A versatile convertible laptop with a 360-degree folding touchscreen
Lenovo Yoga 260 Review
ThinkPad’s have been the go to choice for serious business professionals for years now but the Yoga 260 is something a little different. This is a convertible laptop that can flip round to become a tablet too.
In fact, unlike so many hybrid laptop-come-tablet devices, the great appeal of the Yoga series is that you can position the screen just about anyway you want. So you can have the screen at the front, for instance, which is ideal for sitting and watching video on a plane as the screen isn’t knocked by the seat in front. Lenovo also seems to think the so called tent position, where the laptop rests on the front edge of the screen and keyboard sections, is useful too, though I’m less convinced.
But nonetheless there are plenty of scenarios where being able to position the screen in whatever way you want is pretty useful.
Obviously as a tablet it isn’t exactly the slimmest and most elegant out there but it still provides that easier touchscreen experience and is ideal for note taking or drawing on the screen. And to that end Lenovo includes a proper pressure sensitive stylus that neatly docks into the side, where it charges too.
It’s a really useful extra to have right there with you and it’s accurate and easy to use.
While on the subject of slimness and elegance, though, there’s no denying the ThinkPad styling is perhaps an acquired taste. Its use of matt black plastic simply doesn’t have the wow factor of metal-clad alternatives. And it’s far from the slimmest and lightest around.
That said, with dimensions of 309 x 220 x 17.8mm and weighing in at 1.32kg it’s in the same ball park as most other slim and light laptops.
Along with that stylus the sides are home to an impressive wealth of connectivity. On the right is a full size HDMI, a USB 3.0 port, microSIM and microSD slots and the headphone jack. It’s also here that Lenovo has positioned the power and volume buttons.
Then on the left is the charging port, a socket for Lenovo’s OneLink+ dock, a mini DisplayPort, a second USB 3.0 port and an optional smart card reader. All told it’s among the most comprehensive selection of ports you can get on a laptop of this type. The only thing missing being a full size SD card slot, but by using microSD to SD adapters in your camera it’s easy to get round this.
Now ThinkPads have long been revered for having great keyboards and the Yoga 260 is no exception. The large keys have a deep and defined action that makes it really easy to tell when you’ve pressed a key, and thus make speedy touch-typing a joy.
However, personally I’m not a fan of having the Function key to the left of the left Control key as it makes it really awkward to do Windows shortcuts like Control+P for print and Control+C for copy.
Similarly I like to have PgUp, PGdn, Home and End as secondary functions of the cursor keys, like on the Dell XPS 13. For some these issues will be minor, especially if this if your main or only computer, as you simply get used to the layout, but for me it would be close to a deal breaker.
Similarly not quite right is the trackpad. It’s a reasonable size and has smooth accurate tracking but the way it’s hinged at the top means it’s difficult to press down once you get above about half way, making it something of a failure as a supposed click-anywhere trackpad.
Thankfully the trackpoint is as good as ever. It’s never my first choice over a trackpad but it’s useful if you’re wearing gloves and I know some people just still prefer them.
All of which brings us to the screen, and it’s here that the Yoga 260 really slips up. The 12.5in Full HD panel is fine for most businessy things but it has one major issue. And that is that it’s simply not very good quality. It gets nice and bright, with a maximum brightness of 381nits, and has a plentiful 1216:1 contrast ratio but colour temperature is off and it covers just 60.3% of the sRGB colour space. As such it’s no good for designers or anyone else working in visually creative fields.
What’s more these aren’t just academic issues but rather you can just tell that the screen looks a bit lacklustre, especially as the screen’s surface is more reflective than some. Put it next to the Dell XPS 13 and it’s night and day.
Another far more minor issue is that the resolution is a bit awkward for the screen size. At native resolution everything is too small so you need to use Windows scaling option to make things a readable size. In turn this can make some things like not quite right and can soften the image slightly.
Thankfully when it comes to overall performance the Yoga 260 is right back on track with its Intel Core i7 6500U processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD combining to prove ample for day to day computing. You won’t want to be editing video or rendering 3D models too often on it but it’s otherwise perfectly capable.
Likewise battery life is a decent 8 hours or so. A few competitors can hit closer to 10 hours but 8 hours is still decent and should get you through most of a working day if needs be.
In summary then, Lenovo has got a lot of things right with the Yoga 260. Its overall hybrid approach is one of the most practical and the inclusion of a stylus is a real boon, plus there’s the great connectivity, good quality keyboard and ample performance and battery life.
It’s just a shame about that screen, the keyboard layout and that trackpad. Starting at £899 it’s definitely one to consider but I’d suggest trying before you buy to see if any of those things are issues for you too.