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Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro review


Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro review
Lenovo's Yoga series of notebooks was among the first of devices to offer a versatile form factor, rotating 360 degrees transforming into a video screen and even a tablet. The Yoga notebooks are also known for their portability. 

The challenge for Lenovo has been to iterate delivering the same capabilities and yet showcasing the progression with the evolution of technology. 

With the Yoga 3 Pro, Lenovo attempts to take the experience to the next level focusing on portability as well as aesthetics, giving the device a new processor that's designed for mobility and revamping the hinge that facilitates the 360 degree movement. At the same time, the Yoga 3 Pro packs in high-end hardware.

 

Is the Yoga 3 Pro a game changer just like its predecessors? We try to find out in our review... 

Build & design 

Lenovo Yoga 3 is the sleekest hybrid laptop around with just 12.7mm thickness and 1.18Kg weight. For context, the 13-inch MacBook Air is 17.27mm thick and weighs 1.32Kg. The light weight and thin profile make the laptop very easy to lug around. So if portability is what you're mainly looking for, the Yoga 3 Pro will not disappoint you.

 

The top lid and bottom casing is made from magnesium-aluminium alloy while the keyboard panel has soft, rubberised material with a dotted texture. While the metal casing doesn't look or feel extraordinarily premium, it is the watchband-like hinge (that enables the screen panel to move 360 degrees) which steals the show. There are six hinges that look very similar to links on a wristwatch. These hinges also contribute to making the Yoga 3 thinner and lighter than its predecessors. 

 

It offers the right mix of flexibility and stability, evident while using the Yoga 3 Pro in different modes. It doesn't move in tent and stand mode but you don't have to apply a lot of force to move it. The base panel clasps perfectly while using the device as a tablet. 

A USB 3.0 port, 3.5mm headphone jack, a power button and volume rocker keys sit at the right side of the base panel, while the left edge sports a micro-HDMI port, a card reader, another USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port. Interestingly, the USB 2.0 port also doubles up as a power port when you plug in the charger. 

The keys offer decent tactile feedback and are placed conveniently for tablet mode use. 

Keyboard and touchpad
The Keyboard arm rest's soft, rubberised finish offers good ergonomics, making typing easier by supporting the wrists. However, the rounded keys don't exactly offer good tactile feedback. The shallow keys, despite being well spaced, slow down your typing speed (especially if you're used to the MacBook Air keyboard) and increase the error rate. The keys are brightly backlit.

 

The multi-touch enabled button-less touchpad was combatively more responsive than most Windows laptops we've used, however, at times we experienced a slight lag (especially while navigating from one corner to the other). Multitouch gestures also worked decently with occasional hiccups. The touchpad is still not in the league of MacBook Air's touchpad though. 

Display
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro comes with an 13.3-inch touch screen (3200X1800p).A device which is designed to be used as a tablet in addition to a notebook, the Yoga 3 Pro's screen looks super sharp and vibrant. 

The Yoga 3 Pro's display is bright and colours appear true to life and outdoor sunlight legibility was also good. Viewing angles were also wide but there was a slight shift in colour as you tilt the display further. 

 

The display is one of the strengths of the device and its 10-point touch was very responsive. However, the capacitive touch Start button doesn't work. Lenovo is reportedly working on a fix for the issue. 

Software 

Our review unit came with 64-bit Windows 8.1 (Update), the latest version of the OS that features power and search buttons, ability to pin Modern UI apps to the task bar, and boot directly to Desktop, among others. 

Windows 8.1 offers a better desktop experience and streamlines Modern/ Windows 8 apps with desktop apps. 

Lenovo also bundles additional software with the laptop, including Lenovo SHAREit, Harmony, Photo Master, Reach, OneKey Recovery, OneKey Optimizer and apps like Zinio, Evernote, and Amazon Kindle. These apps can be easily uninstalled if you don't require them. 

The Harmony and Harmony settings app assist you while using the Yoga 3 Pro in different modes. These apps suggest other apps optimised for the current mode of the device (laptop, tent, stand or tablet) and automatically adjust the settings. Some apps also support gesture control and let you browse content by waving your hand in front of the device's camera. 

Performance
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is one of the first devices to be powered by a Intel Core M-5Y71 (Broadwell) processor which can run at clock speeds of up to 2.9GHz and Intel HD 5300 graphics. It comes with 8GB LPDDR3 1600 RAM and a 512GB solid state drive. While Intel's Core M chip is designed for fanless devices, Lenovo has still included a small fan at the back for thermal management. The Core M processor also consumes less power compared to Intel's 5th generation Core processor. 

In terms of performance, the laptop is good for moderate use and for web browsing, casual games and multimedia, and for apps like office suites, and simple imaging editors, among others. If you open too many tabs and multitask between many apps, the laptop becomes slightly sluggish. If you plan to play a lot of 3D games, edit videos and use Photoshop extensively, the Yoga 3 Pro will disappoint you. Lenovo limits the processor's speed to prevent over heating and save power and this leads to the performance taking a hit.

 

Having said that, the laptop runs Modern UI apps without any problems. 

The 720p webcam takes grainy pictures and videos even in good lighting conditions. 

The Yoga 3 Pro doesn't offer a very good battery life. In our tests, the laptop lasted about 5.5-6 hours while using Microsoft Word, a picture editor, a music streaming service and playing some YouTube videos, keeping the screen at full brightness. In our video look test, it lasted about 5 hours. 

While we don't endorse benchmarks, the Yoga 3 Pro scored 1815 in PCMark8 (Creative conventional) and 2072 in PCMark 8 (Work conventional) tests, and 636 in Novabench. The device scored 2776 in Cloudgate 1.1 and 19,319 in Icestorm 1.2 tests of 3DMark. 

It comes with JBL speakers and Waves Audio that offer excellent audio output delivering loud and clear sound. 

Overall, the device doesn't boast of very high-end performance due to the throttled clock speed but is well-suited for day-to-day tasks. 

Verdict
At Rs 1,14,990, the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is an expensive hybrid computer that looks gorgeous and feels good to lug around thanks to its light weight body. However, the benefits offered by the unique watchband-hinge facilitated flexible design and brilliant display are outweighed by the less than stellar battery backup and the underwhelming keyboard. 

 

Even in terms of performance, it doesn't score high in performing intensive tasks such as video editing. Having said that, the Yoga 3 Pro is among the sleekest devices available at the moment. 

The alternative you can look at, is perhaps the MacBook Air 13-inch model which offers a much better battery backup and enhanced performance, and costs less.
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