Product Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 12
Specs Intel 5th-gen (Broadwell) i3 5005U, i5 5300U or i7 5500U processor, 12.5in, 1920x1080, 16:9 aspect ratio, IPS touchscreen display, up to 1TB HD, up to 256GB SSD or 500GB SSHD storage, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, Windows 8.1, Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Pro, Lithium-polymer battery, 316x221x18.8mm, 1.58kg
Price From £680
THE LENOVO THINKPAD YOGA 12 immediately sounds like a winning formula. The Thinkpad series has long maintained a reputation for offering well-built, highly functional business notebooks, while the Yoga line has given Lenovo plenty of experience in crafting modern laptop/tablet hybrids.
Indeed, this is no consumer tablet with some flimsy clip-on keyboard. With the Thinkpad Yoga 12, Lenovo is looking to combine ultrabook-level performance with the flexibility of a convertible device.
The Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 12's headline feature is, of all things, its hinge. This enables the keyboard segment to pivot a full 360 degrees, effectively turning it into either a base or stand for the touchscreen. A full rotation turns the device into a flat tablet configuration, though measuring 316x221x18.8mm and weighing 1.58kg, it's a bit too clunky and heavy to be comfortably used in this way.
That said, the hinge itself is superbly constructed. It doesn't resist too much when opening the lid, but holds firm enough to minimise wobbling when using the keyboard as a base for the touchscreen.
That build quality extends to rest of the machine, too. As with previous Thinkpads, the Yoga 12 is built with a magnesium alloy chassis, giving it a pleasant matte look and impressive durability. After a week of use as our main laptop, including several trips in an unpadded bag, it suffered only some very minor scuffing, most of which could be buffed out with a cloth.
Similarities with Lenovo's older designs don't end with the chassis. The keyboard layout, signature mouse nub, chunky left/right click buttons and slight red highlights make the Thinkpad Yoga 12 a dead ringer for its more conventional ultrabook cousin, the Thinkpad X250. That's not a complaint, of course - the keyboard in particular is fantastic, with well-spaced keys that press with a satisfyingly generous amount of travel.
Plus, when the keyboard has been rotated further than 180 degrees - when using one of the tablet configurations, in other words - it will lock to avoid accidental presses. A small feature, but one that's certainly useful when on the move.
Connectivity options are also pretty good. Two USB 3.0 ports join a mini HDMI socket, four-in-one card reader and Lenovo's proprietary OneLink charging and data port. This is adequate by ultrabook standards and exceptional by tablet standards, since most don't even offer a single full-size USB port.
Our test model also included an optional, Wacom-made stylus. It's impressively precise and doesn't require a battery, making it slim enough to slide into a slot on the side of the chassis. It's a nifty little extra to plump for, though the decision to place said port right next to the power button might be questioned by those with large hands.
There's a lot going for the Lenovo's 12.5in screen. It's multitouch compatible, boasts the great viewing angles we'd expect from an IPS display, and at 1920x1080 resolution with a 16:9 aspect ratio, we could fit a lot of tasks on-screen while keeping everything looking crisp and sharp.
Colour quality, however, was a letdown. Reds and oranges appear fairly rich but blues, greens and yellows often look washed-out. It's far from a ruinous level of desaturation, but still disappointing, considering the display's considerable qualities otherwise.
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