Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 review
The Ideapad Yoga can be used in four different positions: "tablet", "stand" and "tent" modes. The clamshell laptop and tablet modes are what you'd expect - a traditional laptop viewing mode and a totally flat tablet . Stand mode allows the Yoga's Lenovo Keyboard to face flat on a surface while the screen can be tilted back to watch movies. Tent mode allows you to do the same but prop the Yoga up on its ends, in case you want to view media on a more uneven surface.
The Yoga has a built in accelerometer similar to technology seen in most modern smartphones, so that the display rotates automatically by 90, 180 or 270 degrees when turned around. This mode can also be turned on and off by a physical button on the side of the Yoga. Another physical button allows for manual rotation of the display by 90 degree angles when pressed.
Pushing the screen back, turning it all the way around and transforming the Yoga laptop into a tablet is undeniably satisfying, because we've never been able to do that with a laptop before. Without breaking it, that is. Though it does feel a bit odd as a tablet because it's a little thicker than what you'd expect of a tablet at 17mm, tablet mode feels like more of an added bonus than an actual tablet replacement.
One good and vital point is that the keyboard is disabled once the screen has reached a point past 180 degrees, so pressing the keys in any position other than laptop won't be recognised. You would expect the keyboard to feel strange when the Yoga is in tablet mode and rested on your lap like the Lenovo G Series G455 Keyboard , but it doesn't, and you become accustomed to it quickly.
A nice added touch is that the Yoga has a volume control switch on the side, similar to the one found on the Ipad for instance, so when it's in tablet mode you can control the volume without having to open it back up into laptop mode.
Design and Build
The first thing that will strike you about the Yoga is its high-end design. Before it made its way to The laptop reviews desk, we were worried that with a £1,000 price tag it wouldn't seem worth the cost. Unpacking it, and taking it out of its slick black box, we found this wasn't the case.
The Yoga 13 has a stylish, premium looking design. Its chassis is covered with a soft-touch textured material that allows for a better grip but also gives it a comfortable and luxurious feel. We found that the silvery-grey finish on our model - it is also available in bright orange - was satisfyingly stylish but at the same time simple enough to complement a variety of other devices you might use alongside it.
Build quality is a strong point for the Ideapad Yoga, which is essential here due to its flexibility compared to than other laptops on the market. Both the Lenovo Keyboard and the screen feel robust and sturdy despite their slim, lightweight construction.
One thing worth noting is that although the Yoga feels relatively lightweight when in laptop position, weighing 1.54kg, folding it 360 degrees makes it feel a little too heavy for a tablet. On the other hand, there aren't many 13in tablets on the market, so perhaps it's just the case that there is nothing to compare it to other than the more popular 10in models that dominate the market.
Our main gripe with the Yoga's design is the Lenovo Ideapad Keyboard . During our tests of writing a full page document, it proved irritatingly unresponsive. The space bar failed to register our keystrokes on many occasions due to its stiffness. It needed to be struck hard in the centre in order to recognise a keypress. This meant that words appeared stuck together in the middle of sentences when we'd failed to type with enough vigour.
The fact that the keys and the trackpad are also made from a really smooth material makes them slippery and difficult to hit. The smaller than average enter, shift and backspace keys on the right hand side of the keyboard also make the typing experience more difficult like the Lenovo G Series Keyboard .
If you're looking to buy a laptop mainly for word processing, the Yoga might not be the best option, as its keyboard issues could be a big problem. It might just be that it takes some getting used to, but we have had a lot of experience using different keyboards in the past and found they are generally much more usable than this.
The Yoga's keyboard problems could be down to our review unit being a pre-production model, and we will have to await the final UK release to see if this issue has been fixed.
Another negative we found with the Yoga 13's keyboard is that there is no backlight to make typing easier in low light conditions like the Toshiba Satellite A300D (Black Matte) Keyboard . For £1,000, we would expect this and it would have given it that added edge. We were also surprised that there are no shortcut keys for media playback on the Yoga, such as play, pause and skip tracks. We think this is a little odd as the Ideapad range is targeted towards a more entertainment or creative audience. Even Thinkpad laptops, which are geared towards professionals, have media shortcut keys.