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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Review

Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 13, the poster child of many recent television commercials, was one of the first convertible Ultrabooks that hit the market shortly after the launch of Windows 8. Is there any appeal in its unique form factor?

Reading the storm of online criticism, Windows 8 is quite annoying to anyone who has used any Windows OS between Windows 95 and Windows 7.

But of course, perhaps all this annoyance is due to the fact that Windows 8 is meant to be an operating system for touchscreen-based systems, and most desktops and laptops still do not have functional touchscreens. Perhaps several years from now we will all be looking back at late 2012/early 2013 and laugh at how we used to get annoyed at Windows 8 thanks to our (now-obsolete) touchscreen-less computers.  In the meantime, manufacturers have rushed to come up with new products that blur the line between tablets and laptops. We have previously seen the HP Envy x2 attempting to do exactly that, but with mixed results. In this article we shall examine Lenovo's foray into this niche market, the IdeaPad Yoga.

The IdeaPad Yoga comes into two different sizes, namely, the IdeaPad Yoga 11 and the IdeaPad Yoga 13. From their names it is clear that the numbers roughly represent the screen size in inches (ED: the Yoga 11 runs Windows RT/Tegra 3). In this review, we were given the IdeaPad 13 to evaluate.

Initial Impressions

The initial impression that this reviewer had of this Ultrabook/tablet hybrid was that it was 'the poor man's ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch'. That is of course a rather harsh assertion, especially when one considers that the X1 Carbon Touch has passed multiple MILSPEC tests. We shall take a look at the physical attributes of the Yoga here.

The exterior has been given a rubberized finish. Lenovo probably took this idea from their business-oriented ThinkPad series, which is not a bad thing. It allows for a fingerprint-resistant surface which does not look or feel 'cheap'. In this case, it has the side effect of giving the IdeaPad Yoga a somewhat 'battered' look. The wristrests has also been rubberized, giving it a leather-like finish which felt comfortable to the wrists.

The build quality is very good. Very little flex was noticed upon manual pressure everywhere around the laptop. Of course, the Yoga would almost certainly not stand up to the punishment that the X1 Carbon can take (including falls from heights and water splashes on the keyboard area). However, if you're the kind of person who tends to be a little rough with his electronic toys, the Yoga could be more forgiving with the punishment you mete out to it.

Seeing that the name was 'Yoga', one would this laptop to be able to contort itself in all manner of positions. Surprisingly…. that isn't too far off the mark. You can flex the screen all the way back until it looks and functions like a large-sized tablet. There were concerns that the screen hinges might not be able to take that kind of flex so easily, but our fears proved unfounded. Barring a small amount of squeaking, the hinges appear to be quite solid.

In tablet mode, the keyboard gets flipped underneath the screen. The Yoga appears to recognize when it is in tablet mode by automatically disabling the keyboard to prevent accidental activation. A small Windows button just under the screen in landscape mode allows for instant activation of the Metro interface.

It feels lightweight at 1.54 kg, and one could comfortably hold the Yoga in one hand over extended periods of time. That said, it is slightly heavier than the X1 Carbon (1.4 kg), and not much lighter than this reviewer’s personal full-powered ThinkPad T430s (1.7 kg).

As was previously-mentioned at the beginning of this review, not many users are at all enamoured of Windows 8 on touchscreen-less computers. Thankfully, the touchscreen interface of the IdeaPad Yoga has made the use of Windows 8 far more manageable, though there is still quite a significant learning curve, especially for one who has been using every Windows OS since Windows 95.

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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