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Monday, August 04, 2014

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Ultrabook Review

Introduction, Specifications & The Design


When I saw the first-generation Yoga Pro, I was impressed but wasn't sold on it right away. It had a 1600x900 display and no backlit keyboard, which were two things I really needed before slapping down $1000+ on a new Ultrabook. Well, when Lenovo unveiled its Yoga 2 Pro, I was sold...instantly!

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In a world where notebooks are dominated by Apple's MacBook Pro, the Ultrabook market doesn't get much love. There are so many options to choose from, but no stand out winners. Samsung has some great Ultrabooks, but so do Dell, Acer, and ASUS. Lenovo, in my opinion, has the Ultrabook of all Ultrabooks, so you're going to want to read on to find out why.

Starting at $820, it's an impressive deal; the model I purchased for myself was the Core i7-powered, 256GB SSD model that is priced at around $1200. For $1200, you're getting a serious piece of hardware. Let's get into the specifications now, something that the Yoga 2 Pro kicks some serious ass in.

First off, we have the beautiful 13.3-inch 3200x1800 touch-capable display, the Haswell-based Core i7-4500U processor, 8GB of DDR3L 1600MHz RAM, a 256GB SSD, Windows 8.1 64-bit, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. All of this weighs in at just 3.1 pounds (or 1.4kg) and has dimensions of 13x8.7x0.6 inches--nice and thin and, most of all, light.

The base model starts with a Core i3 processor, but it can be optioned up to the Core i7 processor that we have here today. The basic Y2P starts off with 4GB of RAM, but I would highly suggest upgrading to the 8GB of RAM model, with the same advice being in play for the SSD side of things. Lenovo bakes in 128GB of SSD storage by default, but I would suggest opting for the 256GB model. For the power users, there is a 512GB model, too.

One thing you'll have to take note of is that the RAM is soldered onto the mainboard of the Yoga 2 Pro itself, so there is no upgradeable RAM option here; you'll have to opt for the 8GB model, something I really think you should do if you purchase the Y2P.

I found the mix of the Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD to be a powerful combination of specifications, especially when you consider the 13.3-inch 3200x1800 display that you have right in front of you.

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When it comes to looking around the Yoga 2 Pro, we have a few things to talk about. On the left side of the Ultrabook, we have the power socket, USB 2.0 port, micro HDMI port (which is 4K-capable, something we talk about later in the review), and SD card reader.

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On the right side of the Y2P, we have (from left to right) the power/charging light, power button, a button for rotation lock of the display, volume up/down buttons, a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack, and a USB 3.0 port, something I wish there were more of.


The Design - Beautiful & Light, Powerful & Reserved


Lenovo has baked an absolutely beautiful design onto the Yoga 2 Pro, which feels just as thin as a MacBook Air (at its biggest point) and nearly as light. The Yoga 2 Pro feels great in the hand, where it feels comfortable to tote around in just one hand, something I do quite often with the Y2P thanks to its versatility.

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Credit has to go to Lenovo for its work on the hinges, something that makes all of its transforming into its various modes (which we're going to go into now) possible.

Lenovo's party trick with the Yoga 2 Pro is just how versatile it is: if you push the touchscreen back, it will fold not only dead straight with the keyboard, but it will continue to bend back until it goes into "Tablet Mode."

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The Yoga 2 Pro has four different "modes" that it can transform into, with the first being "Tablet Mode." I use my Y2P in Tablet Mode probably 75-80 percent of the time, but the other modes, Tent Mode and Stand Mode, aren't completely useless.

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Tablet Mode is where you bend the screen all the way back, which disables the keyboard and turns the Yoga 2 Pro into a 13.3-inch QHD tablet. This is something I actually used with my 3-year-old daughter as she loves playing some basic games in this mode.

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Tent Mode is something I actually used often when travelling. When I was relaxing back in my hotel room, I could pop the Yoga 2 Pro into Tent Mode and watch a movie or a few TV episodes. Tent Mode was probably my second most-used mode.

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Finally, we have Stand Mode, which is something I didn't find myself using, but it isn't a useless feature at all. Stand Mode is good if you're just consuming content, watching a YouTube video while you're making dinner--or watching a YouTube video on how to actually make dinner--using the touchscreen capabilities to their fullest.

The four "modes" that Lenovo have baked into the Y2P enable themselves automatically when the Ultrabook detects it physically. Bend the screen back into tablet use, and "Tablet Mode" will be enabled, with a quick popup letting you know it has been enabled.

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