“The lightest and thinnest hybrid around”
The Yoga line from Lenovo consists of some of the best laptop-tablet hybrid devices – a devicew with so much in it, that almost every major hardware manufacturer has tried to imitate in a way. Because of intense competition, it is not enough for the screen to be a bend 360 degrees anymore, but rather be much better. With a lighter and slimmer design, and a special hinge, Lenovo has managed to up the ante with the Yoga 3 Pro.
Starting at $1,149, the Yoga 3 Pro is extremely thin and light-weight; 14% lighter and 17% thinner than the Yoga 2, according to Lenovo. At a thickness of 0.5 inches and weighing around 2.62 pounds, it also happens to be smaller than the MacBook Air.
The Yoga 3 Pro uses Intel’s new Core M-70 processor which allows devices to be made extremely thin. It also generates very little heat – so much so that Lenovo hasn’t even added a fan. Another innovation is the brand new “watchband” hinge – comprising of more than 800 pieces of steel and aluminum – which lets you easily change the angle of the screen.
Featured connectors include two USB 3.0 ports, microHDMI port, a power slot (which can double-up as a USB 2.0 port), an audio jack and a 4-in-1 card reader.
Design wise, the Yoga 3 Pro is one of the appealing laptops around. The body has a magnesium matte finish which looks great while being resistant to smudges and fingerprints. It is also available in three different colors – Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver and Champagne Gold. Inside, the magnesium is covered with a soft-dotted black material which is great for the wrist.
The biggest design element is, of course, the hinge. I’m still not sure if I like its look or not. It is very sturdy and has enough give to make Multi-Mode use easy. The inbuilt Yoga Harmony software kicks in when you change between modes. For example, push it 270 degrees to activate Stand Mode and Harmony automatically displays a screen with frequently-used apps for that particular mode. Even though it’s a nice touch, it isn’t compatible with a lot of software – which may be fixed later on.
The 13.3 inch touchscreen in the Yoga 3 has a resolution of 3200×1800, and forms colorful, detailed and bright images. It can display 99.3% of the sRGB color range, making it better than the displays in the MacBook Air (63%), the Surface Pro 3 (97%) and the Aspire A7 (96%). But, color accuracy is a bit off and it sometimes has a yellowish tinge. Viewing angles are a bit limited with colors appearing slightly washed out when looking from 45-degrees wide of center.
Corning’s Gorilla Glass protects the display, making it easy to clean as well. But, the glass is reflective, and you may find it hard to see the display clearly under certain conditions.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Like other Lenovo laptops, the keyboard is well-spaced and has a curvy shape which makes it easy to type. The deck is covered with a rubberized material which provides excellent wrist support as well. While the keyboard is excellent overall, it is a bit lacking in tactile feedback. It requires less force to press a key than most other keyboards, which could make touch typing a bit hard initially.
The button-less touchpad is mostly accurate. It executed most Windows 8 and Multi-Finger gestures smoothly. But, it has a tendency to get stuck from time to time when swiping long distances. Even the multitouch gestures sometimes required a second or third try. Unlike many other button-less touchpads, the one on the Yoga 3 showed no jerkiness when double clicking.
The Yoga 3 Pro happens to be one of the first devices to use Intel’s Core M processor which uses less energy than the company’s Core-i series and is more powerful than the older Atom range. It is coupled with 8GB of RAM. On synthetic benchmarking tests, the Yoga 3 managed to outperform Atom-based devices (like the Lenovo ThinkPad 10) but received lower scores than Core i5 based Ultrabooks (Acer Aspire S7 and Dell XPS 13).It comes with a speedy 256GB (or 512GB) SSD which booted into Windows 8.1 in just 8 seconds – much faster than the average of 13 seconds.
It is obvious that the Yoga 3 Pro is not built for gaming. But, the integrated graphics processor can handle 4K video well and even manages to achieve acceptable framerates in World of Warcraft. The 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme score of 17,283 is not only lower than the category average (20,207), but also a shade lower than the Yoga 2 Pro (17,814).
While the Yoga 3 Pro is an excellent hybrid, battery life is not one of its strong points, even though Lenovo claims it will last up to 9 hours. In our continuous-browsing test, the 44Wh Li-Po battery ran out of juice in just over 6 hours, which is much lower than the MacBook Air (12:20) and less than the Surface Pro 3 (7:42) and Dell XPS 13 (8:38). Battery life did improve a bit with the Harmony software uninstalled.
- Thin and light
- Excellent display
- Great audio
- Battery life
- Start button needs fixing
- Touchpad can be inaccurate
The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is an extremely good looking 13-in laptop which can also double up as a tablet. It is a worthy upgrade to the Yoga 2 Pro and will provide stiff competition to products like Microsoft’s Surface 3 Pro. But, there is plenty of room for improvement, especially when it comes to battery life.