The original Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (see our review, Issue 391) was one of our favourite Windows 8 laptops of 2013, but has since been overtaken by newer models with better screens and longer life batteries. The latest model, the Yoga 2 Pro, has all the latest technology, but the result is underwhelming.
The biggest change sees the 13in screen packed with a whopping resolution of 3200×1800 pixels. This is mice the 1600×900 resolution of the original Yoga and, in programs designed for this super- high resolution, onscreen text is so sharp it looks like a printed page, while images are incredibly detailed. The problem is that most Windows programs haven’t been optimised tor this level of1 resolution. Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Office 2013 are among the few that have, while Google Chrome and Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements are still waiting. Programs that aren’t optimised are displayed onscreen with controls and text that are too small to be of much use.
Another development Is the inclusion of one of Intel’s latest ITaswell processors, the dual core 1.8 GHz Core i7 4500U. This, along with 8GB of memory, makes it fast enough for use as your main computer. However, even though Haswell processors are power efficient, the Yoga 2 Pro’s battery life lags behind that of other
1.8GHz Intei Core ¡7 450QU dual-core processor
• 8GB memorv “256 GB SSD »Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics • B.3in 3200×1800-p<xel screen
* 8Q2.11b/g/n ■ Windows 8.1 * 1.4kg weight (1.7kg with charger) •16x330x220mm (HxWxD)« One-year warranty www.snipca.com/11184
Haswell-equipped laptops, partly because it has the same size battery as the original Yoga. Battery life was just Under eight hours when scrolling through a text document, and just over six hours when playing videos continuously. Although not bad, similar laptops can last at least 50 per cent longer.
It’s likely Lenovo kept the same size battery to keep the weight down. At 1.4kg, it’s light for a laptop, but too heavy for a tablet. As with the original Yoga, the Yoga 2 Pro’s screen has a double-jointed hinge that lets you fold the laptop right back on itself so the lid lies flat against the base, making it usable as a tablet.
In this position, the keyboard and touchpad end up tucked behind the screen and turn off automatically, but it felt uncomfortable to hold in our hands. While still tar heavier than the iPad and Android tablets, the Yoga’s design compensates for this with a few nifty’ tricks. You can stand it up like a tent or orientate the keyboard for use as a stand. These options are more practical when using the touchscreen than simply holding the heavy Yoga 2 Pro like any other tablet. It’s still large and chunky though, and there’s the occasional gust of uncomfortably warm air from the cooling vents blowing over your hands, so it’s still not as pleasurable to use as other tablets.
The Yoga 2 Pro is more practical to use as a laptop than as a tablet. While the keyboard has less travel than other laptop keyboards we’ve seen recently, we soon got used to it. You can type quickly and comfortably on keys as large as these. The touchpad is also large, accurate and very responsive, with plenty of feedback. For such a slender laptop, there’s a reasonable selection of ports – two USB3 ports, an SD card slot and a micro HDMI connector. Like an increasing number of laptops, there’s no Ethernet port. The 256GB SSD is larger than we’d expect in a laptop at this price.
The Yoga 2 Pro isn’t a bad lightweight laptop, but it’s simply outclassed by rival models. Although it doesn’t have a touchscreen and has less memory, the identically priced Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13 has much longer batteiy life and a better selection of ports (see our review, Issue 411). Plus, its Mac OS X operating system has far better app support for its high-resolution screen.
A good thin and light laptop let down by disappointing battery life and poor software support for its super-high resolution screen
Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13
It s slightly slower and has less storage, but battery life and software support for the screen are far better