Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro: one of the best hybrid Ultrabooks on the market
One of the best hybrid Ultrabooks on the market
- Good build quality
- Excellent screen
- Useful as both a laptop and as a tablet
- Single-band Wi-Fi
- Touchpad drivers not comprehensive
- SD cards stick halfway out of the slot
There are only a couple of things we don't like about the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro (mainly its Wi-Fi module and the touchpad driver), but overall it's a fantastic product that's fun to use. We had no problems using as a laptop, a tablet, and as a display device. Well worth considering if you're after a hybrid Ultrabook and can afford the 2K price.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
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Keyboard and touchpad
When you use the Yoga 2 Pro as a tablet, its keyboard will always be exposed and you’ll be able to press the keys while you hold the unit. The keyboard is automatically disabled in tablet mode, though, so you won’t cause any trouble to the system if you accidentally hit them. What you will want to be wary of is not damaging the keys or resting the tablet anywhere dust and dirt can get in the keys. You might want to keep a brush or cleaning cloth on hand and give the keyboard a few passes with it after you’ve rested the tablet on the couch or carpet with the keys exposed.
The keyboard itself is a very comfortable one to hit. Its keys are mostly large and spaced out, and they are backlit with an attractive white light. You can turn the backlight on and off using the Fn-Space bar combination, but there aren’t any incremental levels to choose from. The keys feel soft and possess decent travel, especially considering the thinness of the base. We like that the arrow keys are large (on some Ultrabooks the arrows can be half-sized), but the page navigation keys (Home, End, Page Up, Page Down) are located to the right of the Enter and Backspace keys, and this can throw you off if you’re used to the Backspace and Enter keys being right at the edge of the board. The Delete key is in the top-right corner, as it should be.
We found the touchpad to be good overall, with a smooth texture and responsive movement, but there are a couple of quirks with its driver that we couldn’t get over. One of the things we missed is the ability to change the direction of two-finger scrolling, which is set to replicate the scrolling movement of a touchscreen by default (move your fingers up to scroll down). We also wish the pad allowed two-finger-taps to right-click, rather than two-finger clicks (meaning you have to make the pad click rather than just tap on it). At the time of writing, the drivers on Lenovo’s Web site weren’t different to the ones that were pre-installed on our Yoga 2 Pro review model.
A soft, faux leather-like material is present on the palm rest, and it has a texture that feels good against the skin. Furthermore, it supplied a little bit of grip. It’s a nice change compared to units that have palm rests with smoother finishes or even brushed aluminium.
Specifications and features
Despite being such a thin unit, the IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro still houses specifications that allow it to be used easily for most typical everyday tasks. Its CPU is an Intel Core i7-4500U, which is an ultra-low voltage model with two cores, Hyper-Threading, and a standard clock speed of 1.8GHz. It has more than ample speed for running office suites, processing streaming video, and even for encoding video files (should you need to do something like that in a pinch). It recorded 43sec in our Blender 3D rendering test, 21min 50sec in HandBrake (turning a DVD file into an MP4), and these are results that we expected.
There is 8GB of RAM installed, along with a 256GB solid state drive (SSD), and graphics are handled by an Intel HD 4400 processor. In 3DMark, the Intel graphics recorded 535 marks in Fire Strike, 4189 in Cloud Gate, and 25484 in Ice Storm. These results aren’t great, and you shouldn’t consider this a gaming laptop, though it will be fine for playing many touch-based from the Windows Store. The SSD performed reasonably well in the CrystalDiskMark benchmark, recording a read rate of 523.1 megabytes per second (MBps), and a write rate of 251.9MBps. The read rate is excellent, but we would have liked a faster write rate, especially considering the Yoga 2 Pro’s price point.
An internal li-polymer battery with four cells gives the IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro a reasonable life away from a power outlet. In our rundown test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness, and loop a video file, the battery lasted 4hr 38min, which isn’t impressive when compared to many other Ultrabooks, but it’s still not too bad considering the amount of pixels that are being pushed by the screen. For comparison, HP’s Spectre 13 Pro laptop, which has the same configuration numbers (Core i7-4500U, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD), but a 2560x1440 screen, lasted 5hr 57min.
In terms of connectivity, there isn’t much to see around the Yoga 2 Pro’s thin edges, but you get the stuff that’s needed: two USB ports (one of them is USB 3.0), a full-sized SD card port (though cards stick halfway out and the slot on our test machine also didn't seem to work properly), a micro-HDMI port, and a headset port. The power button is on the side, just like it would be on a tablet, and so are the volume buttons. We actually like the speakers that are present on the underside of the laptop. If you don’t muffle them too much (such as when you use the laptop in your lap or rest on the couch), then they can put out a satisfying sound quality.
For network connectivity, you get 802.11n Wi-Fi, but it’s only of the single-band variety (an Intel Wireless-N 7260 module). We would have liked dual-band Wi-Fi on this model, and better yet, an 802.11ac module so that we could tap into the faster speeds supplied by the latest 802.11ac capable routers. The Yoga 2 Pro regularly transferred data at between 5-7MBps in our test environment, which we found to be too slow.
Bluetooth 4.0 is present, and it did a good job of connecting to our stereo so that we could stream music from the online services that we use (such as Google Play Music). In tablet mode, it’s fun to use the Yoga 2 Pro as a music interface to simply tap on the albums and songs that you want to play and then have them beamed to a stereo system equipped with a Bluetooth receiver.
If it wasn’t for the single-band Wi-Fi, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 would be close to perfect. At least as far as hybrid Ultrabooks are concerned. The build quality of the unit is as solid as it gets considering the way the screen can move, and we like the overall comfort level of the input devices, too. Furthermore, the screen is sensational and gives you the option of viewing one of the highest resolutions available on the PC market. It’s definitely worth considering if you want a dual-purpose device that can perform both notebook and tablet duties with ease.
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