Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga: a Windows 8 laptop that bends backwards into a tablet (hands-on video)


Lenovo has indeed saved the best for last here at CES 2012. After days of interminable laptop announcements, the company has one more to share: the 13.3-inch IdeaPad Yoga, which opens like a normal laptop but can then flip backwards to become a tablet. Yes, it's as crazy as it sounds, and even better it's running Windows 8. This is the sort of thing that is really best seen in video, so I suggest you scroll on down as soon as possible, but what I can tell you is that the .6-inch thick laptop looks and feels a lot like the IdeaPad U300s (or the new U310 / U410) until you realize you can push the screen back completely and morph it into a Windows 8 tablet.

While the Yoga isn't going to be coming out until Windows 8 is release — likely in the Fall of this year — the version that Lenovo brought to Vegas was actually quite far along, at least on the hardware front. The hinge felt really sturdy when flipping the screen on the back of the keyboard, though the entire process of actually morphing it into a tablet is rather awkward, especially given the 13.3-inch screen size. I actually mistakenly hit the power button on the left edge when trying to get it into tablet mode. It's easier to flip it into an upside-down V-shape stand (tent mode, as Lenovo calls it) or use the keyboard as a stand for the screen. Even though the .67-inch thick / 3.1-pound Yoga is relatively thin and light for a laptop, it's thick and heavy for a tablet. Given that and the sheer size, I'd really envision this as more of a couch-centric device.

The edge-to-edge glass, 1600 x 900-resolution panel can support up to ten points of input, and was very responsive to swipes from the sides to pull up the Windows 8 charms. That speedy touch performance is also aided by the Core i7 processor inside. Since the Yoga is a full-fledged laptop as well, it will be powered by Intel's third generation Core processors, which will obviously be out by the time Win 8 is ready.

Speaking of the laptop mode, Lenovo's brought back the leather palmrest from the IdeaPad U260; not only is it really comfortable on the wrists but Lenovo says it will help protect the keyboard when may use it as a stand and it lays on a desk or table. Other than that, it's really your typical IdeaPad laptop in the laptop mode; it has a comfortable chiclet keyboard (not backlit) and a large ClickPad, which seemed to be working better in Win 8 than it usually does with Win 7. Sadly, we have to wait until Win 8 is ready to get our hands on this thing again, but in better news, Lenovo is saying it hopes to release it for around $1,199. Don't let us down!

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