Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Review: Refreshed With Faster Core Mby Brett Howse on March 13, 2015 8:00 AM EST
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 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)
|JBL Stereo Speakers professionally tuned with Waves MaxxAudio 1.5w x 2
|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)
Screen Rotation Lock
1 x USB 3.0 with Always-On Charging
Novo (Recovery) Button
Auto Rotate Control
|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
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
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.
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nathanddrews - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkBroadwell GPU performance is such a letdown. Is there any chance of combining Core M with a dGPU or would that only work with the other Intel SKUs? It would be nice to get the battery efficiency of Core M when you need it, but then have the option for GPU power when you need it.
Zizy - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkI don't see any gains using M (vs U) in perf/W. Adding dGPU would mean fans so you lose that benefit as well. Therefore, why bother? :)
nathanddrews - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkCost savings, perhaps? Remember the Atom/Ion combos?
I admit it seems like a waste of time and effort given what's already possible with a regular U-SKU.
Gigaplex - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkPerhaps I missed something, but I don't think the Core M chips are cheaper. In fact I heard they were more expensive.
fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkintel lists a price of 281$ for its core m CPUs, from the 5y10 to the 5y71, which incidentially is the same price it asks for its i5 5200u.
CaedenV - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkThe CPU is so extremely low performance that it would choke almost any dedicated GPU. Plus you would get terrible battery life, have to add fans, a thicker design, etc. etc.
If you are going to put in a dGPU then you really need a u-SKU product in the first place. This is just a glorified netbook. Fine for browsing the web, watching shows, and playing simple games like cards or angry birds, but that is it.
3ricss - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkThat is exactly right. We need to remember the purpose and audience this device is designed for. And based on this being a netbook I feel the price point is way to high. Better off considering the dell xps 13 or even SP3 at this point.
defferoo - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linknot sure why everybody thinks Core M = netbook. netbooks use Atom processors, this CPU is clearly in a completely different league in comparison. I'm almost certain that you wouldn't be complaining about it being a netbook if Intel kept using the old Y-series branding and the CPU was called a Core i5-5071Y.
fokka - Friday, March 13, 2015 - linkit might also have to do with the low tdp why people keep comparing it with netbooks.
on another note, if intel would keep the core-i naming scheme for the chip, i'm sure the 5y71 would be an i7 (and cost 400 bucks...)
mkozakewich - Sunday, March 15, 2015 - linkAlso considering that newer Atoms have like 2x the performance at less power, and Core-M has nearly an order of magnitude more performance.