Late last year we took a look at the Lenovo Yoga 13 Ultrabook, one of the first Windows 8 convertibles to hit the scene. The system performed decently well in our testing and while it was cool to use the machine as an oversized tablet with Windows 8 touch capabilities, the size and especially the weight (3.4 pounds) translated into an experience that wasn’t terribly practical.
To that end, Lenovo's latest entrant in the hybrid marketplace looks to address some of these issues, also replacing the modest and not very successful Windows RT-based Yoga 11.
The Lenovo Yoga 11S is described on the company’s website as a groundbreaking multimedia mini ultrabook, measuring just 11.6-inches, the convertible is a bit lighter than the Yoga 13 (although not by much) at 3.08 pounds. What it lacks in size compared to the larger Yoga 13, however, is reflected in the price tag as it starts at just $749.99 – a full $150 cheaper than the starting price of the larger system when we reviewed it.
Our evaluation unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-3339Y clocked at 1.5GHz (max Turbo frequency of 2.0GHz), 8GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and a 256GB Samsung solid state drive. As referenced earlier, the Yoga 11S packs an 11.6-inch IPS display operating at 1,366 x 768. Our price as tested here today is $999.99.
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S - $750 - $999
- 11.6-inch IPS multitouch display (1366×768)
- 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3339Y CPU (1.5GHz - 2GHz)
- Intel HD Graphics 4000
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
- Windows 8 64-bit
- 256GB Samsung SSD
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
- Integrated 720p HD Camera
- HDMI out, 1 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, SD/MMC card reader
- 3.5mm Audio In / Mic Jack combo
- 4 Cell Lithium-Ion battery (~6 hrs)
- 11.73" x 8.03" x 0.67"
- 3.08 lbs
Aesthetically, the Yoga 11S is virtually identical to its bigger brother which isn’t a bad thing. The outside of the lid feels like a semi-soft plastic and is silver with the Lenovo name engraved in the corner that still looks very clean and modern.
Across the front edge of the system is a backlit power button, battery indicator and a small recessed button that’s used to launch OneKey Recovery – a software suite that allows you to back up your system or recover it from a previous state. On the right side of the Yoga 11S is a screen orientation lock button, right side speaker, a single UBS 2.0 port and an SD/MMC card reader.
There’s not much to see on the reverse save for a row of ventilation slots between the screen’s two hinges. Moving to the left we find a combination headphone / microphone jack, a single USB 3.0 port and an HDMI-out port.
On the bottom of the Yoga 11S are four anti-skid pads and 11 small six-sided screws that would need to be removed with a non-standard screwdriver to gain access to the internals. This would make the task of adding or replacing system memory a bit more time-consuming but it does appear to be possible.
The screen on this hybrid doesn’t have a gaudy plastic bezel as there’s a single piece of glass that covers the IPS panel but there is a sizable bezel that frames the actual screen. Normally I wouldn’t approve of this but since this system doubles as a tablet, it’s acceptable as it gives you ample room to actually hold the device without inadvertently making contact with the touchscreen.
Lenovo has included a 720p webcam that’s centered just above the screen with what appears to be an ambient light sensor beside it and another on the far right edge. At the very bottom of the screen is the Windows 8 Start button that quickly allows you to switch from Windows UI to the traditional desktop and vice versa.
The keyboard on the Yoga 11S features island style keys which is becoming commonplace on notebooks today. The board is a little more compact compared to the Yoga 13 but even still, I didn’t run into any real problems using it. My only complaint here is that the keys (especially near the center of the board) feel very mushy. The entire middle area of the keyboard sinks in noticeably when pressed. It’s certainly not a deal breaker but I did expect a little more firmness given the Ultrabook branding.
Key layout is acceptable aside from a few keys like Backspace and Tab being shorter than usual. It’s also worth noting that the Page Up / Home and Page Down / End keys aren’t in their traditional space. Instead, you will find them at the bottom right flanking the Arrow keys.
The touchpad on the Yoga 11S is very similar to what I found on the Yoga 13 which is a good thing. I still prefer Lenovo’s older style with dedicated physical buttons for the left and right mouse click but I could certainly warm up to what they have done with this integrated touchpad. The size and positioning of the pad was spot-on and I had virtually no trouble with it during use. The area around the pad and the keyboard was very comfortable and offered just the right amount of movement without my wrists feeling like they were slipping away.
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