I sold my 11-inch MacBook Air and bought a Lenovo Yoga for $1,000. Good or bad move?

After spending two weeks with the hottest Windows 8 Ultrabook around -- the Yoga is flying off Best Buy store shelves -- I have no regrets, even though I lost about $350 in the trade and the laptop has some drawbacks that require third-party fixes.

In case you've missed the commercials, the Yoga's patented hinge technology allows the screen to fold back 360 degrees, transforming the device into a tablet. It is an eye-catching and valuable feature.

Most reviews, from Walt Mossberg to Wired have noted that the Yoga serves well as a laptop, but not so much as a tablet. I agree that the machine's size is not ideal for a tablet -- a 13-inch screen is slightly too big and 3 pounds is a little too heavy. But the Yoga still works for me as a slate, in bed or on the couch.

I won't just rehash all of the points noted by other reviewers. Instead, I'll use this blog post to share a few tips/hacks/modifications that will, for the most part, fix some of the highlighted drawbacks of the Yoga.


Unlike a standard review, where the product is typically returned to the manufacturer, this is my personal machine, so I've been able to alter it as pleased. (Disclaimer: you assume all responsibility for what happens to your Yoga should you choose to follow any of the tips).

Limited hard drive space

It was annoying to find that only about half of the 128 GB SSD was available out of the box because the rest of the space was taken up by system files and Lenovo's and Microsoft's bloatware. In comparison, my MacBook Air with the same size SSD had about 110 GB of free space after a fresh install of Lion.

I was able to free up about 30 GB of space and combine the ridiculous number of HD partitions into one by following a solution from a user on a Lenovo forum. To perform an admin command highlighted in the fix, press the windows logo button and the "x" key and click on "command prompt (admin)." Before reinstalling Intel Rapid Start (the last step), go into BIOS by powering off and clicking on the button next to the power button and enable Intel Virtual Technology. And you'll need a 16 GB flash drive, not 8 GB as stated in the instructions.

Lenovo has since released a "hotfix" solution for merging a couple of the partitions and creating a 95-100 GB C drive.

Buggy trackpad driver

A major bug in the trackpad driver turns off two-finger scrolls when certain programs are opened. I experienced the bug with Microsoft Word. Following a touchpad hack from Notebookreview.com user "djklmnop" will fix the problem and make the trackpad more usable overall.

Cramped keyboard

The keys on the right side of the Yoga's keyboard are smaller than they are on standard-sized keyboards. This is an issue for me with the backspace and right shift keys. A small program called KeyTweak makes this drawback bearable by allowing users to remap keys.

I doubled the size of the backspace key by giving the same function to the key next to it, the home button. That was an easy fix because I never use the home key. Fixing the half-sized shift key took slightly more work. I remapped the up arrow key into a shift function, and assigned the up arrow function to key next to it, the page down button.

Limited Windows 8 apps

In addition to the Windows Store, check out Intel's AppUp center for additional titles. Microsoft also notes that some games - such as Contre Jour --

The Lenovo Yoga in  Tent Mode
The Lenovo Yoga in Tent Mode