s IFA event to find out.
Putting touch typing to the test
Before we begin, I consider myself a fairly fast typist. Below is a shot of my typical typing speed (142 words per minute (WPM) – conducted on a MacBook Air) and the typical number of errors I’m likely to make in a minute (in the case of this test, four). So, my slower typing test results shown below that, achieved using the Yoga Book, weren’t a result of me being a slow or inaccurate typist.
To see how my typing fared during my short time with the Yoga Book, I loaded up the popular online multiplayer typing game TypeRacer, in addition to trying out a couple of one-minute tests on typingtest.com.
TypeRacer is a fun typing game that pits you against other online racers. Typing sentences into the text field moves your car from left to right, and the person who types them the fastest to reach the end of the phrase is crowned the winner.
As you can see by my car’s slow progress in the race, below, my first attempt at typing on the Windows 10-powered version (there’s an Android version, too) of the Yoga Book was abysmal – I achieved a lowly 21 wpm.
My attempts to type as I usually would on a tactile keyboard resulted in me consistently hitting the wrong keys. This wasn’t a flaw with how fast the Yoga Book’s recognized my key presses so much as me having to hit backspace and type the correct key.
Following that, I decided to have a few practice runs while deliberately slowing down my keystrokes to up my accuracy. It worked. On the third attempt (this time on the Android version of the Yoga Book, after we had been moved on from the original stand), my typing speed more than doubled to 54 WPM. (Note that I had disabled predictive text on the demo unit involved.)
The next few races yielded similar progression. To see if typing for a longer duration (a minute, rather than the shorter length of time taken to bash out TypeRacer’s passengers) made a difference, I fired up typingtest.com. In the first test I achieved 56 WPM, at the expense of making a shockingly bad 15 errors.
Following the next few practice runs, I found that my typing style was beginning to change. I began tapping more lightly on the keys to increase my accuracy, and on occasion I would find that my fingers began to fly to the level that entire sentences would appear within a split second.
When my digits hit the right keys in the right order (which, y’know, generally helps with typing), sentences would race into the text box far faster than they ever would a mechanical keyboard. The haptic feedback became reassuring, and my confidence levels grew. The faster typing still came at the expense of my error count hitting double figures, however.
By the fourth or fifth attempt (typing out different passages so that I didn’t learn them all by heart), I’d managed to raise my WPM count to 62 with a more palatable, but still poor, 12 errors. Deciding to give it one more shot with another passage, I successfully raised my typing speed to 67 WPM, with 11 errors. At that point, it began to level off, and exceeding 70 WPM became increasingly unlikely.
And the results…
To say that you can’t type as fast on a touchscreen keyboard as you can on a tactile one is perhaps stating the obvious. But it does show that, if your typing speed doesn’t stretch above the 60 to 70 WPM mark, opting for the Yoga Book wouldn’t make a huge dent in your productivity levels – where typing is concerned anyway.
It’s never going to be something that you’re going to want to bash out a 5,000 essay on, but if you’re looking to use browse the internet, type up the occasional email and message your friends and family on social media, then it could be sufficient for your needs.
So long as you don’t need to hit 140 WPM, that is.
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