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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga review: Yoga flexibility melded with ThinkPad muscle

Becky Waring | Feb. 12, 2014
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga isn't as slim or sexy as its colorful consumer-oriented sibling, the IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro, nor does it have the Yoga 2 Pro's alluring 3820-by-1200-pixel display. But this hybrid Ultrabook checks all the must-have business feature boxes, as befits its place in the ThinkPad lineup. And it does so in typical Yoga style.

The ThinkPad Yoga's 12.5-inch touchscreen delivers resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. Its matte finish performs better in sunlight and doesn't show fingerprints as much as the glossy one in the Yoga 2 Pro, but they do still show.

But the ThinkPad Yoga's secret weapon is the excellent pressure-sensitive pen it ships with. You can draw or take notes on the screen and avoid the fingerprint issue altogether. The stylus proved essential when using the mchine in tablet mode, because many interface elements are just too small for accurate fingertip navigation. You can use the pen to annotate PDFs, sign documents, and even snap screenshots.

That venerable red TrackPoint button is there for long-time ThinkPad devotees. I'm firmly in the touchpad camp, and I found the ThinkPad Yoga's five-button glass touchpad to be just average. It simply doesn't feel as good as the best I've used. The keyboard, on the other hand, is top-notch: responsive, tactile and fast to type on.

The ThinkPad Yoga also has the de rigueur 720p HD webcam in the touchscreen bezel. It worked just fine with Skype, but it's not great in low light.

Ports and dock option
The ThinkPad Yoga is slightly thicker (0.76 inches compared to 0.61 inches) and about a half-pound heavier than the Yoga 2 Pro, but it offers considerably more expansion options than its consumer-oriented stablemate. There's a OneLink/power socket, a USB 3.0 port, and a headphone/mic jack on the left side. The right side has a second USB 3.0 port, a 4-in-1 card reader, a mini-HDMI port, and a display orientation lock.

The OneLink port connects the laptop to Lenovo's optional OneLink Dock ($120), a vertically oriented port replicator with two USB 3.0 ports (one with always-on charging), two USB 2.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, a headphone jack, and an HDMI port.

The dock is a must-have for big-monitor junkies and peripheral collectors, and a major reason to choose the ThinkPad Yoga over the Yoga 2 Pro. Another reason is the option to outfit the ThinkPad Yoga with an Intel Wireless-AC 7260 card, as our eval unit was. The Yoga 2 Pro is currently available only with Intel's Wireless-N 7260 adapter. If you don't already have an 802.11ac router, one is likely in your future. They're considerably faster and deliver much better range.

Performance and battery Life
Our $1299 review unit was equipped with a fourth-generation Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and a 128GB SSD. It runs Windows 8.1 Pro. Other configurations are also available.

The ThinkPad Yoga delivered a Worldbench 8.1 score of 287, which is typical of this category. In fact, it's identical to that of the Yoga 2 Pro we reviewed (which was outfitted with the same CPU, memory, and SSD).

 

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