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Flexibility exercise – Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

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Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
The good tradition of luring readers under the cat with pretty girls is, of course, quite good. But I decided to depart from the tradition and start the story about the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga laptop-transformer with kittens. If you don’t like the article or the laptop, at least look at the kittens, everyone loves them. So, below the kitty is what the IdeaPad Yoga is, what’s interesting about it, and the answer to why Windows 8 has a chance.
With the release of Windows 8 came another event that many critics who are passionate about attacking "eight" failed to notice-the emergence of a new class of devices that are, in fact, the playing field of Windows 8. I’m talking about a variety of transformer laptops with rotating, detaching, swiveling or sliding screens. Of course, that was before Windows 8 came out – but what an ordeal it was to use the interface of 7 (or, God forbid, XP) on a touch screen! For myself, I defined my near-ideal device as: an x86 Windows-based device (determined by the specifics of work – .net programmer), thin, lightweight, with good battery life, a good keyboard, touchpad and screen. And of strange desires – the ability to switch the laptop from "workhorse" mode to "content consumer" – for surfing the web, reading the news, watching shows, etc. Any tablet iPads and the like are rejected as a class, because to have two devices – laptop to do something meaningful, and the tablet, to throw birds at pigs I did not want. Classic laptops were not suited to "content consumption", as lying on the couch blissfully fumbling for a tiny rudimentary touchpad and thinking, where to place a useless keyboard did not want. When Windows 8 was first announced, devices began to pop up like mushrooms after the rain, one of them fitting my needs better than the other – and one of them immediately caught my attention with the most unconventional approach to transformation. We are talking about Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. I have long and eagerly awaited the arrival of the device on sale, and now I finally became its happy owner. The experience of using it so far is not great – two months, but you can already make some conclusions.
Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
So, the hero of the narrative is the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook Transformer. 1.5 kg, 16 mm thickness at the thickest part of the body, Intel Core i5 (there are modifications with i3 / i7), 4Gb RAM (not soldered on the board, but as a slot), 128Gb SSD. One of the most delicious parts is the screen. 13" IPS display with a resolution of 1600 by 900 dots. The keyboard is island, the keys are short and comfortable. Impressive size touchpad with good gesture support (good – means without every second false response). And now let’s go in order.

Package and appearance

Comes in a dull brown box… with a stylish black box containing the laptop itself. In the package is basically nothing – a laptop and a charger. Which, by the way, could do and following the trends Asus (well, and of course MBA) ultrabooks – when the plug is connected to the power supply and the wire leaves only one. The unit itself is thin and light, at least thank you for that!
Despite the fact that the laptop is not made of fashionable and practical aluminum or magnesium alloy, but of dull gray plastic, and even with a soft touch coating around the keyboard – it looks good. Personally, I really like not following the silly trend of repeating MBA and "skinny" the front and side edges of the device, apparently, so that you can claim to be only 3 millimeters thick (*in the thin part of the case). I like the look, it is pleasant to hold in hands, it is not ashamed to go to Starbucks to write a cool project in HTML5.
A separate "chip" is the front cover around the keyboard and touchpad. It is made of soft plastic with a texture and tactile sensation of "leather". It looks a little unusual, but in fact turns out to be very pleasant to the touch, especially in the area where the brushes lie during printing.
Speaking about the appearance we should mention the ports outside – there are 2 USB (2.0 and 3.0), HDMI (not mini, but a full-fledged port), a slot for memory cards (MMC / SD). Also on the edges of the laptop is a couple of buttons – volume control, screen flip lock button, Novo button – enter BIOS or boot mode recovery.

Keyboard and touchpad

Classical Idea/Think-Pad keyboard layout, Home, End, PgUp, PgDown are placed separately, Ctrl and Fn are in their places (Ctrl is on the left), cursor keys are big. In the layout can complain, perhaps, only about the small right Shift. Although the keyboard hides probably the most noticeable fly in the ointment of this device. Despite the overall monolithic and very tight construction, exactly in one place of the keyboard – under the 0 key – it flexes a little when you type "intensively". Of course, it doesn’t prevent you from using it and doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, but, as they say, we’ve found the spoons, but the niggle is there. This can be forgiven for a lower-end notebook, but where Yoga plays, the competition is serious, so such a silly mistake in the build is puzzling. Well, there you have it – only good things will come next!
Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
One of the things about the keyboard that made the Lenovo engineers nod approvingly is the row of function keys. Which – finally! – are made "reversible." That is, without Fn the multimedia function works (volume, screen backlighting, etc.), but with Fn it’s already pressing F1, F2 etc. Hey programmers, don’t rage – I understand your hatred but agree that outside of IDE all those F1’s are not really needed. Except, of course, F4 for Alt+F4 and F5 for F5. And here Lenovo did everything right – these two keys work as usual, F4 closes the current application and F5 sends a request for an update. For those who do not live in this mode – in the BIOS you can switch the default behavior of the functional range to the classic.
Yes, there is no keyboard backlight – which also begs the question "Well, what are you…"
The touchpad is just pride, I’m not being sarcastic. Finally laptop manufacturers have started to get rid of the weird little touchpad complexes. Now it is really comfortable to use, the size is right, multi-touch gestures work fine (no false positives), the surface is nice, the buttons are the whole surface. No complaints here at all.


Above all praise! IPS matrix with a resolution of 1600 by 900 impresses with the clarity and quality of the picture. You forget this when you use the screen all the time – but when you go back from another laptop to the Yoga, everything becomes clear. Moreover, the screen is touch-sensitive, recognizes up to 10 simultaneous presses. The quality of the sensor is not a problem – all gestures work clearly, without false responses or any complaints. It is funny to watch how the habits change even in notebook mode – when the dialog window appears, it is more convenient to simply raise your hand and finger click on the screen "Ok" than to move the mouse cursor and click.
Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13


So far it’s hard to say, because the experience of using it is not too much – but definitely not the worst in the class. Claimed up to 8 hours of battery life, in fact I have a feeling – 5-6 hours with a comfortable brightness of the screen, turned on Wi-Fi and in "office" mode, which does not include compilation of heavy projects in Visual Studio.


Good one. "That’s all I can say about it" (C). Considering that even modern i3’s solve most of my problems perfectly, i5 is even by far the best. Considering the fact that the system is running on SSD, everything becomes, well, just fine. I didn’t run any synthetic benchmarks in light of their complete meaninglessness, but if you want you can probably find tests for mobile i5 on the web. The only thing I would probably like to do is upgrade the memory to 8GB, but that’s not a big problem since the memory is not soldered to the board, but just a 4GB slab which is easily replaceable with 8GB.

Tablet mode

Finally came to the most interesting part – the transformation mechanism. Lenovo went for a very interesting way – why rotate the screen if you can just… bend it back! It is true that with such a turn the keyboard and touchpad are on the bottom of the resulting "tablet", but they are disabled in advance – so there will be no accidental presses. However, you should take into account that even when they are turned off – they still occupy space and interfere with keeping the notebook in the balance. Although, in general, with a weight of 1.5 kg it is unlikely that someone will use the "tablet" on the weight. But because the keyboard is recessed into the body and the bottom is covered with soft touch plastic, the resulting device is well placed on your lap, desk, couch, table on the plane or train, etc. But miracles, as we all know, don’t happen – you can’t make an iPad out of Yoga if you want to. So if it is a slim and handy tablet that you are looking for, it makes sense to look at Windows 8 tablets (such as Acer W510 / W710). However, I got exactly what I wanted – the ability to briefly get a screen to comfortably consume content from the web – and to instantly return to "work" mode if necessary.
Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13
Generally speaking, the Yoga supports two other modes of operation: stand – when the laptop lies with the keyboard down, but the screen is not pressed down, but raised at an angle, and tent – when the laptop stands leaning on the keyboard and the screen. In principle, these two options are suitable for working in movie mode – but I can not say that I actively use them.
Flexibility exercise - Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Heat and Noise

Heat sinks and air vents are made on the back edge, so the laptop can be placed on a soft surface without fear. In office mode, the Yoga is not warm, the temperature is quite comfortable to keep it on your lap. The air is cool, but in spite of this, the fan runs all the time. To tell you the truth, it is quite quiet, so it doesn’t bother you too much. Working in a quiet room you can hear it, but as I said before – does not create discomfort. Lenovo threatened with a BIOS patch to make the fan not always turn on – but I think this will be hard to achieve in such a thin case.

To summarize

So, what kind of device did Lenovo get and who is it for? Basically, for those who use the computer for work. Exclusively as an entertainment device, the Yoga turns out to be not very balanced – the weight and battery life are not tablet-like, the keyboard gets in the way of tablet mode and the price tag is not at all iPad-like. But if you need an ultrabook for work with a good screen, decent battery life and a cool trick with "flipping" the screen to get a-la tablet for a short time – the device turns out to be almost perfect. Separately, I want to mention Windows 8 – on the Yoga it just unfolds in all its glory. There are no questions about the necessity and usefulness of modern UI, tiles, gestures – everything fits into the "touch experience" so harmoniously and well that it’s amazing. After "moving" to Yoga I noticed that almost 80% of the time I started using modern UI applications – mail, browser, tweets and other social stuff, shows, news, etc.
So if you want a workhorse and a trendy cool gadget in one (which is what geeks want!) – the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is a great candidate.
– All images are taken from the Lenovo website. Details can be found at the official website shopap.lenovo.com/en/en/ru/products/laptops/ideapad/yoga/yoga-13

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