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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 review

Verdict

Lenovo’s ingenious Yoga 13 is an unusually flexible Ultrabook, with tablet functions that come as a welcome bonus

Review Date: 8 Jan 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £833 (£1,000 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £1504
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Other Windows 8 hybrids have gone crazy with intricate sliding mechanisms and ingenious flipping, rotating screens, but the Lenovo Yoga 13 keeps it simple. Thanks to an ultra-flexible hinge, the Yoga 13’s lid rotates right through 360 degrees, allowing it to flit between laptop and tablet modes with ease.

From a distance, the Yoga 13 looks similar to Lenovo’s Ultrabook, the IdeaPad U300s. There’s the same hardback-book-inspired styling, with the silvery metal of the lid and base sandwiching a matte-black interior. It’s a smart, attractive laptop.

Lenovo Yoga 13 - front 2

At 1.52kg, it’s also only 200g heavier than its Ultrabook sibling, although the move from a metal keyboard surround to a textured, rubberised plastic leaves the Yoga 13’s base feeling a touch more flexible. It’s immensely solid by the standards of its hybrid peers, however, and the simple, double-jointed hinge feels likely to outlast the more fiddly designs we've seen.

The perfect compromise?

Unlike many of its rivals, the simple design means Lenovo hasn’t had to cut back on comfort. In laptop mode there’s precious little, if any, compromise. There’s a large, wide Synaptics buttonless touchpad, and our only complaint about the keyboard concerns key size – we’d prefer them to be larger. Nevertheless, the scooped-out profile of the keys grips the fingers agreeably, and each gives way with a sharp, positive dig of feedback. The wide, rubberised wristrest is comfy too.

Push the display backwards and the Yoga 13 contorts into an array of different positions. In “tent mode” the Yoga 13 stands on a desk like a name place card at a wedding supper. Lay the base flat with the keyboard facing down, and the hinge allows the touchscreen to be tilted back and angled just so. Fold it back completely flat, and it can be used as a straight tablet – in all modes, the keyboard and mouse are automatically disabled just as the screen passes the horizontal.

That means there’s no danger of inadvertently typing random letters as you hold it, but it still makes for a seriously heavy tablet, and there’s no doubt the exposed keyboard and touchpad feel a bit odd. For casual web surfing or video watching, however, the touchscreen and flexible hinge are a winning combination.

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User comments

Wallet tinglingly close

Oh so close, lets have a net book size 11" screen, i3 core version and i am in.

By davidk1962 on 8 Jan 2013

@davidk1962

An 11in version you say? Then you'll be pleased to hear we're getting the Yoga 11 this week.

If the review unit turns up as planned, the review will be up on the website early next week. :)

By SashaMuller on 8 Jan 2013

@davidk1962

Only thing is with the 11" version, Lenovo have opted for Windows RT.

Which is odd. I would have thought a new Atom powered with full fat Win8 would make more sense.

And at £699 the 11" ain't cheap.

Considered the HP Enxy X2?

By Grunthos on 8 Jan 2013

Certainly looks attractive in the flesh but there is something aesthetically wrong about having the keyboard exposed on the underside in full tablet mode. I found that the hinge, although as robust as you said, caused the screen to wobble like a jelly at the slightest provocation. Shame, because I really wanted to like this.

By pottster on 8 Jan 2013

@SashaMuller

Great review thank you.

I played with one at John Lewis the other day.

You've hit the nail on the head, this is not about giving the best of both worlds (which lets face it is impossible in one device) but all about a full powered ultrabook which has the ability to be a more casual consumption device when you want it.

@pottster I know what you mean about screen wobble, although I think this is essentially inevitable on all touchscreen laptops.

The thing I don't like is a small amount of bowing in the glass of the screen just above the windows button on the bezel.

By Grunthos on 8 Jan 2013

Bollards.....

Great big hairy Bollards

There is an 11" to follow ......Hooray

Its windows RT ..... Boo Hiss Rssssp

Another chance missed !

Thought the pantos were over.

As for the HP thingy sorry just dont cut the mustard.

By davidk1962 on 8 Jan 2013

Nice

Where's my credit card!

By Chrisfjr1300 on 8 Jan 2013

why?

I just do not get it! Why would you want a 2kg lump to schlep around with you all day and what is the point of flipping the screen to use as a tablet when you have a keyboard attached?

Have a light weight tablet to carry around during the day and have a laptop back at the office/home/hotel for proper work. Or even a slide the tablet into a dock back at base so you can use a proper keyboard.

The point of the tablet (for me anyway) is that it is lightweight and easy to carry around for light use in the day: emails, browsing, showing plans, docs, photos etc to others.

By Zippy204 on 14 Jan 2013

why?

I just do not get it! Why would you want a 2kg lump to schlep around with you all day and what is the point of flipping the screen to use as a tablet when you have a keyboard attached?

Have a light weight tablet to carry around during the day and have a laptop back at the office/home/hotel for proper work. Or even a slide the tablet into a dock back at base so you can use a proper keyboard.

The point of the tablet (for me anyway) is that it is lightweight and easy to carry around for light use in the day: emails, browsing, showing plans, docs, photos etc to others.

By Zippy204 on 14 Jan 2013

@davidk1962

Turns out there is going to be a full blown 11" version too.

It'll be the first laptop on the market (apparently) with the new low power consumption Ivy Bridge chips.

By Grunthos on 15 Jan 2013

@Zippy204

Horses for courses. A lot of people (me included) need more than a tablet can offer. We need a full power laptop when we're out and about.

One that has these funky features on top of that is a bonus, not a negative.

By Grunthos on 15 Jan 2013

@Grunthos

Fair comment. Makes sense.

By Zippy204 on 15 Jan 2013

@Zippy204

Don't get me wrong, I think your point has some validity. For a lot of people the tablet gives them everything they need.

And trust me, if I could get a full power laptop that weighed the same as a tablet, that would be great!

So I'll be taking a very good look at the Surface Pro (which will be the closest thing yet).

By Grunthos on 16 Jan 2013

Antonio_Banderas

My Favorite Tablet: The Octopus Tablet: For 1K dollar
1. A small PC with Windows Office and Photoshop
2. A HDTV at full 1080p, plays: avi, mov, wmv..
3. A (second) monitor for DSLR camera’s or DVD player with HDMI IN, using the ONE DOLLAR plug.
4. A full drawing tablet, with ‘Wacom’ drawing/ painting pen included.
5. A scanner with OCR character recognition
6. A photo/ video camera with 8M pixels on the back
7. A back up device with USB3 connector
8. A video editor with Videopad basic.
Next to the octopus features! Bluetooth, WIFI, microSD, 64G ram..the tablet has it all.
What’s the ONE dollar plug- connector= HDMI IN/OUT (DisplayPort In/Out)
Free Apps.
PhotoLight: you can turn the brightness to ‘high’ white 3200K, so you can use it as a photo light source for DSLR camera’s with full sensors like Canon and Nikon. (ISO12500)
Painting app.
Corel paint for tablet
© Antonioholly@hotmail.com

Options:
Stand for a DSLR camera
Cable for video DispayPort HDMI-- IN/OUT
Bluetooth Keyboard

By Antonio_Banderas on 7 Feb 2013

The only things missing...

for me would be a USB to ethernet adaptor and a backlit keyboard.

If they can crack that, then I'd be more than happy to grab this and not look back. After playing with one instore, its an absolutely fabulously built machine. I would have loved to compare it to an X1 Carbon though. They don't seem to exist as far as high street stores are concerned.

By khellan on 6 Apr 2013

Nothing missing...

I purchased the i5 version and have been very pleased with the whole package. I don't miss a keyboard backlight as the light from the screen illuminates the letters on the keys very nicely; it almost looks like the keys are backlit!

Only having Wi-Fi is no hardship as it seems quite fast (just a shame no 5GHz). If anyone needs a Ethernet port they can easily add a USB to Ethernet adapter for £10.

It would be nice to have 8GB so more Apps could be swiped between (kept running in the background) but it does not seem to bother me too much.

Overall a great convertible Ultrabook for the price, especially for those who predominantly use a keyboard.

By bernardm3 on 13 Jun 2013

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