Review – Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook

| 25 April 2013

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There is no doubt that there is a massive shift happening in computing. As computing moves to the cloud the entire user experience and how we interact with technology is undergoing a fundamental shift driven by touch.

Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 8 is very much evidence of this massive touch interface in computing that is taking place.

Anyone who has used Windows 8 on an Ultrabook without a touch screen will discover through sheer frustration that is not an ideal user experience.

This week I’ve been playing with Lenovo’s fabulous IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook. The clue is the name “Yoga” and what this fantastic Ultrabook can do.

The Yoga is Ultrabook with a touch screen and it can be used as a tablet thanks to an innovative design that allows this machine to flip over 360 degrees.

The first think I noticed when I unpacked the Yoga was the colour. My review unit was a burnt orange colour with that rubberised outer casing. Holding it is comfortable and it does not slip out of your hands.

The machine feels solid and well built.

The 13-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Ultrabook has an Intel Core i5-3317U processor running at 1.7 GHz. It has 4GB of RAM, a 256 GB solid state drive and all the connectivity features that you would expect to find on a high-end notebook.

The 13-inch multi touch capacitive multitouch has a resolution of 1600 x 900 and a 16:9 wide viewing angle.

It weighs 1.54 kg and has a battery life of over 8 hours.

The technical specs are pretty much standard for an Ultrabook in this class, and the Lenovo Yoga operated smoothly between applications with minimal cooling noise.

The differentiator with this Ultrabook is in the “Yoga”, just like the exercise regime, this machine screen is flexible.

The screen is able to flip over 360 degrees so that you can use the Yoga as a Windows 8 tablet. You can also pitch it like a tent at a 45 degree angle for games or to use it in presentations.

The screen is bright and very responsive thanks to Lenovo’s 10-finger multitouch touchscreen technology.

I was recently in Beijing visiting Lenovo and had the opportunity to interview the design team behind the Yoga’s design. The prototypes of this design go as far back as 2004. The critical part of the design is in the hinge.

The dual hinge design patented by Lenovo is made of Zinc Alloy and is extremely durable. It undergoes harsh testing at the Lenovo Labs in Beijing where they have a special machine that opens and closes the Yoga to test the durability. This specific hinge has passed the 25 000 rotation test. They literally open and close the device 25 000 times.

If you think of it, on average we do this 10 times a day while we work on our notebooks. That’s 2500 days or over 6.5 years of usage!

The Yoga is a great Ultrabook; the only negative is the keyboard. It is not the same quality as the ThinkPad range and I am not a fan of the rounded off edges.

I like the idea of having the tablet option but it can be a bit on the heavy side and tad bulky.

Overall the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is a great Windows 8 Ultrabook with touch and is well priced at R14 000.

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