Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 - Power of a Tablet; Portability of a Notebook

Launch SRP: S$1199

Conclusion - A Netbook for 2013?

Conclusion - A Netbook for 2013?

Lenovo had lofty ambitions for the Yoga 11, aiming for the best of both worlds by combining "the convenience and portability of a tablet with the capabilities of a laptop." Unfortunately, our experience with the Yoga 11 showed that to be far from true. In fact, we are more inclined to say that the Yoga 11 combines the worst of both worlds: Its notebook form factor makes it too heavy and bulky to be used as a tablet, while its NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor and Windows RT OS make it too restrictive and underpowered to be used as a true notebook. The result is basically a modern day netbook: an underpowered, but portable notebook that can only really be used for content consumption. And at least with netbooks, they were great value and you could still install programs to the OS.

Why Tegra 3 Makes No Sense In A S$1000+ Notebook

Price is a major concern, with the Yoga 11's S$1199 SRP making it more expensive than other competitive options such as ASUS' VivoTab RT which is just S$949 for the Wi-Fi model or S$1049 for the recently announced 3G model, both of which give you true tablet functionality with their removable keyboards.

The problem with Lenovo's Yoga 11 is that it forces upon you to only use it as a notebook form factor, and while we do agree it comes with a keyboard that's unrivaled in its class, we don't agree with its functionality and price point as stated earlier. At the same price point, you'll find far more powerful Ultrabooks that have no restrictions whatsoever, have more power and run Windows 8 Pro. While normal notebooks at that price point can't convert into a tablet mode, even at the size and weight of the Yoga 11, we've noted that it's cumbersome and not much of an advantage.

All things considered, the only reason to buy a Yoga 11 is if you're sure all you need out of your notebook is basic web surfing and app functionality and you really need nine hours of battery life.

For anything else, there are better and more affordable, options out there. Had the Yoga 11 notebook been priced about about the S$700 range, we could agree with its proposition as it's really designed to be a notebook relying upon the internet for anything from productivity to entertainment (discounting the Windows Store's limited offering). Now doesn't that remind you the purpose of netbooks (which are now supplanted by tablets)? To the best of our knowledge, we don't remember any of them costing as much as a standard notebook. 

The Yoga 11 is truly a well put together product like the Yoga 13, but it's unfortunately a misplaced product that didn't scale down well and has conflicting attributes. To an average consumer, this can be quite confusing. On the onset, it looks like a notebook, but it cannot execute anything other than Windows 8 apps. It's priced like a notebook, but it has the limitations of a tablet OS and processor. It can transform into a tablet, but it's too tiring to use it in that form for long. In short, there's a severe mismatch of expectations. Unfortunately, Lenovo can't market it any other way besides a notebook since it's neither a netbook, nor a tablet. See the conundrum?

Still Want An 11-inch Yoga? Hold Out For These Products

There is a silver lining to all of this though, if you still fancy the idea of an 11-inch Yoga (as we very much do), at CES 2013 Lenovo announced the IdeaPad Yoga 11S which will feature an Intel Core i5 processor and runs Windows 8 Pro making it a true 11.6-inch convertible Ultrabook. No local pricing has been announced yet, however US price is set at US$799, which is the same as the Yoga 11's original US SRP.

And for those wanting an 11-inch notebook with true tablet functionality through a removable keyboard, Lenovo also unveiled the 11-inch Thinkpad Lenovo Helix at CES 2013, which is a bit more expensive at US$1499, but is also a step-up specs wise, with much better connectivity, an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, and a full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution screen.

Both the Yoga 11S and Helix should be available sometime in Q2 2013.

5.5
Design
8
Features
5
Performance
6
Value
4
Mobility
8
The Good
Excellent build quality
Easy notebook to tablet conversion
Great keyboard
Superb battery life
The Bad
Too bulky and heavy to be used as a tablet
Restricted Windows RT and limited apps
No USB 3.0 ports
Average screen resolution
Too expensive
Appeals only to a niche user group