Introduction

In January of this year, my wife and I were in need of a new laptop. A well-documented hinge issue with our Alienware M11x R2 meant that the screen was pretty much ready to fall off. While this issue was covered by a recall, the laptop was getting long in the tooth anyway so we decided to get something newer.

The Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro seemed to be an ideal machine for our use case. With a 13.3” screen, it was only slightly larger than the Alienware’s 11.6” size which had worked well for us. At just a hair over 3 lbs, it was far lighter than the outgoing machine, and we expected a longer battery life due to the upgrade to the Haswell processor. As someone who has used Windows 8 and 8.1 extensively, I also wanted a touch screen with an IPS panel (well – anything but TN!), a decent size solid state drive, and nothing too expensive.

After doing some research on several different devices, we purchased the Yoga 2 Pro and the device I purchased in February will be the subject of this review. This was to be primarily a laptop, but one of the key points of the Yoga series is the hinge that opens a full 360° allowing the laptop to transform into a tablet. We thought this might be nice to allow some different use cases with the machine, but the primary intention for the device was to be a laptop.

The original Yoga 13 was first announced at CES in 2012 by Lenovo, and then launched in October 2012. The smaller Yoga 11 version was a Tegra 3 powered Windows RT version, but the Yoga 13 was a true Ultrabook with typical for the time Ultrabook internals – an Intel Core series processor, SSD, and 1600x900 IPS touchscreen. The original Yoga 13 was a capable Ultrabook, with its Ivy Bridge Core i5-3337U, and was later upgraded to the Yoga 2 Pro with the introduction of the fourth generation Intel Core processor.

The Yoga 2 Pro was launched as a successor to the Yoga 13 in October 2013, but it isn’t just a CPU refresh. The Yoga 2 Pro is thinner and lighter, has a backlit keyboard, and a QHD+ 3200x1800 resolution display – double the original Yoga’s resolution in both axis, to go along with the Haswell CPU refresh.

Specifications for the Yoga 2 Pro echo the usual Ultrabook template. There are options for Core i3, i5, or i7 U series processors, with Intel HD 4400 processor graphics. Storage comes via an mSATA Solid State drive in 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of NAND versions. The screen resolution is one of the key differentiators from most Ultrabooks, with the Lenovo having 276 pixels per inch, rather than 166 DPI for 1080p at 13.3" in devices such as the Sony Vaio Pro.

Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 2 Pro Specifications
Processor Intel Core i3-4010U
(2C/4T, 1.7GHz, 3MB L3, 15W)

Intel Core i5-4200U
(2C/4T, 1.6-2.6GHz, 3MB L3, 15W)

Intel Core i7-4500U
(2C/4T, 1.8-3.0GHz, 4MB L3, 15W)
Chipset Haswell-ULT
Memory 2x4GB DDR3L-1600 11-11-11
Graphics Intel HD 4400
(20 EUs at 200-1100 MHz)
Display 13.3" Glossy IPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800)
(Samsung SDC424A Touchscreen)
Storage 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD (Samsung mSATA)
Optical Drive N/A
Networking 802.11n WiFi (Intel Wireless-N 7260)
(2x2 300Mbps capable 2.4GHz only)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
Audio Realtek HD
Stereo Speakers
Headset jack
Battery/Power 4 cell 55Wh
65W Max AC Adapter
Front Side N/A
Left Side Flash Reader (SD/MMC)
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Micro-HDMI
AC Power Connection
Right Side Power Button
Battery status indicator
Novo button (Used to enter Recovery or BIOS)
1 x USB 2.0 (Sleep Charging)
Headset Jack
Volume
Screen Rotation Lock
Back Side Exhaust vent
Operating System Windows 8.1 64-bit
Dimensions 12.99" x 8.66" x 0.61" (WxDxH)
(330 mm x 220 mm x 15.5 mm)
Weight 3.06 lbs (1.39 kg)
Extras 720p HD Webcam
Backlit Keyboard
Colors Silver Grey
Clementine Orange
Pricing $929 (i3, 4GB, 128GB)
$1099 (i5, 4GB, 256GB) as configured
$1199 (i5, 8GB, 256GB)
$1299 (i7, 8GB, 256GB)
$1699 (i7, 8GB, 512GB)
note - not all models available in all markets

There are some good points and poor points in this list, and we’ll go through them in detail later on. With the current state of Windows 8.1 devices that can be both tablets and laptops, there are two general distinctions. There are those where the internals are behind the display, and those with the internals in the keyboard. The distinction determines whether the device will be better as a tablet or a laptop, with the Yoga 2 Pro falling into the latter category.

Design and Chassis
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  • Egg - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    It's fixed with a recent Windows update :D Reply
  • room200 - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    You cannot upgrade the wireless card. Even though the card is a common Intel card, the card has to be on the "whitelist". Lenovo and HP have been doing that to ALL of their laptops. When you put in a card not sold by them, you will be met with "1802: Unauthorized network card is plugged in - Power off and remove the miniPCI network card." And you will find that the computer will not boot! Unless you buy the wireless card from them (even though it is the same as the card you can get on Amazon), they have hard-coded identification information into the bios of the card. Also, most times they don't carry an upgrade, and when they do it costs 4 to 7 times what the Ebay/Amazon/Tiger Direct card costs. Reply
  • Egg - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    Dude do you know how to read? I own a Yoga 2 Pro. I *typed* the comment on 5 Ghz Wi-Fi.

    All you need is the correct card. I bought mine at mfactors; it cost me $40. I can't guarantee that ones from eBay or amazon will work, for some reason FCC stickers are a good sign that it will work.
    Reply
  • lolTyler - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    How much better is the AC card in your opinion? I'm still running the stock card and it's incredibly flaky. I tried updating my drivers using the Intel's latest and the wireless drivers broken my trackpad. (Shit you not) - I haven't checked up on it 2 months though, may of been fixed.

    I was a day -4 Yoga 2 Pro owner. I got my Yoga a couple days before release when Best Buy posted it for sale early.

    Here's my list of things I've found wrong the device that hasn't been stated:
    - Terrible driver support. The Yoga 2 Pro is "flagship" ultrabook from Lenovo, yet it hasn't seen a major driver update since November 2013, other than a "Lenovo Motion Control" update pushed out in April '14

    - Mustard Yellow: (Already stated, but I really want to nail this one home) This still isn't fixed and Lenovo won't recognize it. I've done the fix and only in Daily (or High Performance) mode with the brightness on max is the yellow issue fixed. As a programmer who needs to also do a lot of design work, the lack of rgb accuracy in certain brightness modes is a huge problem.

    - Shutdown problems: Ever so often I shutdown my Yoga and it just hangs on a black screen with the keyboard lit up and won't turn off without my holding the power button. Happens every 1 out of 10 times. Might be a program I installed, but this has happened since day one for me.

    - Keys stuck/still enabled when switching modes: Sometimes when I switch my Yoga from laptop to stand/tent/tablet modem, Windows detects keys as being pressed and won't stopped repeating the key press until I switch my Yoga back to laptop. ~(1 out of 30 chance) Also, on rare occasions, the keyboard and trackpad aren't disabled in tablet mode. ~(1 out of 100 chance)

    - Wireless: The stock wireless card is abysmal, but this isn't just a Yoga problem. I get better reception on my phone sometimes and other times my Yoga fails to connect or drops connection. Depends on the router. The lack of 5GHz dual-band and AC is a joke.

    - Rubberized material: Apparently they fixed this on the lower end Yoga 2 (non pro), but the rubberized texture on the lid is a massive blemish magnet. I just went on vacation and something in my backpack rubbed up against my Yoga which was in a black case and left a dark smear across the lid of my Yoga. I tried cleaning it with Alcohol and also baking soda; but because of the material, it won't come out. http://i.imgur.com/x8fxa7t.jpg

    - Yoga is cooking itself?: I noticed this right before my vacation. The corners of my Yoga by the heat vents are slowly turning brown: http://i.imgur.com/FlrPWiB.jpg & http://i.imgur.com/OTHQ37J.jpg - Notice these are opposite sides by the yellow AC jack in the first picture. I've never owned a silver laptop before, so I don't know if this is common. But for a device that's less than a year old and "premium," this is a let down. This might just be a lack of material experience on my part. I don't do anything too intense on my Yoga, most gaming I've done is for ~18h total over the live of my Yoga.

    - Windows 8.1 Hidpi: (Everyone's saying this, but again, huge deal) Not Lenovo's fault, but Hidpi mode is a mess. Sure, it's gotten better, but it still sucks. Chrome, my primary browser is also a mess.
    Reply
  • Papa - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    There is a bios fix for the mustard yellow issue. No need to fiddle with modes anymore.

    I think this is it:
    http://mobilesupport.lenovo.com/us/en/downloads/DS...
    Reply
  • lolTyler - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    Oh wow, that's a new BIOs fix, less than a month old. I'll check it out, thanks! Reply
  • lolTyler - Saturday, August 02, 2014 - link

    Just did this "fix," and it's still a no go. Yellows are as mustardary as ever.

    I also tried locating the "new" Energy Manager that was released recently, which is suppose to help. I couldn't find a legit download. Only users posting random fileshare sites on Lenovo's forums with 60 minute download times and questionable package names.

    I tried updating my current install of Energy Manager and I get a network error. Lenovo is really dropping the ball on their customer service.

    I have a huge love/hate relationship with this laptop. My feelings for it are bio-polar, changing on a dime. When it works, it's great. When it doesn't, it fails hard.
    Reply
  • KingGheedora - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    The shutdown/restart problems will only get worse. BEWARE THIS LAPTOP. I have owned the Y2Pro since February, and at first the shutdown problem happened once every few weeks, but then I started getting random reboots and lockups with corrupt screen image while watching XBMC, which seemed like they were happening due to heat. Once that started happening everything went downhill. The laptop wouldn't boot up, it just kept trying to boot, the keyboard backlight would flash, and then it would try to boot up again. That just keeps happening over and over.

    Initially I could leave the laptop alone for a while and then it would eventually boot. But the problem got worse and worse until 3 weeks ago. I haven't been able to boot it up at all. I even opened it and disconnected the battery and then tried booting, still not working.

    This is a common problem with this model. There are many users in the Lenovo support forums who have had this issue, had their laptop replaced, and had the issue again with the replacement model they got back. Some users eventually got a full refund. I just got the RMA set up and will be sending mine in for the first time this week.
    Reply
  • lolTyler - Friday, August 01, 2014 - link

    Wow, mine hasn't been that bad. I got my first lock up two weeks ago. The funniest part about it is someone was admiring my Yoga when it completely seized up. I'm sure it's a software issue, but like I said, the drivers haven't been updated in forever, so go figure.

    I've thought about trying to RMA or get a refund, but I'm still "partially" satisfied with my Yoga and there's nothing else on the market that intrigues me outside of a MBA.
    Reply
  • Egg - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Sorry for late reply.

    I haven't experienced the mustard yellow problems, shutdown problems, key sticking problems, or the wireless problems. I've used stock wireless on other Yoga 2 Pros and haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary, but not for too long.

    I haven't really bothered to update the drivers, but I think you're right that there aren't many new ones. I probably don't mind any but the graphics drivers. I guess I got lucky; a friend had the boot issues out of box, sent it back, and got a perfect one.

    I just switched back to Chrome after discovering Chrome 37 (on the beta channel) has HiDPI support and fixes the kerning issue :)
    Reply

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