Fun with Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13

Posted by Paul Braren on Dec 23 2012 in
  • Laptop
  • Productivity
  • Reviews
  • Windows
  • Santa arrived a day early, with a Yoga joining our family of zillas today, ordered on Nov. 24, but arriving on Dec. 20, weeks ahead of the Jan 2013 expectations.

    Let's call it yZilla. It's really called a Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13, which is really a convertible Ultrabook/tablet at 13.3" 1600x900 with a Core i7 CPU, 256GB SSD, and Windows 8 Professional 64 bit.

    Seems to work quite nicely in so many ways. Fast. Fun to use. And pretty darn cool to look at. And hold. See also the Michael Martis review here, or listen to the BYOB Podcast here.

    Here's lessons learned already:

    • remove McAfee, cross-fingers, reboot
    • click on Actions Center warning, enable Antivirus, update signature
    • install Windows Server Essentials 2012 connector and backup
    • USB 3.0 port is very handy, and very fast
    • mess around with freeing up disk space, after that first full backup completes!
    • have fun!

    While it's not exactly a traditional usage for such a versatile animal, I couldn't resist sharing this picture of an alternative mode: gamer mode. Yes, it's the Yoga in "tent" mode, seen with external USB Leopold "Tenkeyless" Linear Touch Keyboard with Cherry MX Model FC200RR/AB, and a Razer Orochi Elite Mobile Gaming Mouse, in Bluetooth paired mode. And a Lenovo 13 inch Yoga Slot-in Case nearby.

    This is a bad idea on so many levels. Bluetooth lag. Moderate GPU speed, with Intel HD Graphics 4000 benchmarks here.

    But it's also fun. It actually works pretty well actually, holding up at at least 40 frames per second, even under intense battles in StarCraft II. And in 2013, it'll be doing battles with homework too.

    Burns far less watts than a majority of Core i7 rigs, it's safe to say. Which I'll be testing of course. And adding tips to this article. Well, just as soon as I get a chance to touch it.


    Jan. 21 2013 Update:
    You'll probably want to upgrade to the Relatek Wireless LAN driver 1.00.0193 found at Lenovo support here, which I found gave me a roughly 30% boost in WiFi speeds on my local network. That's right, just changed the driver, no other tweaks done. The actual driver you'll wind up with will say 9/4/2012 1021.2.904.2012 (pictured below).

    Before you update, a couple of gotcha's to be aware of:

    1. The install bundle doesn't successfully update your Bluetooth stack as the bundle name implies it would, saying please connect your Bluetooth device. It then quickly says no Bluetooth device found and exits the installer cleanly. Yet my Bluetooth mouse continued to work fine, so it didn't alter Bluetooth apparently.
    2. You'll have to rejoin your WiFi network after the update, since it seems to lose your WiFi connection information.

    Feb. 05, 2013 Update:
    Had some issues with WiFi taking a while to reconnect when coming out of suspend. I have warp23 to thank for his post on Lenovo forums here, where his suggestion is to
    change the Realtek Adapter's Properties, changing Select Suspend to Disabled
    the only change I made. Now WiFi wakes up a lot faster when opening the lid, making login to desktop immediate, always on the first attempt. I do admit that I hope a reasonable way to get 5GHz WiFi in there someday becomes a via option someday, to alleviate my 2.4GHz microwave interference issue. I have since tested a newer microwave, the slowdown is still there, but about half as bad.

    Apr. 02, 2013 Update:
    It would seem a boost in GPU performance may be headed our way, read all about possible 10% performance boost at TweakTown here.