Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 review
Other Windows 8 hybrids have gone crazy with intricate sliding mechanisms and ingenious flipping, rotating screens, but the Lenovo Yoga 13 keeps it simple. Thanks to an ultra-flexible hinge, the Yoga 13’s lid rotates right through 360 degrees, allowing it to flit between laptop and tablet modes with ease.
From a distance, the Yoga 13 looks similar to Lenovo’s Ultrabook, the IdeaPad U300s. There’s the same hardback-book-inspired styling, with the silvery metal of the lid and base sandwiching a matte-black interior. It’s a smart, attractive laptop.
At 1.52kg, it’s also only 200g heavier than its Ultrabook sibling, although the move from a metal keyboard surround to a textured, rubberised plastic leaves the Yoga 13’s base feeling a touch more flexible. It’s immensely solid by the standards of its hybrid peers, however, and the simple, double-jointed hinge feels likely to outlast the more fiddly designs we've seen.
The perfect compromise?
Unlike many of its rivals, the simple design means Lenovo hasn’t had to cut back on comfort. In laptop mode there’s precious little, if any, compromise. There’s a large, wide Synaptics buttonless touchpad, and our only complaint about the keyboard concerns key size – we’d prefer them to be larger. Nevertheless, the scooped-out profile of the keys grips the fingers agreeably, and each gives way with a sharp, positive dig of feedback. The wide, rubberised wristrest is comfy too.
Push the display backwards and the Yoga 13 contorts into an array of different positions. In “tent mode” the Yoga 13 stands on a desk like a name place card at a wedding supper. Lay the base flat with the keyboard facing down, and the hinge allows the touchscreen to be tilted back and angled just so. Fold it back completely flat, and it can be used as a straight tablet – in all modes, the keyboard and mouse are automatically disabled just as the screen passes the horizontal.
That means there’s no danger of inadvertently typing random letters as you hold it, but it still makes for a seriously heavy tablet, and there’s no doubt the exposed keyboard and touchpad feel a bit odd. For casual web surfing or video watching, however, the touchscreen and flexible hinge are a winning combination.