Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, Watchband Hinge And Intel Core M Deliver Thin And Light Performance

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Performance Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro handled itself well in our battery of tests, falling in the middle of the pack of competitive ultrabooks based on Intel Core i5-series ULT processors. In a few standard benchmarks, like Sunspider, PCMark 8 and Lame encoding, the Yoga 3 Pro scored in the top quadrant of our test group. In graphics and gaming tests like 3DMark Cloud Gate and Far Cry 2, the machine fell to the lowest quadrant of our test group.  However, when this hybrid device is compared to premium tablets like the iPad Air 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1, with respect to graphics performance, it's significantly more powerful, as we saw in our 3DMark Ice Storm testing. And so, for this "tweener" product of sorts, the Yoga 3 Pro's performance is closer to that of a high-end utlrabook, rather than a tablet.


Lays flat, won't break, honest...

In practical use, it's a good thing the Yoga 3 Pro can hang with most ultrabooks performance-wise. To be perfectly honest (which is what you come here for), it's utility as a tablet is somewhat limited.  It's just too big and bulky, with its 13-inch frame to be manageable for more than casual use in this mode.  That said, the Yoga 3 Pro's fully articulating watchband hinge allows it to contort into various other modes and positions that can come in quite handy at times. Personally, I've always been a stickler for notebook lids with inadequate swing so you can't get an optimal display viewing angle when standing at the kitchen counter. I like to stream music, check mail and watch site metrics when I cook, and in this regard, the Yoga 3 Pro sits up at attention easily and with style.

The Yoga 3 Pro's hinge also adds a bit of bling to the design that you won't see on any other machine currently. This is personal taste, but we like the look very much and it does add to the design quality and aesthetic nicely.  Conversely, the Yoga 3 Pro does feel a bit too flexible and spongy in spots, like its wrist rest and keyboard area. It's not a huge detraction from the overall product but it's something to note. The Yoga 3 Pro is really thin, perhaps too thin. Higher density plastics or even aluminum used in this area, in exchange for a touch more weight, would have been a welcomed trade-off in our opinion. Finally, with respect to construction, the Yoga 3 Pro's keyboard isn't quite up to the quality we're used to seeing from Lenovo machines. Key cap travel is a bit shallow, though with a bit of practice, it's roomy enough and you'll likely feel right at home in no time, as key orientation is well-placed.


Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro, MSRP of $1299 As Tested

On the plus side, the Yoga 3 Pro's 3200x1800 high resolution IPS display is another high point. Though its color gamut capability isn't exceptionally wide (72%), it does produce accurate colors with good brightness, saturation, contrast and viewing angles. With the exception of a few odd scaling issues with Windows 8 at its native resolution, the Yoga 3 Pro's display is very capable and easy on the eyes, for work or pleasure.

And fortunately, Intel's Core M-5Y70 Broadwell CPU, 8GB of DDR3-1600 memory and a nimble 256GB SSD, helped our Yoga 3 Pro push pixels and process workloads on that pretty display with ease. Intel's 14nm Core M processor is an interesting beast. In many workloads it proves itself to be as fast as the average Core i5 series ultrabook setup, but with a power envelope that's a fraction of the previous generation 22nm architecture. This does equate to great battery life but there are occasions where its integrated GPU lags behind the previous gen in graphics workloads, like gaming. This is of only secondary concern for many users, as this class of notebook isn't typically targeted for gaming. Then again, if you compare its performance to the average tablet, the lines that the Yoga 3 Pro blurs with respect to its near-tablet form factor, also begin to blur in performance, as this machine leaves virtually any tablet on the market currently well in the rear-view mirror in the benchmarks.

You can currently find the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro at places like Amazon and at Lenovo's site for an MSRP of $1299 in the configuration we tested, though some online retailers are asking a few pesos more, likely due to demand.  At this price point, with its super high res display, fairly roomy 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM, that's a decent value, though a similarly configured MacBook Air does retail currently for $100 less. However, that's with a previous-gen Core i5 under its hood, no multi-touch support, and a much lower resolution display.

Regardless, If thin is what you're after Lenovo's Yoga 3 Pro definitely brings a wafer-thin, stylish exterior, a bright high-end display and stealthy-quiet performance with battery life to go with it.

  • Solid performance
  • Could be the thinnest laptop we've seen
  • Excellent Screen
  • Love that watchband hinge
  • Great battery life
  • Extremely quiet
  • Premium Build Quality
  • Slightly spongy keyboard area
  • A little pricey
  • Pixel Scaling Not Always Ideal in Windows 8.1

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