About the author: Joe reviews hardware based on how it fits into his life. Joe is a sales professional that manages a team, travels weekly, a part-time professor and gamer. He is a father and husband who also has the privilege of being GWW’s President.
Thinner, lighter, faster. These are the words I can’t help myself from saying when I describe the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro to my friends and colleagues. Having reviewed and owned a Yoga 2, I have a different perspective from others. I’ve seen this product line evolve into what it is currently, and I can’t take my eyes of the gorgeous screen or my hands off the comfortable keyboard. It’s as if Lenovo decided to listen to their customers and take the Yoga series to the next level. What constitutes that new level? 17 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the Yoga 2 Pro, and it has one of the best displays available. Unlike previews Yoga releases, the Yoga 3 comes in only one trim: 13.3″ running an Intel Core M processor. Although you can opt for either a 256GB or a 512GB SSD, no longer can you choose from the traditional Intel lineup of i5 and i7 processors. This may be a turn off to some, but keep an open mind while reading further; the Yoga 3 Pro manages to pack quite a punch despite what is presently an unfamiliar processor.
Gorgeous and stunning. That is the Yoga 3 Pro. Lenovo combined a bright and attractive Clementine Orange (also available in Platinum Silver and Champagne Gold) aluminum chassis to the outside and contrast it with a black, somewhat rubbery surface surrounding the keyboard and monitor. As with other Yoga’s, this is a multi-purpose device. It can act in 4 modes: Laptop, Stand, Tent, and Tablet.
The premium feel begins as you open the box for the first time. After you remove the laptop you’re greeted by two compartments: one for the power cord and the other containing the manual. Lift either of them up and the box begins to lift up, as if to aid you. A neat touch for sure. Once out of the box, it feels great to hold the Yoga 3 - it’s encased in a magnesium matte finish that’s resistant to finger prints and smudges. Categorized as a “2-in-1” the Yoga 3 Pro exceeds all expectations. Lenovo effectively built this category with the original Yoga and that experience and leadership undoubtedly aided them in producing the best of any 2-in-1 I’ve tested. This is a competitive category as demand has been strong for Ultrabooks. Consumers are finding flexibility in these devices; they allow users to do much more with one device. Any application/project that demands intense processing power is not part of such flexible scenario.
The Yoga 3 Pro is a worthy contender for best mobile laptop due to its proportions and true mobility. Not a bad position for a hybrid Ultrabook to be in. Again, this wouldn’t be possible without Intel’s Core M processor. Keep in mind the purpose of the Core M: portability, not power. Consequently, the Yoga 3 Pro is not going to contend with high performance Core i7-based laptops in terms of speed. No, this laptop is for those who frequent cafes, give presentations in small group settings, jaunt from meeting to meeting, and effectively work unplugged. Its versatile, portable and vibrant. And that comes with a few trade offs.
It boots from cold in under 20 seconds and returns from standby quickly. But, the Yoga 3 Pro can’t run Skyrim on ultra or stream to your Nvidia Shield. Being “mobile” can be defined differently between people. Some may need to carry their laptop around without a power cable for an entire workday. To help extend battery life if necessary, Lenovo included a power management application that is easy to use. A simple profile selection does the trick. Adjusting from “balanced” to “power saver” takes the paper life expectation from 4 hours to 7+ hours. Personally, I couldn’t find a good reason to use power saver for more than a few minutes. It simply wasn’t comfortable. Where I enjoyed using the Yoga 3 Pro the most was on the couch, at Peet’s Coffee (not a Starbucks guy), and in small group meetings at work. The keyboard is comfortable for long hours, but with the display dimmed in power saver, some of the fun was lost.
Processor: Intel 5Y70 1.1GHz (4MB L2)
OS: Windows 8.1
Display: 13.3″ QHD + LED Glossy Multi-touch (3200×1800)
RAM: 8GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5300
Storage: 256GB SSD
For students and professionals that are somewhat mobile, this should be on your Christmas list. At $1399.99, it may appear to have a heavy price tag, but this is a machine that should last several years and as long as you’re not a power user, it’s the only PC you need. It’s slim enough to slide into nearly any backpack, sleeve, or briefcase you may own. It’s a worthy companion for anyone serious about getting things done.
Images provided by Scott Beach of DJ Music Tech.