Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 (11 inch) review
A superbly crafted 11.6in hybrid with a gorgeous display and a well-judged specification – for a very reasonable price
Review Date: 12 Apr 2014
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £417 (£500 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Lenovo was one of the first manufacturers to really nail the Windows 8 hybrid with its folding Yoga concept, and the IdeaPad Yoga 2 is its cheapest expression yet. With its 11.6in touchscreen, it reprises the design of the £1,099 IdeaPad Yoga 11S, but slashes the price with a quad-core Pentium processor.
The Yoga 2’s similarity to the 11S is no bad thing. We’re sad that it isn’t available in the distinctive orange hue of its predecessor – only in a more sedate silver and black finish – but it’s just as stylish and daintily proportioned. The subtle curves of the body are pleasingly understated and, at 1.3kg, it’s the perfect size and weight for slinging in a bag and carrying around every day. It’s fairly slim, too: the chassis measures 18mm at its thickest point, including the rubber feet on its underside.
Some compromises have been made to keep costs down, the foremost being a switch from the metal construction of the Yoga 11S to an all-plastic chassis. Thankfully, this hasn’t dramatically impacted the overall build quality. There’s a little flex in the keyboard section if you twist it viciously from side to side, but – crucially, given the Yoga 2’s portable aspirations – both the slender lid and the double-jointed hinges still feel reassuringly tough and resilient. The overall package feels solidly put together, especially for a £500 hybrid.
The Yoga design is impressively versatile. In laptop mode, the Yoga 2 does a superb impression of a high-quality 11.6in Ultrabook. The Scrabble-tile keys could do with a little more travel, and as a result aren’t quite as tactile and responsive as the best we've used, but we found them easy to get used to. While the keys are a little less than full-size, Lenovo hasn’t resorted to needlessly shrunken keys or awkward key placements. The buttonless touchpad doesn’t throw up any issues either, and everything from two-fingered gestures to edge swipes works reliably.
The double-jointed hinge means that the Yoga 2 can also shapeshift into a variety of other formats. Flip the lid back on itself and the keyboard section becomes an adjustable stand, allowing the display to be angled to your liking. Turn the Yoga 2 upside down and “tent mode” makes it usable even in the most cramped of spaces. Fold the display all the way round and the Yoga 2 becomes a tablet.
It’s a great piece of design. As ever, the keyboard and touchpad are automatically disabled as soon as the screen is tilted past 180 degrees, so you won’t be typing or clicking by accident in tablet mode. The power, volume and automatic-screen-rotation toggle buttons are all positioned along the Yoga 2’s edges so they’re always readily to hand, and there’s a physical Windows key embedded in the touchscreen’s lower bezel.
But where's the free copy of Office 2013?
The main problem with the form factor of this is that at 11.6 inches the screen is too big for Lenovo to be able to add a version of Office 2013 for nothing.
I have just bought a Lenovo Flex 10 (in Finland) for EUR 279 incl VAT (ca £235) and that just makes it under MS's limits for a free copy of Office 2013 Home and Student edition (without Outlook).
Admittedly I was disappointed to find that the Flex's screen didn't make it all the way around ("Fold the display all the way round and the Yoga 2 becomes a tablet.") so you don't also get a (fat) tablet but only a prop-up screen useful virtually only for showing yourself films, but the lower price and the free copy of Office make up for this. [Especially if - as in my case - you also have an iPad]
By MikeW2 on 12 Apr 2014
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