ThinkPad Yoga contorts into new screen sizes, adds new CPUs

With a clever mechanical keyboard that solves the main complaint about the Yoga line, the ThinkPad Yoga is the best of both worlds.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
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Dan Ackerman
2 min read

Watch this: New CPUs and screen sizes for the ThinkPad Yoga
While people certainly like Lenovo's Yoga line of hybrids, with its 360-degree hinge that folds back into a kiosk or tablet, there's always been one major complaint. In the tablet mode, you've still got the laptop's keyboard and touchpad exposed, usually right under your fingers while holding the tablet. The keyboard and touchpad are automatically deactivated, but it's still awkward to hold.

Lenovo partially solved this problem back in 2014 with the ThinkPad Yoga , a variant with a keyboard that vanished thanks to a clever bit of mechanical sleight of hand. The keyboard didn't actually retract, but the shell of the keyboard tray rose up and locked into place, making the keyboard reasonably flush with the rest of the interior surface.

We liked that workaround in the original ThinkPad Yoga, although we felt the laptop was missing some of the high-end features found in the standard Yoga models.

The ThinkPad Yoga line is now expanding, with new second-generation models. Besides a 12-inch model that matches the screen size of the original ThinkPad Yoga, the series now includes 14-inch and 15-inch versions, making this the biggest Yoga display to date.

The big 15-inch ThinkPad Yoga. Lenovo

The overall look and feel is similar to the first-generation ThinkPad Yoga, but there are some notable internal upgrades, and each screen size has its own selling points. The 12-inch model has an especially bright screen, at 400 nits, and is a reasonably slim 19mm thick.

The 14-inch and 15-inch models will offer optional Nvidia graphics, and a new ActivePen stylus that Lenovo says is a step up from the standard pen/digitizer in the 12-inch model. All are moving to Intel's new fifth-generation Core i-series CPUs, also known by the codename "Broadwell."

Beyond that, the 15-inch ThinkPad Yoga also offers an option to upgrade to Intel's new RealSense camera, which uses a depth-sensing camera system to track objects in 3D space, allowing you to use hand gestures or even scan objects into 3D modeling programs just by holding them up to the webcam. It's been spotted in a handful of models, including Dell's Venue 8 7000 , but we haven't extensively tested its claims.

The 12-inch ThinkPad yoga starts at $999, while the 14- and 15-inch models start at $1,199. The 14-inch will only be available directly through Lenovo or at Best Buy, and all three should ship in February in the US, with international prices and dates still to come. The US prices convert to £650 or AU$1,235, and £780 or AU$1,480 respectively.