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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  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I did disable Auto Brightness in the power profiles. I tested in High Power mode, and Daily Mode (the default Lenovo power profile). I can retest in Balanced mode as well I'll let you know if there is a difference. What did you measure yours with? Reply
  • polacchini - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    Dear Brett, I used a retail i1 Display Pro, both with default software package and dispcalGUI. The rest of the measurements are quite like mine... Color checker dE ~3 and higher in some blue shades. I believe Lenovo released a BIOS patch which capped max brightness some time ago as some users reported. Mine was brought in May/14 and has latest BIOS installed. Could this be the issue? Reply
  • Brett Howse - Friday, August 1, 2014 - link

    It's possible it is the BIOS. The maximum brightness I tested was with the i1 Display Pro as well. I'll test it a couple more times if and when I have a chance and see if I can get a better value. Reply
  • CaedenV - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    #4, just a thought, but maybe your laptop is set up with secure boot? That could revert your boot order... you know, because booting from a Linux distro is so dangerous lol. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Lenovo really ought to offer at least a BTO option for a CPU with the HD5000 to better match the 3200x1800 display. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I would have preferred a TPM chip so I could use bitlocker without a hassle Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Lenovo doesn't offer any BTO options on the Ideapad lines, at least in my region. I think this would be a good thing for them to implement but it would likely cost them more per machine. Reply
  • Narg - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    The only real competitor to this is the MS Surface Pro 3 IMHO, though many others come close. And with this being cheaper than the Surface Pro 3, it would make a great unit for a lot of people. Reply
  • Impulses - Sunday, August 3, 2014 - link

    Kind of different animals, Surface is tablet first and laptop second whereas this is the opposite... I still struggle to find a big usage case for either outside of college students and road warriors (granted that's two pretty big market slices). Reply
  • Bostonsfavson - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I purchased a Yoga 2 Pro from Best Buy (they only have one variant in stores now, I believe; an i7) last month and can confirm it has the AC 7260 card. Also, great write-up! Reply

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