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

Design and Build Quality

The Yoga 3 Pro is a classy looking machine, with a flat black, matte and dimpled finish on the keyboard deck area and matte silver aluminum on its outer shell. The design is essentially and aluminum shell over black polycarbonate and it works well.

Lenovo claims the Yoga 3 Pro is 17 percent thinner and 15 percent lighter than the previous generation Yoga 2 Pro and it certainly feels that way, though a dimensional comparison confirms this. For additional reference, Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air is .68 inches thin versus .5 for the Yoga 3 Pro and the Air weighs 2.96 pounds versus 2.62 pounds for Lenovo's new little sliver of technology. If we're having a skinny contest, Lenovo wins hands-down and this is easily one of the thinnest, lightest 13-inch machines we've ever laid hands on. The Yoga 3 Pro looks sharp as well, with crisp, clear markings on its super-thin side edges, designating control buttons and IO ports.

On the right side, Lenovo has relocated the power button and though it sure is tiny, it does work quite well at the bottom of the row closest to your reach. From there working up, you'll find the one-touch recovery Novo Button, display rotation lock button, volume control, 2-in-1 audio jack and a USB 3 port with always-on charging.  On the left side is the DC-in combo USB 2 port, which allows you to either plug in the Yoga 3's charger or use it for data via its USB 2 interface, a micro-HDMI port and yes, an SD card reader (amen, this is not always standard equipment for Lenovo).

The Yoga 3 Pro's keyboard handles reasonably well in regular use and is roomy and comfortable enough, without any odd key locations, to get up to speed on quickly.  Key travel is a bit shallow, however, and here is where Lenovo paid the price somewhat for targeting such a thin profile.  Unfortunately, the machine is so thin that its plastic keyboard deck just doesn't hold up as well as we hoped, with a bit of overall flex, a slight sponginess and even a creak here or there.  It's not a showstopper for us, especially since so many other notebook keyboards flex, but it does detract somewhat from what is otherwise a solid premium look and feel for the Yoga 3 Pro.

Continuing on with the good looks, however, Lenovo's choice of high resolution IPS display panel was sound. Though some have poked at its color gamut capability (specified at 72%), we found it to offer good accuracy, brightness, saturation and contrast. In addition, viewing angles, specified at 170 degrees, are excellent as well. And of course, at its 3200X1800 native resolution, you get a ton of pixels to work with, and save for the occasional Windows scaling issue (not Lenovo's fault), images, text and multimedia content look super crispy and tight. Finally, though it could offer a bit more brightness at 300 nits, it gets the job done and is still noticeably brighter than some ultrabooks, including Lenovo's own ThinkPad X1 Carbon.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro bottom view - devoid of chassis vents, those are speaker ports.

Not surprisingly, since the Yoga 3 Pro is powered by Intel's 14nm Broadwell-Y variant of their new Core M series, with only a 4.5 Watt TDP, the machine is also stealthy quiet.  Though there is no visible venting on the machine, rather just a couple of speaker ports on the bottom, there is a fan that does spin up ever so quietly under load, but next to a completely silent, fanless design, this is about as quiet as it gets. We'd offer that the frequency with which the fan spins up is a bit more often than we've heard with other machines, but it's such a light, barely audible whir that it's really just, well, quiet.

Ahh but what about that wild-looking watchband hinge Lenovo put together for the Yoga 3 Pro. We like it, a lot. We think it looks sharp and works really well. Ultimately, it's what affords the machine such a diminutive profile, and it allows the Yoga 3 Pro to lay perfectly flat, as well as contort into various usage positions, making good on its "Yoga" lineage promise.

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