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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S review

Verdict

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)

Buy it now for: £1284
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

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.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S

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.

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User comments

Wrong product

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

Bezel

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

RE: Bezel

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

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