Laptops Reviews Tech

Yoga 2 Pro: ThinkPad in Disguise [Review]

Photo showing the side profile of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Laptop

I’ve all the time had a spot in my coronary heart for ThinkPads. My household has owned a number of through the years, and I personally have had the privilege of proudly owning a T61p as just lately as final yr, in addition to an X200, nonetheless in circulation. It all the time surprises individuals on the board that a ThinkPad isn’t my principal machine. That honor now goes to the Dell Precision M6400, which is a 17” beast of a laptop computer. In terms of computing, I all the time attempt to pack a one-two punch, consisting of a fundamental system and an ultraportable. I’ve by no means favored being weighed down by a desktop as a result of I’ve all the time owned and used laptops.

The X200 (Pill) has been a part of the fleet since 2014 and regardless of its growing older, and often-disrespected, specs, (1.86Ghz Core2 Duo, Intel Graphics, 4GB of RAM, 500GB Western Digital Blue Exhausting Disk) it’s all the time outperformed my expectations. In Spring of 2017, I supplemented it with a Floor Three (which itself changed a ThinkPad Pill 2 that I had owned since 2016) to assist me relive my netbook days. The Floor Three provided efficiency that was (shockingly) virtually on par with the ThinkPad, however in a a lot smaller package deal, and with a best-in-class display and excellent battery life as well.

By the top of 2017, an unique Floor Professional had someway slipped into the combination too, and my once-streamlined featherweight division had ballooned right into a trio of tiny computer systems. The difficulty was that I appreciated all of them. The Floor Three provided unbeatable portability & battery life that had actually come in useful on a visit in the course of the summer time, (one which even the ThinkPad would’ve been too massive for) whereas the OG Floor Professional had impressed me with its shockingly-good performance-to-size ratio. And, in fact, nothing might beat the productiveness of the ThinkPad, nevertheless it was too late; the seed had been planted, and I couldn’t cease asking the query of if there was a somewhat-affordable compromise that would mix the constructive points of those three machines.

Photo showing the side profile of the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Laptop

Aspect Profile

As a product, the Yoga 2 Professional is undeniably mainstream. Even the identify is uninteresting. I don’t know what it’s about consumer-grade machines that forces OEMs to provide you with ineffective and cheesy names like this, however after having spent a number of years with merchandise bearing labels akin to “Precision,” “ThinkPad,” “Surface,” and their implication of individuals working exhausting and engaging in bigly in fashion, one might say that the bar was not set excessive by the “Yoga.” A pc whose identify is synonymous with sweaty ladies awkwardly stretched into numerous uncomfortable pretzel poses doesn’t precisely encourage confidence in me when contemplating a pc. That’s one of many most important causes that I largely ignored this product line and by no means actually took it critically through the years. Worth in all probability performed a big position too.

 

The Yoga 2 Professional is what I might think about to be a basic ultrabook. It includes a small casing, dual-core low-voltage processor, a brilliant LCD display, and no optical drive to be seen. Regardless of Intel’s greatest efforts, these gimped machines nonetheless supply a shocking quantity of efficiency for what they’re, lagging not more than 1-Three generations behind their M-class sibilings. Because of this, it was the ThinkPad X230 that I first thought-about. The difficulty with that machine was that the X230 (non-tablet) is notoriously troublesome to seek out outfitted with the “better” (IPS) LCD panel. Truly, many ThinkPad fashions from this time are that approach. Even those which are obtainable with respectable panels aren’t sometimes outfitted that method, which artificially inflates the price of such computer systems and elements on the secondhand market. Ultrabooks, then again, are a lot simpler to seek out with high quality screens, which is only one of a number of elements that steered my determination.

Picture showing the Yoga 2 Pro with the bottom cover removed

Yoga 2 Professional Insides

This specific unit, whereas not top-of-the-line, is relatively shut thereto. The i7-4510U-based mannequin additionally has the Intel HD 4400 graphics system and 8GB of reminiscence welded to the board however includes a socketed SSD and Mini-PCI-Categorical slot. That is truly a fairly acceptable compromise. With 8GB of reminiscence, I don’t foresee the necessity to ever need to improve, and the truth that they have been capable of depart some expandability open is encouraging to me. Even the battery could be changed with minimal fanfare. Whereas the underside cowl is held on with 11 Torx screws, these are all that stand between the end-user and the interior enlargement. It is probably not the perfect, near-fully-modular structure of the ThinkPads that we’ve come to know and love, however it’s a fairly darn good compromise given the dimensions of the factor, at the least in my opinion. To distinction, Microsoft’s Floor line requires a heatgun and the palms of a surgeon to breach the gadget’s outer casing with out breaking the display, and even then, there isn’t a lot that may be changed in need of the storage gadget and battery pack.

In follow, the Yoga 2 Professional largely lives as much as the hype and delivers a efficiency on par with the expectations set by its specs and unique retail worth. The chipset is swift, the SSD is ridiculously quick, and the battery life is marginally higher than the Floor Professional, which is to say, fairly lengthy (Three-Four.5 hours or extra beneath light-to-moderate load wouldn’t be unobtainable) and troublesome to actually complain about, particularly when one considers that the entire machine is solely six tenths of an inch thick. Whereas the Floor Professional itself is about this skinny, the revealed dimensions of Microsoft’s moveable don’t take the dimensions of the keyboard under consideration, which makes the entire package deal appear barely cumbersome, whereas the comparatively bigger measurement of the Yoga 2’s display makes the entire package deal appear that a lot sleeker.

Talking of, the show panel was one among this laptop computer’s most controversial parts when it was new, so the query of the way it holds up is nicely value asking. The reply is that it’s acceptable, however definitely nothing particular. Ultrabooks are sometimes well-known, at the least in my view, for being luxurious gadgets with good screens. The Yoga 2 Professional is not any exception to this, using a 13.Three” Samsung. Nevertheless, as an alternative of selecting a “safe” panel, they chosen a kind of oddball show with a daft 3200×1800 decision. That’s 4 occasions the dimensions of a 1600×900 display, which itself can simply fill a 20” monitor, so on paper no less than, we’re speaking a few significantly dense display. Sadly, this determine is at the least barely deceptive since this specific panel makes use of an RGBW pentile subpixel format. In case you’re not well-versed on the which means of “subpixel layout” and the connotation of the phrase “pentile,” the photographs in all probability clarify it extra concisely than I might, however the primary limitations are primarily that general sharpness is decreased and the panel is understood for doing a subpar job at producing the colour yellow. I in all probability wouldn’t have observed this if it wasn’t identified to me in the critiques, however so long as a more moderen model of the firmware is put in, (together with the ever-annoying Lenovo Power supervisor) this quirk is considerably suppressed.

Picture showing the differences between RGB and RGBW LCD Subpixel Layouts

Subpixel Format

On the finish of the day, this design consideration, allegedly completed in an effort to salvage as a lot brightness as potential from the abnormally-dense panel, finally finally ends up hurting the general sharpness of the picture dramatically. The excellent news is that you simply’re not going to note due to the insanely excessive decision, which is greater than could possibly be stated when this laptop computer was first launched. What chances are you’ll discover is a small quantity of backlight bleed on the decrease and right-hand edges. It’s not clear whether or not it was like this when new or if this developed over time/use/abuse. Other people have complained of caught/lifeless pixels, though I’ve but to see any of those (it does stand to cause that, with a 5.76Megapixel display, the chances of these creating is greater than your typical ~1Megapixel show, statistically talking).

Screenshot showing winver.exe

Home windows 10 on the Yoga 2 Professional

Whereas the Yoga 2 Professional is new sufficient to have shipped with Home windows eight.1 from out of the beginning gate, Microsoft nonetheless had but to place a few of the ending touches on the long-delayed scaling performance of the working system. Home windows eight.1’s scaling was actually extra of a beta check than something as a result of how buggy it was (that’s to say nothing of the barely-functional implementation seen in Home windows eight, 7, and Vista) although. That stated, Microsoft had no selection however to launch what that they had once they did due to all of the high-density laptops that have been approaching the scene on the time. It’s practical, however was improved much more with the discharge of Home windows 10 and continues to be improved in the Home windows 10s which were launched since. As of this writing, their single-monitor implementation is almost flawless, and the (non-homogeneous) multi-monitor performance shouldn’t be far behind. The one factor actually missing is minor bugs in sure poorly-written software program packages, however the state of affairs is, no doubt, dramatically higher than what it was when this pc was first launched.

Day-to-day duties are, unsurprisingly, completely responsive, regardless of the dense LCD panel. 3D efficiency, regardless of its greater benchmarks, (and the i7 designation) is truly proper on par with my Floor Professional, with the ability to run older flagship 3D titles like Ghostbusters: The Video Recreation at an honest decision, robust degree of high quality, and secure framerate. The tried-and-true Dreamcast emulator (nullDC) additionally runs apparently flawlessly (albeit at a scaled decision on the pc’s built-in display, as nullDC is just not high-DPI prepared). The place the Yoga 2 Professional chokes up is on higher-intensity masses, similar to Mario Kart Wii operating on the Dolphin emulator. Although the Yoga 2 Professional benchmarks considerably quicker than the (Core2 Duo based mostly) Dell Precision M6400, the M6400 stays the one pc in my fleet that may emulate Mario Kart Wii at 720p decision with a near-perfect 60 body stability degree. The ultrabooks are all restricted to operating the sport on the Wii’s native decision, and even then, do expertise some framedrops and hiccups when there’a  lot of motion on the display. It’s playable, (barely) however not one thing that I get any actual enjoyment out of (particularly on-line) like I do with the heftier machine.

Driving that have is a sparse, however nonetheless helpful, number of connectivity. This consists of one (lonely) USB Three hookup, MicroHDMI, and an SD card slot on the left aspect, plus a lonely USB 2 port, Three.5mm mixed headphone/microphone jack, quantity buttons, rotation lock toggle button, AccessIBM/ThinkVantage/No matter-they-call-it-on-the-consumer-grade-machines button, and most annoyingly of all, an influence button. Why they didn’t put an influence key on (or round) the keyboard as is seen on almost each different laptop computer is past me, however that little bugger hides out on the aspect of the machine. Muscle reminiscence alleviates this annoyance, however it’s value mentioning that the button is disabled when the display is closed.

Additionally on the aspect is a charging/battery indicator mild, unbiased of the energy mild discovered. on the facility button, in yet one more delicate nod to the ThinkPad.

There’s no wired Ethernet connection, however a USB NIC would treatment that inexpensively. Remember that, in contrast to The ThinkPad X200, (which solely options VGA output until you add the cumbersome dock station) this machine forgoes all analog video output in change for the aforementioned HDMI. Transcoders do exist, however the high quality and worth may be hit-n-miss when changing video codecs.

Picture showing the rear profile of the computer, highlighting the hot air exhaust and cool air intake for the i7

Yoga 2 Professional Profile

Cool air enter and scorching air exhaust are on the again of the machine. As is predicted on a consumer-grade gadget, the cooler is extraordinarily quiet and all however inaudible, even beneath heavy

load.

Bluetooth and Wi-fi LAN are dealt with by a much-chastised single-band Intel card. It’s usable, however I do discover it sort of ironic that probably the most trendy pc in my fleet can also be the one one with no 5Ghz WiFi performance. This card can, in fact, get replaced, however this have to be finished inside the strict limits of Lenovo’s ever-present whitelist, else the pc will refuse as well.

There’s additionally a webcam. I examined it for a couple of seconds simply to say that I used it in the course of the assessment. It really works.

Snapshot of the Yoga 2 Pro's keyboard and palmrest embellishments

The Keyboard

It’s lengthy been a recognized incontrovertible fact that ThinkPads sometimes have traditionally had a number of the greatest enter units in the business, in order that begs the query of if the Yoga 2 Professional can, in any approach, measure up. When it comes to keyboard, I must say that it does. Even on their non-ThinkPad machines, Lenovo actually has to attempt onerous to make a nasty keyboard, and this laptop computer is not any exception to that “rule.” Some have complained concerning the format, however my solely actual situation with it is that there are not any play/pause/skip/earlier perform shortcuts to be discovered. On the Dell Precision M6400 it was comprehensible (though not fairly forgivable) that these have been missing, as a result of different shortcuts being delegated to the secondary features of the arrow keys, however the Yoga 2 Professional has completely nothing else on the arrows, so there’s completely no excuse, particularly when one considers the truth that this can be a shopper machine that individuals are anticipated to be enjoying media on. Nonetheless, that’s concerning the worst factor I can say about this otherwise-excellent keyboard. Even the backlighting stays true to the ThinkPad lineage, requiring a key mixture to toggle the lights on and off.

What’s not so fairly so wonderful is the trackpad. It’s not unusable by any means, and I’ve used far worse. To be clear, the place it lacks is not in measurement or precision, however in a few behavioral quirks. Even with all of the gestures turned off, it doesn’t all the time acknowledge left-clicks 100% of the time, particularly when one other finger is monitoring, which hinders the precision of clicking a number of closeby gadgets on-screen in brief succession. There’s additionally some bizarre, non-linear acceleration happening. The result’s roughly 30% decrease effectivity than the gold commonplace set by the trackpad discovered on my Dell Precision M6400. This places it roughly in line with a Trackpoint pointing stick, so it’s nonetheless leave-the-mouse-at-home environment friendly, however not fairly nearly as good as I really feel that it ought to have been. Its general texture is very good although, providing simply the correct stability of friction and freedom.

Maybe probably the most fascinating factor I discovered was that the Yoga 2 Professional truly shares a number of traits with its upmarket ThinkPad cousins, specifically the Magnesium rollcage. Whereas it will be truthful to say that the Yoga 2 Professional doesn’t precisely reek of excellent construct high quality, it’s at the least considerably higher than I used to be anticipating. What dissatisfied me most concerning the design was neither the sturdiness nor the keyboard format, however truly the coating that the machine is completed in. It’s exhausting to inform from footage, however the entire machine is painted with some sort of materials that’s ever-so-slightly grippy.

The odd, grippy material that the Yoga 2 Pro is covered in

Materials

And we’re not speaking concerning the nice soft-touch layer that’s been a staple of ThinkPads for years; it’s truly grippier than that even, and probably virtually borders on “sticky.” And it covers the entire machine, apart from the display. A part of me appreciates the extra grip that this affords to the laptop computer, however the different a part of me is grossed out by how grubby it makes the machine really feel. Did I point out that the one that owned this pc earlier than I, additionally owned a canine? *shudders* It’s not horrible, however I do worry that, sometime, this materials might break down right into a nasty, rubbery mess. Within the meantime, I tolerate it, however an unable to completely embrace this questionable design choice.

The show is roofed by a capacitive glass contact layer, which is fairly luxurious. It’s not fairly as built-in as Microsoft’s implementation, however nonetheless simply wonderful. The glass is predictably reflective, however doesn’t restrict viewing angles or minimize down on mild output just like the Wacom digitize on the X200 Pill. On this space, Lenovo has come a great distance.

One space the place they could have regressed, nevertheless, was with the hinges. The Yoga 2 Professional, in stark distinction to the Floor Professional, (which has one angle of operation) the Floor Three (which can be utilized in three distinct positions) the Dell Precision M6400, (which has a most of roughly 165 levels) and even the ThinkPad T61p, (which may obtain a full 180 levels) can truly open almost a full 360 levels.

The Yoga 2 Pro is designed to be opened beyond 180 degrees, which is very unusual in a laptop

Hinge Trick

Why? No one’s actually positive, nevertheless it has one thing to do with with the ability to make it mimic a pill. I all the time thought that the entire level of a laptop computer was so that folks wouldn’t should reside with the compromises of a pill, however apparently Lenovo wasn’t of the identical mindset. It’s a cute trick, however one whose design ramifications embrace weak hinges. They don’t get absolutely unfastened like those discovered on the T61p, however don’t precisely encourage confidence both. Nonetheless, they do work higher than most gimmick-based designs, (corresponding to Microsoft’s Floor line) so I can’t complain too a lot.

With all that stated, does the Yoga 2 Professional actually stand to exchange my X200, Floor Professional, and Floor Three? The reply is truly a quiet “yes,” however with caveats. The battery life and portability, whereas good, doesn’t fairly match the Floor Three, however the outcomes are shut sufficient. The human interface, whereas not fairly as polished as what was seen on the ThinkPad X200, can also be ok. There’s no room for a 2.5” arduous disk, however I wasn’t actually anticipating one on a tool of this measurement both. On the finish of the day, whether or not it’s a viable ThinkPad contender or not, the Yoga 2 Professional brings a wholesome quantity of efficiency, a good bit of character, and even a little bit of worth to the desk. It’s arguably a a lot better deal now that the costs have leveled out a bit and Home windows’s show scaling has improved.

Photo Showing the system opened 180 degrees

Yoga 2 Professional Laptop computer PC

Yoga 2 Professional: ThinkPad in Disguise [Review] was final modified: March 31st, 2018 by SurrealMustard