At a press event in New York today, Lenovo joked that it was the second largest PC maker that nobody's heard of, even after overtaking the silver medal from Dell in October and eyeing HP's lead.
It's true, most people have no clue who Lenovo is. Some people might know that IBM sold its PC division to the Chinese company in 2005, but Lenovo's PCs and tablets can hardly be considered breakthrough or iconic.
Meet the IdeaPad Yoga. Is it an Ultrabook? A giant 13.3-inch tablet? An oversized tabletop digital calendar? It's all of those and it's one of the most interesting transforming laptops we've seen in a while.
Look How Far I Can Bend Ma!
The Lenovo Yoga is appropriately named because its screen can bend into a number of positions.
Opened at 90-degrees, the 13.3-inch Yoga (1600x900 resolution) is a fast solid-state disk-equipped Windows 8 Ultrabook.
Bend the screen backwards to 180-degrees and it can be laid parallel to a table. I haven't figured out what use I would use the Yoga in this position for personally, but that's up to you to figure out.
Keep on bending the Yoga and it can be positioned with the keyboard acting as a base or in a "tent" — perfect for propping up on a cramped airplane table.
If you complete the 360-degree bend, the entire Ultrabook suddenly becomes a tablet. Thanks to an IPS display, viewing angles are preserved without screen details becoming muddled pixels of light.
Even with all that bending, in my brief hands-on with the computer, I didn't detect any significant flex to the screen or keyboard. The entire machine felt very well constructed and the hinges certainly seemed engineered to withstand constant transforming.
Most impressive about the Yoga outside of its flexible hinge is that it supports multitouch for 10 fingers. In fact the Yoga is the first tablet/touchscreen Ultrabook to let you press all ten of your smudgy fingers all over it.
How does it feel? Very good. Very, very good, considering what was on show was still a prototype model. Windows 8 was very responsive. I can't wait to see what app developers do with all the finger tracking.
When Can You Buy One And How Much?
Lenovo wasn't ready to announce any official specs, but I did spy two USB ports (one 2.0 and one 3.0) and an HDMI port on the sides. Obviously, there's no optical drive on this guy.
A firm price and release date for the Yoga in the U.S. isn't available yet, but a Lenovo product rep tells us that it should hover in the $1,199 range and will be released alongside the launch of Windows 8 (currently pegged for later this year).
For our readers in the U.K., Lenovo announced this morning that the Yoga would start at £1,199 (about $1,900). Hopefully that conversion won't bring the extra $700 with it when it hits the States.
All photos by Raymond Wong for DVICE.