"And like that, the tablet market was flooded," is what historians of the future will likely say when speaking in reference to late 2012. Well, they'll probably throw in some presidential-election and end-of-the-world coverage too, but the point is, there are a lot of Windows-based tablet/hybrid/convertible PCs launching over the next few months and nearly every PC vendor and its mama are getting in on the action.
The Lenovo IdeaPab Yoga 11 is coming in December, sporting the Windows RT operating system, a Tegra 3 processor, and a built-in keyboard that can be folded out of the way when need be. Will it be worth its $799? Well, that will depend on its quality and your needs. Read on if that piques your interest.
The Yoga 11 sports an 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1,366x768 pixels. As someone who's become kind of a pixels-per-inch snob of late, those specs don't exactly grip me with excitement.
Like all Windows RT tablets, the Yoga 11 cannot run Legacy Windows software, only apps designed for the new Metro interface.
So why the name "Yoga"? I thought you'd never ask. Lenovo built the tablet with a keyboard permanently connected to the base of its body. While this allows it to function as a laptop does, you can also fold the keyboard under the tablet screen, either laying it flush against the back, or propping the device up in a kind of downward dog position. Hence the yoga reference.
Lenovo is clearly hoping the Yoga 11 straddles the line between laptop and tablet, but in our brief hands-on at Lenovo's launch even, we came away feeling like it leaned more heavily towards laptop, especially compared with the feather-light Lynx. As "the world's slimmest multimode PC" (according to Lenovo), the Yoga 11 measures 0.6 inches thick, but it feels thicker, perhaps because of the keys. And at 2.8 pounds the Yoga 11 is quite light for a laptop, but pretty heavy for a tablet.
The 360-degree hinge operated exactly as expected though, smoothly going from laptop to tablet mode, as well as various points in between. And despite a preview build of Windows RT, the Yoga 11's touchscreen was generally responsive. It also flipped the image on screen appropriately as we moved the display around.
The tablet houses a quad-core Tegra 3 for brains, features 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and will sport up to 64GB of storage. While Tegra 3 is a solid choice, it's already becoming a bit long in the tooth as newer CPUs from Qualcomm and Texas Instruments begin to surpass it in performance.
There's also a 720p-capable camera sitting in the top middle bezel, and the Yoga 11 has HDMI and USB 2.0 ports. Lenovo claims 13 hours of battery life for the tablet.
I can't say I'm excited about the Yoga 11. A Tegra 3 tablet running Windows RT and priced at $799 definitely wouldn't be my first choice, based purely on specs. The keyboard attachment is appreciated, but whether it justifies this tablet's very high price remains to be seen. Look for the tablet in December and check back with CNET soon for some hands-on details about the Yoga 11.