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

    That's great to hear the Wireless is a real drawback on the unit we received. I'm still hoping they will get back to me with the time on when they switched it over. The specs on the website still show the old card so I can't guarantee someone will get AC at the moment. Reply
  • DrShawarma - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I've been reading this site for quite a while, but this will be my first post.

    I bought a Y2P about a month and ago and am surprisingly pleased. It's quick, fun and feels good in the hand.
    I do however have 2 tiny complaints-
    1) Adobe programs won't scale correctly, requiring a microscope to work with. Don't care about that too much though.
    2) The trackpad is like a fingerprint\oil magnet, that on the other hand is driving me nuts, how do I clean it? (I tried an LCD cleaning solution with a towel, did nothing)
    Reply
  • Brett Howse - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Adobe showed off their new products with High DPI support at the Surface Pro 3 launch I believe. That's been a big complaint of mine, especially since Adobe should be on top of this because their target market would likely benefit from HiDPI more than the average consumer. Looks like version 13 at the moment but of course that will mean an upgrade cost as well. Reply
  • HighImStan - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    They have since updated their the CPU to i7-4510u and dual band wireless ac-7260 card. I just bought mine, manufactured in mid June, and it hasn't had any wifi issues. Also, uninstalling the McAfee bloatware helped. Still has the greenish yellow though on the display. Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    Supposedly it's better than it was, but it's just a side effect of the screen technology they chose to use. Reply
  • wpcoe - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    I read that the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so not user upgradable, but is the SSD user upgradable? I'd prefer the i3 model, but with a larger SSD. Reply
  • KingGheedora - Friday, August 1, 2014 - link

    You can upgrade the SSD, it is M.2 slot though. But the SSD it comes with is surprisingly fast. I felt no need to upgrade it (512gb model). Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - link

    My problem with the Yoga is the price. Although they can definitely be had for less than MSRP, they're still more expensive than a Surface 3 WITH a type cover. The rest of the specs, other than the screen size (obviously Yoga is two inches bigger) are about the same, but the Surface has more flexibility. One of my clients picked up both the Surface 2 Pro and a Yoga 2 back in March, and he likes the Yoga 2 more, and perceptively thinks its lighter.

    But I think the Surface 3 gives it a run for its flexibility.
    Reply
  • HighImStan - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    I got the Y2P because my Surface Pro 2 was stolen. Originally, I was planning on waiting for the i7 Surface 3 to arrive in August but eventually settled on the Y2P because
    1) A 256 i7-4650u with HD5000 is $1549 + type cover $130. For around the price of the Y2P, I can only get 128 i5-4300u with HD 4400 $999 + type cover $130 and only 4gb of ram too! Y2P was only $1200 for i7-4510u with HD4400 and 8gb. I'm on a tight budget this month so Y2P got me the best bang for the buck.
    2) My Surface 2 Pro kept having connection issues with the type cover. Brought it to Palo Alto's Microsoft store and they have no idea what was wrong. I played with some of the Surface 3 for an hour and found connection issues that was on and off with one of the displayed Surface 3. I was about to bring back my Surface Pro 2 for fixing after my Fourth of July vacation but it was stolen. So in a way, losing that device is a blessing in disguise...I was able to discover Y2P.

    3) I never took off the type cover on my Surface Pro 2 anyways so the Y2P doesn't pose a problem. I treated the SP2 like the Y2P anyways by bending back the keyboard and using it as a laptop. Only difference, I don't have to worry about problems of keyboard connection. Only thing I miss from my SP2 is the mini display port (better than the micro hdmi imo) and the ability to change the keyboard lighting's brightness. Yes, it was lighter too but the weight of the Y2P never bothers me.
    Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, July 31, 2014 - link

    That's crazy about your connection issues. I have dozens of clients with Surface 2's and none of them mentioned that. A firmware update fixed some wifi issues people were having back in March though.

    As far as price, nobody pays retail for Surface. They can always be had for 20% less (just like the Yoga 2) but with that in mind, I agree that it's only really competitive at the base level. But that's where most people are buying, anyway.

    I just picked up a Surface 2 256GB 8GB i5 for $800 new with a type cover on eBay... That was a buy-it-now too. There's a lot of auctions for used ones that include BOTH covers for even less.
    Reply

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