Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

Lenovo was the first manufacturer to really nail the Windows 8 hybrid, and the Yoga 2 Pro sees it take the winning formula and refine it even further. With two new 11.6in and 13.3in models joining the ranks, Lenovo has retained the double-jointed hinge, streamlined the design and packed in Intel Haswell CPUs for good measure. The big news, though, is that the 13.3in model has also crammed in the small matter of 4.32 million extra pixels – it now has a high-DPI, 3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
The beauty of the original Yoga was always its simplicity. Where other designs give away clues to their hybrid abilities with clearly unusual-looking screen bezels or telltale release catches, it’s impossible to recognise the Yoga’s split personality at a mere glance.
The Yoga 2 Pro is no exception to this rule: from without, it’s just as you’d expect an Ultrabook to look; that is, gorgeous. There’s the same hardback-book-inspired design as the previous model, with dark, silvery metal lapping across the lid and base, and very slightly overhanging the edges. Gone is the predominantly square, somewhat frumpy profile of the original, however: the Yoga 2 now looks far more curved and streamlined, with its base tapering delicately up towards its front edge.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
Lenovo’s engineers haven’t just tweaked the design for the sake of it. The new model not only looks prettier, but it’s also lighter and much more solid-feeling than before. The Yoga 2 now weighs a relatively dainty 1.39kg – 140g less than the IdeaPad Yoga 13 – a mere 60g heavier than Apple’s MacBook Air 13in, and only 100g heavier than Sony’s featherweight hybrid, the VAIO Fit 13A multi-flip. It’s also a millimetre thinner than last year’s Yoga 13.
Yet where the Yoga 13 felt a little flexible in places, the new model’s build is rock-solid. Granted, it’s still no match for the Apple MacBook Air 13in, but it isn’t a million miles off. The base is super-stiff, and the lid feels capable of protecting the high-DPI display secreted within.

Your flexible friend

In contrast with so many hybrid designs, the Yoga 2 Pro is refreshingly free from compromises when used as a laptop. Tilt back the sturdy-feeling lid, and you’re greeted by a full-sized, Scrabble-tile keyboard (which, incidentally, is now backlit), and a buttonless touchpad. There are minor niggles – the half-height Enter key, and the strip of navigation keys on its right edge take a little getting used to – but, most importantly, there’s just the right amount of resistance to each keystroke to make for comfortable typing, and the touchpad works well, responding reliably to everything from simple left-clicks to edge-swipes.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
It’s the double-jointed hinge that allows the Yoga 2 to be so much more than a laptop, however. Push the display backwards, and it smoothly rotates backwards through 360 degrees, making it possible to flatten it against the back and use the Yoga 2 as a tablet. And although the keyboard and touchpad are left exposed when you do this, they’re disabled as soon as the screen passes the 180-degree mark.
That’s not all, though. Tilt the screen part of the way back, and the Yoga 2 can be up-ended and used in “Tent” mode, which is perfect for achieving a comfortable screen angle on the fold-out tray of a train or plane seat. Alternatively, placing the keyboard face down and tilting the display backwards turns the Yoga 2’s base into a stable stand, while giving plenty of forward- and backward-tilt adjustment. It’s an ingenious design

Better, Faster, Stronger

It’s all change on the inside. Our review unit partnered a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-4200U CPU with 4GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD – a very reasonable specification given the price. The result is solid performance, and the Yoga 2 dispatched our Real World Benchmarks with an overall score of 0.61. The Samsung SSD, meanwhile, does its best to keep boot times and application times swift, and while it isn’t technically as fast as the best drives (we recorded sequential read and write speeds of 488MB/sec and 130MB/sec in the AS SSD benchmark), we encountered no issues with system responsiveness.
Meanwhile, the Intel Haswell CPU makes the most of the 54Wh battery sealed inside the Yoga 2. A result of 7hrs 50mins in our light-use battery test is some way behind the longest-lasting Haswell laptops, but it’s certainly acceptable. Notably, it’s on a par with the far pricier Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
Last, but by no means least, is Lenovo’s most arresting, and potentially most divisive, addition to the Yoga 2 Pro: its 13.3in, 3,200 x 1,800 touchscreen. Just like the Ativ Book 9 Plus, the first impression is one of a jaw-dropping level of sharpness. Whether you’re viewing 4K video on YouTube or high-resolution photographs, leaning closer and closer to the screen reveals more and more intense levels of detail.
Subjectively, the image quality on offer is very good indeed. Colours do tend towards over-saturation. Skin tones are a touch too ruddy, and primary colours a little too intense. However, it’s an enjoyably overblown performance.
Put to the test, the Lenovo’s panel is remarkably similar to that of the Samsung. Maximum brightness is a little lower, at 317cd/m2, but the contrast ratio of 634:1, average Delta E of 7.2 and overall colour balance and gamut suggest that, beneath their radically different exteriors, both are using exactly the same panel. Indeed, the same criticisms we made of the Samsung can be made here: such high pixel density clearly has its downsides, and Full HD displays offer a more colour-accurate performance.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro
By far the biggest issue with the Lenovo’s display, however, is one of straightforward compatibility. In everyday use, there aren’t too many issues. With Windows 8.1’s scaling settings set to 200%, text, icons and Windows menus are all sensibly sized, and applications such as Microsoft Office, or Internet Explorer, exhibit few side effects from the sheer number of pixels – text is beautifully crisp, and web content comes through with pin-sharp vibrancy.
Fire up third-party applications such as Adobe Photoshop CC, or Photoshop Elements, however, and you’re faced with unusably shrunken interfaces and pin-prick icons. At the other extreme, Xara’s Photo & Graphic Designer 9 simply enlarges every element of its interface, using four of the tiny physical pixels to create larger, virtual, onscreen pixels. While this does render the interface at a large-enough size to retain usable icons and legible menus, it also reduces the screen’s effective resolution, wasting the extra pixel density of the high-DPI display.
The truth is an awkward one for Windows devices: Windows is ready for high-DPI, but the applications aren’t. Apple’s MacBook Pros, on the other hand, are slowly gaining enough application support to make the most of Retina displays.