Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 - If You've Got it, Flex it

Launch SRP: S$1899

Build Quality and Components

Build Quality

We also found that the scratch resistant exterior finish a better option compared to anodized aluminum in terms of aesthetics. Firstly it looks just like anodized aluminum, but it can withstand simple abuse without scratches and scuff marks. Secondly, because it feels slightly rubbery, you can get a grip on the machine if you choose to go 'nude' (no cover) with the Yoga. 

As for the interior, the palm rest is covered in a leather-like rubber material which feels similar to the exterior coat, but with a bit more texture. The likely reason for this design choice is that in "stand" mode, this material gives the palm rest enough friction to reduce the chances of the notebook from sliding about. A bonus side-effect of this design decision is that it’s very comfortable for your hands and palms while typing on the Yoga.

And of course if Lenovo opted for a scratch resistant coat on the machine instead of aluminum, it would mean that the chassis is made of plastic. Fortunately we didn’t find this material choice a compromise to the Yoga’s build quality. If anything, we found that the thick plastic scratch resistant coating is hardier than 2011’s Lenovo Ideapad U300s.

We’re not saying that it can withstand hard knocks or being run over by a car, but it’s very well made. It’s rigid in all the right places like the back of the lid, bottom cover and palm rest, with hardly any flex found in any of these places. The only hint of flex we could find, was on the keyboard, which sits on a separate housing. But before you write it off, take note that there’s a practical reason for this - the separate housing makes it easy to have the keyboard replaced if the letters ever fade away (due to the Yoga’s "stand" mode) or if it falters in some way.

 

Keyboard and Trackpad

Flex or not however, you’d probably not notice it anyway, thanks to the Accutype chiclet keys. The keys have a fair bit of travel, as well as resistance, which makes for a pretty comfortable typing experience. It’ll definitely benefit from having even more of each, but that's a compromise that Lenovo has to make in order to keep the machine as thin as possible.

While the keyboard is pretty good, we were even more impressed with the premium feel of the large, clickable, multi-touch glass trackpad (clickpad). Clicking on the trackpad is smooth, and every corner of the clickpad has the same degree of click-ability as the center of the clickpad which makes it much easier to use. The matte texture of the clickpad also allows your finger to slide around easily, making navigation with the trackpad a breeze.

 

Display & Speakers

You’d need all the help you can get from the good trackpad because of the Yoga’s 13-inch, 1600 x 900 pixels resolution, multi-touch screen. It’s a much higher resolution than that of the U300s (1366 x 768 pixels resolution) and many other basic Ultrabooks, which means it gives you much more screen real estate. It also makes images look sharper on the screen, perfect for Windows 8’s new tiled start screen.

And because it’s an IPS panel, the viewing angles on the Yoga are also much wider than those on competing Ultrabooks from other manufacturers. However, a small problem we found is that the Gorilla Glass (necessary to protect the multi-touch display), makes the screen too reflective. This is an unavoidable side effect of having a multi-touch display. Having said that, we’ve noticed some competitors with glossy screens employ anti-glare coating to help reduce glare tremendously. It would have added on to the Yoga’s cost, but we feel it’s a necessary enhancement that would complement the notebook even if it jacked up the price higher.

To match the gorgeous multi-touch display, the Yoga also comes with a pair of powerful speakers (for Ultrabook standards). Manufacturers have shown over the past year that Ultrabooks are capable of incorporating pretty decent speakers. Thus it’s no surprise that the Yoga’s speakers are loud and powerful - good for movies whilst on the go.

9.0
Design
9.5
Features
8.5
Performance
8.5
Value
9
Mobility
8.5
The Good
Well designed
Easy conversion from notebook to tablet
Scratch resistant body
Accutype keyboard
Excellent Battery Life
The Bad
Only 1 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0 port
IPS display could be higher resolution
Screen could use an anti-glare coating
No backlit keyboard