The original Lenovo Yoga laptop was a bold take on the still-new Windows 8 hybrid genre when we first saw it in late 2012. We liked that it could play the part of a part-time tablet, without compromising its core laptop functions. The updated version,, was even better, adding a better-than-HD screen and updated components for just about $1,100.
But that's still MacBook Air territory, which is a tough price range to break into for any Windows laptop or hybrid. Smartly, Lenovo has now announced a new version of the system, the IdeaPad Yoga 2 (minus the "Pro"), which will be less expensive, but just as flexible.
The new Yoga 2, available in 11-inch and 13-inch models, will start at $529 for the smaller screen size, which will weigh 2.9 pounds and be about 0.67 inch thick. The CPU gets knocked down to a quad-core Intel Pentium, and storage is a basic 500GB hard drive.
The $999 13-inch Yoga 2 weighs 3.5 pounds and is just a hair thicker than the 11-inch model. You lose the 3,200x1,800-pixel-resolution display in the Yoga 2 Pro, but this screen is still full HD, at 1,920x1,080, and the system includes a backlit keyboard, up to a fourth-gen Intel Core i5 CPU, and a 500GB hard drive, with solid-state drive (SSD) storage available as a step-up option.
In hands-on use, the new models are definitely not as premium-feeling as the Yoga 2 Pro, which was arguably the single best Windows laptop of 2013. They're thicker, a little more plasticky, and the 360-degree hinges are not as elegantly effortless to manipulate. But, for a much more reasonable price, you get the flexibility of the Yoga design, which makes for an excellent overall touch-screen laptop, a decent tablet experience when you need it, and the undervalued kiosk mode, for displaying the screen which tucking the keyboard tray behind as a kickstand.
Both new Yogas will be available at Best Buy, Future Shop, and from Lenovo, with the 11-inch coming in late January and the 13-inch in February.