Keyboard, Touchpad, And Touchscreen
The Yoga 13 is equipped with Lenovo’s AccuType keyboard. While this may disappoint those hoping for the ThinkPad Precision keyboard, don’t be too critical of the move just yet. The AccuType is actually only a lighter-weight version of the ThinkPad’s keyboard, and arguably one of the best standard laptop keyboards currently available. The tactile feedback and travel depth of the individual keys is quite nice. The most notable difference between the Yoga 13's AccuType and the one found on the professional-grade ThinkPad models is the AccuType's smaller-sized backspace and right-shift keys. Additionally, the Yoga 13’s AccuType keyboard does not offer a back-lit option.
One keyboard issue that we just can’t look past is the excessive amount of flex in the keyboard substrate. This occurs even while typing in a normal manner. We measured downward flexing in excess of 3 mm towards the mid-center of the keyboard. During our teardown, we found that this issue can be mostly resolved with the application of additional double-sided 3M tape on the rear base of the keyboard assembly. Some Yoga 13 owners are also reporting this flex, while others deny it. In the end, this points to a possible quality control issue at the factory, which doesn't necessarily affect every Yoga 13 that ships.
The Yoga 13’s luxuriously sized, matte glass touchpad offers a ton of real-estate to work with. While the Synaptics touchpad lacks traditional mouse buttons, it fully supports Windows 8 gestures. The tactile input is quite good the majority of the time while using the stock driver provided by Lenovo (v184.108.40.206 – 11/12). However, occasional touchpad sensitivity issues can hinder scrolling. Lenovo is reportedly working with Synaptics to update the driver and address this minor issue.
The Yoga 13’s multi-touch screen looks great and functions equally well. The second-generation Gorilla Glass outer layer protects the sub-display while allowing for reactive tactile sensitivity and smooth swiping. Although our testing did not exceed five-finger gestures, all attempts to confuse the screen only left us wondering why anyone would use more than two or three figures to do anything on a touchscreen. In this regard, the Yoga 13 offers stellar performance. The only reservation some may have is the higher level of reflective glare the glass-based screen produces outside, or in an office with overhead lighting. However, this is the case with virtually all similar display types, and not a fault we find with the Yoga 13 or Lenovo in particular.
Although everyone is different, for most, the Yoga 13 should prove very comfortable to hold in one hand. In fact, the weight of this system is excellent considering its size and the high-end materials that Lenovo uses in manufacturing it.
The biggest comfort issue we have is the physical orientation of the keyboard and touchpad when the Yoga 13 is in Tablet or Stand Mode. As mentioned, even though the keyboard and touchpad are automatically disabled when the system is in anything other than Laptop Mode, gripping onto the unit and feeling keys mash down behind it takes some getting used to (Ed.: Having also used a Yoga 13 for a couple of months, this isn't something I was ever able to accept). Likewise, just knowing that the keyboard and touchpad are face down in Stand Mode is a little disconcerting.
Considering the premium nature of the Yoga 13, one could reasonably expect that some form of keyboard and touchpad protection should be offered as standard equipment.
The optional “Slot-In-Case” (Model #: 0C48344) could effectively function as a keyboard/palmrest cover in addition to protecting the system base. Perhaps Lenovo could consider including it in the Yoga 13's purchase price?