/// Yoga PC Flips and Bends, but as a Tablet, It’s Clumsy
Windows 8 presents a dilemma for PC makers. It contains two very different user interfaces: a touch-oriented, tablet-like one with clusters of tiles, full-screen apps and an on-screen keyboard; plus the traditional Windows desktop and apps, which are best used with a mouse or a touch pad and physical keyboard. So the hardware companies are trying to create laptops that work well with both environments. [ See post to watch video ] This week, I’ve been testing one of the most creative and best-known of these new laptops, the $1,000 IdeaPad Yoga 13 from Lenovo. It takes its name from the fact that, like a yoga practitioner, it can contort itself into multiple positions, some of them unusual, using a sturdy but flexible hinge. The Yoga PC can look and work like a standard clamshell laptop, with an excellent keyboard at the front and its sharp 13.3-inch touch screen display behind it. Or it can be folded into tablet mode, with the keyboard hidden under the display, which faces up for tapping and swiping on it. A third position, “stand mode,” turns the Yoga into a sort of mini-monitor for, say, viewing movies on an airplane, by allowing the screen to flip up from its base, with the keyboard behind it. And a final position, “tent mode,” stands the machine in an inverted V, with the slanted display facing toward you. In this mode, the screen is more rigid than in stand mode, so it’s better for tapping and swiping while doing active tasks, like scrolling through Web pages. In its clamshell position, Lenovo’s Yoga works like a standard laptop. I’ve been testing the Yoga for the better part of a week and I admire its creativity and the typical Lenovo quality with which it’s built. I found it did a good job with popular, traditional Windows programs, as well as the new-style, tablet-type apps. It is speedy and fluid, and relatively light and thin at 3.3 pounds and 0.67 inch thick. It runs the full version of Windows 8, which supports most existing Windows programs. I also found some significant downsides to the Yoga. Despite its hefty price, it has limited storage, only fair battery life and lacks a backlit keyboard.
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Yoga PC Flips and Bends, but as a Tablet, It’s Clumsy