Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s Ultrabook Review

We have already talked about the great build quality, and unique form factor of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s when we recently reviewed the Yoga 11. But the Yoga 11 comes running Windows RT and is powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor. The Yoga 11S on the other hand is powered by a much more powerful 3rd gen Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, and it comes running the full version of Windows 8. So you you might say that the S stands for more power.

With its soft touch finish and sturdy metal hinges, the Yoga 11 offers the same amazing build quality and design as the Yoga 11, but it is a bit thicker and heavier, weighing in at 2.96lbs. And like the Yoga 13, it’s also available in a choice of a traditional gray color or in a more fun orange color.

Our biggest complaint with the Yoga 11 was that it wasn’t powerful enough, and the Yoga 11S addresses that issue with a much more powerful Intel Ivy Bridge chipset. Our review unit came running on a 3rd gen Intel Core i5-3339Y 1.50GHz processor and 8GB of RAM. Out of the box we right away noticed how much peppier the system is than the RT model. The system also has a respectable boot time of 11 seconds. For graphics, the system packs in the respectable Intel HD Graphics 4000 integrated graphics card. When it comes to benchmarks, in 3dMark 11, the Yoga 11 scored a benchmark of 496. In PCMark 7 it scored a benchmark score of 3667. Those scores help indicate that it’s a capable performer, but it is about average in its class, and that certainly doesn’t make it one of the faster Ultrabooks on the market today.

The display on the Yoga 11s is a 11.6″ HD LED Multitouch display with a 1366×768 resolution. The display is not the best out there, but it produces pretty vibrant visuals with accurate colors, great clarity, and very good viewing angles, and it can get plenty bright too. Some might lament the fact that Lenovo didn’t pack in a higher resolution display, but in an 11.6″ form factor, we think that a 1366×768 resolution is adequate.

Lenovo has included its motion control interface on the 11s which is powered via the device’s webcam. The technology allows you to use hand gestures for performing actions without having to actually touch the computer. The motion control works pretty well too. However, currently there is a limited amount of applications that actually support motion control. That said, it is pretty neat to use motion control in apps like PowerPoint, Windows Photo Viewer and Media Player where you can flip pages, rewind/forward music and change the volume. Hopefully, the amount of supported apps will grow over time. In any case, we never really understand the need for motion control on a device with a touchscreen display.

Unfortunately, when it comes to battery life, the 11S disappointed us with an average 3 and a half hour battery life, while surfing the web and having the display on its brightest setting.

Conclusion

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s is pretty much everything we wanted the Yoga 11 RT to be, so it’s pretty much a no brainer to shell out the extra cash for the Yoga 11S over the RT model. It’s just a shame that Lenovo hasn’t fixed the slippery trackpad on the 11s. It also seems like the Yoga 11s is due for an update to Intel’s Haswell chips. This would probably help with its short battery life too. Also, a higher res display, a backlit keyboard, and improved trackpad, would all be welcome additions. Regardless, we still love the unique versatility and overall value of the 11s. It continues to be one of our favorite Ultrabooks.

Pricing for the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s begins at $749.

Buy it!

 The Good: Unique form-factor and great build quality, capable performance, very good display, excellent ergonomic AccuType keyboard, one of first computers with Motion control, comes with slot-in carrying sleeve, and comes with full size HDMI port.

The Bad: Battery life is pretty disappointing, trackpad is slippery, keyboard isn’t backlit, and the system runs pretty hot.

 

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