Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Review
The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 is absolutely everything we want in a hybrid ultrabook. As an ultrabook, the Yoga 13 offers an unmatched computing experience, while wedding Windows 8 with the touchscreen it so much deserves, and in the process giving performance that will keep you satisfied at work and play. As a dual function device, it offers elegant transitions, with the intuitions standing out of the rest thanks to the best hinge mechanism ever seen on hybrid. But as a tablet, it falters.
First, it is too big, and for a device meant to offer convenience and mobility, that’s a significant drawback. That said, the baseline is that the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 is an excellent ultrabook, a superb touch-enabled Windows PC, and a passable tablet, and it’s the most affordable hybrid ultrabook we’ve reviewed, to date.
Ideally, when buying an Ultrabook, most people want to strike an impressive balance between speedy performance, good battery life and thin-and-light design. The IdeaPad Yoga 13 doesn’t disappoint in all these features. It measures just 0.67 inches thin when the screen is closed, and weighs a mere 3.3 lbs just like previous generation 12-inch laptops.
It is particularly impressive that Lenovo managed to deliver a relatively affordable touch screen, convertible laptop without adding more thickness. In this Ultrabook, Lenovo uses what they call “direct bonding technology” in creating the multi-touch screen. Interestingly, even with the thin profile, the Yoga 13 still feels solid in the hands.
Connectivity ports on the Yoga 13 include USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, a full-size card reader (SD/SDHC/MMC), and full-size HDMI output. It also has Lenovo’s OneKey Recovery feature, though the name has recently been changed from “OneKey” button to the awkward sounding “Novo Button.” The wireless offerings include 802.11n Wi-fi and Bluetooth 4.0, but also quite notable is what you’ll not find on the Yoga 13, like WiDi(found on the Dell XPS 12) and NFC communication (available on the Sony VAIO Duo 11). While NFC may not be missed, the lack of Wi-Di feels like a gap in the feature set.
The Yoga 13 comes with a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), and we’ve seen the same capacity in the VAIO Duo 11, but both have half that seen in the Dell XPS 12 (128GB). Lenovo were quite generous on their vanilla utrabook, the Ideapad U310 which they gave considerably more storage space (500GB) in a spinning hard drive, but spinning drives don’t work well, unless kept stationary, in which case it would limit the Yoga 13’s mobility. It doesn’t come with a optical, but seriously we were not expecting one on a device so thin.
In the Yoga 13, Lenovo used an IPS display panel rather than the cheaper TN-style panel. An IPS display is a feature that is appealing to have on a laptop, but is virtually essential to have on a tablet owing to the variety of positions and viewing angles. Additionally, the 13-inch Yoga is set on a 1600 x 900 pixels resolution, which is a premium feature. Most 13-inch laptops have a 1366 x 768 resolution, which is never enough for multitasking with several windows on a single screen.
The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 is by all standards a very good ultrabook, and with the affordable price, it delivers a lot—an amazing feature set, touch screen, and a superb design. If all you need is a great ultrabook, the Yoga 13 is good, but there are better options in the same price range, with similar specs and performance, but lighter and thinner construction such as the Toshiba Portege Z935-P300. As a hybrid ultrabook, however, the Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 has a versatile touch screen, a futuristic design, and the best laptop-to-tablet transition mechanism we’ve so far seen in a hybrid.
We hope that other manufacturers will adopt similar designs, but a better size, considering that the Yoga 13 is too big for the comfort of a tablet. If you are shopping for a Windows 8 ultrabook laptop with touch capability and plan on only using the tablet mode occasionally, then the Yoga 13 is a smart choice; but the Dell XPS 12 is better as a tablet.