- Extremely thin and light yet well built
- Snappy performance
- Fanless, noise-free design
- Glossy and reflective screen surface
- Micro HDMI port (no adapter included)
- $1,299.99 price tag
At the end of the day the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro not only exceeds expectations, but also earns a spot as “the best premium 2-in-1 currently available.”
Everyone building premium laptops these days seems to be focused on two markets: high-performance gaming laptops and thin-and-light convertible Ultrabooks. Lenovo hopes to dominate the latter category with the Yoga 3 Pro, a lightweight Ultrabook that transforms from a laptop to a tablet just by flipping the screen back. Available in Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver, or Champagne Gold, this stylish looking laptop is aimed squarely at those professionals who want a Windows laptop that looks good … and maybe even looks better than an Apple MacBook Air.
We took a closer look to see if the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro offers enough style and substance to make Apple fanboys switch sides.
Build and Design
The ($1,299.99) carries over some of the same design elements – namely the multi-mode hinge design allows you to flip the screen back behind the keyboard and use the notebook as a tablet – that made the Yoga 2 Pro so popular. That said, a quick glance at this Ultrabook reveals that it’s even thinner and lighter, and includes a radical new “watchband hinge” that’s unlike anything we expected from the people behind the ThinkPad.
While we were pleased to see that the new Yoga 3 Pro is 17 percent thinner than its predecessor (making this Ultrabook thinner than a #2 pencil when open), our eyes kept coming back to the hinge. As it turns out, it’s actually a key element for keeping the Yoga 3 Pro so thin and light.
The new watchband hinge is built from more than 800 pieces of steel and aluminum. This design offers greater flexibility and flatness than the hinge on the original Yoga while also providing greater stability over the entire length of the screen (the screen is connected to the notebook chassis in six places now instead of two). The notebook can be folded completely flat, thanks to the hinge’s structure (unlike the Yoga 2 Pro, where the screen and the chassis rested at slightly different heights when the notebook was open flat).
The hinge delivers a solid feel with just the right amount of resistance to hold the screen in place while still allowing you to move the screen into various positions with a single hand. When we heard that Lenovo fabricated this hinge out of “more than 800 pieces” we were concerned that it might be fragile, but after several weeks of testing (bordering on abuse) we can say the hinge will probably survive things that the rest of the laptop won’t.
Input and Output Ports
Despite its dramatically thin profile, the Yoga 3 Pro packs virtually all of the ports, slots, and switches road warriors consider essential for business. You get two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port which doubles as a charging port/power jack (more on that in the battery life and power adapter section). You’ll also find a full-size SD card slot, standard headset/headphone jack, volume buttons, and a micro HDMI port.
The micro HDMI port is our only minor complaint about the port selection on this laptop. We understand that there simply wasn’t enough room for a full-size HDMI port without making the chassis thicker or sacrificing one of the USB ports, but this means business travelers will need an adapter if they want to connect the Yoga 3 Pro to an HDMI monitor or projector. You can buy an adapter or micro HDMI cable for less than $10, but it would have been nice if Lenovo included an adapter in the box considering the $1,300 price tag for this 2-in-1.
Screen and Speakers
The 13.3-inch QHD+ 3200×1800 IPS display is bright and clear with fantastic viewing angles so the screen looks good from any angle (important when a notebook is designed to move between Laptop, Stand, Tent, and Tablet modes).
It’s also important to note that this is one of the thinnest (if not “the thinnest”) touchscreens with a resolution greater than full HD. We did some basic torture testing to see how well the touchscreen stands up to the rigors of travel (applying pressure to both sides of the screen and applying torque or twisting pressure to opposite corners of the screen). The screen survived the abuse just fine … although we did notice that the touchscreen frequently registered false touch inputs when the screen was twisted on opposing corners.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about the screen surface. On one hand, it’s made of Corning Gorilla Glass so the screen can survive abuse while traveling, but the glossy screen surface makes for nasty reflections and glare under bright lights.
Keyboard and Touchpad
When you open the laptop, you’ll find a textured soft touch palm rest with a golf ball type pattern that wraps up around the backlit keyboard. The keyboard itself features a simple chiclet-style layout and each key has a soft texture with good feedback when pressed. The LED backlighting is nicely done with even illumination so the keys can be seen in the dark.
The touchpad is a clickpad with integrated buttons beneath the multitouch surface. The review unit we looked at featured Synaptics touchpad drivers, and the cursor movement was smooth while gesture recognition was likewise flawless.