The human body is only meant to bend a certain way. It works on hinges. Your knees, elbows, neck…all our pivotal points have been the inspiration behind mechanical design for centuries.
Lenovo has taken the same principals and applied them to the notebook in its range called Yoga. The name is a reference to the physical practice of Yoga which explores the limits of human “hinge-ability”. Of course Yoga is a far more complex practice that also involves a spiritual and philosophical system of belief.
But as far as the Lenovo’s new Yoga 3 Pro Ultrabook is concerned, Yoga is a reference to the physical – the unit’s unique design that makes use of a double hinge to allow four different configurations in order to provide maximum flexibility for the user.
WHAT IS AN ULTRABOOK?
To understand the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro we need some background on the market niche in which it is playing. For starters, it is an Ultrabook – a notebook with a difference.
Ultrabook is a specification and trademark of Intel for a class of high-end subnotebooks which are designed to feature a slim form without compromising battery life. Primarily and essentially, of course they feature Intel Core processors.
Intel announced the Ultrabook trademark in 2011 as a way of creating new interest in the personal computer market against the rise of smartphones and tablets, as well as creating competition against other subnotebooks, including Apple’s MacBook Air, which has similar form specifications and is powered by Intel CPUs, but is not advertised under the Ultrabook brand.
Lenovo is a company that has a diverse product range from laptops right through to smartphones and tablets, and as such is perfectly poised to take advantage of the marketing leverage provided by the use of the Ultrabook trademark and philosophy in the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.
LENOVO YOGA 3 PRO – BENDING THE ULTRABOOK RULES
Lenovo has put a new twist to the Ultrabook concept by including the most recent version of its patented “watchband” hinge technology in the Yoga 3 Pro.
According to Lenovo, the hinge is crafted from more than 800 individual pieces of aluminium steel. Compared to the Yoga 2 pro, which had two hinges, the Yoga 3 Pro has no less than six hinges.
With the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, the new hinge dramatically changes not only the look of the product, but also the way it feels and the ease with which it functions. But it’s only one piece of a technology puzzle that Lenovo has solved to create an ultra-thin and ultra-light hybrid notebook that should be the envy of all other PC manufacturers.
You could say that Yoga 3 Pro really does bend the rules when it comes to innovative Ultrabook design.
The reason for the convertible tablet design was explained by Yang Yuanqing, Chairman and CEO of Lenovo at the product launch.
“Whether a notebook that bends and folds, or an all-in-one that puts the ‘wide’ into wide-angle, today’s announcements reflect our focus on delivering the inspirational innovations that consumers are looking for.”
The technology allows you to flip the lid of the laptop into one of four different modes: a standard laptop, tent, stand and tablet. As you convert to different modes, intelligent software optimises your experience.
Next to laptop mode the tent is perhaps the most useful as it takes up less room on the surface area and makes it easier to interact with its Windows 8.1 apps.
Tent mode is fairly self-explanatory. If you wanted to extend the Yoga metaphor you would call it the downward dog.
Lenovo has also made Yoga 3 Pro an Ultrabook that is ultrathin. When the Yoga 3 Pro is closed, it’s only about 13mm thick, and in terms of weight it barely gets to 1.2kg, making it lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air.
It measures 13 x 9 x 0.5 inches and can be easily picked up from any edge with the cover at any angle.
It is one of the most portable Ultrabooks around. By Lenovo’s measurements it is 17% slimmer and 14% lighter than the Yoga 2 Pro.
The Yoga 3 Pro is made of a smooth plastic with a dimpled effect on the base and under the display frame. Both the lid and base have a tapered edge, which helps prevent it from slipping when it is in tent mode.
The Yoga 3 is an impressive feat of engineering. Due to the watchband hinge design, there is no room for ports at the rear of the device. Instead they are located along the middle left and right-hand edges.
On the left-hand side is a power port, which doubles as a USB port. Next to that is a USB 3.0 port and a full-size SD card connector.
While the new hinge is a big part of that reduction in size and weight, the CPU technology also plays a big part.
Yoga 3 Pro runs on Intel’s Core M-5Y70 CPU, which is clocked at 1.1 GHz, upgradeable to 2.6 GHz. It’s a 5th generation, 14-nanometer CPU specifically designed for tablets and hybrids. Other specs include 8GB of RAM and a 256GN SSD from Samsung.
Performance in Windows 8.1 is smooth, with Yoga 3 Pro able to handle anything you can find in the Windows store.
The keyboard on the Yoga 3 Pro has low profile, good sized, well-spaced chiclet style keys making it a pleasure to type on. When you are in tablet mode, there’s the Windows 8 on-screen keyboard which gives excellent performance due to Yoga 3’s huge screen.
On the front of the device is a 720pixel webcam, which produces a video image clear enough for Skype calls and is comparable to a mid-range smartphone camera.
In terms of bundled Lenovo software, the company has given its adaptive “Harmony” software. Using the software and say, reading an e-book will see the brightness and colour temperature adapt to the environment lighting.
It can also apply a sepia-like on-screen filter to writing apps such as Evernote, designed to simulate a book’s page, meaning it is easier on the eye over a period of time.
It has been estimated that the Yoga series has helped Lenovo take more than 40% of the American retail market of computers priced at least $900 that run Windows 8.
That’s an impressive achievement from the world’s leading producer of laptops as it seeks to extend its reach and gain recognition in other markets and market segments.