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Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga: the perfect hybrid notebook

Elias Plastiras | Oct. 7, 2014
With a minimum of fuss, the Yoga goes from laptop to tablet, but its the overall package that's impressive.

The screen has a Full HD resolution, it's based on IPS (in-plane switching) technology, and even though it's a touchscreen, it doesn't have a noticeable glossiness. In fact, its anti-reflective coating makes it relatively easy to see in brighter than usual environments -- though perhaps not midday sunshine. Make sure you clean off finger marks regularly, because over time they can get quite noticeable.

We've read reports on the Yoga screen having ghosting or lingering image problems, but this didn't show up on our unit. Instead, we noticed some slight flickering when we initially started using the unit, but that seemed to sort itself -- probably right after the glut of system updates that we undertook early on in our review -- or maybe our eyes just adjusted to it.

The overall build quality is strong, and it has a body that looks and feels good. However, the right palm rest of our unit is creaky. It's the side where the stylus fits into the body, so there is a hollowness there that isn't present on the left side (though we haven't unscrewed the bottom panel to double check yet). The creaking isn't too much of an annoyance unless you tend to get caught up in such things.

As for features, the Yoga is killer, especially if you get the Intel Core i7-4500U model. You'll be blessed with a 128GB solid state drive (SSD), 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, and you'll be able to take advantage of 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The SSD isn't the quickest out there. CrystalDiskMark's sequential read rate for it was 484 megabytes per second (MBps), while the write rate was 123.6MBps.

On a Linksys AC1900 flagship router, Wi-Fi transfers peaked at just over 42MBps when transferring data from our network attached storage (NAS) device to the Yoga. Note that Lenovo's specification listing for Wi-Fi isn't always correct on its Web site -- it wasn't for the initial Core i5 model that we saw, which was listed with 802.11ac, yet shipped with 802.11n. Double check prior to purchasing.

Other good things about this laptop are a PCI Express-based SD card reader in which cards sit all the way in, and transfers over 70MBps were observed from our Strontium microSD card (in a microSD to full SD adapter card, of course). This is a good way to carry around large files that you don't want to burden the SSD with.

A full charge of the 47 Watt-hour battery doesn't take much longer than 90min, and the Energy Saver power profile with a low brightness lasted us well over six hours for tasks that included Web browsing, one hour of streaming online music while connected to a Bluetooth Hi-Fi, and another two hours of playing locally stored music over Bluetooth.

 

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