LENOVO REVEALED a host of Yoga devices at an event in London, the most notable being the Yoga 3 Pro, which is the firm's slimmest convertible laptop yet, featuring Intel's latest 14nm fanless Core M processor.
Unveiled via a live satellite link-up with corny Hollywood actor Ashton Kutcher, whom Lenovo apparently employed as a "product engineer" last year, the "ultra slim" Yoga 3 Pro is the successor to the IdeaPad Yoga 13 line, with a new name format and boasting a 13in QHD+ screen in a thin and light frame.
Design and build
What has always made the Lenovo's Yoga devices stand out from many other laptops on the market is its 360-degree hinge. This flexibility makes it superior to many other notebook devices out there, as the Yoga's simple design enables it to be used in a number of ways.
For example, by rotating the display back from 'notebook mode', it can be bent into either 'tent mode', which allows the Yoga to stand on its two parts so it can be watched on uneven surfaces, 'stand mode', which enables the screen to be viewed while being supported by the keyboard, or 'tablet mode', where the bottom of the keyboard and lid meet so it can be used as a tablet.
The Yoga 3 Pro builds on this successful design with an updated 'watchband hinge design', which Lenovo said has helped to shave 17 percent from its predecessor's overall frame size.
The design is interesting and unique, but it does look a little odd at first glance. We can imagine it could prove something of a talking point, though, as it does look unusual. Saying that, it works perfectly well, slipping easily between modes with the flick of a wrist.
Measuring just 12.8mm thick and weighing 1.19kg, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is thinner and lighter than a Macbook Air, making it what we can imagine to be a great travelling companion.
It definitely deserves a medal for premium design and build when compared with many other laptops we've tested recently. It has a smart look about it and feels luxurious as well. Saying that, for a £1200 starting cost, it should do.
We found that the silvery-grey finish is stylish but simple enough to complement other devices you might want to use alongside it.
Lenovo has built an accelerometer into the Yoga 3 Pro so that the screen can detect whether it's in landscape or portrait mode, and rotate accordingly. When in tablet mode, the Yoga 3 Pro can be controlled manually via physical volume keys on the side as well as a start button on the front, so you don't have to open it up and control it using the keyboard, which we thought was a nice touch.
Build quality is also a strong point for the Yoga Pro 3, which is essential owing to its flexibility compared with other laptops on the market. Both the keyboard and the screen feel robust and sturdy despite the Yoga's slim, lightweight construction. Twisting the display in opposite directions at both sides gave us no cause for concern, as it felt sturdy and maintained considerable resistance.
The Yoga 3 Pro's Qwerty keyboard feels great to type on and was a pleasure to use in our short tests, though we'd have to try it out properly by constructing long documents or complex spreadsheets. The keyboard is also backlit, meaning it's ideal for typing in low light conditions.
As for the trackpad, it seems to work well but it's worth noting that it's multi-gesture, so it might take a bit of getting used to if you're new to it. But you can turn this option off if it's not your thing.
The Yoga 3 Pro features a 13in Quad High Definition Plus screen with a 3200x1800 resolution, which means that all images, whether movie clips, photographs or webpages, look brilliantly clear, sharp and vibrant.
Pixels aren't visible unless you look closely, and viewing angles are good. Moving images appear sharp and, on first tests, the touchscreen commands seem very fluid. We enjoyed using the touchscreen to skip between tabs and apps, for example.
However, it could be argued that the native resolution of 3200x1800 is not necessary for a screen of this size, as a lower resolution would still give it plenty of screen real estate without making onscreen text appear too small. We aren't complaining at the high standard of the screen, as we can imagine movies look great on it.
The brightness of the Yoga 3 Pro appears similar to that of the Yoga 11S and doesn't match the level of brightness we'd prefer, such as on a very brightly lit Macbook or Dell XPS 15 screen. Nevertheless, it appears bright enough for general day-to-day use.
The Yoga 3 Pro we tested had a 1Ghz Intel Core M 5Y10a processor with 8GB of RAM, running Windows 8.1. Unfortunately, we didn't have long enough to test its performance capabilities during our brief hands-on time.
But it seemed very responsive to commands, probably due to its Intel Core M processor, and we found that the device offered an all round fluid experience.
Previously codenamed Broadwell-Y, the dual-core 14nm Intel Core M chip was unveiled at IFA in September and boasts 1.3 billion transistors on a die size of 82mm and promises to "reinvent the notebook".
Aimed at increasing the performance of 2-in-1 convertible and detachable laptops and tablets due to their increasing popularity and rapid growth in the market, the Intel Core M chip looks to revolutionise the notebook segment.
Intel has said that its fanless design will help achieve this, allowing for slimmer and thus more portable device designs between 7-10mm thick, depending on screen size, at thermal design power levels of "well under" 10W, therefore offering much longer battery life than previous generations.
The Yoga Pro 3 is touted as offering nine hours of battery life which, thanks to Core M, is great for a laptop of this size. We are looking forward to seeing how true these claims are when we review the Yoga 3 Pro over a longer period of time.
The Yoga 3 Pro offers a fresh and innovative design in the Windows 8.1 laptop market and, in our short experience with it, we found it fun to use with fast and responsive performance.
The Yoga 3 Pro will be available in orange, silver or gold starting from £1,299 in the UK when it hits the market towards the end of October. Check back soon for our full review. µ