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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  • Brett Howse - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Sorry corrected the TDP info. We can debate about whether it is an Atom or Celeron, but it's really an Atom rebadged.
  • jhoff80 - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    I think you missed one. "The 5 watt Atom core in the HP Stream is sorely outclassed by the 4.5 watt Core M."
  • kepstin - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Not sure what you're saying here... Bay Trail is the latest evolution of Intel's Atom series of processor core designs. While they're not using the Atom brand for it any more, that's still pretty much what it is.
  • azazel1024 - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    But the point is, it isn't the atom brand. It is the same architecture, but compared to the actual TABLET chips, in some ways it is worse. You have higher TDP, but the CPU is actually worse in a lot of ways, especially multithreaded tests. You've got 2 cores at up to 2.58GHz, where as the top end Atom Bay Trail chips you have 4 cores at up to 2.39GHz. I can attest in long work loads in passively cooled tablets, the z3775 doesn't really seem to you have potentially close to a doubling of performance in highly threaded workloads for something like the z3775 compared to the N2840...which makes the whole CPU performance inbalance between "Atom" and "Broadwell M" a heck of a lot less than these tests make it out to be.

    Oh...there still is, but in highly threaded work loads the inbalance isn't all that much.

    On the GPU side of things...well N2840 or z3775 (or other Atom chip), Broadwell M still crushes it.

    It'll be interesting to see how the top end Atom Cherry Trail chips stack up. Assuming ZERO IPC improvements (and I assume there will be at least a little), it clocks in ~200MHz faster than Bay Trail and 4x the EUs (Intel was claiming top clocks of 2.6GHz and 16EU for the top end Cherry Trail tablet chips). The current pre-release Intel claims of ~100% faster GPU with no CPU claims right now.

    Still makes Cherry Trail a fair amount slower on the GPU side of things, but on the CPU side...that puts it spitting distance with Broadwell M for multithreaded and if there are modest IPC improvements it might actually actually be FASTER in some multithreaded workloads.
  • extide - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    It's not hard to imagine a quad core beating a dual core in multi threaded... Remember though, that in normal use, the feeling of it being fast or slow is all about single threaded speed.

    Also, don't get all confused with the brand names. There are 2 cores, the Atom core and the 'Core' big core -- it doesnt matter whatever brand name they use it is still either Intel's big core or little core.
  • fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    i think you are reading too much into the branding. it's still atom, which still means somewhat poor single threading, poor graphics, but quite ok multi threading, since there often are four cores instead of the two cores you get in all of intels other sub-35w mobile parts.

    i think intel doesn't do itself a favour spreading the celeron and pentium brands to the atom architecture, but here we have it, let's not make it any worse.
  • Solandri - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    Intel's marketing division is just trying to confuse people by extending the Celeron and Pentium names to CPUs with the Silvermont architecture, so they can sell computers with cheaper parts for more money.

    Most people use the term "Atom" to refer to Intel's (current) Silvermont architecture used in Atom, and now some Celeron and Pentium models. As opposed to Intel's Haswell cores (used in Haswell and Broadwell) used in their i3/i5/i7, as well as some of the Celeron and Pentium models.

    Since historically the Celeron name was only given to the upper tier architecture (Haswell, Sandy Bridge, Nehalem), it's more accurate to call the N2840 an Atom than a Celeron. Calling the N2840 a Celeron is kinda like calling the 4-cylinder Mustang a Mustang. The performance just isn't there to back up the name.
  • mkozakewich - Saturday, March 14, 2015 - link

    Doesn't "Mustang" mean performance, though? If you get a Celeron computer, you're expecting something cheap and just fast enough to use for basic tasks.
  • extide - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    ...Which means it's an Atom.
  • jabber - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    First thing I'd do if that was mine? Get rid of those awful stickers.Like those dumb car parts shopping lists muppets stick on their mom's Civic.

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