Review Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Ultrabook


At its closed position, the Yoga 13 closely resembles the IdeaPad U300s, a 2011 Lenovo Ultrabook that we praised for its design and quality. The matte silver lid and underside sandwiches the inner black case in a similar manner as the U300s. Nonetheless, the Yoga 13 is actually slightly thicker (16.9 mm vs. 14.9 mm) with a hard black base and inner display bezel. The chassis is matte on all areas, but with a distinct glossy display and surrounding edge-to-edge bezel that mimics the face of a typical tablet. Build material is plastic all around, but the manufacturer has avoided the “cheap plastic” feel by giving every surface (sans the display) a soft, faux leather texture that is especially evident on the palm rest areas. This unexpectedly makes the Yoga 13 feel and look more expensive than the U300s even if the core build materials are alike. A trivial disadvantage is that fingerprints build up easily and can be difficult to clean due to the texture.

What users will notice first-hand is the weight. At about 1.55 kg, the Yoga 13 is one of the heavier 13-inch  Ultrabooks. The convertible is around 100 to 200 grams heftier than competitors like the HP Spectre XT 13, Dell XPS 13, and Zenbook UX32A and almost 400 grams more than the super-thin Samsung 900X3B Series 9. In this case, the price of versatility is a slightly thicker, slightly weightier chassis.

The Yoga 13 was built to be adaptable by way of multiple interchangeable forms. Because of this, it is vital that build quality be solid enough to withstand more relentless inputs, twists, and rotations than a regular notebook. Thankfully, the Yoga delivers on these fronts. Applying pressure on any surface results in minimal depression as the chassis is quite dense all around. The center of the keyboard and outer lid are more easily warped with a firm press of a finger, but this is common with most notebooks and other IdeaPads. Resistance to side-to-side twisting of the base is good but not the best as some bending can be observed. The same can be said of the lid, though the amount of twisting is minimal enough for both cases that build quality is not largely affected.

The hinges can either make or break the notebook as the Yoga’s ability to transform rests on the rigidity and durability of the pivot points. We’re relieved to say that the hinges are sufficiently strong to prevent any unintended display movements that would otherwise occur while transporting the notebook with the lid at a wide angle. The amount of force it takes to move the lid is also consistent from degree to degree, so users should not have to worry about the hinges becoming weaker at certain angles than others. Note that the display can still vibrate slightly if working in an unsteady environment, such as a car or bus. Luckily, magnets secure the display in place to prevent any shaking when in tablet mode.  Although not the most rigid hinges we’ve seen, they are firm enough to get the job done and are surprisingly good in spite of their diminutive sizes.

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