Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S review
Lenovo’s double-jointed hybrid, the Yoga 11S, is tantalisingly close to the best of both worlds, but there’s room for improvement
Review Date: 5 Jul 2013
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £916 (£1,099 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S is one of the most keenly awaited Windows 8 hybrids in recent memory, but you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve seen it somewhere before: we reviewed its Windows RT-based doppelgänger, the IdeaPad Yoga 11, several months ago. Finally, Lenovo has taken the body of the Yoga 11 and swapped Windows RT for Windows 8, to create the Yoga 11S.
Physically, little has changed since we saw the original Yoga 11. There’s the same classy, book-like design – the Yoga 11S’ smoothly curved flanks sandwiching a matte black interior – and although a subtle, silvery grey model is offered, the bold shade of orange is surprisingly attractive in the flesh. Weight-wise, the device has put on a few grams, now weighing in at a relatively portly 1.37kg (the Yoga 11 weighed 1.19kg), and while there’s still a little flex in the base and lid, there’s no cause for concern – this still feels like a solid, well-put-together bit of kit.
Compared to rival hybrid designs, the Yoga 11S’ key attraction is its simplicity. The double-jointed hinge arrangement allows the display to move through 360 degrees, so you can angle it upwards like a regular laptop screen, fold it flat against the base to use as a tablet, or stop anywhere in between. It’s ingeniously flexible.
It’s also far sturdier than many hybrid designs we’ve encountered. Compared to some of its rivals, the Yoga 11S feels reassuringly robust, with no danger of someone accidentally snapping the hinge by bending or sliding it in the wrong direction – this is a hybrid design which requires no explanation.
Though the design is familiar, on the inside, it’s all change, as within that orange exterior there now beats the heart of an Ultrabook. Disappointingly, Lenovo hasn’t managed to fit in a Haswell processor, but it’s softened the blow by opting for ultra-low-voltage Y-class Ivy Bridge chips, with a thermal design power rating of 13W. For comparison, most Ultrabooks and hybrids use 17W U-series processors, so it’s a power-efficient choice that bodes well for battery life.
The precise model of processor is up to you: the Yoga 11S is available in a range of specifications, including Core i3 and Core i5 models. Our review unit boasted the top-end specification, which partners a 1.5GHz Core i7-3689Y processor with 8GB of DDR3L RAM and a 256GB Samsung SSD.
The Samsung SSD plays its part in keeping Windows 8 feeling snappy and responsive. In our tests, it delivered sequential read speeds of 511MB/sec and write speeds of 246MB/sec, so there’s no waiting around for applications to load. The power-efficient CPU has an impact on desktop performance, though: the Yoga 11S’ score of 0.61 in our Real World Benchmarks is usable but unremarkable.
What’s more, the Yoga 11S contains a modest 42Wh battery, so despite the low-power processor, it’s left struggling a little in the battery-life stakes. In our light-usage test, the Lenovo lasted 7hrs 10mins; and with brightness cranked to maximum, and the CPU working flat out, it survived for 2hrs 13mins. That’s acceptable, but not quite up with the best Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks – and a long way behind the Haswell-equipped competition, such as Sony’s VAIO Duo 13.
This has a chance to be a great product and I feel Lenovo got it really wrong.
I think the 11S should have an Atom processor device (with consequent improvements in price, battery and weight). This is supposed to be a device where portability reigns supreme and the Windows 8 desktop needs only be usable.
The product they've made should have been a 13U - a low-power 13" that is otherwise powerful and capable (as the Core i7 and 256GB suggest).
Hopefully a Haswell Yoga 13 is on the cards. An 11S with next-generation Atom (silvermont) would be an exciting product IMO.
Personally, I'm waiting for the Haswell XPS 12 convertible.
By TheBigM72 on 5 Jul 2013
Am I the only one that gets put off by the sheer size of that screen bezel? You could easily add an extra inch to the screen size with some better design there. Instead, the bezel reminds me of my old Eee netbook!
By Trippynet on 5 Jul 2013
The low resolution kills it for me
768 vertical - forget it! Nearly 10 years ago I swore never to buy another laptop with less than 1000 pixels in both directions. I'm still using a 10-year old laptop!
By JohnAHind on 5 Jul 2013
Trippynet, I'd agree if it was a pure laptop (big bezel puts me off a MacBook Air).
As this also has it's won "tablet mode", you need the bezel when you're holding it by the screen and doing edge swipes etc.
By TheBigM72 on 6 Jul 2013
- Swatch Touch smartwatch in development
- Did iCloud flaw lead to celeb photo hack?
- Microsoft refuses to hand over customer emails
- Apple signs up credit-card companies for NFC payments
- Apple bans developers from selling your health data
- Intel unveils eight-core Haswell-E CPU
- Forget robot butlers: meet Fuji Xerox's robot printer
- Wing it: Google's drone delivery revealed
- Facebook testing keyword searching in old posts
- It's on: Apple announces 9 September event for the iPad, iWatch and iPhone 6... maybe
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- How to turn off Google Location Tracking
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Best of IFA 2014: what smartphones, tablets, smartwatches are expected to launch at IFA this year?
- How to uninstall a program on Windows: remove unwanted apps from your PC
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office