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IdeaPad Yoga 11S hands-on: Lenovo's 11-inch convertible goes Windows 8

This excellent fold-over convertible laptop gets Windows 8 into a smaller package at CES.

Now playing: Watch this: The unfolding of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s
Now playing: Watch this: The unfolding of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11s

LAS VEGAS--One of the most talked-about Windows 8 laptops was the 13-inch IdeaPad Yoga. Though it looks like a standard ultrabook-style laptop, the name Yoga hints at the system's big selling point, that the display can fold fully over to become a tablet.

A contemporaneous 11-inch Windows RT version felt like a bit of an afterthought, and CES 2013 is certainly a no-man's-land for RT, so instead Lenovo has created a new 11-inch version of the Yoga, but with the full Windows 8 operating system.

The 13-inch Yoga seemed to be everyone's choice for a great Windows 8 ambassador during the holiday season -- both Microsoft and Intel touted it as a best-in-class example, and Best Buy featured it in a television ad. Shrinking the idea down to an 11-inch system creates a product that, in tablet mode, feels a lot closer to an iPad than the 13-inch convertible/hybrid laptops we've seen.

If you haven't seen the Yoga in action, the real hook is not the tablet mode (which is perfectly usable, but leaves the keyboard exposed, sticking out from the back), it's the stand mode, which I sometimes call the kiosk mode. The screen is folded back about 270 degrees, turning the system into something like a small touch-screen kiosk. It's great for sharing video or presentations in a group setting, or for just getting closer to the screen while keeping the keyboard out of the way.


The 11-inch Windows 8 version of the Yoga can have up to an Intel Core i5 low-voltage CPU, and the IPS display runs at a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels, which seems perfect for a high-end ultraportable. Besides basic black, new colors include pink, gray, and orange (I've seen orange on other IdeaPad laptops in the past, and it actually looks quite nice).

While the 13-inch Yoga and 11-inch RT Yoga are both available now, the new 11-inch Windows 8 one won't be available until sometime in June 2013. It will start at $799.

Update, Sunday: Added hands-on video.

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