The Lenovo Yoga was definitely one of the highlights of the previous generation of ultrabooks. Lenovo set the bar high with this laptop and now its successor is finally here.
The Lenovo Yoga series is already a leader in the field of convertible ultrabooks, with its design capable of adopting various positions, its reduced weight and small size, making it a breath of fresh air in regards to this kind of devices.
The first improvement of this new version of the Yoga is its Intel Haswell processor. These processors add more power and battery saving capabilities, allowing a higher performance and the possibility of reducing the computer’s thickness and weight.
The Yoga 2 Pro can be found in Core i5 and Core i7 versions, with maximum consumption of 15W and an Intel HD Graphics 4400 integrated GPU with frequencies of up to 1GHz. The model we used for this analysis has a Core i5-4200U, a dual-core processor with four processing threads and a maximum turbo frequency of 2.6GHz and 1.6GHz in nominal mode. This processor is really fast and with a system like Windows 8.1, it results in a good and smooth performance. It is perfect for multimedia, for work and even for some games.
The Yoga 2 Pro can have either 4 or 8GB of RAM. The second option is better, as the older generation of ultrabooks, usually with 4GB or RAM, fall short if you need to edit video or images on a constant basis. In the Yoga 13, one the previous generation versions, we could expand the RAM thanks to a slot, something that can’t be done in this model, so you have to carefully choose it with the RAM you need.
Good amount of RAM, a powerful processor… now we only need a last generation SSD. It can be found in configurations ranging from 128 to up to 512 GB. This mSATA disk can be changed at will according to our present and future needs. The RAM can’t be changed, but the wireless card, which offers Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, can.
The Wi-Fi is possibly the only weak point of this laptop. The Wi-Fi AC is unavailable in Europe, sadly (and with no explanation), and in fact European consumers have access to one of the worst wireless chips with support for Wi-Fi N but only in 2.4GHz modes. Luckily, it offers Bluetooth 4.0, an important improvement in terms of energy management.
The wireless card can also be improved, as it is mounted on a M.2 slot, the new format for laptops and ultrabooks, so we can purchase a top model with Wi-Fi AC and enjoy excellent connectivity and Bluetooth 4.0 support.
Note that this laptop can be easily opened by removing the bottom cover, as it only has 8 torx-type screws. This will give us access to the battery, in case we need to change it, and other components such as the hard drive or wireless card.
Convertibility. Keyboard, touchpad, sound and screen
The Yoga 2 Pro has a latest generation hardware that makes it a truly flexible and versatile laptop that can also function as a tablet. Its touch screen can be spun 180 degrees and can be set in four different positions. It has various modes: Conventional laptop, with its backlit keyboard, Tablet mode (without the keyboard), and a tent mode (a V-shaped mode that stands on the keyboard and shows the screen, which takes up very little space).
Tent Mode (Tent)
The “tent” and “stand” modes are similar, though the webcam is awkward to use in one of them. The laptop is designed for these modes, so don’t be afraid to use any of these positions. Lenovo ensures this laptop is greatly resistant and sturdy. All the buttons and LEDs have been placed on the right side to be accessible no matter what mode we use.
The Tablet mode is also very good and fully capable of taking advantage of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. The Windows button on screen, stereo microphones, the HD webcam and ambient light sensor will control the screen brightness. The keyboard can be switched on and off at will and it is very comfortable to use. It’s not a Thinkpad 25mm, but you can’t have everything. Compared to the first generation of Yoga devices, this keyboard has been expanded and improved, while the laptop has been reduced in size and weight.
Backlit keyboard. It does not use the ambient light sensor but it is manually activated by a keyboard shortcut.
Its 13-inch screen is exceptional. It has a 3200×1800 resolution (4k is 3840×2160 points) with a density of more than 280dpi (dots per inch) and four times the resolution that the previous version. In fact, this screen is impossible to use without scaling thanks to some fonts and icons (they’re too small, and it requires Windows 8.1), but it’s still very useful for certain things and the definition is simply amazing. It features a PLS panel type with 400cd/m2, the quality is excellent but it does have some flaws in regards to color, especially yellow, but it looks like Lenovo corrected this with a BIOS update. A partial solution is to use the most intense brightness modes of the screen, where the color quality is almost perfect. The angles are as good as you would expect from an IPS panel and the response is also great.
The definition of this screen has little competition in the PC market
The quality of its panel, its borderless format, its 10 simultaneous touch points and its screen definition make this one of the best among latest generation ultrabooks, offering impressive improvements over previous generation models. The touchpad is really price and we can even use it smoothly without forcing the scaling of icons, windows and fonts.
The touchpad complements the touch screen. It has all the features Windows 8.1 can offer, like multi-touch gestures, buttons integrated into the body and gestures that are intrinsic to the system. It’s pretty big but not necessarily bothersome because of it, and by connecting it to a second screen we can get rid of this issue.
This mode needs help but it gives an idea of its capabilities even in Tablet mode. A PC in vertical mode for superior display of websites.
The sound is pretty basic, but we will find the Dolby Home Theater coded, which gives access to equalization settings and play with the analog output of this laptop. ITs HDMI port allows us to take the digital audio out to external higher quality devices (televisions, monitors, decoders, etc). It has a pair of stereo speakers, but obviously sound quality isn’t something you should expect from a device like this.
Touchpad with integrated buttons Detail
Weight, noise levels and battery life
I can’t think of a better laptop to take with you while traveling than this one. Its only flaw is that it does not feature 3G or 4G technologies and there’s no way to add them. This can be a problem for some, but most people use their cell phones to give internet access to other devices when necessary.
The Yoga 2 Pro is really thin and small, even more than the previous model, but it is not the slimmest ultrabook. The Vaio Pro and the Acer Aspire S7 surpass it in this regard.
The Yoga 2 Pro features a magnesium alloy chassis and a cover of the same material with a plastic coating for a better grip. The zone where you can rest your hands also has a rubber finish that protects it and the keyboard making them last for many years. It is available in gray and orange, although the latter can be difficult to find in some countries.
Lenovo has managed to reduce the weight of this version by 100g compared to its predecessor, producing a laptop with a weight of 1.39kg with the battery included. Its thickness is less than 16mm, and it has a special hinge that makes it wider than other models with more traditional formats.
The rear area does not have any connectors, as they would be useless in this system thanks to the hinge, so Lenovo instead opts for improving the air exhaust and thus reducing the need for active dissipation.
Despite being thin and light, the Yoga 2 Pro has a good performance in regards to sound level and battery life. The battery in our combined use and saving modes (keyboard off and brightness at 25%) achieved a battery life of 6 hours and 30 minutes. You can see our results in our performance tests. The processor requires active ventilation but at no time, no matter the demands of your work, it reached a sound level of more than 40dBA, so the Yoga 2 Pro is not annoying to use during high CPU loads activity.
A thin laptop can’t have an army of connectivity options, at least not in a format that does not allow using the area where the screen opens to place ports and connectors, so Lenovo has included just a few of them. On the right side of the Yoga 2 Pro, we can find a charged USB 2.0 port (1A) and a 3.5mm minijack. The remaining space houses buttons to control the volume, screen rotation, lock button, and the assistance buttons all models with UEFI bios have.
On the right, we can find buttons and activity LEDs, as well as the power button and some connectors.
The left side has the flat charger connector of 20v and 3.42 (65w), which can be adapted to the Lenovo classic connector to share the charger with other Lenovo models (adapter sold separately). This side also houses a USB 3.0 port, a Micro HDMI connector with 4k support to up to 30Hz, and a card reader compatible with any kind of SD card.
The left side has more interesting connections such as the card reader, a Micro HDMI port, a USB 3.0 connection and the charger port.
There are many ports, but it sadly lacks a Gigabit Ethernet one. At least it has a USB 3.0 port that enables you to have more high speed connectivity at your disposal if necessary. The lack of a dual-band wireless AC technology is something that is not easily forgiven.
At least we can fix this easily with a minimal investment. Windows 8.1 also allow us to use wireless audio and video connectivity with WiDi and Miracast receivers. We can also add Bluetooth as well, so it has many options although clearly they missed some things. For example, we would’ve changed the Micro HDMI ports for a Displayport to offer more possibilities.
We ran some performance and battery life tests with PC Mark 8 as well as some more specific performance tests for the optical disc drive and also some minor tests with some games (this is by no means a gaming machine, but it can handle some games easily). It’s even a good computer for video editing because it allows us to work with video at its native resolution and enjoy the benefits of the Intel QuickSync acceleration, really effective for compressed video formats.
The Samsung disk used by Lenovo offers excellent performance and speed. It can start within 3 seconds from hibernation and rest modes.
Good data quality with great linear velocities are also confirmed. Writing speeds are slightly lower but it’s still very good. What matters is the processing power and it is excellent in this regard.
The PCMark 8 battery life test shows a result of 5 hours and 38 minutes. It is a demanding test, in our experience it can easily reach 6 hours and a half.
PCMark 8 in its Home test accelerated by the GPU gives it a score of 2213 points, which makes it an “average” computer. This result guarantees that this machine can do almost anything.
Windows 8.1 is the perfect operating system for a computer that can be used in many ways and positions, from a “tablet” mode to Photoshop editing, as it is capable of handling 10mp pictures with ease. Windows 8.1 is the best option, without a doubt. This OS seems tailor-made for this new generation convertible ultrabook with touch screens.
Lenovo has also added their own utilities to increase the performance of Windows. Facial recognition, gesture control through Webcam, Advanced Energy Saving Modes, refresh modes, voice control and much more. Quite a good compendium of utilities and customization features that gives the user a better and more complete control of their compute.
Ultrabook doesn’t mean convertible. The world of computers is vast and there are many options available to you. But what is clear is that computers like these will soon abound. It’s not comfortable when used as a tablet, but it gets the job done, and we can use it more comfortably with an external keyboard and mouse, or just adapt the device to each specific need. More options equal more functionality and this is what these computers offer.
Lenovo has been the first to use this system hinge with a 180-degree moving angle which makes it a very interesting option, but certainly not the only one on the market. The Vaio Fit multipflip also has a convertible display, though they don’t have the “tent” mode and the Tablet mode is not as good.
This device also has the bigger resolution for a device like this, along with some Series 9 devices from Samsung. It is a truly unique computer, but it will soon face competition like the new Dell XPS 11, which is somewhat smaller, something that can be good for some users, with a QHD screen and a 2560×1440 resolution, as well as a carbon fiber chassis that not even the Yoga 2 Pro can rival. Sadly, its built-in keyboard is quite poor.
Dell XPS 11 in tablet and Stand mode.
Analysis and Conclusion
The Yoga 2 Pro is an unconventional and very good ultrabook, not without its flaws and shortcomings, but overall it is one of the most balanced Ultrabooks on the market. The price of the version with 8GB RAM and 256GB disk is about 1300 dollars, the cheapest and easiest one to find. The model with the 512GB SSD costs 1699 dollars, pricey but still competitive for this market. For me, it’s the obvious choice when it comes to buying an ultrabook with a Haswell processor.
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