Lenovo Yoga 11S £699
16th Jul 2013 | 17:06
The smaller Yoga still bends over backwards for you
Introduction and Design
Pundits have been predicting the "death of the PC" for more than a decade. Of course, if you looked at the balance sheets of former industry juggernauts as HP and Dell you'd be inclined to think that those prophecies may actually be on the verge of coming true. And then there's Lenovo. While other manufacturers are busy pointing fingers as to why the PC seems to be struggling in the face of competition from that Cupertino-based company and myriad tablets, Lenovo is both pumping out solid Windows 8 devices while at the same time, turning a profit. Which brings us to the Lenovo Yoga 11S.
Lenovo is known for making primarily productivity machines for productive people. Its Thinkpad line is known the world over as a no-nonsense, reliable Windows 8 machine. However, the Yoga Lenovo has let its hair down and gotten a little bit playful. A transforming ultrabook in silver or metallic orange with an equally colorful screen, it's just as functional but much "cuter" than what we usually see from Lenovo.
Of course, this isn't Lenovo's first time on the yoga mat. The 13-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga was released last year to very favorable reviews. The appropriately named 11s is a size down. At just 11.6-inches, it's the smallest form factor that can support a full QWERTY keyboard.
Sporting a rather heavy duty hinge, the flexible Yoga 11S is designed to bend over backwards at a moments notice. You can easily use the Yoga 11S as you would any other laptop, replete with a full QWERTY keyboard. While it's relatively small, we had no problem writing on this keyboard. This review, for instance, was a breeze. That said, we would have appreciated the Yoga 11S having a backlit keyboard. While this is in no way a deal breaker, it's a nice feature when using the laptop in darkened classrooms or meetings.
Where the Yoga 11S really shines is the flexibility that that hinge provides. If you want to use the Yoga 11S as a Windows 8 tablet you simply fold the keyboard all the way to the back. In this mode, you're basically just using an 11-inch tablet. Also, since the keys are still exposed in this mode they're disabled. That said, it's still sort of weird to feel them when you're sitting on your couch using the device in tablet mode.
In stand mode you can orient the keyboard around 30-degrees from the display, and you can easily stand the Yoga 11S on a table or desk. In our tests we found this mode great for presentations or reading recipes in the kitchen. It's also perfect for watching movies and television shows in bed.
Specifications and Performance
The Yoga 11S boasts a nice selection of ports, including an HDMI port and an SD card reader. However, for some reason, Lenovo went with USB 2.0, not 3.0. What's more, it's a traveler's delight - weighing in at only 3.1lbs. But again, the lack of backlit keyboard means typing on a dark nighttime flight won't be easy.
The display is sharp, and brighter than what we've seen on Lenovo models like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Touch and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. With a resolution of 1366 x 768, it's not full HD, but at only 11.6-inches it's not really an issue.
Despite its playful exterior, there's real processing power available for the Yoga 11S. You can get up to an i7 processor in this ultrabook, and complement it with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. That said, similarly sized notebooks from Apple and Sony are now shipping with Haswell processors. While this may not impact speed necessarily, Haswell-equipped machines will no doubt experience much better battery life. The Yoga 11S could do well with the battery life gains that Hawsell promises.
Performance and battery life
- Cinebench CPU test: 1.74 pts
- Cinebench OpenGL test: 11.52 fps
- 3D Mark Pro Ice Storm: 25,169
- 3D Mark Pro Cloud Gate: 2710
- Powermark Pro Balanced: 3 hours 49 minutes
- Powermark Pro Productivity: 5 hours 40 minutes
- Powermark Pro Entertainment: 2 hours 53 minutes
Functional and flexible, the Lenovo Yoga 11S looks to be just what we want in an ultrabook. Light enough to travel easily, and so small it can tuck in any bag with ease. It also has serious specs. The combination of an i7 processor and SSD make for a peppy Window 8 experience. That said we think it would better compete if it was rocking a Haswell processor.
We liked how versatile the Yoga 11S is. With strong hinges, the Yoga 11S is both extremely portable and it also feels nice and solid. You can easily configure a Yoga 11S with an i7 processor. We also really like the fact that you can start configuring them at just $799.
There isn't much we didn't like about the Yoga 11S. That said, we were puzzled that Lenovo equipped it with USB 2.0 and not 3.0. Additionally, the keyboard isn't backlit and going forward, Lenovo is going to have to refresh it with Haswell eventually to remain competitive.
If you're in the market for a Windows 8 tablet or laptop you'd be remiss to not check out the Lenovo Yoga 11S.
While it currently lacks a Haswell option, it's still plenty fast enough for whatever you want to do, with the exception of hardcore PC gaming. We took this model on several business trips and experienced nary a hiccup. On planes its diminutive size made it perfect for working or watching videos and it easily tucks away nicely into any bag you may be traveling with.