On the outside, everything's the same. The Yoga 2 has identical dimensions and build to the Yoga 2 Pro. And thankfully so. It's a matte black aluminium body that doesn't collect too much dust or many smudges. The hinge is steady and it's easy to switch between this convertible device's different configurations (Tablet, Tent, Stand and Laptop).
Same goes for the keyboard. It has the same backlit chiclet keys as the Yoga 2 Pro that offer a pleasant stroke. The palm rest is made of a matte black plastic that feels quite nice but does pick up more fingerprints than the rest of the body. The touchpad is just as confined (90 x 60 mm) as on the Pro, but it's precise and enjoyable to use with its rapid clicks and Windows 8 touch gesture recognition.
The all-too-short list of ports consists of one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, a micro-HDMI output, an SD card reader and a headphone/microphone combo jack. For wireless connectivity it has Bluetooth 4.0 and a fairly stable Wi-Fi signal that we measured at -47 dBm from 5 to 10 metres away and just -50 dBm from 20 metres away.
The body heat stays moderate; the highest temperature we picked up was 46°C. The air is expelled through the bottom of the screen, so you have to be careful where you set the Yoga 2. This model is louder than the Yoga 2 Pro, with the fan generating up to 42 dB(A) when running full steam. You can hear it in relatively quiet settings, but you certainly won't mistake it for a jet engine.
Grey colour temperature
For one thing, the Yoga 2 has almost twice the contrast of the Yoga 2 Pro: 1,350:1, compared to 730:1. That's important. It has slightly lower brightness (322 cd/m² instead of 400 cd/m²), but it's still satisfactory. Moreover, the screen has an average Delta E of 3.2, which gives it (for all intents and purposes) perfectly natural colours, with no yellow overtones this time, whereas the Yoga 2 Pro's was an exaggerated 7.6. The colour temperature is just as good: 6,779 K, not far off from the ideal 6,500 K. We weren't expecting to see such good results from this screen; very few laptops have displays this good.
Like most ultrabooks, this one's audio in and out are fused into one combo jack. It's high in volume and has a great stereo image.
The built-in speakers are much less impressive than the headphone output and saturate before you get a chance to turn the volume all the way up. We would only recommend them for Skyping or listening to music at low volume in a quiet room without much background noise.
Note: The model we were sent to review features an Intel Core i5-4200U processor, 4 GB of RAM, an Intel HD Graphics 4400 chipset and a 516 GB SSHD (500 GB HDD + 16 GB cache SSD). The comments above refer to all versions of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2, whereas the sections below apply only to the model we tested (see inset below). Available configurations may also vary depending on the country/region in which you live.
Our model carries an Intel Core i5-4200U and got a score of 83 in our rating index. We've come across this processor on other laptops we've reviewed, and in the Yoga 2 it performed the least well out of all of them. As you can see here, it has the lowest score of the three computers, due to its mechanical hard drive that runs at 5400 rpm.
Unlike the Yoga 2 Pro, the Yoga 2's CPU isn't restricted in Tablet or Tent mode, so you get the most out of it no matter which way you use it. The cache SSD doesn't really enhance the system's overall performance, but it does reduce the startup and shutdown times.
Surprise, surprise, inside the Yoga 2 is an Intel HD Graphics 4400, a common chipset among non-gaming-oriented laptops. It performs better here than it does in the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus, but it still doesn't compare to computers with dedicated graphics cards like the Acer Aspire R7 (Nvidia GeForce GT 750M) or Asus ET2321 (Nvidia GeForce GT 740M).
Given the low gaming performance, you're better off sticking with independent games or titles available at the Windows Store. HD videos, however, play without a hitch.
Mobility / Battery Life
Lenovo is advertising up to 8 hours of battery life for the Yoga 2. In our standard battery test (continuous video playback in airplane mode with the brightness at 100 cd/m², the keyboard backlighting turned off and headphones plugged in) the Yoga 2 lasted 7 hours, which is similar to the Yoga 2 Pro.
- Good battery life (7 hours)
- Quality build
- Versatile processor
- Great display
- Body heats up ever so slightly
- Subtly audible fan
- Not for gamers
The IdeaPad Yoga 2 was a nice surprise for us. Its components make it a versatile, fun and easy-to-use computer that can take on many forms (Tent, Stand, Tablet, Laptop) by simply pivoting the screen. Plus, it has superb picture quality, something that's missing from the Pro model.