However, it's the display that really sets the Yoga apart. It's a full 1600 by 900 pixels, offering a good balance in pixel density between 1366 by 768 and 1080p (or 1920 by 1080, by any other name). The panel rotates 180 degrees, allowing the Yoga to be used as a full tablet (albeit with its keyboard exposed) or in the "tent mode," where you can use it to give presentations or easily share content.
The business traveler's hybrid: ThinkPad Twist
Road warriors need work machines that are lightweight, rugged and reliable. Lenovo has long promised these qualities in the ThinkPad, a laptop line that was first conceived by IBM in 1992, and has been targeted at business users ever since. And now we have the ThinkPad Twist, which brings Windows 8 touch gestures and a clever hybrid design to a laptop legacy that's always been a bit buttoned-up and stodgy.
As with most ThinkPads, the Twist is a tad heavier than a consumer-grade laptop. And at 3.5 pounds, the Twist--even with its 12.5-inch, 1366 by 768 display--is a bit heavier than Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga, which has a larger, higher-resolution screen. But what's nifty about the Twist's display is its hinge design, which lets this hybrid engage a tablet mode while still keeping the machine's keyboard protected. This makes the Twist more robust in tablet mode than the Yoga, whose keyboard remains exposed.
The base-model Twist ships with a 500GB hard drive and a 24GB caching SSD. Working together, the two drives deliver speedy startup times and copius storage. Lenovo does offer one model with a traditional SSD intended for storage, but it's a fairly scant 128GB. This SSD option, however small, will likely play well in larger businesses, where IT departments tend to lock down which applications can be installed.
Overall, the Twist brings the ruggedness of the ThinkPad line with some of the most usable features of Windows 8 tablets. The only significant omission is a 3G/4G mobile broadband option, which would make the Twist a more attractive hybrid for frequent travelers. Nevertheless, the Lenovo Twist is compact and reasonably light, which should allow it to travel well.
Almost a tablet: Sony Duo 11
The Sony Duo 11 looks like a tablet--most of the time. When you carry it around in its folded state, a seam conceals a sliding keyboard hidden underneath the bottom of the display. It's the laptop version of those old-school slider phones, complete with a compact, Chiclet-style keyboard.