*This is a review of a loaned product unit from Lenovo Malaysia*
I have been looking for an upgrade to my current 2 year old Acer Aspire S7 for awhile now. Unlike my previous pattern of jumping to an impulse purchase, I am taking a more calculated approach this time round. I didn’t just let the physical appearance sway me, or pure technical specifications wow the geek in me. I weigh my usage pattern, requirement and read a tonne of reviews out there.
Other than the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (read my review here), the other device in my consideration is the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro with its tagline as “World’s Thinnest Convertible Notebook” is famous for the “yoga” aspect of the thin-and-light Ultrabook. It’s has a flexible hinge that allows you to transform the laptop to a tablet with its 360 degrees hinge. Similar to their Yoga tablet series.
See Also : Lenovo Yoga Tablet 8 User Review
Additionally, the latest Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro now houses the latest Intel Core M processor, built for the recent slew of thin laptops as it supports laptops with a fanless design without sacrificing on performance. No more overheating of your laptop in long / heavy use. Laptops can be thinner without the fan (and vents and cooling tech, etc). The recent 2015 Apple Macbook, for example, has adopted this new Intel Core M processor, making the machine as thin as the Macbook Air.
Good looks and new processor. This is enough for me to consider the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.
While I am, once again, not the first few to be offered a review unit when the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro first hit the Malaysian market sometime in November 2014, I am thankful to be offered the chance to get my hands on a review unit now.
Gives me a good chance to not only evaluate the device for my personal consideration, but also to share my experience and review with you, my fellow readers.
Before we get into the review, here’s a quick specifications overview of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro :-
- 13.3″ QHD+ IPS multitouch widescreen display (3200 X 1800)
- 1.2 GHz Intel® Core™ M processor
- 256 / 512 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) storage with 8 GB DDR3L RAM
- Powered by Windows 8.1 Pro OS
- 5 megapixel front- and rear-facing camera
- 12.8 mm thin, weighing 1.19 kg
- 4-cell 44.8W Li-Polymer battery (up to 7.2 hours of web browsing)
- Ports : 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, micro HDMI, 4-in 1 SD reader, Headphone/Microphone Jack,
- Connectivity : WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
- Available in 3 colours : Clementine Orange, Light Silver, Golden
Fore more info, tech specs and feature, check out Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Malaysian product page at http://shopap.lenovo.com/my/en/yoga-3-pro/
See Also : Microsoft Surface Pro 3 User Review
Hardware and Build Quality
The cardboard box packaging holds the device and parts inside in a unique mechanism – opening some flaps elevates the device. Tough to explain, but a small design element that makes the unboxing a little more pleasant.
Inside, you have the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro laptop itself, power adapter, power charging cable and user manuals.
I got myself the Light Silver coloured unit, instead of the Clementine Orange unit, which is the Yoga 3 Pro hero colour. You see the Orange laptop in almost all their Marketing materials. Yes, the orange is a catchy and punchy colour for such a unique design, but the
boring corporate part of me feels more classy with a muted Silver coloured laptop. 🙂
As you’d (hopefully) know by now, the Intel initiative with all Windows laptop manufacturers is to brand their thin-and-light laptops as Ultrabooks. The Yoga 3 Pro falls into this category, too, at a thin 12.8 mm (at its thinnest point) chassis.
Unlike the singular USB-C port on the 2015 Apple Macbook, the Yoga 3 Pro is rather generous for a thin laptop. It has 3 USB ports altogether – 2 USB 3.0 port and 1 USB 2.0. It also houses a micro HDMI port, headphone / microphone combo jack, SD card reader (on the left) and a Power On/Off button on the right.
I was rather surprised to see a Volume rocker on this laptop, along with a Mute button, which is very uncommon in laptops. A unnecessary addition, I feel, but might be handy for some?
The Yoga 3 Pro boasts a 13.3″ QHD+ touchscreen, with a 3200 X 1800 resolution widescreen display.
Since they introduced laptops powered by touchscreen friendly Windows 8 OS, I have been hooked. While some feel that it’s a gimmicky feature, I have grown to love navigating some apps by tapping and swiping on the screen. Maybe it’s a habit from my tablet and smartphone experience, but I find some apps are much easier to navigate by touching the screen.
The high resolution 3200 X 1800 on the Yoga 3 Pro is stunning. The display is gorgeous, even for daily work and browsing. When you start streaming videos and browsing at pictures, the images and visual really come to life.
I know of some people who are very particular about the keyboard – the layout, the travel and ease of speed typing. While I’m not anal about this, I do appreciate a comfortable and easy typing experience.
With the Yoga 3 Pro keyboard, I actually really enjoy the travel of the keys. It gives me a very satisfying speed typing experience – the sound, the travel of each press. I like the keyboard very much.
Even the trackpad, which supports 10 point multi-touch and double finger scrolling and pinch-to-zoom is a pleasure to use. The responsiveness and sensitivity is just right, making scrolling easy and enjoyable.
You can’t see too clearly in the image above, but the keyboard is backlit for typing in the dark / dimly lit room.
My only problem with the keyboard comes mostly from lack of familiarity. In my Acer laptop, the Back and Delete keys, and Page Up and Page Down keys are in very different positions. So, when I speed type on the Yoga 3 Pro, as I’m writing this review on the keyboard now, I tend to make some mistakes that I keep having to go back and correct.
Nevertheless, the fact that it has full sized cursor / arrow keys makes me happier than I’d like to admit. Ahhhh…. the little things.
Lenovo partnered JBL to bring quality audio to the notebook, integrating premium JBL speakers backed by Waves Audio. And the sound quality is amazing. Even the simplest of Internet Radio streaming, gives me loud and clear sounds, almost like I plugged in an external speaker.
For a 12.8 mm thin machine weighing a mere 1.19 kg, the Yoga 3 Pro packs a punch!
I can’t talk about the Yoga 3 Pro without highlighting their biggest feature – the new watchband hinge.
Improved from the previous Yoga 2 Pro is the hinge. The new Yoga 3 Pro has a 6 hinge watchband hinge design that mimics that of a metal band in a wrist watch.
The video above explains and highlights the design and function of this new design concept.
Personally, I like it. It doesn’t look like the traditional hinge of a laptop, this watchband hinge design actually looks really gorgeous.
Also, the design of this allows for the Yoga 3 Pro to flip back 360 degrees – transforming it from the traditional laptop to a tablet to a tent that you rest on the table.
Laptop. Stand. Tent. Tablet.
The Tent mode props up the Yoga 3 Pro like a tent (duh!) which comes very handy in a discussion or when you’re doing a small group presentation.
And I thought laying my Acer Aspire S7 flat on the table was impressive. Then I got to bend a laptop some more to a tent with the Yoga 3 Pro was jaw-dropping!
Hence the name, “Yoga”. The device bends flexibly like you would in a yoga practice. Get it?
Many a times in my almost month long review of the Yoga 3 Pro, I truly appreciate the ability for the laptop screen to bend so far back. Coupled with the touchscreen display and scribbling apps like OneNote, this feature is amazing!
Software and Performance
Yoga 3 Pro is powered by Windows 8.1 Pro operating system, which will be upgradeable to Windows 10 come July 29th.
As you’d know, Windows 8.1 OS allows both the Modern UI, tile based, touchscreen friendly, Windows app as well as allow you to run Desktop mode with installed desktop softwares like MS Office, Photoshop, etc.
Also, I loved how I only need to create a new user and login with my Microsoft ID and all my wallpaper, apps and settings from my previous Windows 8 device is restored in this review unit. 🙂
Just like with smartphones and tablets, Lenovo has included some of their pre-installed softwares into the Yoga 3 Pro. These bloatware annoys me majority of the time.
With the Yoga 3 Pro, there are some (in my opinion, unnecessary bloatwares) like Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Demo (tour videos that walk you through the different features and functions of the laptop), Lenovo Settings, Lenovo SHAREit, Lenovo Reach, Lenovo Photo Master (photo organisation & editing app), Lenovo VeriFace Pro, Lenovo Motion Control, Lenovo Support. Harmony (screen brightness and adjustments depending on whether you’re working, reading, watching video etc).
Not to mention, there are a number of other 3rd party partner apps like Kindle, The Telegraph, Weather Channel, Zinio and more.
Blurgh – bloatware…
If you’re like me, you just want to remove them all and uninstall all these unrecognisable apps and softwares. Then again, if you’re like me, you wouldn’t know which ones are safe to uninstall and which are tied to drivers and hardware and actually helps with the performance of the laptop. So, you end up leaving them alone.
Every now and then, something pops up at the bottom or top right of your screen. You wonder what that was – sometimes you click it. But more often than not, you earn to ignore it. Over time, you see how some of these bloatware actually affects the performance and speed of your machine. Annoying, right?
Intel Core M Processor
As mentioned earlier, the Yoga 3 Pro is powered by Intel’s latest Core M processor. A new processor built to be thin for thinner laptops in the market today, as it’s improved performance without needing a fan to cool down your machine.
Theoretically, this is an amazing innovation. A thin processor, no more need to squeeze a fan into the laptop chassis. Amazing, right?
I started reading up a lot on this new wonder processor. New machines that has been equipped with this wonder processor. Most of the reviews and sentiments echo a similar note – the processor is a little under powered.
As a power user, I have been using machines with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor for speed and performance. I constantly run multiple programs and multi-task like crazy. My normal work screen consists of a couple of browser windows with about 10 – 15 tabs open each, a couple of desktop softwares running (MS Office, Photoscape for photo editing, MetroTwit for tweeting, etc) and sometimes some music streaming in the background on Spotify or internet radio.
With the Yoga 3 Pro on the Intel Core M processor, my usual heavy workload stutters the machine really badly.
The laptop struggles to keep up with all these multi-tasking going on. Clicks took a few seconds to register and react. Clicking on a link takes awhile to open a file. Speed typing takes some time for the text to show on screen. The only thing that seems to still work is the mutli-touch trackpad browsing. Although, with too many browser tabs open, it still takes a few seconds for scroll to happen.
Over time, I learn to focus and close a lot of the programs, and only leave a few running. A few critical one for the task I am working on. For example, now as I type this review with the Yoga 3 Pro, I only have 1 browser window open (albeit with 11 tabs open) AND a Twitter Windows app running in the background, “Snap“-ed with split screen stream of my Twitter timeline. I don’t even dare run Spotify or stream internet radio, so I can preserve a usable blogging experience. *eek*
Now, finally, the machine is not struggling. Speed typing works fine and text shows on screen. Switching tabs between programs work as it should. No lag or performance issues. So I learn not to stress the machine with too many things happening simultaneously. That’s how an Intel Core M processor machine can handle load.
I am truly disappointed to report that Intel Core M processor machines are not for a power user like me, unfortunately.
if you’re a light to moderate user, just like I’ve learned to with my review with the Yoga 3 Pro, this machine will work really well for you. No overheating even with a laptop with a fanless design. Everything runs smoothly as it should – if you’re just doing emails, light MS Office work, and moderate browsing.
The Yoga 3 Pro houses a non-removable 4 cell 44.8W Li-Polymer battery, that Lenovo claims to last you up to 7.2 hours.
Throughout my review with the Yoga 3 Pro, I managed to fluctuate my usage with the laptop – from light to moderate to heavy use.
I have managed to clock a healthy 5.5 – 6 hours of use on battery power with the Yoga 3 Pro.
I’m sure that with an average user, with light to moderate usage pattern, they would be able to get a healthy 6 – 7 hours of battery life from the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro. So, for once, it’s not just Marketing literature. The battery life of this machine is pretty impressive!
While the occasional pop-ups can be annoying, I actually like the Lenovo OKO (One Key Optimiser) funtion that helps me manage the battery life on the laptop. I can toggle between Power Saving modes, Conservation Modes etc, depending on how much battery juice I have left in the different scenarios. If I’m out and about, with limited access to power points, or if I’m sitting on the desk with arms length reach of the power adapter.
Pricing and Availability
The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro has been available on sale since late 2014, at a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) from RM 4,999 depending on the configuration.
Personally, I feel that this price tag for a (somewhat) under powered Intel Core M processor laptop, is a little on the expensive side. For almost RM 5,000, I would prefer to opt for a more stable and optimised Intel Core i5 or Core i7 machine that I know can handle my heavy workload. That’s just me.
I’ve pretty much summed up my love-hate review of the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro in my take on each aspect of the machine – from hardware to software to pricing. But as a summary, here’s my Top likes and dislikes of the laptop.
What I Like
- Super thin-and-light and beautiful hinge design
- Convertible 360 backflip is very handy – as a laptop, tablet, in presentations, discussions
- Great keyboard and trackpad responsiveness
What I Dislike
- Under powered Intel Core M processor
- Expensive price tag (almost RM 5,000 for base model)
- Too many pre-installed bloatwares
As I was personally evaluating this machine as my next primary laptop for work and personal use, I was a little disappointed with the speed and performance. I can’t solely fault Lenovo for this, but rather the 1st Gen Intel Core M processor annoying me mostly. Along with the minor details of too many bloatware plus the fact that this is at the top range of my personal budget, I’m very hesitant to say that this is where my money is spent.
For RM 5,000 I would personally consider looking at the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 if I want a convertible / hybrid laptop; or perhaps even forget about hybrids and go with the traditional Asus or Dell laptop instead.
I just don’t feel the price tag is worthy for an Intel Core M machine, having experienced how under-powered it is for me, personally.
I have a few friends who were waiting for my review and take on this as well, I’m sure.
I have to say, from a design and functionality perspective, this is a gorgeous device. If you got your hands on the Clementine Orange coloured version, you will turn heads for sure. Almost makes you want to just flip the screen back, just for the fun of showing off in a meeting or coffee shop! *grin*
If you’re thinking of this as a personal laptop, for occasional emails and browsing; and you have the money to spend, then yeah – by all means, show it off with the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro.
It all boils down to your budget, really. If you don’t really want to spend that much, then look elsewhere.
For more information, check out Lenovo Malaysia website at http://www.lenovo.com/my/en/ and *LIKE* Lenovo Malaysia Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/LenovoMY