Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 review

Having bought the mid-range Lenovo Ideapad 13 (i5/8GB/128GB SSD) primarily for home use, here's my completely biased take on it.

  • Perfect machine for having around the home
  • Love the "rubberised" feel of the cover and keyboard area.
  • Great, bright, colourful screen.
  • Faster than we need for its intended purpose
  • Decent battery life (<5h)
  • Very responsive touch screen. I agree with Scott Hansleman when he said that "every laptop should (and will) have a touchscreen in a year". I will never buy a non-touch laptop again.
  • The power supply brick is small, thin, and light.
  • Lenovo's stupid, stupid HDD partitioning scheme. The 128GB leaves ~60GB usable space out of the box. First thing you should do is create recovery media, then reformat the entire machine (remove the 5 recovery partitions), and reinstall the drivers. See this Lenovo page for a hotfix if you don't want to do this yourself.
  • The keyboard is not up to Lenovo standards. Biggest pain is the shortened backspace key to accommodate the page up/down key column. I keep hitting page up when I want to hit backspace. Why haven't we agreed on a common keyboard layout yet?
  • The touchpad is nowhere near what I have come to expect from Lenovo. The integrated buttons are just weird.
  • The heat vents point out where the hinges are. This means when I have it in "stand mode" on my lap, my embarrassingly ample belly blocks the heat escape route. Doesn't get super hot, but is an issue.
  • There is no keyboard light (backlight or otherwise).
  • The power supply connector is one of the new USB-ish square connectors, making it incompatible with the multitude of other Lenovo power adapters I have around the place.

Things commonly cited in reviews that aren't actually issues for me:
  • Having the keyboard upside-down on my lap. It doesn't feel weird. I don't feel it at all. 
  • Touch screen laptops are flimsy and the screen moves when you touch it. It doesn't move. It flexes a bit if I'm rougher than I need to be, but springs back easily.

Overall, I love this machine for home use. It really does highlight the difference between consumer and business class machines. I miss features like the great keyboard/touchpad, keyboard light, docking port, user replaceable battery, etc. from my Lenovo T430s that I currently use for work.

Key question: Would I buy this again? Yes, absolutely.

Key question: Can it be improved? Yes. Give me a business class version.

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