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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 comes with Windows RT OS and the possibility to be used as a laptop. This certainly is an interesting offer and for users that do not mind Windows RT and are looking for a more compact and smaller device this might be the best solution.
Without a doubt, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 jumps out most for its rarely seen multi-mode convertible aspect, which is a hallmark of the series. Visually, the Yoga 11’s interesting design scheme is further complemented by its sturdy construction, soft touch matte finish, and streamlined body. Compared to other Windows RT slates, the Yoga 11 is both thicker (0.61” / 15.5mm) and heavier (2.8 lbs / 1.27 kg), but we have to bear in mind that it’s packing along a full-sized QWERTY keyboard for added versatility. To top it off, we truly adore the various positions we can prop it in – essentially giving it some yoga-like moves. Ultimately though, it’s the unique flipping and twisting capabilities of the Yoga 11 that makes it a standout hit amongst the Windows RT crop.
Below the display, lying flush to the surface, is the tablet’s square shaped physical Start button – while the tablet’s sole front-facing camera, a measly 1-megapixel one, is perched on the opposite side.
Considering that the Yoga 11 is more laptop-like than tablet, it benefits from having an arsenal of ports. Around its edges, we find 2 full-sized USB 2.0 ports, a combo 3.5mm headphone jack, full-sized HDMI port, proprietary charging port, a full-sized SD card slot, and left/right speaker grills. In addition, there are a few physical buttons too, the power, orientation lock, and volume control, but unfortunately they’re all nearly flush and difficult to feel out.
One step ahead of its Windows RT brethren, the IdeaPad Yoga 11 doesn’t require an optional keyboard to broaden its depth. Rather, it’s already there, ready and waiting! For those of us used to typing on a larger sized laptop, there’s some adjustment needed to get a good feel for the Yoga 11’s keyboard layout. However, after a bit of practice, we find ourselves moving relatively quickly. As for the keys, they’re slightly raised and bunched close to one another, but there’s a decent amount of travel with them. In addition to using the touchscreen, the trackpad also works well for a variety of navigational controls. Most importantly, it’s nice to find that the keyboard is deactivated when the Yoga 11 is propped up in its tablet and tent modes – though, it does feel a bit awkward feeling the buttons as we grasp the tablet with both hands.

Somewhat expected to say the least, we’re not terribly wowed by the 11.6-inch 5-point capacitive HD Glare Multitouch display, as details lack that sense of sharpness with its 1366 x 768 resolution. However, for most trivial things, such as surfing the web, it’s more than adequate for the job. Despite that, we have to admit that our eyes really take notice of its punchy color tones, which receive more vibrancy thanks to its 350 nit brightness. Viewing angles are good, but outdoor usage still requires some proper shielding from the sun.
Interface and Functionality:
After spending a great deal of time with the full blown Windows 8 experience, it’s surely something trying to get back into the swing of things with Windows RT. Actually, we almost forgot this is the Windows RT, mainly because on the surface, there’s nothing too ornate that differentiates the two. In fact, the Start screen is a familiar one with its dynamic live tiles – plus, the Windows Store is home to a growing list of apps. However, upon going into the desktop mode, we realize that there’s no support for legacy software, which is the single drawback of Windows RT. Regardless of that, it’s nice to see that Lenovo doesn’t add any bloatware out of the box, thus, keeping it as stock as possible. Oh yeah, it’s absolutely stellar to find Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT preloaded!
Going through the Yoga11’s core set of organizer apps, it’s the same usual suspects we’re adjusted to finding nowadays – so there’s nothing terribly new with any of them. From the calendar to mail apps, they all function as we’d expect.
Certainly, the best option for typing is to use the Yoga 11’s physical keyboard, but as an alternative with its touchscreen, we can also rely on the on-screen options as well – especially when we’re using it in tent or tablet modes. Spacious with its layout and responsive, it works as good as the physical one, so it’s a matter of choice on which one to stick with.
Processor and Memory:
Being a Windows RT device, the Yoga 11 relies on NVIDIA’s 1.4GHz quad-core Tegra 3 chipset coupled with 2GB of RAM and the NVIDIA ULP GeForce GPU for its processing might. For what it’s worth, it’s effective enough to handle most tasks, but it easily begins to show some strain with more processor intensive things. For example, it’s buttery smooth navigating across the Start Screen, but when we’re executing some heavy multi-tasking, such as using two apps in split view, its performance tends to stutter a tiny bit. Luckily, it’s never to the point frustrating.
Sure, it’s lugging around a 64GB SSD inside of its body, but when it’s all said and done out of the box, it translates over to roughly a little over 40GB of free storage. Nevertheless, the full-sized SD card slot and USB ports are there to supplement its capacity.
Internet and Connectivity:
By now, we might sound like a broken record, but the web browsing experience with Internet Explorer on the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 is wonderful, which is what we kind of expect from most Windows RT slates at this point. Quickly loading complex web sites, its top-notch performance is also evident in other navigational controls – such as instant page rendering, responsive pinch zooming, and fluid kinetic scrolling.
Strictly an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi convertible, there’s no word if we’ll see variants outfitted with cellular data connectivity. Despite that, it’s sporting the typical set of connectivity features – like aGPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and HDMI-out functionality.
Limited to snapping self-portraits and the occasional video-chatting session, there’s nothing great to say about the quality of its 1-megapixel camera. Obviously, it serves its purpose in those aforementioned tasks, but it also has the ability to shoot 720p videos as well – though, its quality isn’t something worth bragging about.
Consistency is what makes Microsoft’s platform unique, so there are few differences with the core experience. So much so that the music player on the Yoga 11 is the same identical one used by all the other Windows RT tablets out there. Armed with left and right speakers, its output is on the weak side, but at least there’s no crackling or distortion at the loudest volume setting.
For some reason, it seems as though these NVIDIA Tegra 3 Windows RT devices handles 1080p video playback a lot better than some Intel Atom-based Windows 8 tablets. Not only does the Yoga 11 support the major video codecs, but it handsomely plays 1080p videos with minimal slowdown.
After using the Lenovo IdeaPad extensively, we forget that we’re dealing with a Windows RT device here. Hiding away a 4-cell battery in its skinny chassis, the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 is able to effectively give us more than a solid day of normal usage with a fully charged battery. To tell you the truth, even power users will be impressed by its longevity!
On the average right now, you can pick up the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 for approximately $600, which quite frankly, seems to be grossly expensive for a Windows RT device. However, when we add in the fact that it’s boasting an extremely usable keyboard, combined with its cool convertible aspect, the Yoga 11 is a great netbook replacement. Sure, you won’t be able to install legacy software, but if you’re looking for the basics, this will suffice for most things. Honestly people, with so much versatility packed into this netbook-like replacement, it’s certain to stand out among the existing crop of Windows RT devices that have been out on the market, due to its different form factor.

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