There are ThinkPad people and there are everyday laptop buyers. For the ThinkPad set, nothing holds up to their beloved line's build quality, durability, business-minded software with no bloat and a keyboard that's the best in the business. That made the nifty Lenovo Yoga 13 and the new Yoga 2 Pro, both members of Lenovo's consumer IdeaPad line tear at ThinkPad peoples' hearts. The versatile 360 degree hinge that promises laptop mode, presentation mode and tablet mode--oh my, why can't we have that? Well, now you can, with the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga.
The ThinkPad Yoga brings more ports, a more rugged build and an even better keyboard to the table compared to the Yoga 2 Pro. This is a 12.5" Ultrabook with a full HD, 400 nit IPS touch screen (Wacom digitizer and pen are optional), 4th generation Intel Haswell ULV CPUs, solid state drives and 4 or 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM. The 3.5 lb. ThinkPad Yoga is 0.75" thick and it has Lenovo's updated smooth matte black surface rather than the older raven black soft touch surfaces. It has a magnesium alloy frame, soft rounded corners that don't dig into your palm and Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the display.
The ThinkPad Yoga is available on Lenovo's website with the touch + Wacom digitizer. In stores, you'll find models that are touch only. Be mindful of the model number so you get the version you desire. The Wacom digitizer and pen add $100 to $230 to the configuration, depending on how you spec your laptop. For this video review, we look at model 20CD0033US, which is touch only. It has an Intel Core i7-4500U, 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD and it sells for $1,399. You'll find touch-only model 20CD0032US in online and brick and mortar stores for $1,199 and it has a Core i5-4200U, 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD (the same price and specs as the Sony Vaio Flip 13). The base Core i5 model with the Wacom digitizer is $1,299 on Lenovo's website.
Some folks are bothered by the Yoga 13 and Yoga 2 Pro's keyboard that rests against your legs or tabletop when in tablet and presentation modes. The keys wiggle and feel weird. The ThinkPad Yoga addresses that with its Lift and Lock keyboard: the keyboard surround (the bezel that runs between the keys) lifts up flush with the keys and the keys lock when the ThinkPad bends over backwards into presentation or tablet positions. No more wiggly keys and they're less likely to break.
The ThinkPad Yoga has two USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI (surprise, no DisplayPort), 3.5mm audio and an SD card slot. It's compatible with Lenovo's reasonably priced OneLink dock ($119) that adds 4 more USB ports, full size HDMI and Ethernet. All models have full HD displays, and there's no crazy high 3200 x 1800 resolution option as on the Yoga 2 Pro. The 4 cell battery is sealed inside and the ThinkPad Yoga lacks the Lenovo ThinkPad X240's handy bridge battery feature. The ThinkPad Yoga comes with Bluetooth 4.0 and you can order it with 2 x 2 single band Intel WiFi 802.11n or dual band Intel WiFi 802.11ac.
Here's our Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga video review. Our full written review will follow soon.