The backflipping Lenovo Yoga single-handedly made laptops cool again. The Yoga 2 Pro added a backlit keyboard and a brilliant 3200 x 1800 QHD screen. Now, Lenovo's going for broke with the third generation of its transforming touchscreen machine. Not only is the new £1,299 Yoga 3 Pro thinner and lighter, it has a freaking watch band consisting of 813 precision-machined, hand-assembled components holding up its infinitely positionable screen.
Honestly, the watchband look is little off-putting at first, like that scene in Terminator 2 where Schwarzy pulls the flesh and blood right off his robotic arm. Oh my god, he really is a machine. But by the same token, if you're the kind of person who cries at the end of T2, those interlocking links sure are fascinating. They really do hold that screen in place with delightfully consistent tension throughout the entire 360 degree range of motion, and also let the laptop lie completely flat. It does feel a little weird in tablet mode, though, since there's now a slight gap between the lid and the back of the chassis.
But if that's not enough to satisfy your inner gearhead, how about the fact that the Yoga 3 Pro is one of the very first laptops to charge over USB? Equipped with an Intel Core M-70 processor for a completely fanless PC, the Yoga 3 Pro apparently sucks so little power that it doesn't require a separate port to charge the machine.
You just plug a relatively thick cable into a special yellow USB port on the left, which doubles as USB 2.0...
...which in turn allows the entire base of the machine to be no thicker than a USB port at 12.8 millimetres. Other than that, it's pretty much what you'd expect out of a high-end ultra-thin laptop: 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB of solid-state storage, JBL-tuned speakers with WavesAudio processing, two USB 3.0 sockets, micro HDMI, a headset jack, and an SD card slot.
There's also a new (recessed) one-touch recovery button on the right side of the machine, and a Lenovo app called Harmony which keeps track of which programs you actually use in various orientations, and speed your workflow by helping you launch those same apps later.
If you're looking for something a little less Terminator and a little more business, Lenovo is also adding the new Thinkpad Yoga 14, which does the same keys-fold-flat-into-the-chassis trick as the original Thinkpad Yoga so it's more comfortable to hold in tablet mode, but now comes with a bigger 14-inch 1080p screen and optional Nvidia graphics. That one uses standard Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, 8 GB of RAM and up to a 1 TB hybrid hard drive.
Both machines will be available later this month.