It would be fair to say that Lenovo was a pioneer in the convertible Ultrabook lineup with the original Yoga. Last year, they updated the Yoga lineup with the introduction of the Yoga 2 Pro. This new model came with a Haswell-U series CPU, along with a 3200x1800 resolution display, all in the Yoga form factor with a 360° hinge. The display was a highlight for the model year, with the Yoga 2 Pro having one of the highest pixels per inch of any laptop available last year. In October 2014, Lenovo took the wraps off of their latest incarnation of the flagship convertible Ultrabook with the launch of the Yoga 3 Pro.

The Yoga 3 Pro was not just a refresh of the internals of the Yoga 2 Pro, but an altogether new creation. The new model is 17% thinner than the outgoing model, and 15% lighter. Rather than power the Yoga 3 Pro with the traditional Ultrabook Intel Core U series processor, Lenovo decided to go for the Broadwell-Y based Core M processor for the Yoga 3 Pro. This has its pros and cons, as we will get to later in the review, but the Broadwell-Y processor has a couple of changes over the Broadwell-U which was launched later. The Thermal Design Power (TDP) of Core M is a mere 4.5 watts, down from the 15 watt TDP of the U series processors which powered last year’s Yoga 2 Pro, and perhaps more importantly, the physical size of the chip, and the Z-height, are both smaller, enabling thinner and lighter devices.

When Lenovo first launched the Yoga 3 Pro, it was offered with the Core M-5Y70 processor. Lenovo has provided us with their refreshed model, which dumps the original Core M for the Core M-5Y71 which was recently released by Intel. This new processor bumps up the performance, and gains an additional 100 MHz base clock, and 300 MHz boost, with the 5Y71 now boosting to 2.9 GHz. It is a decent increase, and it is done in the same 4.5 watt window.

So Lenovo has taken a bit of a departure here with the Yoga 3 Pro. The rest of the Yoga lineup consists of Broadwell-U processors, and will therefore be more powerful. But not everyone needs or uses all of the power that they have, so in the quest to design a thinner and lighter device which is going to be more portable, the Core M is really the only solution for today’s computing landscape. What we need to know is what kind of performance you can expect in a premium Ultrabook such as this.

Below is a table of the specifications of the Yoga 3 Pro to summarize all of the components and compare it to last year's Yoga 2 Pro.

Yoga 3 Pro Specifications
  Yoga 2 Pro Yoga 3 Pro
Processor Intel Core i3-4010U
(2C/4T, 1.7GHz, 3MB L3, 15W)

Intel Core i5-4200U
(2C/4T, 1.6-2.6GHz, 3MB L3, 15W)

Intel Core i7-4500U
(2C/4T, 1.8-3.0GHz, 4MB L3, 15W)
Intel Core M-5Y71
(2C/4T, 1.2-2.9GHz 4MB L3 14nm 4.5W)
Memory 4-8GB DDR3L-1600 8GB DDR3L-1600
Graphics Intel HD 4400
(20 EUs at 200-1100 MHz)
Intel HD 5300
(24 EUs at 300-900MHz)
Display 13.3" Glossy IPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800)
(Samsung SDC424A Touchscreen)
13.3" Glossy IPS 16:9 QHD+ (3200x1800) LCD
(Samsung SDC434A Panel with Corning Gorilla Glass and Touchscreen)
Hard Drive(s) 128GB/256GB/512GB SSD
(Samsung mSATA)
256GB/512GB SSD
(Samsung PM851 M.2 2280)
Networking 802.11n WiFi (Intel Wireless-N 7260)
(2x2 300Mbps capable 2.4GHz only)
Bluetooth 4.0 (Intel)
Broadcom 802.11ac plus Bluetooth 4.0
(2x2:2 802.11ac 867Mbps capable)
Audio Realtek HD
Stereo Speakers
Headset jack
JBL Stereo Speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio 1.5w x 2
Headset jack
Battery 4 cell 55Wh
65W Max AC Adapter
4 cell 44Wh
40W Max AC Adapter
Right Side Power Button
Battery status indicator
Novo button (Used to enter Recovery or BIOS)
1 x USB 2.0 (Sleep Charging)
Headset Jack
Screen Rotation Lock
Power Button
1 x USB 3.0 with Always-On Charging
Novo (Recovery) Button
Auto Rotate Control
Volume Control
Headset Jack
Left Side Flash Reader (SD/MMC)
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Micro-HDMI
AC Power Connection
DC In with USB 2.0 Port
1 x USB 3.0 Port
Micro-HDMI Port
SD Card Reader
Back Side Exhaust vent Watchband Hinge with 360° Rotation
Air Vents Integral to Hinge
Dimensions 12.99" x 8.66" x 0.61" (WxDxH)
(330 mm x 220 mm x 15.5 mm)
13" x 9" x 0.5" (WxDxH)
(330.2mm x 228.6mm x 12.8mm)
Weight 3.06 lbs (1.39 kg) 2.6 lbs (1.18kg)
Extras 720p HD Webcam
Backlit Keyboard
Colors Silver Grey
Clementine Orange
Light Silver
Clementine Orange
Pricing $879 (256GB)
$1049 (512GB)
$1148 (256GB)
$1379 (512GB)

There are a couple of things worth mentioning from the specifications. Whereas last year’s model had several SKUs with different processor, memory, and SSD options, the Yoga 3 Pro has simplified the lineup, and provided likely the best combination for price and performance. The Yoga 3 Pro now comes with 8GB of DDR3 standard, and a 256GB SSD or 512GB SSD. The only other difference in the models now is the color, with Lenovo offering Light Silver, Clementine Orange, and Golden as the options.

For those looking for a convertible laptop, there are basically two camps. Devices which have the internals in the keyboard like a traditional laptop will be better balanced when using it as a laptop. The other device is a tablet with an attachable keyboard, such as the Surface 3 Pro. There are pros and cons to each approach, and each device can be better at one scenario than another. If you are after a device which can be used as a laptop more than a tablet, then Lenovo’s Yoga range certainly has a lot of appeal. It keeps the traditional form factor of a laptop, and through a well-designed hinge allows for a lot more versatility than a traditional clamshell notebook computer. It all starts with design.

Design and Chassis
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  • edzieba - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    I'd be a lot more accepting of RGBW (and RGBG) subpixel-arrangement displays if they didn't do the shady thing of counting only two subpixels as one pixel (meaning a single addressable pixel cannot reproduce the whole display gamut).
  • fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    i agree, but how else would you "count" subpixels on a RGBG matrix? and as far as i can see, the RGBW even uses 4 subpixels per pixel, or did i miss something? of course the whole pixel gets quite long this way, which isn't ideal for sharpness, but on a 1800p display i don't even care anymore.
  • zepi - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    So this thing has 4 subpixels for each pixel, but the display controller only takes R,G,B as input from computer for each pixel?

    Well, I guess it is an acceptable way of increasing brightness for high-dpi displays to keep the power consumption low.
  • peterfares - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    No, it has TWO subpixels per pixel. RGBW theoretically sounds nice if it was 4 subpixels per pixel, but with just two then it ruins everything. Color reproduction, sharpness, black levels, etc. A 1080p RGB looks pretty much as good.
  • fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    ok, now i'm completely confused. there i thought it used 4 subpixels, where do you get it used only two?

    my dissent for pentile only grows, it could be so easy with 1080/1200p, 1440/1600p RGB, but no, someone always has to cheat in this stupid dick measuring contest.
  • lolTyler - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    "Luckily Lenovo has sorted out the color reproduction for the Yoga 3 Pro, just like they did with the Yoga 2 Pro a few months into its life."

    No, they did not fix this on the Yoga 2 Pro. I have all the BIOs updates and all the power management updates. Lenovo's idea of "fixing" this issue is turning your machine to the most power hungry mode and cranking your brightness to 100%, thus giving your machine ~1 or 2 hours of battery life. That's the only way to get correct yellows, otherwise, you get mustardy variations.

    Lenovo will not recognize that the problem still exists and just closes threads or sweeps customer complaints under the rug. I do not know what this is like on the Y3P, but it's still fudged on the 2.
  • Brett Howse - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    The one that we tested was produced after they "fixed" it, and our i1Pro shows that they did indeed fix this issue.

    I can't comment on the ones produced before the fix though. They could still have an issue but I don't have one to even look at.
  • Regular Reader - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    I'm going to pick some random nits: why the hell do PC makers still slap those stickers on their machines? OK ok, I know AMD is still around, so maybe Intel wants to make sure people know what's "inside", but why the "Intel Ultrabook" sticker? Why Windows or Office badges? This garbage just muddies up these machines, and they don't always come off nicely. It's such a waste of time and material. What average person on the street doesn't know a non-Apple laptop comes with Windows? Some may argue that there are now cheapo Chromebooks out there, but Windows and Chrome clearly do not look the same.

    That is all. Please return to your regularly scheduled comments.
  • fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    i can only agree here and add: if you want your machine look cheap, put a bunch of stickers on it.
  • peterfares - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    PenTile screen means the screen is still garbage. I'd rather a 1080p RGB than this abomination.

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