The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 may well be recognized as the best Windows-based slate on the market, but when it comes to actual hybrid devices, we think Lenovo's ThinkPad Yoga is the one to beat.
The ThinkPad Yoga is basically a regular laptop first and foremost and it doesn't have the bulk or awkwardness that are usually associated with other Windows 2-in-1 hybrid devices. There is no separation between the screen and the body, and the only hint that this thing is a hybrid comes from its hinges, which are more heavy duty than usual. They have to be, because they allow the screen to travel all the way around to facilitate tablet mode.
By now you're saying to yourself that this thing will feel heavier and be too thick to hold. At 12.5 inches, with a thickness of just over 19mm and a weight pushing 1.6kg you would be right to say that.
However this product is not for those of you who want a tablet device exclusively. Instead, it's for those of you who want a laptop, but also the ability to use a tablet device every now and then. Or, perhaps you're an artist and want a product with a Wacom digitizer that you can pull out every now and then. The ThinkPad Yoga will indulge you. A pen is included in a slot on the right side of the chassis.
More than that though, the hinges give the ThinkPad Yoga the ability to not only be used as a tablet, but only to be stood up in 'tent mode' or with the screen facing outwards in 'stand mode'. These modes allow it to be used easier as a display device, either for watching videos, or for giving presentations in intimate meeting environments.
With the hinge action designed to expose the keyboard tablet mode, the feel of the keys could be annoying, and perhaps dangerous as they could get caught somewhere if you drag the base. For this reason, Lenovo has put in a mechanism that allows the keyboard to 'ride low' when the unit is in tablet mode. The backlight switches off the keys retreat into the body like an aircraft's undercarriage right after take off. They become flush with the base and can't be pressed.
It's a great solution that makes you appreciate Lenovo's engineering prowess, but at the same time it's a moving part that could cause problems down the line. In notebook mode, the keys feel almost as good as every other ThinkPad we've tested, but we reckon they are bit less crisp in their downstroke than they could be. Don't get us wrong; this is still a typist's keyboard, and very much so.
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