The IdeaPad Yoga 13 was one of the first hybrid Windows 8 systems that consumers looked at. Lenovo unveiled a near-finished prototype at CES almost a year ago – long before Windows 8 was finished and ready for prime time. We've learned a lot since then about Lenovo's flagship touchscreen convertible, but perhaps the biggest question has been whether a convertible notebook / tablet makes sense at a time when dedicated tablets are arguably the hottest trend in consumer electronics.
Despite multiple attempts by manufacturers in recent years, hybrids have not gained much traction, not necessarily because of hardware problems, but simply because the software to support such an environment did not exist until recently. Earlier iterations of Windows supported touch in a limited way, but the user interface was never designed with touch in mind.
Obviously, that changed with Windows 8, which has a touch-friendly front and center (but not everywhere) environment, and Lenovo tries to capitalize on the do-it-all Yoga 13 early and often. Starting at $ 999, this system was one of the best first portable systems to launch alongside Windows 8. I've spent the last few weeks learning about the pros and cons of this hybrid ultrabook, and without getting to the bottom, I'm going to let you know that it is a very capable system – one that doesn't compromise , is primarily a notebook.
Our evaluation unit was equipped with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor of the third generation with 1.7 GHz, 4 GB RAM (systems in this class are now shipped with 8 GB memory), Intel HD Graphics 4000 and a 128 GB solid-state drive delivered. True to its name, the Yoga 13 uses a 13.3-inch HD + LED multi-touch display with a resolution of 1,600 x 900 – slightly sharper than many other 13-inch panels in its class. The price for the system price we tested here today (with 8 GB of RAM) is $ 1,099.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 "- $ 999
- 13.3 "1600×900 IPS LED multi-touch display
- Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7 – 2.6 GHz)
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 4 GB DDR3 RAM
- 128 GB SSD
- SD / MMC card reader
- 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI, audio jack
- 802.11b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.0
- 1 megapixel webcam
- Chiclet keyboard
- Glass trackpad with integrated buttons
- 4-cell Li-polymer battery
- 13.4 x 8.85 x 0.66 inches, 3.4 pounds
At first glance, there is no indication that the Yoga 13 is anything outside of a standard ultrabook. The outer part of the lid is coated with a rubber-like material that has a silver-gray color. A Lenovo nameplate is attached in one corner, which gives the system a modern and elegant look from the outside.
On the front edge of the Yoga is a backlit power switch, a battery indicator, and a tiny, reset button that admittedly did nothing when pressed. On the right edge we find a button to lock the screen rotation in tablet mode, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port, and a unique looking charging port that looks more like any other USB port than anything else.
The rear edge of the Yoga is lined with discreet ventilation slots between the two sturdy display hinges. On the left side of the ultrabook there is an HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port and a combined headphone / microphone jack. Closer to the front of the left edge is a volume rocker and a tiny hole for a microphone.
Aside from four small rubber feet, there's not much to see on the bottom of the Yoga 13. Upgrading the internal components takes some work as eight tiny six-sided screws hold the bottom cover in place. You will definitely need a special screwdriver to remove it. So if you plan on adding more memory to the system, leave that to Lenovo when you order.
Lifting the lid reveals what other manufacturers would call an Infinity Display. That said, the screen and bezel are covered with a single piece of glass to give the illusion that the two flow together seamlessly. However, when the display is on, you can find that the bezel around the screen is a bit thick. Ordinarily this would be frowned upon, but given that the yoga also acts as a tablet, this is actually good as it gives you some space to hold the system.
A 720p webcam is located in the middle of the display. Below that is a finger-sized button with the Windows logo. Pressing this button performs the same task as pressing the Start button, which switches Windows 8 between Metro-style view and the traditional desktop user interface. The placement is especially convenient when you use the system as a tablet.
The island-style keyboard sits a little lower than the surrounding area / palm rest. This is done on purpose to minimize key presses when using the system in tablet mode (more on that in a moment). The keyboard itself feels good overall, although some of the keys (the right shift key and to a lesser extent the backspace key) are a bit shorter than usual. Neither bothered me when I realized I was never using the right Shift key and the backspace key wasn't short enough to cause problems.
Unlike some other Lenovo systems I've used, the company decided to put the left Ctrl key where it would be most appropriate for most – the bottom left of the keyboard. The Fn key is right next to where most would expect it to be. Speaking of which, the function keys just above the number keys are used by default, which means you'll have to hold down the Fn key to press F5 for an update, etc.
Lenovo opted for a glass trackpad that integrates both mouse click buttons. I'm not usually a fan of this implementation, preferring physical buttons like the ones on the IdeaPad U260, but I have to hand them over to Lenovo as they did a good job with the Yoga 13's all-in-one trackpad, one of my biggest complaints with similar settings is that clicking the mouse also moves the cursor. Fortunately, that didn't seem to happen very often on this system. The overall size of the trackpad seems just right too – there is plenty of room to manipulate the cursor, but I still had enough room to type comfortably without my palms messing up the cursor.
The palm rest and the keyboard area appear to be made of a soft, leather-like material. The overall look is extremely classy, although as I later found out, this surface has a tendency to pick up stains and other debris when placed face down in tablet orientation.