Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Review

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 convertible laptop, is essentially a smaller version of the Yoga 13 we previously reviewed. Unfortunately, with its smaller form-factor, comes some sacrifice. The Lenovo Yoga 11 runs Windows RT as opposed to the full version of Windows 8. It’s also powered by NVIDIA Tegra 3 1.4ghz Processor, which offers less performance than its Intel powered Ultrabook counterparts. That said the IdeaPad is still a very capable system. Under the hood you get 2GB of DDR3 Ram, a 64GB drive, bluetooth, wi-fi, HDMI out, and a 720p HD camera. It also comes with plenty of ports – including an SD card slot and two USB ports

And like its bigger brother, the IdeaPad Yoga 11 offers a truly unique form-factor – it can operate in several modes, including tablet mode, laptop mode, tent mode and stand mode – each opening up a world of possibilities. Plus, made of magnesium aluminum alloy with a soft-touch finish, it also offers a similar excellent build quality. The Yoga 11 however, offers a smaller form-factor thanks to 11.6″ display. This display is very good – it’s able to get pretty bright, it offers pretty vivid colors, and sports a healthy 1366×768 resolution. The Yoga 11 also measures just .61 inches thick and weighs nearly a pound less than the the Yoga 13. But weighing in at 2.6lbs, it’s definitely heavier than your typical tablet, yet a lot lighter than your typical laptop. As a matter of fact, it weighs over a pound more than the Microsoft Surface. The Yoga 11 also sports the same excellent chicklet style keyboard that the 13 has. Unfortunately, its touchpad is a bit too sensitive for our taste.

The system comes loaded with Windows RT which limits you to only RT compatible apps that are available in the Windows store. On the plus side, Microsoft Office 2013 RT is included which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note

General performance on the Yoga 11 is good. The system mostly feels responsive to swipes and most apps load quickly and perform well. Boot time for our system is 45 seconds Our biggest gripe however is with internet explorer which seems to experience frequent lags when loading up pages and clicking on links. We’re not sure if the Yoga’s hardware is to blame, or its software.

Battery life for the Yoga 11 is nothing short of spectacular. We experienced an average battery life of 12 hours on a higher brightness setting with Wi-Fi turned on. And we’ve seen others with reports of 17 hours on lower brightness settings! The Yoga is also able to quickly charge up. To that effect, in less than an hour it can charge over 80% full of its capacity

Verdict

The smaller display makes the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 super travel friendly, yet it’s large enough to use comfortably on the road. As a matter of fact, we feel like the Yoga 11′s form-factor offers the best of both worlds for travelers. To that effect, it’s easy to carry in your bag while providing ample display real estate, and at the same time it elliminates the need to carry around a tablet. We also appreciate that it comes in two color choices – a fun orange or in a silver gray color. Overall, the Yoga 11 is a great alternative to the Microsoft Surface, as long as you don’t mind the extra heft. It also offers great build quality, an ergonomic keyboard, excellent battery life, and overall it’s a dream form-factor for a traveler. You just need to take into consideration that this is a laptop first, and a tablet second.

That said, If you’re looking for better performance, and you desire the same convenient form-factor, we highly recommend waiting for the Yoga 11s Ultrabook to come out in the summer. The Yoga 11s will offer the same great compact form-factor as the IdeaPad Yoga 11, but it will be powered by a more powerful Intel Core processor and will run a full version of Windows 8. And it shouldn’t cost more than $150 more than the current Yoga 11 model. In any case, the Yoga 11 we reviewed here is currently available for just $499 on Amazon, making it quite the steal for the quality you’re getting.

The Good: Excellent build quality and unique travel friendly design, great display, comfortable tactile keyboard, unique design modes, impressive battery life, don’t need to carry around a tablet

The Bad: Web browsing experience is sluggish, the more powerful Yoga 11s is just around the corner, Windows RT is limiting, no backlit keyboard, no USB 3.0

Buy it!