Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro - CNET

Hands-on with Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga 2 Pro

If there's a singular system that personifies the hybrid laptop/tablet concept promoted by Windows 8, it's the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga. That 13-inch convertible, and its 11-inch cousin, were among the first (mostly) successful multimode Win 8 devices, and was highlighted by Microsoft, Best Buy, and others in advertisements.

How do you top the much-loved original? In the case of the just-announced Yoga 2 Pro, the star of the show is an ultra-high-res 13.3-inch display, with a native resolution of 3,200x1,800 pixels. That puts the Yoga 2 in territory similar to the Toshiba Kirabook, Retina MacBook Pro, Chromebook Pixel, Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, and a handful of others.

That's an especially notable improvement, as the original Yoga only had a 1,600x900-pixel display (interestingly, the same as found on the 20-inch Lenovo Flex 20). This new version is also a bit thinner and lighter, measuring 15.5mm thick and just about 3 pounds.

I'm pleased to see a backlit keyboard, and in our brief hands-on time with the Yoga 2, it felt like a nice upgrade from the previous version, and it's still one of the slickest-looking ultrabooks out there, even without its hybrid properties. If you're not familiar with how the Yoga works, it looks like an ordinary thin clamshell laptop, but its lid and display fold back a full 360 degrees to form either a thick tablet, or a stand/kiosk device when only folded halfway back.

Interestingly, the Yoga line is undergoing a split of sorts, with some features being added to the consumer IdeaPad version, and completely different features showing up in the new business-oriented ThinkPad Yoga. In this case, the IdeaPad Yoga 2 gets the ultra-high-res screen, but the ThinkPad Yoga gets a clever new keyboard mechanism, which hides the keyboard when the system is folded flat in tablet mode.

The presence of the keyboard and touch pad under your fingers, even though they are deactivated, when holding the Yoga 2 as a tablet remains a design oddity, and the one thing many people disliked about the original Yoga.

Perhaps if we all ask very nicely, we can get a future Yoga that combines the 3,200x1,800-pixel display and sleek design of the Yoga 2, with the brilliant hidden keyboard of the ThinkPad Yoga.

As with Lenovo's other new laptops, fourth-gen Intel Core i-series CPUs are available, which should help with better battery life, and the system will ship with Microsoft's new Windows 8.1 update. The IdeaPad Yoga 2 is coming in October, starting at $1,099.


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