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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review - Ultrabook and Windows

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Review - Ultrabook and Windows

Home > Laptop Reviews > Lenovo ThinkPad S3 Yoga 14 (20DM-000VUS)What's Hot: Lovely full HD display, NVIDIA GT 840M dedicated graphics, upgradeable internals, great keyboard, sturdy.What's Not: Those who prefer sexy, skinny 2-in-1 and Ultrabook designs will find the Yoga dull looking.Reviewed November 2, 2014 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade) If you liked everything about the well-regarded Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga except the 12.5" size, its new bigger brother, the ThinkPad Yoga 14 might be your next Windows convertible laptop. The ThinkPad Yoga 14 has a 14" full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS touch screen, and a design that's nearly identical to the original model. It has two durable hinges that let you rotate from laptop to tent and presentation modes and even tablet mode. At 4.2 lbs., I'm not sure how many of you will take advantage of tablet mode, but it's there just in case. Sorry artists and note takers, there's no Wacom pen or active digitizer for the ThinkPad 14; it's not even an option. In the US, the ThinkPad Yoga 14 is available from Lenovo's website and Best Buy has the in-store exclusive. It sells for $1,099.Dedicated Graphics, Specs at a GlanceThe single available configuration has something special: switchable NVIDIA GT 840M dedicated graphics. Dedicated graphics, particularly mid-level, is a rarity among Ultrabooks due to cooling and space constraints. The 14" chassis gave Lenovo breathing room to add the 840M with 2 GB dedicated memory, and that means enough punch to play 2012 and even some 2013 3D games at 720p or even 1080p resolution with low to mid settings (in our video we demo Metro: Last Light). More forgiving games like the Left 4 Dead franchise will run at even higher quality settings. Since this is a business notebook, we'll note that it shaves processing time in Adobe Photoshop and in video editing programs too. We're also thrilled that the Yoga 14 uses standard NVIDIA drivers and GeForce Experience software rather than manufacturer customized drivers that typically get few updates. Thank you, Lenovo!The ThinkPad Yoga 14 has an Intel Haswell Core i5-4210U 1.7GHz dual core CPU with 8 gigs of RAM, a 16 gig caching SSD and a 1 TB hard drive. Even better and more unusual for an Ultrabook: all except the CPU are upgradable. We're not complaining about the lack of a 5th generation Broadwell CPU since only the very low power Core M (used in the Yoga 3 Pro) will be available this year. Dual band Intel WiFi 802.11ac with Bluetooth is standard, and the machine has 3 USB ports, full size HDMI, 3.5mm audio, a OneLink dock connector and an SD card slot. Top Notch Keyboard and TrackpadThe 0.8" thick laptop has Lenovo's Lift N' Lock keyboard that locks the keyboard when in tent, presentation and tablet modes. Only ThinkPad Yoga models get this feature, you won't find it on the Yoga 2, Yoga 2 Pro or Yoga 3 Pro that are under the consumer IdeaPad umbrella. The keys won't wiggle and jiggle, but they'll still face down against the table or your hands, and some folks find this discomforting. The keyboard has excellent tactile feel with Lenovo's smile-shaped keys with concave tops and it's backlit. While insanely thin Ultrabooks look nice, they don't allow for the ample key travel you'll find on the Yoga 14. By default the top Fn row handles multimedia and other controls, so you'll need to press the Fn key to use functions like F5. The buttonless trackpad with TrackPoint pointer is as ever excellent--ThinkPads have superb keyboards and solid trackpads. The ThinkPad's trackpad is one of the few that doesn't make me pine for the MacBook: it's precise, the cursor is easy to control and multi-touch gestures work well.Design and ErgonomicsBuild quality and design are typical ThinkPad: it's sturdy, matte black and meant to travel well. If the wafer thin Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro seems too flimsy for your needs, then the Yoga 14 is a hearty alternative. Those who prefer the MacBook Air/Asus Zenbook school of design, with its metal casings and super slim profiles likely won't find any ThinkPad sexy. But for those who are ThinkPad people, it's a fine looking machine with clean lines that also happens to be easy to clean and fingerprint resistant. It has a magnesium alloy frame and Gorilla Glass protects the display. The two large metal hinges inspire confidence and are stiff enough to prevent significant display bounce when using the touch screen. The ThinkPad Yoga 14 surprisingly doesn't have a much larger footprint than the 12.5" ThinkPad Yoga, so it won't be a significantly larger burden in your bag. The charger is also compact and light, typical of Ultrabook chargers, even though it puts out more watts to power the dedicated graphics. The laptop has two USB 3.0 ports and a full size HDMI port on the right side. The power button, rotation lock and volume controls are also on the side so you can access them in tablet mode (there are volume controls on the Fn row of the keyboard as well). On the left there's a USB 2.0 sleep-and-charge port, the rectangular charging port combined with the OneLink dock connector, 3.5mm combo audio and a full size SD card slot (cards sit flush with the casing so they won't snag anything in your bag). The bottom cover is affixed with small Phillips head screws, 3 of which are under removable rubber plugs along the front edge (not the rubber feet). Stereo speakers fire from the bottom front area and they're surprisingly loud and full. Deals and Shopping:  Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Video 14 Review 13" Retina MacBook Pro vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Conparison Smackdown Video DisplayThe good news first: this is a really lovely 14" IPS 1920 x 1080 display with 10 points of multi-touch. Color gamut is improved over the original ThinkPad Yoga, and the ThinkPad Yoga 14 does as well as the top laptop displays on the market. This is a gloss panel, so those who hate glare might want to source a matte display protector, but it's bright enough at 300 nits to combat bright ambient light. The bad news, at least for some of you, is that there's no pen and no Wacom digitizer built into the display. That means the pen from the smaller ThinkPad Yoga won't work, nor will any digital active pen. You can use a capacitive stylus, and that's it. We suspect that Lenovo believes that artists and note takers prefer something smaller and lighter for the task, and didn't see the use case for an active digitizer on a 14" laptop. Update 2016: Best Buy exclusively sells an updated ThinkPad Yoga 14 model that does have a Wacom AES digitizer and pen. The small pen stows in a silo in the laptop's side, and you can buy Lenovo's full size $40 ThinkPad Pro Pen from Lenovo. This is a very good active pen solution with no parallax and good pressure curves. It has palm rejection too.The display has excellent viewing angles, a respectable 700:1 contrast ratio and a good 0.43 black level. Simply put, it's sharp for reading and movies look lovely. It represents 91% of sRGB and 71% of Adobe RGB, putting it a scant few points below the 95/75% average for top laptop panels. We won't quibble over 4 percentage points. Factory calibration as measured by our Spyder 4 colorimeter is fairly good, with little color shift visible after calibration with the Spyder. The 1920 x 1080 full HD resolution is a good match for the panel size in terms of scaling and readability. Though QHD and higher resolution panels were the marketing craze of 2013 into 2014, their practical benefits on smaller laptops are low given how unevenly Windows desktop programs handle scaling and how impossible everything but Metro Live Tile apps are to see at 100% scaling. If you have keen eyes, you can run the ThinkPad Yoga 14 at 100% scaling (which is really no scaling). If your eyes aren't so sharp, 125% scaling does the trick.AdvertisementPerformance and HorsepowerCurrently, there's only one flavor of the Yoga 14 available, and Lenovo hasn't said if or when other configurations might be available. The machine runs on the Intel Core i5-4210U 1.7GHz dual core, four thread CPU with Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz. That's a Haswell fourth generation CPU rather than the Broadwell 5th gen. U series. Most Broadwells won't be out until 2015, only lower power Core M CPUs for tablets and ultra-slim convertibles like the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro will be available in late 2014. CPU performance is similar to the sea of Core i5 ULV processor Ultrabooks on the market, and it's only in the graphics department where the Yoga 14 pulls ahead strongly. In terms of what it can handle, like all Intel Core ULV machines (i5 and i7, they're actually close in performance for the U series) with HD 4400 graphics active, the Yoga 14 can easily handle MS Office, a web browser with 10 tabs open, 1080p video playback, Adobe Photoshop with sizeable RAW image files and even HD video editing. Thanks to the 8 gigs of RAM, multitasking is fluid and the added RAM helps speed video editing a bit. The dedicated graphics switch in automatically when you launch graphically demanding programs like Photoshop, Illustrator or Tomb Raider, and you can override NVIDIA's software to specify a graphics card for a given program by right-clicking on the program.The NVIDIA GT 840M is a middleweight graphics card that's about 3x faster than Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics, and it's there for Adobe CS programs, light to moderate CAD work and to speed video editing. It takes games up to the next level from integrated graphics, and that means moving up to full HD resolution from 720p, and/or from low to medium settings in some popular 3D games. This isn't an Alienware or Asus ROG with high end dedicated graphics--there's simply not enough room for the GPU and required cooling to make that possible while keeping the machine reasonably priced (there's a reason the Razer Blade 14 is so expensive!). In our video review we demo Metro: Last Light, which was considered a demanding game just a few years back, and it plays at low to medium settings at 1080p resolution at a playable 38-52 fps. Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite likewise are truly enjoyable rather than the mediocre experience integrated graphics delivers. Games like Civ V are really CPU intensive and dedicated graphics doesn't change performance much, while FPS (first person shooters) are graphically demanding and do see a boost. If you're looking for a very portable Ultrabook class machine that can handle some decent gaming, the ThinkPad Yoga 14 does the job. Just don't expect it to deliver 1080p at high settings in games like Crysis 3; that's still gaming laptop and desktop territory.The machine is more upgradable than the average Ultrabook. It has a single RAM slot (most Ultrabooks have RAM that's soldered on and not upgradable), a standard 2.5" SATA drive bay (7mm height) and a half-height M.2 slot for a caching SSD to speed up Windows boot and program launch times. The wireless card is also socketed and upgradable, which is typical of all laptops and Ultrabooks. In this case it's the Intel 7260 WiFi 802.11ac card, a fast dual band wireless card that's top of the line. The machine has an 8 gig, 1600MHz DDRL3 1.35v RAM model, and that's functionally max since there are no higher capacity RAM modules on the market. You could retain the 1 terabyte, 5400 RPM hard disk and remove the disk caching software then put a 128 gig or higher capacity M.2 SSD in the caching drive slot as your boot drive. Lenovo recommends keeping the boot drive as the 2.5" drive rather than the M.2 drive, and we haven't tried setting up the machine that way. It's simply so easy to source a reasonably priced 2.5" SSD these days, that I decided to replace the 2.5" HDD and remove the caching drive in my own machine.Benchmarks PCMark 7, with HDD: 3733 PCMark 7, with 2.5" SSD: 4603 3DMark 11: P2458Geekbench 3: 2555, multi-core 4957wPrime: 24.8 sec. PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table  WirelessCurrently there's only one configuration and it ships with an Intel Wireless AC-7260 that also has Bluetooth 4.0. This is a dual band WiFi 802.11ac card (ac is by definition dual band) and we saw good throughput with our Linksys and Netgear 802.11ac access points, though we didn't reach a max connection speed of 733 Mbps as we did with the Asus Zenbook UX303LA. It averaged 585 Mbps within 15 feet of the router, and the transfer rate (as measured using Speedtest.net and internal file network file transfers), declined slowly and gracefully. We still managed max upload and download speeds using Speedtest.net when 35 feet from the router through 2 walls. In the first day we had a few connection drops despite a strong signal, but those ironed out by day 2 (no idea why, we didn't update drivers).There's no 3G/4G option for the single available model, but you can use your phone's mobile hotspot feature, a MiFi or USB 4G LTE stick with the laptop.Battery LifeThe ThinkPad ships with a compact 65 watt charger and the 56 WHr battery is nominally sealed inside (you'll have to remove the bottom screws and cover to access it). Lenovo claims up to 8 hours of use on a charge, and with brightness at a very ample 50% and WiFi on, we averaged 6.5 to 7 hours when engaged largely in productivity tasks like writing this review in Word 2013, doing email, social networking, editing 10 RAW image files in Photoshop CC and watching a 20 minute YouTube video.ConclusionI can easily recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 if you're in the market for a robustly built, yet not terribly heavy or bulky Ultrabook with a larger than average display and the versatile 360 degree multi-mode hinge. Of course, if you need the digital pen, this isn't the model for you, and the ThinkPad Yoga 12.5" model or Microsoft Surface Pro 3 are worth a look as long as you don't mind downsizing. The lovely display, excellent keyboard and trackpad, unusual but welcome dedicated graphics and upgradable internals make this a superb and well-rounded laptop. It's impressed me enough that it's replacing my 12.5" Yoga. Price: $1,099Website: www.lenovo.com Related Reviews:Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga ReviewAsus ZenBook UX303UB Review (NVIDIA 940M)Lenovo ThinkPad T450s ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X240 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (3rd gen, 2015) ReviewDell XPS 13 (2105) Review HP Spectre x360 Review 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review (early 2015)Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro ReviewLenovo Yoga 2 Pro ReviewHP Omen 15 Review      Specs:Display: 14", 1920 x 1080 IPS display with 10 point multi-touch. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics and NVIDIA GT 840M 2 GB dedicated graphics (switchable). HDMI port. Battery: 56 WHr Lithium Ion rechargeable. Performance: 1.7GHz Intel 4th generation Core i5-4210 processor (2.7GHz Turbo Boost). 8 gigs DDR3L 1600MHz, 1.35v RAM in one RAM slot. 16 gig caching SSD in M.2 slot and 1 TB, 5400 rpm HDD in 2.5" drive bay.Size: 13.2 x 9.1 x 0.82 inches. Weight: 4.2 pounds.Camera: 720p webcam. Audio: Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater audio, dual array mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone/mic jack. Networking: Integrated Intel AC 7260 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit.Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 charging port, full size HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio and SD card slot.  PHONEAll Phone Reviews Smartphone Reviews Android Phone Reviews BlackBerry Windows Phone Reviews iPhone HTC Phone Reviews LG Phone Reviews Motorola Phone Reviews Nokia Phone Reviews Samsung Phone Reviews Sony Phone Reviews AT&T Phone Reviews Sprint Phone Reviews T-Mobile Phone Reviews Verizon Phone Reviews Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews All Tablet Reviews Android Tablet Reviews Tablet Comparisons Android Tablet Comparisons LAPTOPS & ULTRABOOKSLaptop Reviews Ultrabook Reviews Laptop Comparisons Best Ultrabooks  GADGETS & GAMESBluetooth Headsets iPhone and iPad Accessories eBook Readers Camera Reviews iPhone Game Reviews iPad Game Reviews iPhone Case Reviews iPad Case Reviews SITE TOOLSRSS News FeedAbout UsContact UsAdvertisingSite Map



Home > Laptop Reviews, Windows 8 Convertibles & Ultrabook Reviews> Lenovo ThinkPad YogaWhat's Hot: Versatile Yoga design meets ThinkPad goodness. Sharp full HD touchscreen, Wacom digitizer option, fast performance, good keyboard, great trackpad and solid build to order options.What's Not: Though an excellent keyboard, we wouldn't mind more key travel, battery life is adequate but not stellar.Reviewed December 9, 2013 by Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)Updated July 2015 to add video review of the second generation model with 5th gen Intel Broadwell CPUs and Windows 10.Editor's note, 2/2016: read and watch our review of the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 that replaces this model.There are ThinkPad people and there are everyday laptop buyers. For the ThinkPad set, nothing holds up to their beloved line's build quality, durability, business-minded software with no bloat and a keyboard that's the best in the business. That made the nifty Lenovo Yoga 13 and the new Yoga 2 Pro, both members of Lenovo's consumer IdeaPad line tear at ThinkPad peoples' hearts. The versatile 360 degree hinge that promises laptop mode, presentation mode and tablet mode--oh my, why can't we have that? Well, now you can, with the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. *Editor's update Nov. 2014: now there's a 14" model too, check out our review of the ThinkPad Yoga 14.The ThinkPad Yoga brings more ports, a more rugged build and an even better keyboard to the table compared to the Yoga 2 Pro. And unlike the Yoga 2 Pro, it's available with a Wacom digital pen. That puts it in competition with the lovely but somewhat flawed Sony Vaio Flip 13 that also works with a pen (N-Trig rather than Wacom) and the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. This is a 12.5" Ultrabook with a full HD, 400 nit IPS touch screen (Wacom digitizer and pen are optional), 4th generation Intel Haswell ULV CPUs, solid state drives and 4 or 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM. The 3.5 lb. Ultrabook is a bit heavier than the lighter 3 lb. models on the market, but not painfully so. The Yoga is 0.75" thick and it has Lenovo's updated smooth matte black surface rather than the older raven black soft touch surfaces. It has a magnesium alloy frame, soft rounded corners that don't dig into your palm and Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the display. If you like the ThinkPad look, you'll like the Yoga: it has an updated version of the classic understated design. It lacks the sexy curves and surface textures that scream "I'm made of metal" that you'll find on the MacBook Air and Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus. That doesn't mean it isn't a quality looking piece of technology, rather it's not designed to induce keen desire in the consumer marketplace.The Ultrabook has two USB 3.0 ports (1 charging), one on each side. That's our preferred design because USB devices with large connectors won't interfere with each other. The ThinkPad has a 720p webcam above the display, and though laptop webcams rarely wow us, this one is a bit noisier than average. ThinkPads are sturdy and the Yoga is no exception: it's rigid, strong and there's absolutely no flex in the base. You can torsion the lid if you grab with two hands and twist, but it's designed to flex rather than break. The keyboard deck is surprisingly rigid given the Lift and Lock moving keyboard design. Lenovo describes this as a spill resistant keyboard, though there are no obvious drain holes. Getting the Right ThinkPad Yoga Model: Wacom Pen and non-Wacom VariantsThe ThinkPad Yoga is available on Lenovo's website with the touch + Wacom digitizer. In stores, you'll find models that are touch only. Be mindful of the model number so you get the version you desire. The Wacom digitizer and pen add $100 to $230 to the configuration, depending on how you spec your laptop. For this review, we look at both models. First up is the 20-CD0033US model, which is touch only. It has an Intel Core i7-4500U, 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD and it sells for $1,399. You'll find touch-only model 20-CD0032US in online and brick and mortar stores for $1,199 and it has a Core i5-4200U, 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD (the same price and specs as the Sony Vaio Flip 13). Note that both of these models have single band 2 x 2 Intel Wi-Fi. The base Core i5 model with the Wacom digitizer is $1,299 on Lenovo's website, and we have that in for review as well (model number 20CD-Z04US). If you want the Wacom digitizer model, be sure to order it that way. You can't use a pen with a non-Wacom digitizer model because it lacks the necessary digitizer hardware. In addition to the two USB 3.0 ports, the ThinkPad Yoga has a mini HDMI port (surprise, no DisplayPort), 3.5mm audio and an SD card slot. It's compatible with Lenovo's reasonably priced OneLink dock ($119) that adds 4 more USB ports, full size HDMI and Ethernet. The dock plugs into a dedicated connector adjacent to the rectangular power port. All models have full HD displays, and there's no crazy high 3200 x 1800 resolution option as on the Yoga 2 Pro. The 4 cell battery is sealed inside and the ThinkPad Yoga lacks the Lenovo ThinkPad X240's handy bridge battery feature. The ThinkPad Yoga comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and you can order it with 2 x 2 single band Intel WiFi 802.11n or dual band Intel WiFi 802.11ac.Stereo speakers enhanced with Dolby audio fire from the keyboard zone and they're fairly loud. They're not as bass-rich as the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, but they're definitely good enough to listen to a movie's soundtrack. They're easy enough to hear when the laptop is in any of its 4 positions (tent, presentation, tablet or laptop). Speaking of those positions, the Yoga's dual hinges are huge, strong and stiff. It takes two hands to move it from position to position and there's not too much display bounce when tapping on the screen in laptop and presentation modes. Obviously the display won't move in tablet mode or tent mode, and the sides are straight and grippy enough to keep it stable in tent mode.Lift and Lock KeyboardSome folks are bothered by the Yoga 13 and Yoga 2 Pro's keyboard that rests against your legs or tabletop when in tablet and presentation modes. The keys wiggle and feel weird. The ThinkPad Yoga addresses that with its Lift and Lock keyboard: the keyboard surround (the bezel that runs around and between the keys) lifts up flush with the keys and the keys lock when the ThinkPad bends over backwards into presentation or tablet positions. No more wiggly keys and they're less likely to break. It also doesn't feel nearly as weird as the IdeaPad Yoga keyboard against your hands or legs. Lenovo says the mechanism has been designed and tested to last through at least 100,000 Lift and Lock transformations, and it certainly seems stable, functional and sturdy.Lenovo's ThinkPad keyboards are legendary, and the AccuType keyboard on the ThinkPad Yoga is excellent by Ultrabook standards. Thin machines have short travel keyboards that are often lacking in tactile feel. While key travel isn't as deep as on larger and thicker ThinkPad models like the ThinkPad X230 and T440s, it's very good by Ultrabook standards. The roomy, smile-shaped chiclet keys have excellent tactile feel and good damping so they don't rattle or jar the fingers. Simply, it's a fantastic Ultrabook keyboard, but it lacks the key travel to feel as perfect as thicker ThinkPads. Flex is almost nonexistent and even heavy-handed typists won't suffer bounce or ripple. The keyboard has backlighting and as with other ThinkPads, you'll press the Fn key and spacebar to control backlighting. Speaking of the Fn key, Lenovo has Fn lock, so you can set the top row of keys to control settings and multimedia or actuate Fn key functions with a simple toggle of the Fn and Esc key. Why can't every manufacturer do this? The keyboard has creature comforts like oversized backspace and Del keys, an arrow pad, dedicated page up and down keys and the usual Windows key.  Deals and Shopping:  Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 2nd Gen Video Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 1st Gen Video Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 Wacom Pen Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 vs. Yoga 2 Pro Comparison Smackdown HP Spectre x360 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 (2nd gen) Comparison Microsoft Surface Pro 3 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Comparison Dell XPS 12 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Comparison AdvertisementUltraNav TrackpadThe trackpad is a thing of beauty. While some old guard ThinkPad users might lament the loss of dedicated buttons, we approve of Lenovo's modern buttonless trackpad that has virtual buttons at the bottom and the top and an audible click when you press down. The top buttons (right, left and middle) are there for those who use the TrackPoint eraser stick pointer embedded in the keyboard. You must press down and click the trackpad to actuate the TrackPoint buttons; a tap won't do, unfortunately. The trackpad control panel has settings for click zones and zone size. The glass Synaptics pad is a dream to use with nary an errant mouse action and none of the unwanted left side swipes that cause app switching with many other Windows 8 laptops. Pinch zooming and other multi-finger gestures work well too. This is one of the few Windows machines that holds its ground against the superb MacBook trackpads. The trackpad doesn't lift and lock like the keyboard, but it is disabled automatically when you put the machine into presentation, tent and tablet positions. DisplayRegardless of variant, the ThinkPad Yoga has a 12.5" full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS display with 400 nits of brightness, 10 point multi-touch and wide viewing angles. *Update: Lenovo now offers a 1366 x 768 touch-only display option too. Gorilla Glass protects the display, so there's no need for a screen protector. The non-Wacom model has a glossy display that's reflective, but Lenovo keeps glare under control. There's a bit less glare compared to our Microsoft Surface Pro 2 that has bonded glass to reduce glare, and significantly less glare than the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus. The Wacom model has an anti-glare finish that isn't quite matte, but it is noticeably less reflective than the non-active digitizer version. Happily the anti-glare finish doesn't introduce grain or haze, though small text looks a bit less sharp compared to the glossy non-Wacom version. Contrast measured slightly higher on the Wacom model (640:1 vs. 610:1), though to our eyes the glossy screen looks slightly higher in contrast (gloss does increase perceived contrast). Brightness on our non-Wacom model measured 404 nits, slightly exceeding Lenovo's claim, while the Wacom model measured 390 nits according to our Spyder4 Pro colorimeter. Black levels are good at .6 with brightness set to max. Color gamut is decent with 70% of SRGB and 52% of Adobe RGB. That doesn't match the top high gamut laptops that include the full HD Lenovo ThinkPad T440s, Sony Vaio Flip 13, Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus and Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro that manage 95% of sRGB, but for everyday work and non-trained eyes, the ThinkPad Yoga's colors look great when watching video and viewing photos. It fact, it scores similarly to the competing MS Surface Pro 2 for color gamut. For those of you who aren't graphics professionals and don't understand all these metrics, it's a great looking display with wide viewing angles, pleasing colors, high contrast, good blacks, much higher than average brightness and sharp text. Computers are a numbers game, and resolution is one of the top factors in marketing right now. Last year, 1920 x 1080 was considered best of breed, and some folks found that resolution too high for a 13.3" laptop. Now we have the ThinkPad Yoga 2 Pro and Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus that use the same Samsung 3200 x 1800 display, and some folks look down on "mere full HD". That's silly. Full HD at 13.3" is extremely sharp with a very good 165 PPI pixel density, and it's the native resolution for full HD movies. Text looks very sharp and you'll have to look very closely to see staircasing or individual pixels in letters. Windows 8.1 handles this resolution well with a default 125% scaling so text isn't too small and icons are big enough to tap. When you move up to the Yoga 2 Pro resolution, Windows 8.1 defaults to 200% scaling to keep things readable, but non-Windows DPI aware apps ignore that, and the result is tiny text and menus that are too small to easily operate. In 3 years, Windows and programs may have much better high DPI support, but for right now and the next few years, full HD is more manageable.Wacom Digitizer and PenGraphic artists are familiar with Wacom digitizers and related products. The company used to make most pre-Windows 8 tablet PC display digitizers and they make several popular graphics tablets that sit on your desk and plug into a USB port (not to be confused with tablets like the iPad or the Yoga; products like the Wacom Intuos are simply writing surfaces that sit on your desk). Since Wacom is the oldest name in graphics digitizers, they have strong support from art apps like Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe programs as well as Corel Painter, Manga Studio, ArtRage and PaintTool SAI. That translates into WinTab support, the now ancient standard for supporting pen pressure sensitivity in these programs. Programs that use the newer Windows Ink API will also work with pressure sensitivity and these include SketchBook Pro, ArtRage, Fresh Paint and Microsoft Office including OneNote. For programs that make use of the Windows Ink API, you needn't install anything to get pressure sensitivity from the pen. Speaking of pressure sensitivity, the Lenovo Yoga supports 1,024 levels, and it's a useful thing for more natural brush work and sketching. Even writing in OneNote feels more natural with variable line width resultant from pen pressure. For WinTab dependent programs you'll need to download and install Wacom's Feel drivers for tablet PC from their website if you want pressure sensitivity; I really can't imagine why manufacturers don't preload this software. Pen tracking is very good, with just a fraction of a millimeter offset after calibration, which is typical of Wacom (N-Trig scores points here for virtually no pen tip offset). Pen latency isn't an issue: the machine tracks the pen quickly even when rapidly drawing many concentric circles. For handwriting, it's as responsive as writing on paper. Watch our video of the Wacom pen in action to see how well it performs.The ThinkPad Yoga's Wacom digitizer is compatible with the MS Surface Pro pen, Samsung ATIV 700T pen and pens made for Wacom Tablet PCs. Those are full size pens with erasers at the end, and they're more comfortable than the short and thin pen that Lenovo includes in the silo in the laptop's base. Lenovo's pen has their signature red end rather than a digital eraser. Models without the digitizer have a black faux pen butt that fills the silo and it's glued in place.Performance and HorsepowerOne of the things we like about Lenovo products is that you can order them the way you like via Lenovo's website and retailers often stock a few configurations. You're not stuck with 4 gigs of RAM or no Core i7 option here. You can get the ThinkPad Yoga with a 4th generation Intel Haswell 1.6GHz Core i5-4200U, i5-4300U or Core i7-4500U and i7-4600U dual core CPUs. It's available with 4 or 8 gigs of dual channel DDR3L RAM, and that RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so you can't upgrade it later. The machine is available with a 128 or 256 gig SSD drive using a SATA3 interface and it has a standard 2.5" drive bay that can take a slim 7mm drive. There's a PCIExpress mini WiFi/Bluetooth card (not the newer M.2 card used in some other ThinkPad models) and an open M.2 slot intended for solid state drives (i.e. a small caching drive in case you put an HDD in the drive bay). All models use Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics.Thanks to the business-minded lack of bloat and good tuning and drivers, the ThinkPad Yoga scores at the top of the heap on benchmarks. Granted, among Haswell Core i5 and i7 the benchmark numbers don't vary hugely, but the ThinkPad still turns in some of the best numbers we've seen (Microsoft Surface Pro 2 is the other top performer in synthetic tests). In real world use, both our Core i5 with 4 gigs of RAM and Core i7-4500U with 8 gigs of RAM feel fast and boot in seconds. Those who multi-task heavily or intend to use Photoshop with very large images will likely lean toward the 8 gigs of RAM option that requires that you go with anything but the base Core i5 CPU. The machine handles MS Office 2013 (including OneNote) perfectly and it's great for Photoshop work, 3D modeling work and software development. If you're a professional CAD worker and this will be your main machine, you may still want something with mid or higher level dedicated graphics, but as a second machine or for school, it's fine for 3D modeling. The laptop runs quiet and cool, and the fan is rarely audible when doing productivity work or Photoshop editing. When playing the 3D game CIV V, we could hear the fan but it didn't roar as loudly as many competing Ultrabooks, nor did full HD video editing.Benchmarks(1.6 GHz Intel Core i5-4200U, 4 gigs RAM and 128 gig SSD and 1.8GHz Core i7 with 8 gigs RAM and 256 gig SSD tested)PCMark 7, Core i5-4200U: 4769 PCMark 7, Core i7-4500U: 5259 3DMark 11, Core i7: P872wPrime: 19.83 sec. (Core i7) PCMark 7 Benchmark Comparison Table CrystalDiskMark SSD Scores  WirelessWe don't usually dedicate a section to WiFi and Bluetooth, but since so many machines have proven problematic for some of you and because Intel's nomenclature is downright confusing, we'll go over it here. The Yoga is available with single or dual band WiFi. Honestly, we're surprised that Lenovo offers a business class machine with single band WiFi. That said, it's a very strong Intel N-7260 with a 2 x 2 configuration for faster speeds up to 300Mbps. Intel uses the N-7260 for several different adapters: the single band 2.4GHz 802.11n adapter (in 1 x 1 and 2 x 2 configurations), and a dual band 802.11n adapter. The ThinkPad is also available with Intel N-7260 802.11ac (inherently dual band) for $30 extra. All versions of this WiFi module also have Bluetooth 4.0. So your options are single band 802.11n or dual band 802.11ac (both Intel). You can upgrade the card yourself, but keep in mind you'll want to use the approved Intel card because Lenovo has a BIOS white list that won't let you use just any card.Happily, both adapters perform very well, which is refreshing these days where mediocre WiFi reception is common thanks to manufacturers' interest in controlling wireless power consumption and the insane diversity of wireless routers and bands in use. We saw some very good signal numbers where the 2.4GHz band got -36 db vs. the -60 db we see with many other machines (lower numbers are better). The 5GHz band did equally well. We still occasionally had WiFi drop outs not long after resuming from sleep and had to toggle WiFi off and on to revive the connection. This has been a problem with every Windows 8 and 8.1 machine we've tested, and I suspect it has more to do with bugs in Windows than the hardware.Battery LifeUnlike the ThinkPad X240 and ThinkPad T440s, the ThinkPad Yoga lacks the bridge battery design where the laptop has a 3 cell battery sealed inside and a removable battery too. While we'd love to see it here, we suspect the Lift and Lock keyboard assembly takes up too much space in this thin and light machine, and Lenovo didn't want to turn it into a baby tank. So we have a 47 Wh, 4 cell Lithium Ion battery that's sealed inside. Lenovo claims it's good for up to 8 hours of use, but that's very optimistic. With the default Lenovo Energy Saver Power plan and brightness set to a very adequate 50% (with auto-brightness on) and WiFi on, we averaged 6.5 hours of mixed use that included working in MS Word 2013, taking notes with OneNote, drawing and editing images in Adobe Photoshop, doing push email using Outlook and watching an hour of Amazon Prime streaming video. If you use more conservative power management settings and can stand to run at 20% brightness, you might get close to 8 hours before the machine runs out of power and shuts down. The ThinkPad Yoga uses Lenovo's modern rectangular charging connector and the battery charges quickly. ConclusionYou've probably noticed that we like the ThinkPad Yoga quite a bit. At 12.5", it's slightly more portable than most 13.3" Ultrabooks, but you're not giving up that much screen real estate. In turn you're getting an extremely well built and designed machine that can handle the perils of the road, a very good keyboard, superb trackpad and robust drivers that are reliable. Lenovo stands behind their products and within weeks fixed the "dead zone" bug where the pen wasn't properly detected on a small section of the display. Likewise they quickly put up a fix for the Yoga 2 Pro's mustard yellows. That impresses us in a world where Samsung (who makes the Yoga 2 display and uses it in their own ATIV Book 9 Plus) hasn't issued color fix updates and Sony seems to ignore widespread complaints about some models' fan noise and wireless performance.The ThinkPad Yoga is also very attractive to those who want an active digitizer and digital pen for note taking, vertical market work, writing equations and doing art. There are just a handful of powerful machines on the market with a pen, and the Yoga should be on your short list if you want a Wacom pen (artists will, others will do equally well with N-Trig equipped models). Then there's the full HD touch screen that's attractive, sharp and very bright. It's a great package at an appropriate price and we applaud Lenovo's latest convertible. It's not Steampunk weird like the ThinkPad Helix and it's got what it takes to compete with the top convertible Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Ultrabooks on the market today. Sure, it's not perfect: we wouldn't mind a wee bit more key travel or longer battery life, but as a whole, it earns our Editor's Choice.Price: starting at $949 with HDD, 1366 x 768 touch-only display and Core i3. $1,199 with Core i5, FHD touch + pen and 128 gig SSDWebsite: www.lenovo.comRelated Reviews:Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260 ReviewMicrosoft Surface Pro 4 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga ReviewLenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (2015) ReviewLenovo Yoga 3 Pro Review Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 3 ComparisonLenovo ThinkPad Yoga vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 2 ComparisonLenovo ThinkPad X250 ReviewDell XPS vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Comparison Smackdown Lenovo Flex 14 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad T450s Review Acer Aspire R7 Review Dell XPS 12 ReviewLenovo ThinkPad Helix Review      Specs:Display: 12.5" full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS screen with 10 point multi-touch and 400 nits brightness. Wacom active digitizer with reduced glare finish available direct from Lenovo's website. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics. Has a mini HDMI port. 1366 x 768 gloss touch-only display option also available. Battery: 4 cell, 47 Wh Lithium Ion rechargeable, sealed inside (can be serviced if you remove the bottom panel, affixed with Phillips head screws). Performance: 4th generation Intel Haswell ULV CPUs. Available with Intel Core i3, Core i5-4200U, Core i5-4300U, Core i7-4500U and Core i7-4600U, all dual core with Turbo Boost. 4 or 8 gigs of DDR3L RAM (soldered to motherboard) and 128 or 256 gig SSD (2.5", 7mm high SATA3). 500 gig HDD with small caching drive available too.Size: 12.46 x 8.70 x 0.75 inches. Weight: 3.5 pounds.Camera: 720p webcam and mic. Audio: Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby audio, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Networking: Integrated single band 2 x 2 Intel N-7260 WiFi 802.11b/g/n or dual band Intel 7260 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.Software: Windows 8.1 with the usual Lenovo device management software.Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio, OneLink Dock port and SDXC card slot.  PHONEAll Phone Reviews Smartphone Reviews Android Phone Reviews BlackBerry Windows Phone Reviews iPhone HTC Phone Reviews LG Phone Reviews Motorola Phone Reviews Nokia Phone Reviews Samsung Phone Reviews Sony Phone Reviews AT&T Phone Reviews Sprint Phone Reviews T-Mobile Phone Reviews Verizon Phone Reviews Unlocked GSM Phone Reviews All Tablet Reviews Android Tablet Reviews Tablet Comparisons Android Tablet Comparisons LAPTOPS & ULTRABOOKSLaptop Reviews Ultrabook Reviews Laptop Comparisons Best Ultrabooks  GADGETS & GAMESBluetooth Headsets iPhone and iPad Accessories eBook Readers iPhone Game Reviews iPad Game Reviews iPhone Case Reviews iPad Case Reviews SITE TOOLSRSS News FeedAbout UsContact UsAdvertisingSite Map





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