Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Review
When Lenovo first introduced us to the Yoga, it certainly attracted a bit of attention. Here was a laptop that could quickly (and literally) fold over to transform into a tablet, and vice-versa. While the Yoga was certainly a very capable laptop / tablet hybrid, it did have a few hiccups of its own that made it a little less of a joy to use. In the hopes of perfecting their Yoga device, Lenovo have released the Yoga 2 Pro which brings a number of subtle improvements.
Build quality & design
While the original Yoga came in a brushed silver coating, the Yoga 2 Pro comes in a striking orange color. The matte covering has a slightly rubber feel to it, making the Yoga 2 easy to gasp when carrying it around.
The ports remain exactly the same, in the form of two USB, mini-HDMI, memory card reader, and headphone jack. There’s also a volume rocker and power button, but I wish that the power button wasn’t so recessed, as it made it a bit difficult to locate at times.
As with the original Yoga, the Yoga 2 can be used in one of four different positions, thanks to its industrial-strength hinges. The first mode is a traditional laptop mode, the second is a stand mode which is good for presentations or watching multimedia, the third is a ‘tent’ mode which turns the Yoga 2 upside down, and the last one is the tablet mode where the keyboard is folded all the way back. The only mode that I rarely used was the ‘tent’ mode, simply because the only scenario I used it in was in conjunction with Lenovo’s “Chef” app to display recipes while cooking. Regardless of which mode you use the most, the Yoga 2 can certainly stand a fair bit of its abuse, and its hinge has been designed to withstand countless hours of swiveling back and forth.
Benchmarks & Performance
The hardware powering the Yoga 2 is on par with what you’d find in other Ultrabooks, and handles most tasks with ease. Surfing a website while Skyping at the same time was no problem at all, and every single app I launched opened within seconds. Bootup time was also very impressive, with the Yoga 2 performing a cold-boot in just under eight seconds. Waking up the device was also almost instantaneous, with the screen returning to life in just under two seconds. This makes the Yoga 2 incredibly easy to take around for some work, fold down when not in use, and then open up again when needed.
In tablet mode the keyboard and trackpad are automatically disabled to avoid accidental input. It’s still a bit strange to feel the keys at the back when holding the Yoga 2 in tablet mode, but it’s not a complete deal breaker. As you switch around to the different positions of the Yoga 2, a little notification pops up in the top right hand corner, prompting you to access the Lenovo store to download more apps that are optimized for the particular mode you’re operating in.
Lenovo has bundled a fair amount of apps and software with the Yoga 2, none of which you can really classify as bloatware. Each app is designed to show off the unique features of the Yoga 2, and of course if you so wish you can get rid of all of them in a few simple swipes. There are some excellent apps worth mentioning however, most noticeably the “Yoga Chef” app which gives you access to thousands of recipes (even when offline) with simple step by step instructions. There are also apps for photo editing, and the “Yoga Camera Man” app even takes a photo after you say “One, two, three, cheese!”. There’s also a Yoga Phone Companion app, which lets you share content securely to and from an Android phone. Lastly, you also have the Dragon Assistant for controlling your Yoga 2 using your voice, though it’s a feature I don’t think most people would use unless they were incredibly lazy. Lastly, Lenovo Transition automatically makes certain apps full-screen depending on what mode you’re using, while VeriFace lets you unlock your laptop with facial recognition. There are a number of additional apps available specifically for download from the Lenovo store, so it’s worth having a look at what’s on offer.
The one thing I absolutely love about the Yoga 2 is the screen. The original Yoga had a resolution of 1,600 x 900, but the Yoga 2 blows that away with a resolution of 3,200 x 1,800. This incredible resolution makes text appear very crisp and clear, and watching video content on it is an absolute dream. The screen still is a bit too reflective for my taste, so keep this in mind when you’re using the Yoga 2 outdoors or in a bright office environment. The touchscreen response on the Yoga 2 has also improved, with the ten-point touch working flawlessly, compared to the original Yoga.
The keyboard remains relatively unchanged from the original Yoga, offering a mostly comfortable typing experience. The rubberized palm rest makes it easier to type for longer periods of time, and the keys are generally quite responsive to frantic typists such as myself. The right-hand Shift key is still smaller than the left one, as in the original Yoga, but I learned to adjust my typing accordingly so that I correctly hit the Shift key instead of the nearby Up arrow key. You also get a backlit keyboard this time around, which is a welcome blessing.
The trackpad is spacious enough to comfortably navigate around, and supports side-swiping to access the Charms menu in the OS. There were a few times where it was slightly more sensitive than I liked, but fiddling around in the settings fixed this for me.
Despite having to power a super-gorgeous screen, the battery life on the Yoga 2 was quite impressive, lasting around six hours of straight-use. This involved streaming an HD movie from my network while in tablet mode, typing out this review, playing a few games, and listening to a few online radio stations. The Yoga 2 is certainly able to hold its own for most road-warriors, so you won’t have to worry about having to regularly rush to the nearest power outlet.
Heat and Noise levels
The Yoga 2 remained whisper-quiet during use, even while it was being benchmarked. I did notice that the lower half of the device got a bit warm to the touch when in tablet mode, but I wasn’t able to figure out why, as I was just doing very basic tasks with the device.
While the Yoga 2 Pro offers a very good laptop / tablet combination, it ultimately makes an excellent laptop more so than a tablet. This is down to two things – the first with Windows not being the most pretty to use in Portrait mode, and the second being that it’s still a bit weird to feel the keys at the back of the device when it’s folded into tablet mode. However, these are far from deal breakers, and at the end of the day the Yoga 2 Pro is probably one of the best Ultrabooks I’ve seen this year. Its beautiful design combined with decent hardware make it an excellent choice for anyone looking for a superior yet affordable Ultrabook.