"Best Convertible Laptop Currently on the Market!"4.5 starson by RRBaird
Pros: + Very bright screen with IP, 1600x900 resolution works very well for a 13 inch screen
+ Tablet mode has worked great, with no problems
+ Trackpad is great (I updated to latest drivers)
+ Expandable SSD slot is amazing
Cons: - Sometimes the device doesn't recognize the change of orientation, and keeps the keyboard locked when in laptop mode
- Lacking in ports, which is a compromise for most ultraportables
Summary: The Yoga 13 is an excellent computer, which works (almost) exactly as it should (with one minor wifi fix). My real rating would be 4.5 stars, but I'm rounding up because this is a 1st-Generation device, so small bugs are usually common. I've compared it extensively with the Dell XPS 12 and opted to keep the Yoga 13, even though I got the Dell for the same price ($1,000 for a Dell-refurbished unit + a coupon).
Design (9 out of 10)
The 360 hinge works as it should, with one minor complaint. The screen is a little bit "bouncy" when you have the laptop open at all and try to write on it with a stylus, which means you need to either have the screen "open" all the way and flat on a surface or you need to stabilize it with your other hand to use a stylus well. The Dell XPS 12 hinge does not have this same problem. However, overall, I slightly prefer the Yoga 13 design to the Dell XPS 12 design. In fact, I now find it silly to have a laptop with a touch screen that doesn't open all the way. The double joint feature that allows the fold back really can't cost more than $20 or $30; every laptop should have it. The criticism about the keys being exposed is blown way out of proportion. It feels a little funny at first, but that's it. Don't set your laptop down on a dirty, wet, or sticky surface and the keyboard will be just fine.
The one main advantage of the Dell XPS 12 design is that you can leave the base completely stationary and flip the screen. If the laptop is plugged in, this is handy. Still, the flip screen design on the Dell feels a little gimmicky (although it's still a fine alternative design to the Yoga 13 and much better than the Twist, in my opinion).
The overall feel of the Yoga is nice. It is not "premium" like the Dell XPS 12 carbon fiber, but it's not worth paying extra money for a slightly nicer texture, in my opinion. I actually prefer the interior texture on the Yoga 13 -- very comfortable typing handrests that don't get cold or hot.
Screen (9 out of 10)
The screen looks very nice; the 1600x900 resolution works very well for a 13 inch screen. Side by side with the Dell XPS 12's 1080p, it's clear that the Dell has a better-looking screen. However, the resolution on the Dell is a bit high for a 12 inch screen, which means you need to increase font sizes for most text to be readable without squinting.
Touch/Tablet mode (10 out of 10)
This is where the Yoga 13 demolishes the Dell. If you plan to use a stylus and are considering the Dell please read this, since I've not seen it come up in any reviews. The Dell XPS 12 is unusable in stylus mode. I tried two different Dell units with the exact same results: jagged lines, missed lines, and illegible text if I tried to write anything small. This occurred in every program (One Note, Word, Corel Draw, Note Anytime), and 6 hours with tech support could not fix it (new OS, new drivers, etc.). The Yoga 13, on the hand, works quite well (although I would pay an extra $150 for a active stylus with digitizer -- Lenovo, are you listening?).
Tablet mode has worked great, with no problems. With the Dell, I had problems with auto-rotate and auto-keyboard pop-up failing to work on two different Dell units. The only fix was a complete re-install of windows.
For some who have noted that there is sometimes a lag in the touch screen if you haven't used it for a while, follow these steps (found on a message board):
- Open device manager
- Expand Human Interface Devices
At the bottom of the HID list are two devices labeled "USB Input Device" On my system, the one we're concerned with is the second one, so the last item in the list, but just to make sure it's the right one:
- Open the device properties
- Click the Details tab
- In the drop down menu, select Hardware Ids
The one we want will say USB\VID_04F3&PID_000A on the second line
- Move to the Power Management tab
- Uncheck "Allow the computer to turn off this device to save power"
Keyboard/Trackpad (9 out of 10)
Trackpad is great (I updated to latest drivers). Not sure what the mixed reviews are about. The Dell XPS 12 was not good. Keyboard on the Yoga is also great. I liked the feel of the Dell's keyboard a bit more, but I've had no missed keys on the Yoga.
I don't understand the criticism of lack of keyboard backlight. I've never had a scenario where I needed keyboard backlighting. In completely dark room, the computer screen illuminates the keyboard enough to see the keys. But if you really love keyboard backlighting, be aware that the Yoga 13 doesn't have it!
Wifi (7 out of 10)
While it sounds like some people are having bigger problems with wifi, my failure-to-reconnect on log-on issue was solved with this simple fix: Go to Device Manager (Charms Bar --> search for "Device Manager" in settings), Go to Network Adapter, Right Click on the RealTek, Click on Advanced Tab, Then set Selective Suspend to "Disabled."
Since I did that, I've had zero problems. It annoys me that Lenovo could ship a product that needs a fix for wifi that automatically reconnects at log-on, but the range issues people have been reporting are non-existent for me. In fact, for both my home network and work network, I have 3-4 bars of wifi in places where my Dell XPS 12 had 1-2 bars and would fail to connect at times. Since my fix, I've had zero wifi problems in the past 3 weeks.
Ports/Other Features (10 out of 10)
I like the full-size HDMI port. While DisplayPorts might be the future, everything in my house has HDMI (and HDMI to DVI cables are $6 on Amazon, if you have a monitor without HDMI). No VGA port, though, which is fine for me since it is no longer 2005.
SD card slot is nice. Seems silly that Dell left it out of the XPS 12.
Expandable SSD slot is amazing. I have a 128GB Yoga now, but it's nice knowing I'll be able to add a second SSD in the future as prices drop (see YouTube for instructions). Also, I plan to expand to 8GB of ram, although I've had no problems with 4GB for the time being.
Not happy about the charger (the unique style means I have to pay top dollar for a replacement, since I like to have two), but it works fine.
The upcoming Helix could rival the Yoga in terms of design (detachable screen, 10 hours of batter life, stylus), but if you're like me and do a decent amount of typing, an 11-inch screen is just too small. The Yoga 13's 13-inch screen is just right for productivity, and in tablet mode works really well on your lap. No, you can't hold it with one hand comfortably, but you can prop it up in a variety of ways. I find the 9-11 inch tablet size to be nice, but also too large for one-handed use. I hope the next version of the Yoga has an active stylus.
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I hope it helps, good luck everyone!