Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Traveling with the Lenovo Yoga-2 Ultrabook (Windows 8.1) with Bluetooth and slow-charging issues

I bought a new travel computer before my jaunt to Orlando.  It was a Lenovo Yoga 2 Tablet-hybrid “Ultrabook” with Windows 8.1
The keyboard-touchpad is separate, runs on Bluetooth and needs to be within about seven feet of the tablet. The keyboard can be connected the first time by keying in “Bluetooth” on the tablet and clicking for the appropriate unit. The keyboard has separate power and takes about three hours to power up.
The main tablet unit powers up very slowly, and seems to take about eight hours to even go from 80% to 100%. 
Lenovo recommends keeping the battery in the 60% range.  Charging should not be attempted if it is over 90%.  There is overcharging protection.

The unit worked pretty well the first three nights, but Sunday night I ran into problems with the Bluetooth dropping. When typing in Word, the last character would stick.
On one occasion, the unit seemed to fail, as I had trouble turning it off.  Finally I did so (you have to hold the power button for eight seconds). Generally, a full Restart would stabilize the Bluetooth for a while.
I had bought the unit from Best Buy in Falls Church VA.  Monday night, I drove to a Best Buy on E Colonial Drive in Orlando (just east of Semoran) and a Geek Squad representative was quite helpful. He unchecked a power management option that will disable Bluetooth automatically sometimes to save power.  He also adjusted some other settings.
But it seems that the main cause of the instability of the Bluetooth may have been the environment in the hotel.  Some nearby older Bluetooth devices can confuse the polling unit on the tablet unit.  Geek Squad says his can be a problem with some Windows based tablet ultrabooks.  A firmware fix from Lenovo might be needed to fix this.  The unit was more stable in the store, airport boarding area or at home than in the hotel.

The tech in Orlando recommended that owners of Windows 8 or 8.1 computers still in warranty (or with Geek Squad contracts) upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as available on July 29.  The reason is that W10 is said to be simpler and should be more stable.
He also confirmed my experience that Apple tends to be more reliable than most Microsoft-based PC's because Apple can manage its own manufacturing.  Microsoft has to work with many manufacturers (hence complicating firmware interfaces), although it sometimes forms more closely supervised relationships with some companies (HP and Dell) for some products.  Very small hardware problems can build up over time and cause sudden failures, like when a computer is stressed by major updates. 
I was not asked to turn on any electronics at either Reagan airport in Washington or in Orlando. I don't see how an airport security staff could get this done for every traveler.  In fact, in Orlando, we were asked to put all loose electronic items (including the cell phone) in one carry-on bag. The laptop or ultrabook should be left in a "TSA-friendly" bag. 

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