As far as Windows 8 devices go, we're having a hard time seeing any other first-gen Windows 8 system or device being more interesting than Lenovo's 13-inch IdeaPad Yoga. It's attractive, snappy, versatile, and surprisingly affordable.

Microsoft's Surface runs a very-close second in our book. And, just like the Surface, the 13-inch Yoga validates the Windows 8 operating system in a way that the OS itself can't quite accomplish.

More on this in a bit. Let's start from the top.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review

Technically speaking, the Yoga is an Ultrabook, primarily because it meets Intel's "Chief River" Ultrabook specification:

  • Intel Ivy Bridge CPU
  • Has dimensions of 13.1" x 8.9" x 0.67"
  • Can resume from hibernation in 7 seconds or under
  • Has USB 3.0 and/or Thunderbolt
  • At least 5 hours of battery life

Even though Lenovo assigns the Yoga to the category of convertible Ultrabook, the manner in which it converts into a tablet and back is unlike any other.

A special patented double hinge allows the keyboard to flip 360 degrees, all the way to beneath the display. The hinge also allows a few other positions. In all, there are four different ways you can set it up: standard laptop mode, tablet mode, tent mode, and stand mode.

These modes aren't just hype; while testing the Yoga, we consistently used three of the four modes throughout the day. Tablet mode while sitting in front of the TV. Stand mode while using it as a second screen. Laptop mode at tables and desks - as well as when inspiration struck while sitting in front of the TV or anywhere else.

The tent mode seems like the least usable, although Lenovo makes the point that this is a perfect position for cooking.