Lenovo Yoga 2 11-inch review: An entry-level Yoga that's flexible but affordable

Both the x360 and the Yoga 2 use one of Intel's current-gen Pentium CPUs. If you expect mainstream laptop performance, on par with a Core i5 or even i3 machine, you're not going to get that, but then again, you won't find those Core i-series CPUs, outside of an occasional holiday promo, for under $450.

You're most likely to notice when navigating in the traditional Windows desktop view and menus. To Microsoft's credit, the tile-based Windows 8 interface is fast and responsive with pretty much any processor, and native Windows 8 apps work great. Lenovo also has a small popup that recommends specific apps based on which angle the hinge is folded into, but there are no great surprises there.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Comparing the Yoga 2 and the x360, the HP hybrid ran some of our benchmark tests faster, but the difference wasn't big enough that you're likely to notice in real-world use. The HP's extra RAM, 8GB versus 4GB, gets the credit here, but spending more on a Core i3 or i5 Yoga 2 11 would yield results on par with mainstream laptops.

A Core i-series CPU version might run longer, too, thanks to Intel's big gains in battery life over the past couple of years. The Yoga 2 11 ran for 5:35 in in our video playback battery drain test, while the HP x360 ran for 4:47 on the same test. An 11-inch MacBook Air, at twice the price, would easily more than double that time.

Conclusion

By making this the least-expensive Yoga to date (not counting the best-forgotten Windows RT version), Lenovo makes a strong case that laptop and hybrid shoppers should expect more from budget PCs. At the very least, a solid build with an IPS display, decent keyboard, and a touch screen. If you think of this as simply a decent budget touchscreen laptop and take its transformative hybrid properties as a bonus, it feels like an even better deal.

If the keyboard were a little less flexible/clacky, and if it had a few more ports, I'd strongly suggest investing a few hundred more in the Core i3/i5 versions for a nice ultraportable workhorse.

Comparing this system with the Yoga 2, the x360 ran some of our benchmark tests faster, but not by a large margin. The extra RAM, 8GB versus 4GB, likely gets the credit here. Trading up to a Core i-series processor would yield a big boost in application performance but would also cost much more.

Battery life is always a strong selling point for both ultraportable laptops and tablets, so you'd think HP would make this a major feature of the x360 hybrid. Unfortunately, despite the low-power CPU, battery life here was merely average, running for 4 hours 47 minutes in our video-playback battery-drain test. The Yoga 2, with the same CPU, ran a bit longer at 5 hours 35 minutes. Ironically, you really have to trade up to a more powerful Core i-series system to get the full benefit of Intel's recent battery-life gains.

Handbrake multimedia multitasking test

Lenovo Ideatab Miix 2
1,001
Lenovo Yoga 2 (11-inch)
760
Dell XPS 11
751
HP Pavilion 11 x360
746
Lenovo Yoga 2 (13-inch)
475

Note:

Shorter bars indicate better performance

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test

Lenovo Yoga 2 (11-inch)
599
HP Pavilion 11 x360
477
Dell XPS 11
341
Lenovo Yoga 2 (13-inch)
310

Note:

In seconds; shorter bars indicate better performance

Apple iTunes encoding test

Lenovo Ideatab Miix 2
398
Lenovo Yoga 2 (11-inch)
313
HP Pavilion 11 x360
312
Dell XPS 11
167
Lenovo Yoga 2 (13-inch)
124

Note:

In seconds; shorter bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test

HP Pavilion 11 x360
287
Lenovo Yoga 2 (11-inch)
335
Dell XPS 11
388
Lenovo Yoga 2 (13-inch)
435
Lenovo Ideatab Miix 2
442

Note:

In minutes; longer bars indicate better performance

System Configurations

HP Pavilion 11 x360

Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 2.16GHZ Intel Pentium N3520 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz;32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 500GB HDD

Lenovo Yoga 2 (11-inch)

Windows 8.1 (64.bit); 2.16GHZ Intel Pentium N3520 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz;32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 500GB HDD

Lenovo Yoga 2 (13-inch)

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.6GHz; Intel Core i5-4200; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz, 1792MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4400; 500GB SSHD

Dell XPS 11

Windows 8.1 (64-bit); 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-4210Y; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1600MHz; 1792MB (shared) Intel HD Graphics 4200; 128GB SSD

Lenovo Ideatab Miix 2

Windows 8.1 (32-bit); 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z3740; 2GB DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz; 32MB (dedicated) Intel HD Graphics; 128GB SSD

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color silver
  • Weight 3.2 lbs
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics
  • CPU Intel Pentium N3520 / 2.166 GHz
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