If you're trying to choose the right laptop for work, you've probably noticed three dissatisfying categories. You can go with an insanely powerful and heavy workstation that costs more than most used cars. You can go with a consumer laptop that looks good but doesn't pack the punch necessary to push past spreadsheets. Or you can go with a highly portable convertible that won't do much more than let you check your email.
Professionals that want a device that looks cool, isn't heavier than a brick and packs enough horsepower to get the job done have mostly been out of luck. If you're this specific person, Lenovo thought of you when it made the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 ($845, £558, AU$1077).
If you're having trouble picturing such a device, close your eyes and imagine a cross between the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro ($1,299, £999, AU$2,099), the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (starting at $799, £528, $AU1,018), and the Dell Precision M3800 workstation ($1,650, £1,091, AU$2,100). Although it isn't as light as the Surface Pro 3, as sexy as the Yoga 3 Pro, or as powerful as the Precision M3800, the ThinkPad Yoga 12 holds its own admirably in all three categories.
The ThinkPad Yoga 12 is built with a black magnesium alloy chassis that feels great to the touch but doesn't do much for the eyes. This laptop isn't ugly by any means, but it features the same signature ThinkPad design that you've grown accustomed to (and bored by) since the line was unveiled in 1992. The laptop measures 12.44 inches (31cm) long by 0.74 inches (1.8cm) thick and it weighs a manageable 3.48 pounds (1.5kg).
The top of the device sports the customary ThinkPad logo with accompanying light-up lowercase letter "i," a barely noticeable black on black Lenovo logo near the upper half of the laptop's silver-colored, metal hinges. The bottom of the device features three five-inch-by-one-inch vents, and five small speaker slots. In addition to the ports that I'll mention later, the right side of the device houses a tiny slot where you store the optional digitizer pen. No larger than a pencil's eraser, you wouldn't even notice this slot if the top of the digitizer weren't red.
Although I love how the magnesium alloy feels, it does get very oily and dusty. It isn't as bad as shinier, plastic laptops, like some of Acer's budget Chromebooks, but definitely worse than higher-end laptops, like the Dell XPS 13. Despite the smudging, you won't notice a scratch anywhere on the surface for a long, long time. I scraped my nails across the chassis and there wasn't a scratch in sight.
The full HD (1,920 x 1,080) touchscreen isn't the highest quality display on the market, but it's as versatile as any you'll find. You can bend the display back 360-degrees, so that the laptop can be used in four different modes: laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. It's a shame Lenovo couldn't find a black metal hinge instead of the silver metallic hinge, which is sturdy and smooth, but takes away from the laptop's aesthetics.
Speaking of the touchscreen: I find it very unlikely many people will enjoy using this device in tablet mode. At 3.4 pounds, it's just too heavy to hold in your hands the way you would a tablet. For reference, the Surface Pro 3 is only 1.76 pounds, and the iPad Air 2 is 0.98 pounds.
The Yoga 12 is double and triple the weight, respectively, of two devices many consumers have used at least once. Tent and stand mode are fine for presenting or watching movies, because you're meant to rest the devices on a table, but don't buy this device if you plan to use it primarily as a handheld tablet.
With that being said, Lenovo's "Lift and Lock Keyboard" is pretty cool. When you bend the hinge beyond 260-degrees, the keyboard's keys sink into the frame of the laptop, providing an almost flat surface where your palm sits when using the device in tablet mode.
As for the keyboard itself: it's spill resistant and sports Lenovo's signature AccuType curved keys, of which I'm not a fan. Nor am I a fan of the three buttons at the top of the clickpad, which just seem to get in the way rather than providing me with any added value. Neither of these gripes is a deal-breaker. Just to show that I'm not an outright Lenovo keyboard hater, the clickpad itself is the perfect size, it's incredibly smooth and I found it to be accurate right out of the box.