If nothing else, the debut of Windows 8 and Windows RT (the lower-powered ARM tablet version of Microsoft’s latest operating system) has brought an increase in system flexibility—and we mean that in the dexterous physical sense, not in the sense of systems actually doing more. Over the past few months, we’ve seen notebooks, tablets, and hybrids whose screens flip, turn, and detach every which way. The convertible tested here, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, literally bends over backwards.
Apart from its smaller stature, the 11.6-inch Yoga 11 looks identical to the 13.3-inch IdeaPad Yoga 13 we reviewed back in November 2012. However, except for the innovative 360-degree hinge connecting the screen to the keyboard, the two are quite dissimilar in terms of power, capabilities, battery life, and software availability.
With its third-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), the Yoga 13 is a full-blown Windows 8 laptop capable of running virtually any Windows program. The Yoga 11, on the other hand, has an Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU, 2GB of memory, and 64GB eMMC flash memory drive in the $949 configuration discounted at presstime to $599 on Lenovo’s site.
It’s basically, despite its non-detachable keyboard, a Windows RT tablet, limited to the apps it comes with—not an inconsiderable set, since Microsoft Office Home & Student is included—and other RT titles you can download from the Windows Store. Rather than the Yoga 13, it should really be compared to Microsoft’s Surface RT and Asus’ VivoTab RT.
What makes the Yogas similar, of course, is the articulating hinge (highlighted in the image below) that allows you to position and hold either Lenovo as a laptop, a tablet, or to manipulate it into a couple of useful in-between positions, which we’ll discuss on the next page:
These 360-degree hinges permit you to place the Yoga 11 in several interesting positions.
The Yoga lets you fold its lid (the back of the display panel) back until it meets the bottom of the chassis (or back of the keyboard), which in turn lets you position it into four different setups or what Lenovo calls modes: notebook, tablet, stand, and tent. At first glance, this flexibility appears to be highly innovative and useful—and yet so simple that you may be asking yourself why somebody hadn’t thought of it sooner. After spending a few days with it, even though we liked it overall, we also found a few drawbacks to this design. (More on that, too, on the next page.)
You can buy the Yoga 11 in either silver or orange, in either of two storage-size configurations, 32GB or 64GB. Lenovo sent us a silver one with the higher storage capacity—listed on Lenovo.com, as mentioned, for $949 but given an “eCoupon” discount to $599. The 32GB eMMC model is $849 with no discount, which we think answers the question of which one to buy.
The Yoga 11 comes in either silver-gray or orange.Compared to the 10.6-inch Surface RT and 10.1-inch VivoTab RT, the Yoga 11’s screen is larger as well as non-detachable. Aside from the huge difference of the attached, articulating keyboard, the Yoga 11 came configured and performed much like the other RT devices. As we see it, the flexible keyboard, then, is the primary reason for choosing this model over the others.
Overall, as Windows RT devices go, we liked the Yoga 11 enough to recommend it—as long as you understand the limitations, what Win RT can and can’t do, before you take the plunge.
See complete review at Computer Shopper.