Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Professional evaluate: a excessive-finish Ultrabook that's truly reasonably priced

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

With sufficient time, even one of the best merchandise begin to really feel stale. Take the unique Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga thirteen: Because of a singular hinge that allowed the display to fold all the best way backward, it was probably the most versatile Home windows eight convertible available on the market (and it had numerous competitors, too). However as different PC makers began releasing newer Ultrabooks with sharper screens and longer battery life, it turned more durable and more durable to advocate it. The truth is, although we made a nod to the unique Yoga in our final laptop computer purchaser’s information, we principally informed individuals to attend for a refresh.

Seems, that was sensible recommendation. Lenovo just lately began delivery the Yoga 2 Professional, and it brings somewhat greater than only a recent CPU. Along with operating new Haswell processors, it rocks a thinner and lighter design, a backlit keyboard and a three,200 x 1,800 show — an enormous step up from the 1,600 x 900 panel used within the final gen. And, provided that this makes use of Intel’s fourth-era Core chips, it additionally guarantees longer battery life — as much as 9 hours, in accordance with Lenovo. One factor that hasn’t actually modified: the worth. Even now that it has a crisper display, it nonetheless begins at round $1,000, with a particular promotion driving the beginning worth as little as $929. That sounds implausible on paper, however what’s it like to truly use?

eighty one
Lenovo

Yoga 2 Professional

Execs

  • Beautiful three,200 x 1,800 show
  • Lighter than the unique, nicely-constructed
  • Extremely versatile design
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • Comparatively brief battery life
  • Keyboard nonetheless uncovered in pill mode
  • Some undersized keyboard buttons

Abstract

The Yoga 2 Professional addresses lots of our complaints concerning the unique, and is now among the best touchscreen Ultrabooks you should purchase, particularly at this worth. We simply want the battery life had improved extra.

Feel and appear

The remainder of the Engadget employees often leaves my desk alone: It’s kind of of a multitude, and in addition to, you by no means know if you’ll be interrupting a benchmark check in progress. And but, everybody who’s stopped by has needed to play with the Yoga 2 Professional. It isn’t even that attractive, per se. However, type of like a fur coat or heat towel, it is simply begging to be touched. As with different Lenovo IdeaPad laptops, the lid and backside aspect are coated in a pleasing satin end that stands up properly to scratches and in addition masks fingerprints. Carry the lid and you will find the keyboard deck is usual out of a rubbery materials with a leather-based-like texture. This, too, holds up properly over time; as I end this assessment, the machine is about as clear and scratch-free because it was the day I unboxed it.

It is also simply extremely properly-made. For one factor, it bears the identical guide-impressed form as earlier Lenovo Ultrabooks, which is to say the sides are ever so barely recessed, kind of like pages stuffed between a back and front cowl. The hinge is sturdy, in fact — it needs to be. Like final time, the display folds over in a clean, fluid movement, however there’s simply sufficient resistance so that you’re going to by no means doubt its sturdiness. Even in common laptop computer mode, the show principally stays put whenever you contact it, which is sadly one thing we will not say about different contact-enabled notebooks. Moreover, Lenovo added a rubber rim to the sides of the display, in order that once you stand it the wrong way up in Tent Mode, it is going to have a bit additional cushioning inbuilt. The palm relaxation is strong, too; it will not creak if you maintain it in a single hand. All advised, then, this is not the sleekest PC on the planet, nevertheless it does not matter: This factor is sturdy and nicely-constructed. Sensible, even. Inform that to all your folks with a scratched MacBook Air, or a Samsung Collection 9 coated in fingerprints.

To anybody upgrading from the Yoga thirteen, the Yoga 2 Professional will appear noticeably lighter: It now weighs a few third of a pound lower than final yr’s mannequin. For everybody else, it’ll merely really feel like a traditional Ultrabook, which is to say it is fairly compact. At three.06 kilos, it weighs precisely the identical because the Samsung ATIV E-book 9 Plus. And at zero.sixty one inch thick, it is truly somewhat skinnier than the MacBook Air is at its widest level, which is spectacular once you keep in mind the Air does not also have a touchscreen including bulk. What’s extra, although the Yoga 2 Professional is about as extensive as different thirteen-inch Ultrabooks, it is a bit shorter lengthwise, giving it a barely smaller footprint. In case you perform some research, you’ll, in fact, discover even lighter Ultrabooks (see: the Acer Aspire S7 and Sony VAIO Professional thirteen), however each of these are common touchscreen laptops, and do not have the burden of a robust hinge just like the Yoga does. So if it is a convertible you are after, that is truly impressively skinny and lightweight.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

The one considerably uncomfortable factor about dealing with the Yoga 2 Professional is that once you flip the display over into pill mode, you’ll be able to really feel your fingers urgent towards the keys on the again. Because it occurs, the keyboard will get disabled when you flip the display previous a sure level. Nonetheless, it is a bizarre feeling, pushing your fingers towards unfastened buttons as an alternative of a flat floor.

Much more fascinating: Lenovo had the chance to vary this. Should you take a look at the ThinkPad Yoga, which was introduced on the similar time and hasn’t gone on sale but, you will see the keyboard there flattens itself out whenever you go into pill mode. Principally, what’s occurring is the platform between the keys raises in order that it sits degree with the buttons. In the meantime, the keys get locked into place so as to’t press them. It isn’t an ideal answer — you possibly can nonetheless really feel the person buttons — however it’s an enormous enchancment over the previous setup. In response to Lenovo, although, that so-referred to as Carry and Lock keyboard would have required a thicker hinge, together with more room contained in the chassis. Lenovo was betting shoppers would quite have a skinny machine than one with a self-flattening keyboard.

Like final time, the Yoga makes use of a proprietary rectangular charging port that would simply be mistaken for a USB socket, if not for the truth that it has been painted yellow, not blue. Simply subsequent to it, on the left-hand aspect, you’ll certainly discover a blue USB three.zero connection, together with a micro-HDMI port and a full-sized SD card reader. Over on the opposite aspect is a USB 2.zero port, a headphone jack, display orientation button and a quantity rocker so that you can use in pill mode. The small energy button additionally now lives on this aspect (it used to take a seat on the entrance edge). To recap, then, since an Ethernet jack has turn out to be an impossibility for many Ultrabooks, the one factor you could be lacking here’s a full-sized HDMI port. Through which case, it is time to purchase your self a dongle.

Keyboard and trackpad

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

Aside from backlighting, the keyboard hasn’t modified because the unique Yoga got here out. That is principally a great factor. Like just about each Lenovo laptop computer we have ever examined, the buttons right here supply a wholesome quantity of journey, and are backed by a sturdy keyboard deck that does not transfer or bend when you sort. And although this technically is not the identical format you will discover on considered one of Lenovo’s ThinkPad machines, the buttons are about as properly-spaced, with the identical straightforward-to-hit “U” form. As ever, the keyboard is snug and straightforward to sort on, although the Enter, Caps Lock and Tab keys are all nonetheless on the small aspect. It is kind of puzzling that Lenovo’s been at this for therefore a few years and nonetheless hasn’t found out tips on how to keep away from cramping on a thirteen-inch laptop computer keyboard.

The massive glass trackpad right here is not good, nevertheless it comes shut. All of the inventory Home windows eight gestures (swiping for the Charms Bar, toggling by way of apps) work properly, as does pinch-to-zoom and two-finger scrolling. We even had a simple time with single-finger monitoring, which appears to be the Achilles’ heel for many different laptop computer trackpads. Sometimes, although, the pad went rogue. When utilizing two fingers to scroll horizontally by way of the Begin Display, I by accident launched a program I did not imply to open. Different occasions, I ended up clicking on issues within the browser when all I meant to do was drag the cursor round or scroll down the web page.

Show and sound

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

We will not affirm this, however we suspect the Yoga 2 Professional makes use of the identical three,200 x 1,800, 350-nit show we first noticed on the Samsung ATIV E-book 9 Plus. Which might be nice information certainly: This panel is among the many greatest in its class, proper up there with the MacBook Professional’s Retina show. Not solely is it extremely sharp, but in addition the seventy two % shade gamut ensures tones are vibrant with out being oversaturated. The viewing angles are additionally extensive, because of IPS know-how and a few very efficient low-glare coating.

If we have now any hangups concerning the show, it is that the three,200 x 1,800 decision is usually too sharp. And actually, that is extra of a grievance concerning the software program choice than this specific display. Generally, as we have examined laptops with resolutions above 1080p, we have observed that not all apps have been optimized for screens this sharp. Even on Home windows Media Participant, a constructed-in Home windows app, the playback controls on the backside of the display are ridiculously tiny. Ditto for almost each website we went to in Google Chrome (IE eleven and Firefox have been nice). We’re positive the software program help will enhance over time, as 2,560 x 1,440/three,200 x 1,800 screens develop into extra widespread, however till then, having such a excessive pixel rely truly looks like an occasional disadvantage.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

The 2 audio system, situated on the underside aspect of the laptop computer underneath the palm relaxation, push out decently loud sound; when listening on my own in a quiet room, I sometimes had the quantity nicely under its median setting. The standard is not dangerous, both. Songs do sound a bit trapped at prime quantity, however any tinniness continues to be minimal in comparison with different laptops on this class.

Efficiency and battery life PCMark7 3DMark06 3DMark11 ATTO (prime disk speeds) Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Professional (1.6GHz Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) four,676 5,688

E1,713 / P914 / X281

546 MB/s (reads); 139 MB/s (writes) Samsung ATIV Ebook 9 Lite (1.4GHz “quad-core” processor, AMD Radeon HD 8250) 2,060 2,814

E749 / P530

550 MB/s (reads); 139 MB/s (writes) Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Contact (1.6GHz Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) three,845 four,499

E1,448 / P742

113 MB/s (reads); one hundred ten MB/s (writes) Samsung ATIV Ebook 9 Plus (1.6GHz Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) four,973 5,611

E1,675 / P867 / X277

547 MB/s (reads); 508 MB/s (writes) Acer Aspire S7-392 (1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) 5,108 5,158

E1,724 / P952 / X298

975 MB/s (reads); 1.1GB/s (writes) Sony VAIO Professional thirteen (1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) four,502 four,413

E1,177 / P636 / X203

1.04 GB/s (reads); 479 MB/s (writes) Sony VAIO Duo thirteen (1.6GHz Core i5-4200U, Intel HD 4400) four,440 6,047

E1,853 / P975 / X297

546 MB/s (reads); 139 MB/s (writes) Sony VAIO Professional eleven (1.8GHz Core i7-4500U, Intel HD 4400) four,634 N/A

E1,067 / P600 / X183

558 MB/s (reads); 255 MB/s (writes)

Technically, the Yoga 2 Professional begins at $1,049, however if you are going to buy it at Greatest Purchase, you will solely need to pay $1,000 — and you will get the identical specs you’d have for those who purchased the $1,199 configuration listed on Lenovo’s website. Both means, for a reasonably low worth, you are getting principally the identical specs (1.6GHz Core i5 Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD) that you simply’d discover on a $1,four hundred Ultrabook.

What this implies, then, is that for a reasonably mid-vary worth, the Yoga 2 Professional provides the efficiency of a excessive-finish machine. You possibly can see that within the benchmark scores listed above, but in addition in actual-world efficiency. The machine takes simply 9 seconds in addition into the Begin Display. Learn and write speeds are additionally according to different machines on this class — nicely, a minimum of those that are not utilizing PCIe SSDs, anyway. In our exams, we noticed peak learn speeds of 546 MB/s, with writes maxing out at 139 MB/s. When you check out our record up there, you will see many different Ultrabooks turned in comparable numbers, with the Sony VAIO Duo thirteen notching the very same outcomes.

Battery life

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Professional 6:32 MacBook Air (thirteen-inch, 2013) 12:fifty one MacBook Professional with Retina show (thirteen-inch, 2013) eleven:18 Sony VAIO Duo thirteen 9:forty Samsung ATIV Guide 9 Plus eight:forty four Sony VAIO Professional thirteen eight:24 Lenovo IdeaPad U430 Contact 7:fifty three Acer Aspire S7-392 7:33 Acer Iconia W700 7:thirteen Sony VAIO Professional eleven 6:forty one Microsoft Floor Professional 2 6:27 Dell XPS 14 6:18 MacBook Professional with Retina show (thirteen-inch, 2012) 6:07 Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga thirteen 5:32 Dell XPS 12 (2012) 5:30 Toshiba Kirabook 5:12 Lenovo ThinkPad Helix 5:07 (pill solely)/7:24 (with dock) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 5:07 Samsung ATIV Guide 7 5:02 ASUS Transformer E-book 5:01 (pill solely) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Contact 5:00 MSI Slidebook S20 four:34 Samsung ATIV E-book 9 Lite four:33 Acer Aspire S7-391 four:18 ASUS TAICHI 21 three:fifty four Microsoft Floor Professional three:forty six

At first we thought our battery check had gone terribly flawed. You see, Lenovo charges the Yoga 2 Professional for as much as 9 hours of run time. Additionally, the battery has the very same capability as final time (54Wh). So, once we obtained simply six and a half hours of video playback (WiFi on, brightness fastened at sixty five %), we have been, for sure, a bit of disenchanted. All of the extra so as a result of we have gotten spoiled by lengthy-lasting laptops; till now, the shortest-operating Haswell Ultrabook we might seen was the Acer Aspire S7, and even that managed 7.5 hours. Heck, even final yr’s Yoga thirteen lasted 5.5 hours, and it did not also have a Haswell chip. Weren’t Intel’s new processors purported to ship a much bigger enchancment?

So we have been puzzled at first, however then we learn Lenovo’s superb print. Although the corporate permits as much as 9 hours of idle time, it claims simply six hours of video playback. Certainly, a Lenovo rep advised us the corporate’s personal engineers received round seven hours utilizing the identical battery check that we run. Additionally, the battery capability has stayed the identical at 54Wh, so though the Yoga 2 Professional advantages from a extra energy-environment friendly processor, it additionally has a sharper show draining the battery life quicker. Given all that, then, it is clear that our outcomes are regular for this machine; they’re simply not very spectacular.

Software program and guarantee

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

When you’ve bought a Yoga, it is protected to imagine you are already bought on the versatile design. Nonetheless, as soon as the novelty wears off, Lenovo needs to provide you some concepts on find out how to take advantage of out of every utilization mode. Included on the Yoga 2 Professional and upcoming ThinkPad Yoga is Yoga Picks, an app that mechanically detects whenever you’ve flipped the display into a special place, and provides you strategies on which apps can be most applicable. So, once you flip the display again into Stand mode with the keyboard dealing with away from the display, you will see a notification within the higher-proper nook of the display, the identical method you’d see a quick pop-up in case you have been to insert a USB gadget. Click on on that notification and you will see an inventory of apps that may make sense in that display-solely mode (assume: Netflix and different lean-again packages).

Along with Netflix or Skype or no matter else you may need put in, Lenovo’s additionally thrown in a number of new apps of its personal, all of which have been designed for use in additional than simply common, previous laptop computer mode. Chief amongst them is Yoga Chef, which helps you to use movement management to maneuver by way of menus and recipe pages (Bing Meals & Drink, the kitchen app constructed into Home windows eight.1, works the identical means). In our exams, we finally received the movement management to work, however even after enjoying round with it for some time, it nonetheless often took us a number of tries. On the plus aspect, the app is launching with a wholesome (har) choice of recipes.

Additionally on board: Yoga Digital camera Man, which incorporates plenty of filters for spicing up your pictures. Yoga Photograph Contact, in the meantime, is a photograph editor that additionally enables you to organize footage into collages or adorn them with textual content bubbles (yep, there’s an app for that). Shifting on, Yoga Telephone Companion lets you share information between your Android telephone and PC utilizing both SMS or MMS messages. You may also name telephone contacts or play media information in your PC, even when they’re truly saved in your cellular. It is all similar to Samsung’s SideSync app, besides whereas Samsung’s app can solely be used with a Samsung telephone, Lenovo’s will work on any Android gadget. And whereas we had some hassle connecting Samsung’s ATIV Ebook laptops with our GS4, we had no drawback getting up and operating with Yoga Telephone Companion. Simply scan a QR code to obtain Lenovo’s app, after which be sure your PC and telephone are on the identical community. If for some cause your telephone does not detect your PC, the PC app will helpfully supply up the IP tackle so that you can enter manually. Straightforward peasy.

Moreover, Lenovo bundled a small variety of third-celebration apps, together with Evernote Contact, Zinio’s journal retailer, Kindle, eBay, the music-streaming service rara.com and Hightail (previously YouSendIt). All in all, you guys are getting off comparatively scot-free so far as bloatware is worried.

As for guarantee protection, the Yoga 2 Professional comes with a one-yr plan, together with 24/7 telephone help.

Configuration choices

The Yoga 2 Professional begins at $1,049 with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i3-4010U processor, Intel HD 4400 graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD; for $1,199, you will get it with a 1.6GHz Core i5-4200U CPU. As Lenovo is understood to do, although, it is at present providing all of its configurations at a reduction: as of this writing, the Core i3 mannequin going for $929 and the Core i5 model going for $999. In the meantime, Greatest Purchase is promoting a Core i5 model (4GB of RAM, 128GB SSD) for simply $1,000. Should you stay right here within the states (and miss the sale on Lenovo’s website), simply bypass Lenovo.com and go together with the Greatest Purchase model, assuming Core i5 is what you had in thoughts.

Then once more, that Greatest Purchase mannequin is only one configuration. If you’d like even higher specs, you will want to go again to Lenovo.com. As an example, the corporate can also be providing a unit with a Core i5 processor and 256GB SSD, priced at $1,399 (presently going for $1,149). Add Core i7 to the combination and the worth rises to $1,499, or $1,299 with this sale that is happening. (This configuration additionally has 8GB of reminiscence and a 256GB SSD, by the best way.) Lastly, on the prime of the road, there is a $1,749 mannequin with Core i7, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB strong-state drive. That is going for $1,599 on sale. The excellent news is that whichever one you get, that beautiful three,200 x 1,800 show comes commonplace.

The competitors

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

Although there are extra Home windows eight.1 laptops than we might ever discover time to assessment, there are literally just a few convertibles ok for us to advocate. The Yoga 2 Professional is one, in fact, however we might additionally encourage you to take a look at the Dell XPS 12, the Sony VAIO Flip thirteen and Sony’s second-era slider, the VAIO Duo thirteen. Beginning with the XPS 12, it begins at $1,000, making it one of many few different excessive-finish Ultrabooks that begins as little as the Yoga 2 Professional. For the cash, it boasts a beautiful carbon fiber design, snug keyboard and a 12.5-inch, 1080p show with broad viewing angles. Although you possibly can’t relaxation it the wrong way up in stand mode, you’ll be able to flip the display round in its hinge in order that it faces away from the keyboard, principally matching the Yoga when it comes to performance. And although we’ve not examined it because it obtained refreshed with Haswell, Dell is promising almost 9 hours of battery life — an apparent enchancment over the brand new Yoga. In the meantime, the Flip thirteen ($1,one hundred and up) has a design that is just like the XPS 12. It, too, comes with a 1080p show. Since we’ve not examined it in that measurement, although, we will not vouch for the battery life and efficiency.

As for the VAIO Duo thirteen, it begins at $1,four hundred with a 1080p show and a battery that far outlasts the Yoga 2 Professional. General, its slider design is much less handy (and fewer versatile) than the Yoga’s, however it does no less than help pen enter, which could be a requirement for some buyers. Moreover, there’s the ThinkPad Yoga we talked about earlier. Once more, whereas the Yoga 2 Professional dazzles with an excellent-sharp three,200 x 1,800 show, the ThinkPad Yoga is all concerning the Raise and Lock keyboard. Keep in mind, although, that the keyboard mechanism provides to the general bulk, so you will should determine in case you’d quite have as skinny a machine as potential, or one the place the buttons flatten out in pill mode.

If you are able to do with out the flexibility of a Yoga, there are many common touchscreen Ultrabooks, virtually all of which supply longer battery life than the Yoga 2 Professional. These embrace the Acer Aspire S7 ($1,four hundred and up), the Sony VAIO Professional thirteen ($1,one hundred fifty and up) and in addition the HP Spectre thirteen ($1,000 and up), although we’ve not had an opportunity to check that but.

Wrap-up

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review: a high-end Ultrabook that's actually affordable

The Yoga 2 Professional addresses lots of our complaints concerning the unique: The show is sharper and the general package deal has been slimmed down in order that it is noticeably thinner and lighter. On the similar time, the Yoga 2 Professional continues to be probably the most versatile Home windows convertible we all know of. It is also properly-constructed, with a sturdy hinge and construct supplies that dutifully cover all of your dirty fingerprints. Lastly, regardless of that leap to a way more pixel-dense show, the Yoga is as reasonably priced as ever, at $1,000-plus. Given the worth, we will not knock it too a lot for its imperfections — specifically, a couple of shrunken keys and comparatively brief battery life. If that battery life is a priority, we have already named some options, and when you’d slightly have a self-flattening keyboard, you will need to anticipate our assessment of the ThinkPad Yoga. These caveats apart, it is robust to argue with a machine that gives the identical velocity, sturdiness and show high quality as techniques that value a whole lot of dollars extra.

Edgar Alvarez and Daniel Orren contributed to this evaluate.