Lenovo Yoga 13 Review

Two days ago I blogged about my new laptop – The Lenovo Yoga 13”. Now here is the promised review, after using the Yoga for about 5 days already.

First look

The initial impression from the package is just great! Totally cool and sleek, bad-ass looking box! Lenovo are definitely learning from Apple in this direction. All of my older laptops came in very boring and cheap looking packages. This one looks expensive and high-end.

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The first look of the laptop itself is also great. The Yoga has nothing to do with the other older models that Lenovo (IBM) did. As we remember they are all cubical, ugly and looking like they came from 1980s.

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Here this is not the case. The Yoga is very thin (just 16.9 mm). It has a nice matt finish. It is great looking piece of equipment.

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Note: The Yoga compared to my Samsung Galaxy Nexus

First boot

The Yoga comes with Windows 8 and to be honest this is my first real impression from it. And it is exactly as I expected – awesome! The touch screen is also a great improvement on top of that, which is working very nice, since it is a capacitive one.

The keyboard is very good and I can type quick and easy with it. The Enter key seems a little bit out of place and this leads to pressing the Home and End keys often, but it is not such a big issue.

On the sides of the touchpad the surface of the laptop is very soft and feels like rubber. In my opinion this is a good approach, since it is very comfortable on my hands while typing. Also I believe the main idea behind that rubber surface is so you can hold it easier while in tablet mode.

This is the next big thing about the Yoga. You can turn the screen around to 360 degrees, which transforms your laptop to a BIG 13.3 inch tablet. A little too huge and heavy for using as normal tablet, but I believe this won’t be the case. You won’t carry it around a lot and sit on the toilet with it, but for presentations and airplane tables it is more than perfect.

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A lot of people complain that touching the keyboard on the back of your tablet-like laptop, is very strange and uncomfortable, but I don’t find it so problematic. There is a solution that Lenovo provides, which is a leather case for the keyboard while in tablet mode, but so far I don’t find it necessary.

Working with it

I have a lot of software that is heavy and that I use on regular basis. This includes Visual Studio 2012, Photoshop CS6, CorelDRAW X6, etc. I needed a computer that can handle all those pretty good. Well, the Yoga totally blew me away! I got the top model, which includes 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. It also has Intel i7 processor. All of this just chewed and swallowed the big hits that my heavy-load software threw at it. Everything starts up almost instantly and the cold boot of the laptop is measured in about 11 sec, from power button press to start menu loaded.

Playing with it

I am a passionate gamer. When I was choosing a computer, I knew that I could not get such a machine and expect it to be a gaming station. Still, I had some requirements. I do not play very heavy games like Call of Duty. The games I play are World of Warcraft, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Dota 2. So I want a computer that can run those in playable state. So far I have tried World of Warcraft and on medium details and High Performance plan on the laptop, I easily get 25-26 FPS, which is enough for normal play.

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Not everything is perfect

Of course there are some cons that I cannot miss. The battery is a little bit not enough. I can get about 4-4,5 hours out of it with normal usage like browsing, blogging, etc. If I get heavy and use the programs I need, I will probably drain it in less then 3 hours. I think this is not long enough.

Another con is the Windows key that is located below the screen. It is very strange to click, almost you can think that it is broken. I guess they haven’t spend too much time to improve that.

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Something else that bothers me is the touchpad. I find it to be a little bit unresponsive and not handling multitouch gestures very well. But most of the time I use a mouse or the touch screen, so this is also not a problem for me.

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Finally I notice that the cooling fan is working quite a lot. Maybe I am using a lot of stuff, but even now, while I am writing this article and have nothing else running, the cooling fan is blowing and I can hear it. This, I find to be annoying to some level.

Final words

To sum up, I would say that the Lenovo Yoga is an awesome machine and I definitely recommend it to everyone! I am incredibly satisfied with mine and I believe it is worth every penny.

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My new gadget–Lenovo Yoga

Since I bought my iMac, I sold my Toshiba Qosmio and I did not have any portable computer besides my iPad. I thought that this is sufficient until I got to travel a few times abroad, with just the iPad. Yes, it is quite a great piece of hardware and I am able to do almost 95% of all my everyday tasks with it, but it is simply not enough.

I started researching the notebook/ultrabook/laptop market. I summed up my needs for a new portable computer to some basic guidelines:

  • It has to be thin – since carrying around the 8.8 mm thin iPad, getting some brick-like laptop was simply not going to be productive for me. So I knew I will be getting an ultrabook
  • It must have powerful processor – i5 at least! I know that most of my tasks that the laptop would need to cover, do not require so much CPU power, but in 20% of the cases, I do need it. Things like Photoshop and CorelDRAW, simply need to be running smooth.
  • It must have enough RAM – 6GB is my sanitary minimum. My iMac still has 4GB and that is killing me! I am planning to upgrade it in the near future. If you are interested how – here is a very nice tutorial.
  • It MUST be running Windows 8! Latest Windows, very cool, no need for more reasons.
  • Touch screen is very much appreciated – I believe this is the future of computers and Windows 8 is really much better with touch screen.
  • It MUST have SSD hard drive. I have spend way too long using traditional hard drives and suffering the killer slow performance they have.
  • Last, but not least is the price, of course. I don’t want to spend $2000-$2500 for a laptop (which is roughly the price of MacBook)

So, with those in mind, after browsing and after reading Scott Hanselman’s article about ultrabooks, I narrowed my search to only one ultrabook:

The Lenovo Yoga 13

This marvelous notebook combines all that I can desire in a portable computer. It has i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, Windows 8, touch screen and 256GB SSD. On top of that it looks great, it has a very sleek design and it is combination of ultrabook and tablet. I will give more details in the upcoming review, that I am writing, later this week. Best of all, it costs a little over $1600, including taxes and delivery.

All of this finally led to me, getting a new laptop. The astonishing Lenovo Yoga 13. So far I have been using it for 3 days and it is great!

UPDATE: Read my follow up review of the Lenovo Yoga 13