Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 review: A better laptop than tablet

What you don't get is the ability to run any other normal Windows programs. You won’t be downloading and installing Firefox, Far Cry 3, or Photoshop unless there are versions made specifically for the Windows Store.

Here you can get an idea for how thick the Yoga 11 is in tablet mode. You can also see some of the full-size ports, including SD storage expansion. Josh Miller/CNET

One recent RT change worth mentioning however is that Windows RT’s version of Internet Explorer 10 now supports Flash out of the box. Previously, only Microsoft-approved sites were allowed to use Flash, but the shackles have now been removed and the vast majority of sites are now Flash-capable under IE10.

The Surface RT review has more-detailed information on Windows RT and reflects my current feelings on the OS, but I'll sum up here anyway. Microsoft needs to drop legacy desktop support and integrate its Office and all control panels into its Metro touch interface. At the same time, more-typical tablet options (like shutdown confirmation and an always onscreen battery meter) need to be unearthed.

Yep. Pretty much a full-size keyboard. Kind of difficult thinking of the Yoga 11 as a tablet when there are pictures of it like this on the Internet. Josh Miller/CNET

Performance
The Yoga 11's screen was responsive to swipes and taps for the most part and apps opened as snappily as they did on the Surface RT. App launch times, however, still feel a bit slower compared with similar apps on the iPad or top Android tablets like the Nexus 7.

I also tested Wi-Fi speed using the synthetic benchmark, PC Benchmark, and saw speeds in parity with the Surface RT; however, real-world Web speed was a different matter. The Yoga 11 was consistently about 5 to 10 seconds slower than the Surface RT when loading the sites I tried. These include, but are not limited to: CNET.com, GameSpot.com, Collider.com, and Comicbookmovie.com. This held true over two different Wi-Fi networks. I’ll be sure to update the review if anything changes or if I get an explanation of the discrepancy from Lenovo.

Tested spec Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Asus Transformer Pad Infinity TF700 Microsoft Surface RT
Maximum brightness IPS mode (Super IPS) 232 cd/m2 422 cd/m2 (644 cd/m2) 391 cd/m2
Maximum black level, IPS mode (Super IPS) 0.14 cd/m2 0.34 cd/m2 (0.53 cd/m2) 0.27 cd/m2
Maximum contrast ratio, IPS mode (Super IPS) 1,657:1 1,241:1, 1,215:1 1,448:1

More full-size ports, from left: headphone jack, USB, and HDMI. Josh Miller/CNET

Like with the Surface RT, the tablet houses an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor and demonstrated identical gaming performance. Riptide GP runs at a smooth clip, but the graphics are pixilated and unfortunately, a setting to adjust the game's resolution isn't available in the Windows Store version.

Speaking of which, the Yoga's 11.6-inch display features a 1,366x768-pixel resolution, and though that matches the Surface RT's, the Yoga 11's extra inch in screen size means lower PPI resulting in slightly rougher text on Web pages. This is only really noticeable when zoomed in, however. The 1-megapixel camera is as you might expect: fine for video chatting, but not much else. There is no back camera.

The Yoga 11's battery lasted 12 hours and 40 minutes during the first iteration of CNET's video battery test. An impressive number to be sure, but even more impressive was how quickly that battery recharged itself. In just under an hour, it had regained over 80 percent of its full capacity.

Conclusion
The Yoga 11 comes with 64GB of storage for $649. That price includes a larger screen than most tablets and a built-in keyboard. The Surface RT is a better all-around tablet, but the Yoga 11's keyboard flexibility and many full-size ports will make it appealing for those looking for a productivity laptop with a capacitive touch screen. However, with a full Windows 8 version of the tablet coming this summer for only $150, you'll want to think twice before dropping a few hundred dollars this early in the game.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Operating System Microsoft Windows RT
  • Installed Size 2 GB
  • Color silver gray
  • Weight 2.8 lbs
  • Graphics Processor Ultra-Low Power GeForce
    Ultra-Low Power GeForce
  • CPU NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30 / 1.3 GHz
About The Author

Eric Franklin is a section editor covering how to and tablets. He's also co-host of CNET's do-it-yourself and how-to show, The Fix and is a 20-year tech industry veteran.