Two realms of our universe that you thought may never meet have been fused together by Lenovo in its new IdeaPad Yoga 13 ultraportable. The ability to flex is not something you want to associate with your technology too closely, but the Yoga 13 _ Lenovo's little pun _ is very flexible, and the name reflects both the versatility of the screen and indeed the functionality of the device itself.
The new Windows 8 operating system seems to have spurred on a flurry of hardware releases. But do you really need to buy a device that does the downward dog yoga position? And as the battle of portable computing rages between tablets and ultraportables, does your gadget need to do both? Let's take a look at Lenovo's Yoga 13 and see.
The new flexibility consideration is a distinct departure from Lenovo, which is famous for designing utilitarian black notebooks that look like they might survive an air attack (particularly the ThinkPads).
One design similarity to previous IdeaPads is its feel of a book, albeit a slightly heavy one at 1.5kg. Inside, a 2cm bezel around all edges of the screen loses valuable space, but the manufacturer might make the excuse it's for handling when in tablet mode. The soft matted material used on the palm rest and around the keyboard is a welcome addition.
It measures 17mm in thinness, impressively matching Apple's wafer-thin MacBook Air. This is particularly impressive given the touchscreen nature of the display.
The design highlight here is the screen, which folds a full 360 degrees back to turn the notebook into tablet device. It's contingent on a brilliant hinge, and Lenovo has gone to great lengths to ensure smooth bending with success, nearing the machine to design enlightenment.
The touchscreen is a 1,600x900-resolution, 300 nit IPS LCD panel with excellent viewing angles but some reflection in sunny areas.
It houses 4GB RAM and 128GB of SSD in our configuration, meaning start-up times are super quick.
The obvious concern when using the device in tablet mode might be that the keyboard is exposed. It turns off automatically when not in use although can be a little distracting and vulnerable to damage. It also means it isn't backlit, which will annoy some more than others.
But the number of positions offered by the flexible hinge are welcome, even though the keyboard might wear prematurely.
Some have complained of the stiffness of the keys, but we had no problem with sensitivity in either the keyboard or the very responsive screen.
Battery life is above average in this class at five to six hours, with all recent touchscreen devices shaving a few hours of life.
The Yoga 13 is an interesting idea from Lenovo. As an ultraportable notebook, it's well-made, offers power and speed as well as reasonable functionality and connectivity. And on top of that, it delivers a tablet device too.
The idea of a 13in tablet might initially seem excessive, but as an extra function of an already decent notebook it means that the Yoga with its added flexibility justifies its price and might pave the way for more considered hybrid designs in the future _ a win for Lenovo.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 is available for 39,990 baht (Intel Core i5 processor). Visit www.lenovo.com. Email email@example.com with any gadget-related musings.