One Mix Yoga 7 inch convertible laptop preview


The One Mix Yoga is a curious computer. At first glance it looks like a tiny laptop: it has a QWERTY keyboard, a 7 inch touchscreen display, an Intel processor, and Windows 10 software.

But it also has a 360-degree hinge that lets you push the screen all the way back and hold the computer like a tablet. It also comes with a pressure-sensitive active pen that you can use to write, draw, select, or otherwise interact with the One Mix Yoga.

The little computer has some of the best features of the netbooks and UMPCs of yesteryear: it’s a full-fledged computer capable of running modern software, but it’s also small enough to take with you anywhere you go. It even fits into a pocket (not comfortably, but it does fit).

Unfortunately it also comes with some of the failings of old-school netbooks: the keyboard is cramped and hard to type on for extended periods, and the small screen isn’t really big enough for heavy-duty multitasking. The One Mix Yoga also doesn’t have a lot of processing power, so you’re probably not going to do a lot of multitasking anyway.

The One Mix Yoga comes from a subsidiary of Chinese PC maker Voyo called One Netbook, and it should be available this month for around $460 and up. The folks at Geekbuying have been taking pre-orders for a few weeks, and the retailer gave me a pre-production prototype to test.

Note that since the unit I’ve been testing isn’t the final retail version, I’m calling this a preview, not a review. I ran into a few issues that I’ve been assured will be resolved in the final retail version. But even with those problems, I can tell that this little device holds a lot of promise… for people who want a pocket-sized convertible laptop, anyway. I just wish it had a faster processor.

Wait, that thing looks just like the GPD Pocket, doesn’t it?

Good eye. You’ve obviously been following the tiny computer space for a while.

After years of cranking out Android tablets aimed at gamers, Chinese company GPD added a few Windows devices to its lineup a few years ago. The GPD Win and Win 2 are handheld gaming PCs with thumb-friendly keyboards and physical game controllers. And the GPD Pocket is a general-purpose miniature laptop with a 7 inch display and a keyboard that’s just (barely) large enough to touch type.

The One Netbook One Mix Yoga takes more than a few design cues from the Pocket. It has a similar 7 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel display. It has a similar looking body. And the keyboard layout is very, very similar.

Left: One Mix Yoga / Right: GPD Pocket

But the One Mix Yoga has an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor, while the GPD Pocket has a faster Atom x7-Z8750. GPD also plans to introduce a GPD Pocket 2 this summer, featuring a slimmed-down design and an even more powerful Intel Core M3-7Y30 processor.

On the plus side, the One Mix Yoga has a 360-degree hinge and active pen support, which the Pocket does not.

The key thing that makes the One Mix Yoga look like a GPD Pocket clone though, is the keyboard. There are a few minor differences: the One Mix Yoga has an optical touchpad instead of a pointing stick, and the One Mix Yoga has a full-sized Fn key rather than a small one attached to the Ctrl key.

Left: One Mix Yoga / Right: GPD Pocket

GPD’s tiny laptop also lacks a backlit keyboard, while One Netbook’s has one (although it wasn’t working on the prototype I tested). But generally speaking, the two keyboards look very much alike, for better or worse.

So is this a GPD Pocket clone? Kind of. But it’s an upgrade in some ways (tablet functionality) and a downgrade in others (slower processor).

Specs

  • 7 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS touchscreen display
  • Intel Atom x5-Z8350 quad-core processor
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 128GB of eMMC storage
  • 6,500 mAh battery
  • micro USB port (for charging)
  • USB Type-C port
  • USB 3.0 Type-A port
  • micro HDMI port
  • microSD card reader
  • 802.11ac WiFi
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Active pen with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • 182mm x 110mm x 17mm (7.2″ x 4.3″ x 0.67″)
  • 515 grams (1.1 pounds)

Prototypical issues

There are three major issues affecting this prototype that I’ve been told will be resolved in the finished version of the laptop when it ships to customers.

  1. The backlit keyboard doesn’t work on the prototype.
  2. The prototype ships with an unactivated version of Windows 10.
  3. The computer shuts down entirely every time it should sleep.

I’m not at all certain that this is a comprehensive list of issues with the demo unit I’ve been testing, there may be more.

The sleep issue would be a deal breaker if this weren’t a prototype. Part of the appeal of a pocket-sized computer is that you can open it up at any time, use it for a few minutes, and then tuck it away secure in the knowledge that you can always pick up where you left off later.

When the computer shuts down instead of sleeping, you may unexpected lose data. And you’ll certainly see any currently running programs shut down.

Unfortunately closing the lid causes my One Mix Yoga to shut down instead of sleeping. Pressing the power button does the same. And so does selecting “Sleep” from the power options in the Windows Start Menu.

Adjusting Windows power and sleep settings does no good. Neither does digging into the UEFI/BIOS settings and changing the sleep states.

Fortunately Geekbuying sent me a video showing a retail version of the One Mix Yoga with sleep working properly, so I have every reason to believe that this is a prototype-only problem.

Likewise, I’ve been assured that Windows 10 will be activated on retail versions the first time a user connects to the internet, and that the backlit keyboard should be functional.

But I wanted to point out the prototype’s problem areas because they made it difficult for me to test some features, which is why this is a One Mix Yoga preview rather than a full review. If you were to buy this device, you may have a different experience.

Design and features

That said, the One Mix Yoga prototype looks pretty much the same as the final version. It has a silver/grey metal exterior with all the ports on one side, a vent along the back, and a speaker grille on the bottom.

Even though 0.67 inches is pretty thin by laptop standards, the One Mix Yoga looks a bit chunky due to is boxy design and small size. It’s not an unattractive device, but it has a sort of Spartan/utilitarian look.

There’s a small indent in the front that you can use to get a grip on the lid when you want to open the laptop. The hinge is pretty stiff, so you’ll probably need to use two hands: one to hold the bottom and the other to lift the lid.

In fact, one of the things I like about this little laptop is that you can tap the screen without it wobbling, something that’s not always true of touchscreen laptops that cost more than 4 times as much.

The hinges actually move a bit when you shift the screen from laptop to tablet mode. Fold the screen back 180 degrees and the hinges stay in place while the lid moves. Keep pushing and the hinges will rotate 180 degrees to move the screen so that it’s back-to-back with the keyboard.

In this mode you can easily hold the One Mix Yoga in a single hand for reading, watching, playing, or what have you. While the 1.1 tablet is a bit heavier than a Kindle, I found it comfortable to hold while reading an eBook for about an hour one evening.

But you’ll need to be careful of where you place your hand. While most of the keys on the keyboard shut off automatically in tablet mode, the power button does not. It’s the button in the upper right corner of the keyboard, and if you accidentally tap it with a finger while using the One Mix Yoga as a tablet, you may put the computer to sleep.

That’s probably something you’ll be able to avoid on the retail version by going into the Windows Power & Sleep settings menu and choosing “do nothing” for what happens when you press the power button. On my demo unit, that option did nothing… and instead of sleeping, the computer would shut down any time I pressed the power button. So I learned to hold the tablet from the other side so that my fingers wouldn’t be anywhere near that button.

Speaking of the power button it’s also the one key that does light up on my One Mix Yoga prototype. While the backlit keyboard doesn’t seem to be functional on the device I tested, the power button does glow blue when the computer is powered on (it looks white in bright light), and red when the laptop is charging.

In handheld mode (or laptop mode, I suppose) you can also use the active pen included with the One Mix Yoga to navigate, write, or draw. My handwriting is awful, so I didn’t test this feature extensively. But I did confirm that the pen supports pressure-sensitive input by scribbling a few notes with some heavy and light brush strokes.

I look forward to reading reviews from folks who are more comfortable with pens than I am. The pen didn’t seem as accurate as it could have been when tapping Windows menus, but seemed to work reasonably well for jotting handwritten notes.

Fold the screen back to laptop mode, and you’ll get a good look at the One Mix Yoga’s unusual keyboard and touchpad… or at least it’s unusual if you’ve never seen a GPD Pocket.

While this isn’t the first notebook with a 7 inch display that I’ve tested, my last one was released almost 11 years ago, had enormous bezels, and featured a small touchpad. The Asus Eee PC 701 had a small keyboard, but it was basically a miniaturized version of a standard laptop keyboard.

The One Mix Yoga isn’t wide enough or tall enough for a standard keyboard. So, like GPD, One Netbook made some interesting choices.

The Caps Lock key is a tiny button on the right side of the A key. The period, comma, and question mark keys are half the width of other keys on the keyboard. And the colon/semicolon and apostrophe/quotation mark buttons are awkwardly located in the same row as the space bar, which means I have to hunt for them almost every time I’m looking for them.

The F11 and F12 keys are in the row above the F1 – F10 keys. And for some reason the Del key is below the backspace key (this is just a strange, non-standard choice that has nothing to do with making use of space, as far as I can tell).

Strangest of all, instead of a touchpad, there’s an optical touchpad/pointing device placed in the center of two spacebar buttons, below the B and N keys.

You can slide your finger across it to move a cursor and tap on it to click. There are also left and right buttons below the spacebar (which is split into two halves to wrap around the optical touchpad.

Can you touch type on the One Mix Yoga? Maybe.

I can do it for limited sprints of text-heavy writing. But after spending a few weeks with the little laptop, I still haven’t really gotten used to the placement of the quotation and colon keys, and the small punctuation keys makes it easy to hit the wrong one by accident.

But I don’t think anybody expects you to do a lot of typing on a laptop this small. The keyboard is there when you need it, but so is the touchscreen. You can easily tap out URLs and search terms on the web, send short emails, or even edit work documents. But my hands started to ache any time I tried writing for more than a few minutes at a stretch.

Your results may vary, and like most unusual keyboards, I suspect the longer you use it, the more you get used to it. But the keyboard is just one of several reasons why I’d be more likely to recommend the One Mix Yoga as a secondary device rather than as a replacement for your primary laptop. Occasionally sluggish performance is another of those reasons, but we’ll get into that in more detail below.

So what am I supposed to do with it?

It’s a laptop. It’s a tablet. It’s a… nope, I guess that’s about it. But what makes the One Mix Yoga unusual is that, like the GPD Pocket, it’s a fully functional laptop that’s not much larger than a Nintendo DS handheld game console (which measures 5.9″ x 3.3″ x 1.1″).

The One Mix Yoga isn’t really designed for gaming: it’s got a pretty pokey processor and doesn’t have physical gaming buttons like some other handheld PCs. But it is a general purpose computer that can run Edge, Office, Photoshop (or Chromium, Libreoffice, and GIMP if you’re into free and open source alternatives).

You’re probably not going to want to run all of those applications at the same time: this thing may have 8GB of RAM, but it has a slow processor that struggles when you push it too far.

While the computer may not be fast, it is versatile. If you stick to single-tasking, you can edit documents, surf the web, watch videos, play simple games, and maybe even do a bit of coding on the go. .

And since the computer is small enough to slide into a pocket or a small bag, it’s the sort of computer you might pack when you’d normally leave a larger laptop at home: sometimes the best computer is the one you have with you all the time.

And unlike the GPD Pocket, this little computer is also a tablet. Just flip the screen around and it becomes a mobile device for media consumption or note-taking, no keyboard required.

Windows 10 still isn’t my favorite tablet platform: there’s a scarcity of good tablet-friendly apps in the Microsoft Store.

For example, there’s no Amazon Kindle app for Windows 10 tablets. So when I wanted to continue reading a book that I’d started on my Kindle, I fired up the Kindle desktop app… and realized that it doesn’t support personal documents (I’d purchased that book from a non-Amazon source), so I couldn’t easily access the eBook and synchronize my reading progress across devices. The user interface also wasn’t particularly tablet-friendly.

Eventually I found the freda eBook reader app in the Microsoft Store and loaded the book manually. It didn’t synchronize with my Kindle, but it did provide a pleasant reading experience.

I’m not sure I’d want to replace my Fire HD 8 with a One Mix Yoga… but if I didn’t already have a Fire tablet and had my eye on a small laptop anyway, it’d be nice to have one that has tablet functionality.

You can also flip the screen around and prop up the computer in tent mode or stand mode if you just want to use the keyboard like a kickstand, making the One Mix Yoga into a little multimedia player.

The 1920 x 1200 pixel display looks pretty good from every angle, although you’ll probably want to stick with the 200% DPI scaling if you want to be able to see the screen without squinting.

Since the computer has a micro HDMI port, it’s also easy to connect an external display. I plugged the laptop into a 24 inch TV and had no problem mirroring the screen and using the One Mix Yoga as if it were a desktop… albeit a rather slow one.

Just how slow is it?

Let’s put it this way: the One Mix Yoga is powered by a 2 watt processor that was released in early 2016 as a low-end tablet chip. Sure, you won’t run into the same app compatibility issues you get when using a Windows 10 on ARM device, but you’ll get sluggish performance at most things.

You might not really notice the slow processor when performing basic tasks one at a time. Sure, it takes a little longer to launch Google Chrome or LibreOffice on the One Mix Yoga than it does on a more powerful computer. But once those applications are up and running, they perform pretty much as expected.

Try running benchmarks though, and you’ll see that this computer is S L O W… even by Intel Atom standards.

I ran the PCMark test on the One Mix Yoga, and it scored a lousy 772. Computers with 4.5 watt Intel Core Y-series chips scored between two and three times higher, and even an Intel Compute Stick with an older Atom x5-Z8300 managed to trounce the One Mix Yoga, with a score of 1387.

I only started using PCMark a few years ago, so I don’t have scores for older computers. But I’ve been running the same set of Liliputing benchmarks for the past 10 years, and the One Mix Yoga was one of the slowest computers I’ve tested when it came to video and audio transcoding tasks using VirtualDub and WinLAME. It was also one of the slowest at creating a ZIP archive using 7-zip.

Again, even computers with older Atom chips including the Intel Atom Z3735F and Atom x5-Z8300 were able to complete these tasks more quickly than the One Mix Yoga.

Now, I wouldn’t really expect anyone to use VirtualDub to compress video using the Xvid codec in 2018. It’s an aging set of tools and there are better options for higher quality compression and faster transcoding. But having run the same test on dozens of computers over the years does come in handy when you’re looking to compare performance.

Unsurprisingly, the One Mix Yoga was also near the bottom of the pack when it came to graphics benchmarks including several 3DMark benches and the Street Fighter IV benchmark. This time it did at least come out ahead of an Asus laptop with an Atom Z3735F processor in some tests though.

While the One Mix Yoga has flash storage rather than a hard drive, it uses relatively slow eMMC storage (the kind used in entry-level laptops and smartphones) rather than a faster SSD. So the read/write speeds will be a bit of a bottleneck for some tasks.

In a completely unfair comparison, for example, the One Mix Yoga has sequential read speeds of about 143 MB/s and write speeds of about 95 MB/s according to CyrstalDiskMark. I ran the same test on a $1500 Huawei MateBook X Pro and got 3129 MB/s and 2033 MB/s, respectively.

The MateBook X Pro is one of the fastest computers I’ve tested in the past year. The One Mix Yoga is one of the slowest.

Now, does that mean the One Mix Yoga is unusable? Not at all. Just keep its limitations in mind and you should be fine. This is not a gaming PC. This is not a mobile workstation. It’s a jack-of-all-trades, but certainly a master-of-none.

You can certainly find faster laptops and/or tablets in its price range. You probably just won’t find any other convertibles this small… so you’re paying for the unique form factor rather than for the performance.

On the bright side, the One Mix Yoga seems to get decent battery life. One Netbook promises up to 12 hours of run time. That seems a little optimistic if you plan to use this for serious work, but I probably wouldn’t recommend doing that for 12 hours straight on a device with a screen and keyboard this size anyway.

While I didn’t run extensive battery tests, I was able to go several days at a time without charging the One Mix Yoga, using it for up to a few hours each day.

Anything else I might want to know?

Linux

One Netbook ships the little laptop with Windows 10, but it’s pretty easy to boot from a USB device if you want to try a different operating system.

Just press Fn+F7 when the logo/splash screen shows up during the boot process and you’ll see a boot options menu. If you’ve got a bootable USB device plugged in, you can boot a GNU/Linux distribution or another OS of your choice. Or if you want to go into the UEFI/BIOS settings, you can just select the “Enter Setup” option.

When I took Ubuntu 18.04 Linux for a test drive, the operating system recognized most of the hardware right away. WiFi worked. So did the keyboard, optical touchpad, touchscreen, and digital pen.

Unfortunately audio did not work. I was able to connect to the internet, load up YouTube in the Firefox web browser and watch videos. I just couldn’t hear them.

It’s possible there’s a driver update that could fix the audio problems. But the out-of-box experience is a little marred for folks hoping to run Ubuntu and hear sounds coming out of their computer. You could also probably plug in a USB audio device if you absolutely need Ubuntu and don’t have time to troubleshoot the audio issues on your own.

Oh, another thing to keep in mind is that the One Mix Yoga basically has a phone/tablet screen. So the first time you run anything other than Windows, the display will be in portrait mode. There are a number of ways to fix this with software, but in Ubuntu the easiest way is to open a terminal window and enter this command:

 xrandr -o right

That should rotate the display to landscape mode.

Under the hood

It’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? Let’s take a look inside then, shall we?

There are 6 screws on the bottom of the laptop that you can remove to open the case. I did that so you don’t have to: there’s not really much you can do once you remove the bottom cover.

The memory and storage are all soldered to the motherboard, and the battery is held down with adhesive. I suppose it’s good to be able to get inside if you need to fix anything that’s broken… but you do also run the risk of causing some breakage.

Case in point: after lifting the motherboard to see if I could find evidence of any keyboard lights (I couldn’t), I sealed up the case, hit the power button… and realized that I’d broken the display somehow.

After opening the laptop again and checking for loose connections, I’m pretty sure I’ve got a bad cable or connector, which may or may not have caused permanent damage to the screen. Fortunately I can still use it with an external display thanks to the little laptop’s HDMI port.

So if you plan to open up this laptop, proceed with caution. Or just don’t do it.

Should I buy it?

Maybe? After spending a few weeks testing a One Mix Yoga prototype, I wish it had a faster processor and I wish my demo unit could actually sleep and resume.

One Netbook has promised that the latter issue is fixed. The sluggish processor probably won’t be addressed until version 2 is released, if that ever happens.

The bigger issue is that while the One Mix Yoga definitely has a bit of wow factor, it doesn’t solve any problems I have. As someone who already has a smartphone, a Kindle eReader, a Fire HD 8 tablet, and a 13.3 inch laptop that weighs less than 3 pounds, I’ve kind of got my bases covered. The One Mix Yoga doesn’t replace any of those devices well enough to justify spending $460 on one.

With a faster processor and a better selection of tablet apps, maybe I’d consider ditching my tablet for a device like this, but I probably wouldn’t drop my laptop.

You may come to a different conclusion though. Maybe you don’t already have a tablet. Maybe you really, really want one that is also a Windows or Linux computer. Or maybe you just like the idea of a compact, multi-mode computer.

Right now there’s really nothing else quite like the One Mix Yoga on the market. I mean, it’s very similar to the GPD Pocket in a lot of ways, but if you’ve found yourself gazing longingly at the Pocket and wishing it were also a tablet with pen support, the One Mix Yoga is the closest you’re going to get.

GPD has announced that the Pocket 2 will have a faster processor and a slimmer design. But it doesn’t have a tablet mode or a backlit keyboard.

If the One Mix Yoga had the Core M3-7Y30 processor that GPD is using for the Pocket 2, it’d be a lot easier to recommend this unusual little device. Of course, it’d also probably have a higher price tag if it got that CPU upgrade.

Overall I’m glad I got to spend some time testing the One Mix Yoga. I’m just not sure I’d spend nearly $500 to buy one.

Thanks again to Geekbuying for hooking us up with this review unit. The One Netbook One Mix Yoga is available from a number of retailers, including Geekbuying, for about $460.

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