Lenovo has a large line of Yoga devices, both tablets and laptops of all sizes. The Yoga 3 is one of the largest with a 14-inch touch display. The screen rotates 360 degrees to support the four standard configurations of the Yoga line.
The black matte casing on the Yoga 3 is reminiscent of Lenovo's ThinkPad line. It is smooth yet slightly textured so it is secure in the hand. It is heavy by today's laptop standards at 3.5 pounds, although not too much for a 14-inch notebook.
Yoga 3 specs as reviewed:
The Yoga 3 has a screen that rotates a full 360 degrees to form four configurations. There’s the laptop mode, tent mode (inverted V), stand mode, and tablet cofiguration. Both the tent and stand modes are good for giving impromptu presentations.
Stand and tablet modes present the touch display for close operation, but aren’t optimal. Both configurations leave the keyboard exposed, one keys down on the table and the other in the hand. I’m not a fan of this, even though the Yoga 3 shuts the keyboard off when the display is rotated beyond a certain angle. Resting the keys on a flat surface makes me feel the keys might get damaged, and gripping the tablet by squashing the keys doesn’t feel right.
As a laptop, the Yoga 3 is quite nice. The large size allows having a full-sized keyboard and large trackpad. While not ThinkPad-quality, the keyboard feels good when rapidly typing. The trackpad is smooth and responsive, and makes operating both the cursor and Windows 8.1 as easy.
The two viewing modes work well due to the precise touch screen. The 14-inch display, while not high resolution for the size, handles Powerpoint presentations nicely. It’s also good for watching video in either configuration.
While the Yoga 3 works fine as a touch tablet, the large and heavy size makes it uncomfortable quickly. Tablets that are 3.5 pounds are not practical, especially when the large size makes it tricky to hold.
Ready for work
The fifth generation Intel Core i5 processor makes the Yoga 3 snappy. Windows 8.1, both the Metro and desktop sides, run very well. The start screen slides smoothly by touch, and legacy apps scroll well.
This laptop runs Windows 8.1 so well it should be really nice with Windows 10 when it is released. The tablet mode of the future version of Windows is tailor-made for a laptop like the Yoga 3.
While it’s not a ThinkPad and thus not an enterprise product, it’s handled all work functions I’ve executed with ease. Microsoft Office is a joy to use with both the trackpad and by touch, and I’ve experienced no lags nor performance issues of any kind.
Lenovo rates the battery life at 7.4 hours, and I experienced 7 hours in testing. This is not as good as many laptops on the market and I wish it was better on the Yoga 3.
For such a solid laptop, the Yoga 3 will not break the bank. It starts at $799 for a model with a Core i5, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. A model configured with a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD is $1099.99. The review unit is $949 with Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
Reviewer’s rating: 8 out of 10
Note: After the recent Superfish malware situation, consumers may be reticent to buy Lenovo products. But according to Lenovo the Yoga 3 never had Superfish installed.
Lenovo products that may have had Superfish installed have been published by Lenovo. They include:
G Series: G410, G510, G710, G40-70, G50-70, G40-30, G50-30, G40-45, G50-45, G40-80
U Series: U330P, U430P, U330Touch, U430Touch, U530Touch
Y Series: Y430P, Y40-70, Y50-70, Y40-80, Y70-70
Z Series: Z40-75, Z50-75, Z40-70, Z50-70, Z70-80
S Series: S310, S410, S40-70, S415, S415Touch, S435, S20-30, S20-30Touch
Flex Series: Flex2 14D, Flex2 15D, Flex2 14, Flex2 15, Flex2 Pro, Flex 10
MIIX Series: MIIX2-8, MIIX2-10, MIIX2-11, MIIX 3 1030
YOGA Series: YOGA2Pro-13, YOGA2-13, YOGA2-11, YOGA3 Pro
E Series: E10-30
Edge Series: Lenovo Edge 15
Note that the Yoga3 Pro in the list is a different model than the Yoga 3 reviewed by ZDNet.
Laptop mode -- side view
Stand mode (keyboard behind screen)
Bottom of device
Features as per Lenovo
Nice and thin
Keyboard side view
The display is vivid.