Ahh, how the PC world turns so quickly. A year ago, the industry would have pondered whether the Yoga 3 Pro was a MacBook Air killer. Today, we have to wonder whether Lenovo's new super-bendable computer is actually a Surface Pro 3 killer.
You might question the comparison, but I think it's fair. Both the Yoga 3 Pro and Surface Pro 3 are ultra-portable, fairly powerful for their size, and priced rather similarly when spec'd similarly.
I went into my Yoga 3 Pro testing with high expectations. After all, in our review of the Yoga 2 Pro roughly a year ago, we described that machine as damn near close to the "perfect laptop/tablet combo." And now with this update, Lenovo sticks with what worked well last time, and even makes the Yoga 3 Pro thinner and lighter than its predecessor.
Then there's the new hinging mechanism, which you just have to see in person to appreciate. You won't find anything like this on another PC.
One gorgeous display
First, the really good news: The 13.3-inch, 3800x1200 IPS touch panel looks amazing. In this day and age of 4K laptop displays, that resolution may not sound like a lot, but the size of the screen puts this Yoga's 299 pixels per inch near the top of the pixel density heap for thin-and-light computers. For comparison, the current 13-inch MacBook Air display has 127 ppi, while the Surface Pro 3 hits 216 ppi with its 12-inch screen.
There are still scaling issues in Windows 8.1 on high-res displays, but dropping a 36.3-megapixel image onto the Yoga 3's desktop will make you remember why high-res panels are so damned beautiful. You'll poke your face to within inches of the Yoga 3's screen to check out where the detail stops. On our test image, a publicly available press shot from Nikon, the detail didn't stop.
And the display isn't even what's new in the Yoga 3 Pro--the Yoga 2 Pro essentially had the same screen. The real conversation piece is the watchband-inspired hinge that connects the display to the computer. It looks like someone broke into a jewelry store, absconded with a dozen Speidel watchbands, and machined them together for the new Yoga's hinge. But unlike a watchband that's made to bend to and fro without resistance, the hinge on the Yoga 3 Pro holds its place in familiar Yoga fashion.
The new design is based on six hinges instead of the previous two. This adds rigidity, and it lets the unit fold completely flat against a surface. I'm not sure why you'd really want the entire unit flush against a tabletop, but I suppose when you're doing Yoga and your drill sergeant is screaming at you to do the downward dog properly, you'd better do it.
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