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Yoga 3 Pro review: Intel's Core M processor delivers for this hybrid laptop

Brian Nadel | Nov. 7, 2014
Lenovo's versatile Windows tablet/laptop offers a new low-power processor and great display.

I found that the Yoga 3 Pro was comfortable to carry and converted between modes quickly and easily. On the downside, it's a little heavy to hold as a tablet for more than a few minutes. It's best as a traditional laptop with occasional forays as a tablet or standing up to show a movie or presentation.

Stunning display

The system's 13.3-in. QHD+ display is a stunner that can show 3200 x 1800 resolution. Its Graphics HD 5300 video accelerator has no dedicated graphics memory, but can grab up to 3.9GB of system RAM.

Overall, the Yoga 3 Pro's display was rich and sharp; it played 4K video clips with class-leading detail. However, it isn't as bright as other touch systems; for example, I measured its brightness at 265 candelas per square meter, well behind devices such as the Lenovo ThinkPad 10 tablet, which comes in at 353 candelas per square meter.

Above the screen is a 1280 x 768 webcam; there's no camera on the screen lid's back. Below the screen is a Windows key (to bring up the Start screen) that didn't always work for me on the first try.

As far as the keyboard is concerned: The Yoga 3 Pro's 18.6-millimeter oval-shaped keys are comfortable to use and backlit, but there's only one light level available. There's a 3.5 x 2.4 in. touchpad, and the keyboard deck has a grippy plastic coating. The system's JBL speakers are mounted underneath the keyboard so that the sound is somewhat muffled when you're working with it as a laptop.

Other specs

The $1,300 Yoga 3 Pro model I reviewed has, besides the Core M 5Y70 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of solid state storage space. The only upgrade available is 512GB of storage capacity for an additional $200.

The system comes with one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, one of which doubles as the power connection. The system also has a micro-HDMI port, a headphone jack and a flash card slot for adding storage capacity.

Oddly, for a flagship system it falls short on security. It comes with neither a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) for fail-safe remote authentication nor a fingerprint scanner. It also lacks an Ethernet port, but comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Balanced performance

Overall, the Yoga 3 Pro balances speed with battery life. Its score of 1,455 on the PassMark PerformanceTest benchmark is just ahead of a similar convertible, the Dell XPS 11, which is based on the Intel Core i5 processor and which scored 1,311. It isn't as fast, however, as the still-impressive Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Touch, with its score of 1,938.


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