Despite moving a lot of hot air, the fans are very quiet and seldom noticeable. When compared to the Surface Pro, however, the fans are definitely louder. To stress the CPUs, disks and graphics hardware, I ran Passmark’s Performance Test 8 and while the Yoga’s fans were audible throughout half the tests, the Surface Pro 2 remained silent.
Fit & Finish
Like most Lenovo products, the Thinkpad Yoga won’t win any design awards. It’s a utilitarian device that feels solid and built for durability.
It avoids some of the sharp edges of the Surface Pro and the magnesium alloy finish resists fingerprints and smudges.
The keyboard feels great and is certainly one of the most popular features for road warriors. I really don’t like the clickable touchpad which feels cheap and flimsy. I don’t know what Lenovo’s reliability record is for this touchpad design, but I worry that it will be the first thing to go.
The keyboard also features the signature red Lenovo TrackPoint touching stick which is fairly redundant on a touch screen, but can be mapped as a middle mouse button. I haven’t tried this but that is a nice feature if you need it.
As I mentioned in my unboxing, my Thinkpad Yoga has a small defect in the upper right corner of the screen. There is a bit of tape or something sticking out between the display and the matte coating. It’s no big deal and I’m not going to risk cutting it off, but a $1735 retail device shouldn’t have such an obvious manufacturing flaw.
In laptop mode, the screen is quite springy. The slightest tap will start it wobbling.
The power button on the right side of the keyboard is very small and hard to find without looking.
Performance & Battery Life
Several of you requested that I run extensive benchmarks and software tests on the Thinkpad Yoga, but I’ve been unable to do so. There are a lot of hardware dedicated sites that do that sort of thing all the time and you’re likely to find more reliable results there anyway.
Using the aforementioned Passmark benchmarks, the Thinkpad Yoga scored 1944 vs. the Surface Pro 2’s 1975. Clearly the Core i7 in the TPY doesn’t make a huge amount of difference in the overall rating.
In practice I found the Yoga to be equal to the Surface Pro 2 in all respects, except for occasional stutters while using Clip Studio Paint 1.27. I’m not certain what to attribute those hiccups to; there may have been background activity going on that I was unaware of, but these delays only lasted a second or so. I did have one freeze that cost me an hour’s worth of work on CSP that may have been caused by a loss of network connectivity.
Some users have complained of weak wi-fi signal, but I can’t confirm that. Running a couple of speedtests side by side didn’t show any difference between the two systems.
I haven’t run the Thinkpad Yoga all the way down to zero battery, but it took about five hours to go from 100% to 10% remaining, all while working in Clip Studio Paint.
So is the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga perfect? Far from it. Is it better than the Surface Pro 2? Not really, given the price difference.
But if your top priority is screen size in a Wacom penabled device, the Thinkpad Yoga is your best option for the moment. We’ll see what manufacturers have up their sleeves in a few weeks at CES 2014.