Laplets are the Way Forward

2012-12-17 12.43.57This week I got myself a new toy — a Lenovo Yoga 13 "laplet" (a laptop and tablet in one). If you've not seen the advert for it yet, then it's the one where the lid folds all the way back to make it in to a tablet.

So far I've been wowed by it and can't put it down. Not only is the device itself amazing, but I've been won over by Windows 8.

Initially I'd dismissed Windows 8 as an elaborate hoax but that's because I was trying to use it on a desktop (inside a VM) without a touch screen. To truly get Windows 8 you have to use it on a touch screen device. Then it makes sense and is actually really quite nice.

The Yoga 13" has the full version of Windows 8 on it, whereas the Yoga 11" is WinRT (app store apps only!).


Why a new laptop?

I wasn't in the market for a new laptop as such. My trusty T400 is still going strong after more than 2 years. But the T400 weighs a tonne and carrying it anywhere isn't nice.

It was by chance that I happened to pick up and play with a Yoga 11" in a shop. They're so nice that I just knew then and there that I had to get one.

Initially my argument for the expense was that I needed an IE10 test machine. But then I realised I could also use it as my "house PC" and leave the T400 as an "office machine". The Yoga could also be my on-the-road customer support PC (I bought a nice bag for it too). There are times I go away for long weekends and take the T400 with me, but it unnerves me if ever it's left in the car. Losing my main laptop would be bad.

What I didn't expect is that after a week with the Yoga and Windows 8 I'd want to switch to using it full time. But I don't think I can, realistically. It's a lovely device that I have no regrets buying, but it just won't cut it as my main work machine.

The Not So Good

There are a couple of reasons it can't take over as my only laptop:

  1. No Ethernet port. The wifi signal in my office is ok, but I prefer to be wired in!
  2. Not enough memory. The Yoga 13 ships with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD of memory. I've upgraded the RAM to 8GB and plan to add a 2nd SSD (there's a second slot for one!) to bring the capacity up to 384GB. But that's still not enough to store all my photos and videos.
  3. No obvious way to connect a (large) 2nd display. It only has an HDMI output, which, AFAIK, only supports low-res output.

Despite these shortcomings I have no regrets buying it and now quite like having two laptops.

If you're looking to treat yourself to something this Christmas I can whole-heartedly recommend the Yoga.

The future is touch screen!


  1. I though the HD in HDMI stand for high definition. I believe spec says up to 2560×1600.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 20 Dec 2012 06:31 AM

      It depends on the version of HDMI used. Later (1.3) versions can go up to 2560. I can't find out which version the yoga supports but I've plugged it in to my Dell U2711 monitor and it will only go up to 1920 * 1080.

  2. I get my Lenovo Twist demo unit today :)

    Pretty similar to the Yoga but with one hinge.

    Anyway I think your HDMI is limited due to Intel 4000 graphics.

    "Intel graphics does not support dual-link, therefore 1920x1200 is the maximum for DVI and HDMI, 2560x1440 is only possible with a displayport port. This is stated in every specification sheet."



      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Thu 20 Dec 2012 12:07 PM

      Twists look cool too, but they seem way too delicate for my liking. I'd be hesitant to ever twist it for fear of it snapping off.

      Hope you like it though!

    • avatar
    • Darren
    • Thu 20 Dec 2012 02:26 PM

    Nice write-up. But one thing... "To truly get Windows 8 you have to use it on a touch screen device". I disagree, my main machine is a ThinkPad T420s - this doesn't have a touch screen but I do *get* Windows 8 on it. One of the crucial things is that the trackpad drivers have been updated to support Windows 8, specifically the start screen where you can use two fingers to scroll back 'n' forth and to pinch 'n' zoom. Also the resolution of the 420s (1600x900) allows Windows 8 apps to sit side-by-side with the desktop so you can keep your peripheral vision on something else like the news or stocks. There's a lot of businesses interested in the concept of building Windows 8-style to sit in that peripheral position (and then quickly be moved into the main view).

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 21 Dec 2012 03:16 AM

      Aha. That helps. But only if you're on a laptop (or have a USB trackpad device). My first encounter of Win8 was on a desktop PC with a keyboard and mouse. Two fingers scrolling wasn't an option.

      Is there an official online resource of these kind of must-know tips to get the most out of windows 8? Such as the side-by-side option you mention. I saw this happen (by mistake) with two apps on the desktop VM, but can't do the same on my laptop...

      Show the rest of this thread

  3. I really like that. I was looking for something to replace my aged but much loved Lenovo X200s as a travel laptop. I was looking at the X1 Carbon but this looks like it would do the job too.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Fri 21 Dec 2012 03:51 AM

      Carbon X1 looks nice, but laptops seem like one-trick-ponies to me now. Is it touch screen? Is it a tablet? Can it do "tent mode"? These are now may baseline requirements of a laptop.

      Hide the rest of this thread

        • avatar
        • IanB
        • Wed 26 Dec 2012 04:14 AM

        Talking of tent mode. Though it wouldn't be as nice as a real keyboard, can anyone imagine the possibilities if there were a second touchscreen (a little like a giant Microsoft courier*) instead of a keyboard. This could have a giant, customisation layout keyboard in 'laptop mode' and then in tent mode the possibilities for (a) games for the kids - think of battleships and (b) presentation mode in meetings where you use the second display as a screen and tee up notes, next slides/videos on your side.

        BTW, for your screen issue, have you considered this - http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/.. ..97640C9917C541E628346EE&hide_menu_area=yes#.UNrJHqXxB0s ? It's still only up to 2048x1152, but other generic manufacturers have other models with higher res, such as http://www.techpowerup.com/161115/R.. ..-DisplayLink-Certified-USB-3.0-HDMI-Display-Device.html ( I think the yoga's usb3?)

        *still wish they'd launched that little fella.

          • avatar
          • ianb
          • Wed 26 Dec 2012 04:24 AM

          Here you go 2560x1600 (plus gb ethernet you wanted, and extra usb and sound)

          http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/e.. ..1210-329229-1844686-329229-5256506-5256507-5278439.html

          Though HP they're all universal, I think there is a lenovo equivalent about to be released though.

            • avatar
            • Jake Howlett
            • Sat 29 Dec 2012 05:34 AM

            Thanks Ian. I'll get one when released and contemplate moving to the Yoga as my main PC.

      1. Yes, I am very tempted by the Yoga instead. I will have to go and try one.

  4. A hard core win 8 review, with colourful language. More of a lecture on what makes for good UI design and how Win 8 falls a tad short of the mark.


  5. Early in this century they were call "convertibles". The Panasonic Touchbook is a good example.


    The trouble with them was that Microsoft did not adapt the OS well enough to work with the touch screen.


    Have you thought about what these changes away from the desktop, away from the laptop and onto tablets with only apps? As desktop sales decrease farther and farther, us folks that need really powerful machines with lots of hard drives in them are going to have to pay more.


    The Apple iOS is already locked into buying only from the Apple store. They are moving their laptops in that direction also and Microsoft with Windows 8 is leaning that way too.

    Just a thought.

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