Windows 8 PRO Review
with the Lenovo Yoga 13
Copyright StarPal Inc. All Rights Reserved
This review is based
on one month living with a Windows 8 PRO Convertible Tablet/Laptop
using both the "Modern" and "Legacy" application screens. It is a
standard Laptop. In addition, the keyboard folds underneath to use as a large
tablet(some models the keyboard is removeable). We find that the Windows 8 Modern Apps work best in
Tablet mode, while Windows 8 Legacy Apps work best in Laptop mode. The
two modes are as different as night and day, and so the learning curve
will be double that of other computers.
you use Microsoft
Office or other "Data Intensive Apps (High Information Density)",
Windows 8 Convertible Tablet may be right for you. Youl need a real
keyboard and trackpad or mouse to manipulate small areas of the screen.
A simple Tablet with Touchscreen
will not suffice for "Data Intensive Applications" like Microsoft
Office. Windows 8 aims to give corporate customers an alternative to
BYOD(Bring Your Own Device) to the workplace, so employees don't
require two devices on the corporate network (a desktop/laptop plus a
tablet). It is first a laptop, but it can also be used as a
for "Social Apps (Low Information Density)". You will still need
a cellphone with a good camera and GPS for turn-by-turn navigation.
If you only use "Social Apps" or want a cell phone included, you'll
be better off with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 or Apple Retina iPad.
* iPad Bluetooth does not support external GPS Receivers
|Lenovo Yoga 13" Convertible|
w/ Keyboard+Touchpad 360 degree hinge
|(comparison) Apple iPad|
Galaxy Note 10.1
|Display||13" IPS 16:9 Widescreen||9.7" IPS 4:3 display||10.1" TFT |
|Resolution||1600 x 900||2048 x 1536||1280 x 800|
|Storage||128 GB SSD||16-64 GB SSD||16-64 GB SSD|
|Battery||55 Watt Hour||42.5 Watt Hour||25 Watt Hour|
|Weight||3.4 lbs||1.5 lbs||1.3 lbs|
|Sensors||front facing camera,|
|2 cameras, microphone,|
3 Axis Gyroscope,
|2 cameras, microphone|
3 Axis Gyroscope,
|GPS||External only (Bluetooth or USB-Serial)||Internal GPS Only* (10-30 ft)||Internal GPS+GLONASS, USB|
|Other||Audio in/out jack, HDMI video out, |
speakers(2), USB ports(2)
speaker(1), USB Adapter(1)
| Stereo headphone,|
Lenovo Yoga 13 hardware is good. The Yoga doesn't try to be
a cell phone, or camera (other than Skype). The display is 1600x900,
good as an Apple Retina display; but better than last year's Windows
Laptops. Foldaway keyboard works and folds away nicely. The
ON/OFF button is in a poor location and we have shut off the computer
numerous times by accident. Unit does not include GPS, so does not provide
turn-by-turn Navigation. The new touchpad
is much larger, but has some quirkiness. For instance, you cannot
let a finger rest on the touchpad when you press a mouse button (which
I was accustomed to doing). To run HGIS GPS Mapping Software, we use
either Bluetooth or USB-Serial Adapters to connect an external GPS.
is about 5 - 6 hours. By default, the internal fan is turned off,
and the processor is throttled down. (Plugged in allows faster
processing.). If you tell it to give the longest battery life
before complete battery failure, you get 3.5-4 hours on a charge
(then it only charges to 60%). The couple additional years
of battery life may make sense if you almost always run on external
power (say in a vehicle). Lenovo DC power adapters are
expensive and do not get good reviews. We recommend AC Power
Invertors if you need to operate in the field for longer periods of
Windows 8 Operating System
are security enhancements in Windows 8 versus Windows 7 that are
fully user transparent. This is good. Windows 8 boots up and
shuts down fast. Give yourself a week for Windows 8 just to
become familiar (you will still be discovering things a month later).
The new buttons are "flat", you cannot tell if you have pressed a
button as on older versions of Windows. Sometimes you can't tell if
something is or isn't a button, for example "Change PC Settings" on the
new "Settings" screen. You'll punch things you think should be a button
but aren't a button.
The biggest change is that the Windows 7
Start ICON is missing. There is a $5 App which brings back the Windows 7 Start Button ("Start8"
is a good App, however the vendor Stardock continuously sends spam.
Each time you ask them to stop, they stop for a few days, then
resume spamming again. Simply add Stardock to your junk email
filter) . We have seen no unique Windows 8 issues with HGIS GPS
Software. HGIS works on Windows 8 just as on Windows 7.
Windows 8 Social Networking Side (Low Information Density)
screen is alternatively called: "Modern", "Metro", or "Jekyll". This is
the new Windows interface with large tiles that you see on TV. It is
good for perusing news headlines, social networking, Youtube, email viewing,
shopping, weather, reading novels, and Wikipedia; any application that
contains low information density and coarse user interaction. The
touchscreen works pretty well on this side, although I often have to
repeat each touch multiple times before it recognizes the command.
It works best with sites that don't require a keyboard.
Windows 8 Data Intensive Side (High Information Density)
screen is alternatively called "Desktop", "Legacy", and "Hyde".
This is the Windows you are familiar with (minus the Start ICON).
There are several Apps that can add back the Start ICON from
Windows 7 (including Start8 which we purchased). The Data Intensive side is where Microsoft Office and any other
data intensive applications operate. This side does not work
as well using the touchscreen. Microsoft makes the legacy ICONs
much smaller than 'tiles' and smaller than can easily be touched.
Microsoft Office requires high information density and runs well on this
side with the touchpad. The Lenovo Yoga 13 does well as a
Tablet for simple HGIS GPS Mapping using the touchscreen, AND data
analysis using the foldout keyboard and touchpad. On Window 8 PRO, you
can also have most Windows 7 Apps available you might need.
Windows 8 Metro / Modern Location
are asked to give Windows 8 Modern Applications your 'location' so they
can display local advertising. Our location improved every day until it
was within about 100 feet. As there is no GPS, and no cellular radio,
we wondered how this was accomplished. Microsoft maintains a database
of WiFi Hotspot locations and based on which WiFi hotspots are visible
to you (it doesn't have to connect), the computer knows where you are.
Microsoft promises advertisers that worst case your location could be
off as much as 10 kilometers but is usually much closer. We saw it up
to 1/2 mile off, but typically within 100 feet. Not good enough
for Turn-by-Turn navigation but close enough to tell you where to buy a
Super-Big-Gulp while you are playing a Metro game.
Most of the Apps we downloaded from the Microsoft store displayed
advertising. In fact, advertising is a significant battery drain when
you run Metro Apps.
Windows 8 Metro / Modern Apps
availability of Windows 8 Modern applications is very limited. It
appears most of the Windows 8 applications in the Microsoft store also
run on Windows 7 (meaning they don't use the Modern User Interface at
all). We wanted a simple app to display local TV programming.
None was available on the Metro side, however we did find the App
for the Legacy side(e.g. Windows 7). Some of the best Modern Apps we
found were some news headlines. Many of the Modern Apps are
hastily thrown together, missing key features, and display a lot of
Bluetooth GPS Receivers
Bluetooth GPS we used for testing was the GlobalSat BU338 (The BU359
should be similar). With a clear view of the sky (on a vehicle roof),
this GPS has an accuracy of better than 10 feet (inside a vehicle
accuracy is about 30 feet). Once the Bluetooth driver 'stack'
crashed requiring a reboot. It is best to keep the GPS between 4
and 10 feet from the computer.
USB GPS Receivers
There are no Windows 8 drivers for any of our USB GPS Receivers, so none are recommended at this time.
Bluetooth-Serial GPS Adapters
Bluetooth-Serial Adapters are
available for external RS232 Serial GPS receivers, however we find that USB-Serial
Adapters are better suited for most applications. We think you will fiddle with these more than other solutions.
USB-Serial GPS Adapters
have tested three USB-Serial Adapters with Windows 8 using RS232
Serial GPS Receivers. "EdgePort-1", "Keyspan by Tripp-Lite 19HS",
and "FDTI Chipset" All USB-Serial Adapters that use the term
"Prolific" are NOT recommended. The Tripp-Lite and FTDI Chipset
adapters are available from Amazon for less than $30 each and both work
fine. It is recommended that you always plug the adapter into the
same USB port. Do not apply constant tension to the USB
Connector, it is better if there is some slack left in the USB cable.
Windows 8 RT
8 RT is Microsofts answer to the iPad for corporate users. It runs on
the lower power ARM processor which was also used for Windows Mobile /
Microsoft Office Handhelds. Unfortunately, the only High Information
Density App allowed is Microsoft Office. HGIS cannot run on
Windows 8 RT until Microsoft opens up the platform to other High
Information Density / Data Intensive Applications. Applications such as Microsoft Office
are not usable using the Touchscreen. They require a keyboard and mouse. The Microsoft
Surface RT is also much too expensive.
HGIS GPS Mapping Software
HGIS V10 and later is recommended for Windows 8 PRO. HGIS works well using the touchscreen to collect GPS Data;
and works well with the keyboard and touchpad for data analysis.
All-in-all the Lenovo Yoga 13 is easy to handle, quite versatile, and usable for GPS Mapping.
V9.52. the previous release of HGIS also works if given Administrative
Privileges. The Buttons are smaller than V10, and you may see a
message when you install HGIS that reads "This application may not have
installed correctly." (Just click "It installed correctly").
we accepted the Jekyll and Hyde view of Windows 8; we learned to
accept it. The new security features are a plus. Buy a
Windows 8 computer with a Touchpad and Keyboard; don't think you can
get by with just a Touchscreen. The display resolution
is disappointing compared to Apple. The lack of a GPS was
considering its competition. The fairly short battery life
is a limitation if you want to use it for 8+ hours.
Feb 4, 2013