Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga

The 13-inch IdeaPad Yoga mixes the usability of a laptop with tablet swagger

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Wrapping up our review of Lenovo's Yoga 13, the best thing we can say about it is that the flexibility its unique hinge permits is no gimmick. Quite the opposite, in fact. Of the four positions you can set the Yoga up in, we used three of them all the time.

As far as tablet experiences go, a 13-inch screen may seem like overkill, until you're holding it on your lap. And, practically speaking, we love that if you see something in the tablet or other non-laptop modes that merits a deeper dive, you can pull the keyboard out and get busy.

Read more: Lenovo IdeaPad 520 (80YL00Q3IN)

We liked

It's easy to look at our benchmark numbers and see a system that isn't very fast. But after using the Yoga full-time for a week, there's nothing to complain about performance-wise…unless you want to play high-end games.

We also like the laptop's aesthetics, which is all too often under-rated in the rough-and-tumble world of mobile PCs. The $1,000.00 base price feels like a good deal, given the Yoga's unique nature and the components inside.

Aside from Microsoft's own-brand Surface tablet, this is an ideal flagship device for Microsoft and Windows 8. As much as possible, it takes complete advantage of the Windows 8 environment, particularly the Metro UI.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga review

We disliked

When one of the biggest complaints about a product is that it doesn't have a backlit keyboard, you know you're onto something good. Even our concerns around the touch screen are mitigated by the fact that more than nine times out of ten, it works just fine.

Our concerns about the battery life were alleviated when the Yoga averaged six to eight hours per charge. While the it didn't perform anywhere above average with the Battery Eater 05 test, it proved itself capable during real world usage.

Finally, in an ideal world, we'd see finer 3D performance out of Intel's integrated graphics part. This said, the fact that Ivy Bridge can put up a score of 3,500 in 3D Mark 06 merits praise, and we're sure to see improvement with Intel's release of Haswell in mid-2013.

Final verdict

Because all Windows 8 Ultrabooks share the same specification - at press time, every Ultrabook featured the same base processor - hardware and design will be the differentiating factor for the next half year, and possibly longer. That means aesthetics, batteries, input device, and other intangibles will matter more than anything else.

With the hyper-flexible Yoga, Lenovo has the most, or at least the first, meaningful intangible. For now, it's hard to imagine anyone topping a device that can be favorably compared to other laptops as well as tablet convertibles.