Convertible laptop tablet computers are all the rage nowadays, spurred on by reducing prices and improved specifications. Why would you not want the best of both worlds, a laptop computer with the power to run Windows and games, and a tablet computer which gives you touchscreen ease of use for browsing and entertainment? Now the king of the convertibles, Lenovo, has come out with its latest in its Yoga range, and it’s an amazing piece of kit all round.
On the face of it, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is nothing more than an incremental upgrade to its successor, the Yoga 2 Pro, but that’s missing the point that it packs a whole bunch of cool new features which really make it stand out. For one thing, it is the thinnest convertible computer in the world, which at its slimmest end is the width of a pencil. That may not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to convertibles, you need ultra thin for the tablet part to work properly. It also sports a processor which is strong enough to handle Windows, which the old models with the Atom processors barely managed. That’s also a very big deal.
The Yoga 3 Pro comes in the kind of suitably slick box which we’re now getting used to for computers, as they mutate from business machines to home entertainment computers. The box actually holds very little, just the power cord and block and a slim getting started guide, but that’s really all you need. The computer carries everything it needs inside, including a brand new Intel M Core processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD solid state drive, and a 13.3 QHD touchscreen which boasts a ridiculously high spec 3200 x 1800 resolution. Oh and it features a JBL speaker system and Windows 8.1.
The first surprise is how incredibly slim the product is. It really is the thinnest in its class, and in fact it’s hard to believe they could make the screen so skinny and yet not suffer from ultra breakability in use. But we tried to bend and flex the whole thing, and came away extremely impressed with how rigid the chassis and screen are. Not even a squeak or a rattle from a loose component or panel. It’s very well built! Check out our video below to see our run through of the features.
But sleek looks alone don’t make for a satisfying result, unless it’s allied to a decent amount of computing power, and here again the Yoga 3 Pro doesn’t really disappoint. It is, of course, still hampered by running the bloat-fest that is Windows 8.x, but that apart, you can tell that this combination of the new higher power Intel processor and Windows works much better than previous Lenovo convertibles. As you can see from the video above, it ran our test game of Asphalt 7 in high resolution at a solid frame rate, with no jitters and pop ups from the graphics at all. Which bodes well for doing standard work on it in office productivity mode.
The new Intel processor is also supposed to improve battery life by at least 1.7 hours, with a claimed maximum of 9 hours in use. We only registered around 4 hours on the gauge after an overnight charge, but we’re assuming that this will improve over time as the battery beds in, and the Windows power management system starts to optimize the power use properly. In fact there’s an optimizer app integrated into the system which has the job of doing just that.
Ergonomically the keyboard and trackpad are excellent, with just the right amount of feel, and the 10 point touchscreen also feels silky smooth as you navigate around. We’re still not comfortable with the slightly laggy experience of Windows 8 compared with Android, but it’s getting better each iteration, and hey, maybe Windows 10 will actually produce a snappy Windows computer once more. We can wish, can’t we? On the plus side, the device comes with a bunch of apps installed which help to make it easier to manage and learn for newcomers to the whole Windows 8 environment.
It’s the sheer versatility of this computer that makes it such a cool product to use. The fact that you can browse effortlessly with the screen in portrait mode, perfect for things like ebooks and web pages, and then switch over to pound the keyboard like a ‘normal’ laptop computer is awesome. Yes this has been possible for a while now, but this time the processor and RAM gives enough oomph to Windows to actually make it workable. It could be better, but it’s at least workable.
Anyone looking for a cool compromise between a laptop and a tablet computer should definitely put this device on the top of the evaluation list, as it really does make a lot of sense. You’re always going to be limited by the storage capacity on these products (256 GB is OK, but you’re not going to want to store all your audio, photos and video files on this, unless you’re just starting out) and you have to realize that upgrading anything is out of the question without a degree in Computer Geekery.
But for Mr and Mrs General User, this is going to offer a really solid computer with enough style, performance and flexibility to impress the neighbors, friends, family and anyone else still living in the dark old luggable PC age. Very cool and very stylish indeed.
$1349.99 / £TBA
Processor – Intel Core M-70 processor
Operating System – Up to Windows 8.1 Pro
Size & Weight – 11.8 x 9 x 0.5 ~2.6 lbs
Hinge – 6-hinge watchband design
Display – 13.3″ QHD+ 3200 x 1800 IPS multitouch display
Battery Life -Up to 9 hours*
Audio – JBL speakers with Waves Audio certification