The biggest hardware trend marking the launch of Windows 8 is theproliferation of touch-screen laptop/tablet hybrids. Some have screens that pull apart to become separate tablets, while others have screens that flip, twist, or rotate to give you a tabletlike shape to hold. We call those latter models convertible laptops, and one of the best examples to date is the new Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13.
The name Yoga is suggestive of the system’s big selling point, that the display flips fully over to become a tablet. In fact, it has four basic usable positions — clamshell laptop, tablet, stand, and tent.
The reason the Yoga stands out from the suddenly crowded touch-screen laptop scene is that it does something other convertible or hybrid laptops do not. When set up as a traditional laptop, the 13.3-inch Yoga doesn’t compromise the all-important clamshell experience. The excellent double-hinge design means that it looks and works the same as any other ultrabook laptop, unlike the complex and often clunky mechanisms in systems such as the HP Envy x2, Sony Vaio Duo 11, or Dell XPS 12.
The good: The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 looks as good as any 13-inch ultrabook, with the added attraction of a 360-degree screen and a laptop body that can fold into a tent, stand, or slate.
The bad: Tablet mode leaves the keyboard exposed, and the Yoga 13 costs more than standard ultrabooks with similar components.
The bottom line: The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is a convertible touch-screen laptop/tablet that most importantly doesn’t compromise the traditional laptop experience.