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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro review

Verdict

Lenovo gives its Yoga range a suite of upgrades, delivering a Haswell CPU, a big SSD and a glorious high-DPI screen for £1,000

Review Date: 21 Nov 2013

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

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

Buy it now for: £608
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
6 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Lenovo was the first manufacturer to really nail the Windows 8 hybrid, and the Yoga 2 Pro sees it take the winning formula and refine it even further. With two new 11.6in and 13.3in models joining the ranks, Lenovo has retained the double-jointed hinge, streamlined the design and packed in Intel Haswell CPUs for good measure. The big news, though, is that the 13.3in model has also crammed in the small matter of 4.32 million extra pixels – it now has a high-DPI, 3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

The beauty of the original Yoga was always its simplicity. Where other designs give away clues to their hybrid abilities with clearly unusual-looking screen bezels or telltale release catches, it’s impossible to recognise the Yoga’s split personality at a mere glance.

The Yoga 2 Pro is no exception to this rule: from without, it’s just as you’d expect an Ultrabook to look; that is, gorgeous. There’s the same hardback-book-inspired design as the previous model, with dark, silvery metal lapping across the lid and base, and very slightly overhanging the edges. Gone is the predominantly square, somewhat frumpy profile of the original, however: the Yoga 2 now looks far more curved and streamlined, with its base tapering delicately up towards its front edge.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

Lenovo’s engineers haven’t just tweaked the design for the sake of it. The new model not only looks prettier, but it’s also lighter and much more solid-feeling than before. The Yoga 2 now weighs a relatively dainty 1.39kg – 140g less than the IdeaPad Yoga 13 – a mere 60g heavier than Apple’s MacBook Air 13in, and only 100g heavier than Sony’s featherweight hybrid, the VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip. It’s also a millimetre thinner than last year’s Yoga 13.

Yet where the Yoga 13 felt a little flexible in places, the new model’s build is rock-solid. Granted, it’s still no match for the Apple MacBook Air 13in, but it isn’t a million miles off. The base is super-stiff, and the lid feels capable of protecting the high-DPI display secreted within.

Your flexible friend

In contrast with so many hybrid designs, the Yoga 2 Pro is refreshingly free from compromises when used as a laptop. Tilt back the sturdy-feeling lid, and you’re greeted by a full-sized, Scrabble-tile keyboard (which, incidentally, is now backlit), and a buttonless touchpad. There are minor niggles – the half-height Enter key, and the strip of navigation keys on its right edge take a little getting used to – but, most importantly, there’s just the right amount of resistance to each keystroke to make for comfortable typing, and the touchpad works well, responding reliably to everything from simple left-clicks to edge-swipes.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

It’s the double-jointed hinge that allows the Yoga 2 to be so much more than a laptop, however. Push the display backwards, and it smoothly rotates backwards through 360 degrees, making it possible to flatten it against the back and use the Yoga 2 as a tablet. And although the keyboard and touchpad are left exposed when you do this, they’re disabled as soon as the screen passes the 180-degree mark.

That’s not all, though. Tilt the screen part of the way back, and the Yoga 2 can be up-ended and used in “Tent” mode, which is perfect for achieving a comfortable screen angle on the fold-out tray of a train or plane seat. Alternatively, placing the keyboard face down and tilting the display backwards turns the Yoga 2’s base into a stable stand, while giving plenty of forward- and backward-tilt adjustment. It’s an ingenious design.

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User comments

Looks like a truly superb bit of kit and a reference for the future, but why avoid perfection for the sake of copying bad design trends started by Apple? No Ethernet = no excuse (slim Ethernet ports which slide out exist), and sealed batteries are a step backwards. Also read the wifi is not great.

And I really think a warm digitiser would be more useful in a form factor like this than finger input is.

By broccauley on 21 Nov 2013

They can't win....

Laptop manufacturers put a 1366x768 display on a laptop and they get criticised. They put a High-DPI screen on, and they get criticised. They can't win can they?

It's hardly Lenovo or MS's fault that badly coded software that costs a fortune (Adobe, I'm looking in your direction) is at fault here. It's simple, if software from a certain vendor is coded badly like this - switch to one that isn't. Adobe and others have rested on their laurels for far too long and need a right good kick up the rear!

By everton2004 on 21 Nov 2013

Keyboard

From the images it looks like a US keyboard, I assume Lenovo was trying to get it out for reviews as quick as possible.

By Duggie on 21 Nov 2013

@Everton

Ideally, they need something in-between at the moment. 1366x768 is just too low. In comparison, 3,200x1,800 will have issues with apps that don't scale well (yes, it's the fault of the apps, but it still can cause issues).

Of course, I'll bung my usual criticism in of it being a media-friendly 16:9 aspect ratio with a fat bezel to make up for the lack of screen space, but I'll temper it a bit as the YogaPad is not designed to be a business machine.

Personally, I'd be happy if they went back to 1920x1200 screens. High enough pixel density to look crisp, but not so high that badly written apps are difficult to use. And you get an extra 120 pixels of hight over today's screens as well :-)

By Trippynet on 21 Nov 2013

And one more thing...

There's one other major issue and that's the half-size shift key. My old Netbook had that and it was infuriating how many times you tapped the upwards cursor key instead of Shift.

By Trippynet on 21 Nov 2013

Does Xara ...

... not render the image you are working on at full resolution? If so it is hardly fair to say the extra resolution is "wasted" - it is used where it is most needed.

Sure it is past time Xara and others moved to a fully rendered interface (facilitated for several years now by Microsoft's WPF/XAML, although in fairness Microsoft have been just as tardy moving their own applications to this platform).

By JohnAHind on 21 Nov 2013

@JohnAHind

Unfortunately that isn't the case. The whole application window is scaled, including the images.

Not that I'm picking on Xara in particular. Loads of third-party applications exhibit the same behaviour - I've noticed Chrome does some pretty ugly scaling if you bump Windows' DPI settings up on high pixel density displays, for example.

There's no effective workaround; or at least not that I've found.

You can turn off the scaling and lower the screen resolution to, say, 1,600 x 900, but despite this being exactly half the actual screen resolution, the resulting image still isn't as sharp as a proper 1,600 x 900 panel.

Or you can reset the scaling settings, leave the screen at its native 3,200 x 1,800 resolution and commence battle with tiny icons. Neither approach really fixes the problem, though - only the application vendors can do that!

By SashaMuller on 21 Nov 2013

Adobe BS

€45 per month on the CC subscription service for anyone daft enough to have it, and still they can't get off there backsides and sort out the software to suit Hi Density Panels let alone keep their clients personal data secret!

These convertible Laplets are the way forward for many of us the Ativ, Yoga 2 and Dell XPS 12 are all generation two and still support is lacking from software vendors.

Shame on them!

By Gindylow on 21 Nov 2013

Love it!

My Yoga 2 Pro arrived today and I love it.

It's thinner and lighter than I thought it was going to be and feels like a quality item - so much nicer than a £600 laptop.

The screen is beautiful.

The size makes it a bit clumsy as a tablet, but stand mode is great for using the touchscreen on your lap. I will use the tent mode too - this will go on my desk in tent mode next to my 24" monitor with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse connected which effectively gives me an all-in-one PC I can pick up and take anywhere.

I paid £899 for mine, and I've just bought a 3 year extended warranty with accidental damage cover from Lenovo for £88 which I thought was a very reasonable price.

UK models get a full size enter key too!

By blueboy2001 on 22 Nov 2013

"UK models get a full size enter key too!"

Oooh, have they fixed the Shift key as well on the UK ones, or is that still half-width?

By Trippynet on 22 Nov 2013

Display

I have a question that can only be answered by someone in the know...

How does this display compare to an Apple MacBook Pro with Retina from a standard viewing distance?

Does 'retina beating' really show? I have seen the retina and could not see the pixels, having not seen this I was wondering if the difference is noticable.

Thanks, Ben

By Benih007 on 22 Nov 2013

Shift Keys and Screen

The shift keys are both half-width on mine. Hasn't caused me any problems as yet.

The pixels only become visible to me from about 2 inches away from the screen. I've not got an MBP to compare against directly, but I have used them and I think this is noticeably sharper - when used with software that scales properly.

Some Windows desktop apps don't scale very well, or the UI elements are low-res and these look rubbish on the Yoga 2. This is not something I've noticed on the Mac.

By blueboy2001 on 23 Nov 2013

best place to buy yoga 2 pro in UK?

Can i ask trippynet where he bought his yoga 2?

By Singo on 5 Dec 2013

Lenovo: shut up and take my money!

I want one. Me get one, soon!

By FreedomFighter on 16 Jan 2014

Unbelievable!

I can't get over the fact that the spec sheet misses out two of the most important details, the screen size and the hard disk size. Is it too much to ask to put these items on the sheet without having to read the review to find out, or have I missed something?

By coolcity on 13 Sep 2014

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