Gaming laptops are traditionally full of compromises.
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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Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro is an Ultrabook with a set of special hinges that allow the screen to tilt all the way over. Because of these hinges, you can switch from a laptop to a tablet with a minimum of fuss, despite the 13.3in size of the unit. Furthermore, it’s a product that still manages to supply a strong configuration, and the key highlight here is a screen with a massive 1800p resolution. The main downside is the $1999 price tag, which could be out of reach of many budgets.
A super high-resolution screen
You might not notice it when you first boot up the Yoga 2 Pro, but its screen has a native resolution of 3200x1800 pixels. This equates to a value of 276 pixels per inch (PPI), which renders text and images beautifully crisp while in the Windows 8 Modern UI. The problem is, when you view the screen in its native form on the Windows desktop, all text and icons look very small. Even if you have excellent eye sight, you will still have to get up close to the screen to see what’s written.
For this reason, Lenovo ships the laptop with the text size set to ‘Larger’ in Windows’ Display settings. This just makes the screen look like it has a regular Full HD resolution rather than the more special 3200x1800 resolution, and it renders all the text and icons on the screen so that they are easily readable. It’s a trade-off of screen real estate for readability, and it’s necessary unless you don’t mind having to strain to read small text.
In its native resolution, the screen’s real estate is so vast it allows you to view almost three Web sites side by side by side, with only one of them being narrow enough to show a horizontal scroll bar. This is a nice novelty, though it can be useful during times when you run applications that display a lot of toolboxes on the screen, for example. You wouldn’t want to use the native resolution without magnification when in tablet mode, mainly because you won’t be able to tap on anything on the desktop with any accuracy. In the Modern UI, the icons and text will still look big and readable regardless of the text setting in the driver settings.
Apart from the high resolution, the panel offers IPS (in-plane switching) technology, which makes its viewing angles wide and comfortable to look at when the Yoga 2 Pro is held as a tablet. It’s also a vibrant and colourful screen, which, despite having a reflective touch panel, isn’t overly prone to reflecting light sources located behind you because it sits so close to the panel. You will still see reflections on dark screens, but we think the brightness level will be high enough to not make them too distracting. As far as touchscreens on hybrid Ultrabooks go, we think it’s one of the best.
Our only gripe with the screen was its automatic brightness changes, which would occur every time we switched from a dark screen to a bright screen. It would take a couple of seconds, but whenever we went from a Web page with a dark background, for example, to a white one, the brightness level changed since the laptop detected we were on a brighter screen. When we went back to the dark screen, the screen dimmed again. It was very frustrating and sometimes even looked like flickering. This had nothing to do with adaptive brightness, which we had already disabled in the Windows power settings. We tracked it down to the power settings in the Intel graphics driver, in which we disabled its own power management.
From a laptop to a tablet
The screen is held to the Yoga 2 Pro’s base by two hinges with dual mounting points that allow the screen to go all the way around the base. It’s these special hinges that allow the Ultrabook to turn into a tablet, and while it’s not a design that’s unique to Lenovo (we also saw one example of it on the low-cost HP Pavilion x360 most recently), we think Lenovo has implemented it very well on this device. It’s a subtle set of hinges that look normal at first glance, and there is nothing that gives away the fact that this Ultrabook is a hybrid (or convertible). It’s not bulky, there are no mechanical switches to fiddle with, and it doesn’t appear as though any compromise has been made in the strength of the Ultrabook and the way it works.
It’s a very smooth pair of hinges that allow the screen to travel all the way around to the other side of the base, and because the Ultrabook weighs in at 1.39kg and has a thickness of 18mm (when the unit is used as a tablet), it doesn’t feel awkward to pick it up and transform it from one form to another. Others might wonder what you are doing, though, and then give an audible ‘ooh’ because they may not expect a laptop to be able to work in such a way.
There are four ways in which Lenovo says you can use this Ultrabook: laptop mode, stand mode, tent mode, and tablet mode. There is a utility installed that can detect the way in which the Ultrabook is positioned, and it brings up a little notification that you can click (or tap) on to see apps that can be used for each particular mode. This notification can be annoying, especially if you change modes often, and the other annoyance is that some of the apps that are listed in Lenovo’s utility link to Intel’s AppUp store, which no longer works.
In stand mode, the Yoga 2 Pro can be rested on its base with the screen facing away from the keyboard; in tent mode, the Yoga 2 Pro rests more like a picture frame with the edges of the base and the lid supporting the weight. Both modes are useful for watching video, with tent mode being particularly useful when resting the device on a desk, and the stand mode being useful when resting the laptop on your chest while lying on the couch, for example.
Using the Yoga 2 pro as a tablet can be a little uncomfortable depending on the orientation that you use. If you hold it in the conventional way with the hinges down and the Lenovo label the right way up, you might block off the air vents that are located on the spine. This can cause the unit to get noticeably hot, though it will depend on the types of tasks that you are running at the time. Web sites that have lots of Flash elements, for example, will cause the CPU to work hard and create more heat. There aren’t any vents on the base, so all the airflow is through the holes in the spine.
Next page: The keyboard, touchpad, connections, performance, and battery life.
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