Lenovo's latest gadget is one that doesn't quite fit in the usual categories, mostly because it really doesn't. That's right; the Lenovo Skylight is billed as a smartbook, a cross between a smartphone and a netbook, which leaves us scratching our head trying to figure out just exactly what it is.
Unlike your usual Intel Atom based netbook, the Lenovo Skylight uses an ARM-based Qualcomm Snapdragon processor like those found in mobile phones, while using a customized Linux-based operating system that's also dubbed as Skylight. And like a smartphone, the Skylight smartbook is supposed to have an always-on function that works simply by pressing the power button to instantly power up the smartbook. Although in our trials, it seemed more of a quick boot on the engineering unit as opposed to Lenovo's advertising claims for the retail unit. We'll find out for sure in the near future when the Skylight is ready for retail.
Fresh from its run at CES, we've managed to get our hands on a working engineering build of the Skylight, and the first thing we noticed was how thin and light the unit is. The second thing we noted was its shape - it's not your regular angular portable device. Instead, the Skylight packs plenty of curves in its design that is unusual for a traditional netbook/notebook device, which the Skylight competes with from a form-factor perspective.
On the inside however, the smartbook curves don't hold up quite as well with the huge bezel surrounding the screen. It's an unfortunate aspect that Lenovo has tried to mitigate by using a frameless look, and after some time, you'll stop noticing the bezel. The smartbook's base sported a familiar looking chiclet style keyboard design that we just saw on the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13, and the typing performance seemed just as good too. Just below that is a generously sized trackpad that makes the Skylight a very easy to navigate device. This is also the reason for the extra space around the screen at the top which matches up to accommodate the extra large trackpad at the bottom of the device.
Software wise, the Skylight, as mentioned comes loaded with its customized OS, the Lenovo Skylight based on the Linux platform. There are some Mac OSX similarities especially the dock area, and features plenty of apps to use for movie playback, web browsing, photo viewing and more. Our experience with the OS was buggy and sluggish, but since it's an engineering sample, the Skylight gets a free pass for now. Hopefully the finished product will deliver a smooth experience.
Lastly, we haven't talked much of the unit's specs because much of it remains unconfirmed. Here's what we've compiled of the Skylight's specifications that we know to-date but may not reflect the final actual retail product:-
Lenovo Skylight Rough Specifications
|Video & Display||