Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro review

A welcome upgrade to Lenovo's flagship Ultrabook

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

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With the Yoga 2 Pro, Lenovo has built an attractive, fun to hold and easy to carry ultrabook. It's not a knockout in the performance department, but it's no slouch either, and its reasonable asking price serves as a nice counterbalance.

Battery life could be better though, since that's the kind of thing the ultrabook crowd covets. We also struggled to find reasons to flip the machine out of laptop mode, and it's simply too chunky and key-covered to use for very long in tablet mode.

We liked

There is a lot to like here, starting with the laudable Yoga 2 Pro's screen. We can now confirm that 3,200 x 1,800 pixels is delicious indeed. If configured properly, it delivers what we consider the holy grail of productivity computing: the ability to have two full-sized applications open side-by-side on the same screen.

Better yet, non-action gamers will love the ability to run their games at such high resolution. Civilization V in particular is spectacular on this screen. We say "non-action" because at this high a resolution without discrete graphics, 3D intensive performance is out of the question. Is it too much to ask for a discrete GPU in next year's model? We think not.

We've always liked the Yoga's form-factor, flexibility, and design, and we still like it with the 2 Pro. Lenovo has crafted a mainstay laptop model here—one of those rare systems that will appeal to both tech nerds and tech nerds' parents alike. It's easier said than done.

Finally, we liked the little things the Yoga 2 gets right: the solid performance, the backlit six-row keyboard, and the all-important presence of an SSD, which creates mobile device response times. We were also pleasantly surprised by the Yoga 2 Pro's speakers, which provided a surprising amount of kick and mid/high response for such a thin and light laptop.

We disliked

The biggest concern with the Yoga 2 Pro is battery life. In our opinion and experience, a Haswell-based ultrabook this thin should run twice as long as the Yoga 2 Pro does on a full charge; we got about five hours in our testing. The awesome, over-powered display is almost certainly to blame here—pushing 3.7 million more pixels around than a traditional HD screen is going to leave a mark on battery performance. This is an unfortunate trade-off, and it's too bad Lenovo couldn't have found a way to include a bigger battery.

Given the configuration options above, our concerns about hard drive space aren't really a dislike, but more of a growing concern that could be applied to most ultrabooks. Even with the proliferation of cloud services like Google Drive, Skydrive and Dropbox, the large number of songs and photos we all carry with us from device to device make it hard to recommend a 128GB for anyone—even your grandparents.

Finally, we saw one weird glitch in the Yoga 2 Pro. Whenever the system came out of sleep mode, the audio settings would reset. If we had the laptop on mute, and closed the lid, when we turned it back on, the audio would no longer be muted. We expect that this will be resolved at some point through some kind of update.

Final Verdict

This is a great laptop. If you were to take the Yoga 2 Pro back in time 3 years and show it to anyone—including a TechRadar editor—they would have been ecstatic. This kind of performance and a 3200 x 1800 screen with over three hours of battery life was literally impossible on a Windows-based portable in 2010.

Some of Lenovo's pre-loaded software borders on bloat, and we struggled to find more than handful of uses for half of the Yoga's operating modes. It's also a shame that the battery life is so low, for Haswell as least, but you are getting that gorgeous display as a trade off. For what you're paying, you're getting your money's worth.

The Yoga 2 Pro is a winner of a laptop, pure and simple. At the $1,000 price point, you could put the Yoga 2 Pro in just about anyone's hands and make them feel quite pleased.