We were back at Lenovo’s suite today and got a chance to spend a bit more time with a laptop that we didn’t get around to discussing on Tuesday. We’ve covered the ThinkPad and IdeaTab already, but we haven’t spent any time on the IdeaPad line. Where ThinkPad primarily targets business users, IdeaPad is a consumer line. There were plenty of IdeaPad laptops on display, but the one that really stood out is their Yoga 13 laptop. It won’t launch until Windows 8 is released, but already it’s looking to be one of the more promising ultrabooks.

Like all ultrabooks, the Yoga 13 is very thin. Intel requires a 13.3” (or smaller) ultrabook to be at most 18mm thick, but there’s a provision that says if a laptop has a touchscreen, it can be up to 20mm thick. Well, Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 includes a touchscreen, but it still comes in at just 17mm thick. It also manages to do all this without sacrificing battery life, as Lenovo still rates the Yoga for over eight hours of battery life. Things get even better from there, as not only do you get a touchscreen, but it uses an IPS panel. Hallelujah! The panel looks great with very wide viewing angles, and it needs them because the hinge will allow the display to swing open 360 degrees and you can convert the Yoga 13 into a tablet. Once the display gets beyond ~180 degrees, the keyboard shuts off and you can hold the unit and interact with it like any other tablet, and the soft-touch coating on the palm rest ensures that the system is easy to hold and it won’t slip or scratch if you place it on a table/desk in tablet mode.

As the tablet interface requires Windows 8, availability is still a ways out, but even in this relatively early form the design looks extremely solid. The Yoga 13 will come with Ivy Bridge at release (Lenovo could neither confirm nor deny the presence of IVB in the demo unit, though we’re 99% sure it was there), it will ship with a Samsung SSD, and it also takes advantage of Intel’s ultrabook technologies that let the laptop wake up the wireless interface and sync email and Internet data while the unit is in sleep mode.

This is really the ultrabook that we want to be testing and recommending right now, and if all goes well it should be available by the end of the year. We’ll have to see if anyone can do ultrabook better in the interim, but having used the touchscreen Metro interface—and more importantly, having seen the IPS display—the other ultrabook vendors have a lot to fear from Yoga. Even if you don’t care about the tablet aspect, and even if you don’t want a touchscreen interface, the display and industrial design alone make this the one to watch for. It’s a just shame we have to wait so long for the release.

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  • NetShroud - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    If the screen flips 360 degrees, doesn't that leave the keyboard open at the bottom, to then pick up dust, dirt, liquid etc. from whatever you set the device down on? It sounds to me like a disaster waiting to happen.
  • fatpolomanjr - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    According to other forums, one user mentioned "I also saw during a couple of demos that when the unit is in tablet mode (completely folded) that it can be laid down on a table without damaging the keys because the keyboard is recessed, there is a double coating of lettering paint on the keys, and the surface around the keyboard is soft."
  • r3loaded - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Having an IPS display immediately vaults this device to the top of the Ultrabook pile, and puts it first for purchase consideration. I hope all manufacturers follow suit and start adopting IPS/PLS/PVA (i.e. anything but TN) in their laptops.
  • prdola0 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    The ultrabook I want is one, that has a 11" form factor, has a Kepler-generation Nvidia mobile GPU in Optimus configuration and enables some lighter gaming and 3D Vision on external displays. And of course a matte screen, doesn't have to be IPS.

    Let's hope there is someone in those companies to prepare something like this.
  • althaz - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Hmm, now I'm not sure what to do. I was thinking a Windows 8 tablet + keyboard dock so I can have a tablet and a portable machine that I can play Starcraft 2 on (runs on Sandy Bridge graphics, so ivy should be fine). This tempts me greatly however...
  • Penti - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Nah. Just give me ThinkPad-quality Tablet PC, Lenovo X-series Tablet. Quality and real hinges, dual digitizer if any but don't waste your time on Metro, even Microsoft's own apps won't "blend" and they will just continue to develop older apis and their Ribbon API and framework/toolkit. If I have to use touch in classic MFC, WPF, Ribbon UI it's no point why why not brake down the barrier instead of creating a full screen start menu.
  • Saidas - Saturday, January 14, 2012 - link

    The new Lenovo X is a great disappointment weighing 3.9 lbs., pathetic battery and no backlit keyboard. I won't be getting it for those reasons. Oh, and the $1,500 pricetag.
  • frozentundra123456 - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    This looks really great hardware wise. My only reservation aside from the price, is whether there will be sufficient apps available to compete with android tablets.
  • claytontullos - Thursday, January 12, 2012 - link

    Why is it the apps?

    It's running a full blown windows operating system! Anything a windows pc can do so can this laptop/tablet.
  • seapeople - Friday, January 20, 2012 - link

    But do they have web browser apps for Windows nowadays? That's important for me, I hope there's a good app store in Windows 8 for this type of stuff.

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