The Most Flexible Laptop for Small Business - Page 2

By Jamie Bsales
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Fold This Ultrabook into a Tablet

If you use the Yoga 2 13 the way we do, it will spend the majority of its time in “laptop” mode. But we quickly came to appreciate being able to fold the screen back and use the Ultraportable notebook as a tablet; for example, on the couch to monitor (but not answer) email and to poke around (literally) on the Web. We also liked having a screen larger than 7 or 10 inches--the size of most tablets—for watching streaming video.

As a tablet, the Yoga 2 Pro does have downsides. Most notable is that fact that it's bulky compared to a pure slate device. It weighs 3.6 pounds, which can get heavy in the crook of your arm after extended use in tablet mode. Second, folding it into a tablet leaves the keyboard exposed on the underside. Lenovo engineers thought of this and set it so the keyboard is automatically deactivated when you fold the screen back, but it's still a bit strange to feel the keys squishing in your fingers as you hold it.

The Yoga 2 13 in tent mode

Figure 3: You can leave the notebook's halves partially apart and set it on a counter or table for easier viewing of videos and the like.

Also, iOS and Android evangelists will note that the Windows 8 universe isn't as chock full of fun (dare we say frivolous?) apps as the iOS and Android solar systems. But when it comes down to business apps, the Windows 8 operating system on the Yoga 2 13 has the clear advantage: Why run a Word emulation app when you can run actual Microsoft Office, and why bother with an accounting app when the tablet you're carrying happens to run full QuickBooks just fine. When it comes down to it, you can do a lot more real work with a Windows laptop+tablet than you can with a tablet OS-based device.

Pitch a Tent or Take a Stand

The flexible design of the Yoga 2 13 comes with two more tricks up its sleeve. If you rotate the screen but stop when the device is in an "A" shape (think old-fashioned pup tent, from which the mode gets its name), you can set it on a surface and interact with the screen via touch to share a video or presentation around a table. Some apps are even motion-aware, using the built-in Webcam to detect the wave of your hand to move to the next screen.

You can also fold the screen about three-quarters of the way around and place the keyboard flat on a surface. That puts the device in "stand" mode with the screen toward you, which is ideal for video chatting or, again, sharing the screen among several viewers. This setup likely won't be your modus operandi, but it's nice to have as an option.

The Yoga 2 13 instand mode

Figure 4: Setting the device on its keyboard puts the screen front and center for apps like Skype.

To help you learn the different modes and get the most out of each one, Lenovo has recommended a selection of apps and games designated for each. To access those, tap the Yoga Picks tile on the Windows 8 main screen, then tap the icon for the mode you want. For example, for stand mode (where the keyboard is inaccessible) there's Yoga Camera Man, which lets you control the machine's camera with voice commands.

Of course, there's always good ol' Skype for video chatting, which you can control with the touch screen. And in tablet mode, the Photo Touch image-editing app lets you use your fingers to change and create images. Another handy inclusion is Yoga Phone Companion to wirelessly connect your Android phone and the laptop to make calls (or send texts) and share content between the devices.

So if you are convinced you need a laptop for your small business, but are less convinced about the value of a tablet, the Yoga 2 13 is the perfect compromise. You get a no-excuses Ultrabook and the option of using it as a tablet when you want one, without having to commit extra money to a device you might not use.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with more than 20 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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This article was originally published on May 19, 2014
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