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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Review

IdeaPad Yoga 13

The test unit came with a regular dual-core Intel Core i5-3317U "Ivy Bridge" CPU at 1.70 GHz. There is a higher-end Core i7-3517 SKU, and a lower-end i3 variant as well. 4 GB of DDR3 RAM and a 128 GB SSD was included. Both do not appear to be easily upgradeable, which is to be expected in an Ultrabook. The specs alone far outperform the HP Envy X2, which was essentially a stepped-up netbook. The Yoga does not come with a dedicated graphics processor card, but the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics processing unit holds its own quite well for basic everyday work for the average user.

Left Side: 1x USB 3.0, HDMI port, combined earphone/microphone port


There are only two USB ports in this model (1 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0). While this configuration is typical of Ultrabooks, it does make one wonder whether another USB port could be squeezed in, as is the case with the Toshiba Portege Z830 and ZZ835 models.  This is all the more since there is no dedicated LAN port, meaning that an Ethernet adaptor has to be plugged into one of the USB ports for a LAN connection. Some may claim that wireless technology (Realtek RTL8723A 802.11n in this system) has advanced to the point where LAN connections have become obsolete, but this reviewer finds that Gigabit LAN is still far more stable and faster than wireless, ceteris paribus.

Right side: 1 x USB 2.0, power port, SD/SDHC slot, mute button


The IdeaPad Yoga currently ships with a 128 GB Samsung 830 SSD, with a 256 GB model in the pipeline. Bootup time was a brisk 16 seconds from a dead stop, which is fast (and typical) of systems with an SSD.

The screen is a 13.3-inch HD + IPS capacitive multitouch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1600 x 900. That’s slightly sharper than the more common 1366 x 768 resolution common in most Ultrabooks, though lower than 1920 x 1080 display available on the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A. The screen is glossy and highly reflective, so a matt screen protector might be needed for those who find this a major issue. A 720p webcam has been integrated just above the screen.


The IdeaPad Yoga in tablet mode

As was previously mentioned, in tablet mode, the keyboard gets flipped underneath. While this makes for a relatively simple design, it means that the keyboard is directly facing the surface you are resting the tablet on. Putting the tablet on your lap makes for an uncomfortable experience. It would have been better if Lenovo had used a ‘swivelling screen’ mechanism akin to their ThinkPad Twist or X230 series, though admittedly that would have made for a more complicated (and expensive) setup.

As for the keyboard itself, the keys are pleasant for prolonged typing. Key travel is sufficient and tactile, though certainly not on the level of mechanical-switch keyboards. The only possible gripes are the glossy keys which feel slippery at times, and the lack of a backlight, though most would probably consider these to be minor annoyances at most.

The speakers are surprisingly quite good for an Ultrabook, though some distortion was noted at higher volumes.

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