This 11.6-inch hybrid goes from tablet to laptop and back again. Is this the magic price point for adopting a Windows RT machine?
Rick BroidaSenior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
This is an update of a deal I wrote about a couple months ago.
Windows RT: Thanks, but no thanks, am I right?
I think that depends. Windows RT on a $650 laptop or tablet is just plain ridiculous, but on a hybrid priced at $299? That's something altogether different.
Vive la difference: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Lenovo is offering the IdeaPad Yoga 11.6-inch convertible laptop for $299 shipped, plus sales tax where applicable. That's after applying coupon code USPYR251031 at checkout. This is the really snazzy silver/orange model silver/black model.
The Yoga, of course, made waves earlier this year as one of the first Windows RT hybrid systems, a laptop-style machine with a hinged touch-screen that can twist into a variety of configurations (hence the "Yoga" moniker). In fact, it can swing a full 360 degrees around behind the screen, effectively transmogrifying into a large tablet.
Nice, right? But at $649, the price tag back in March, most of us threw up into our mouths a little. (I certainly did.) Thankfully, as time marches on, overpriced (and underselling) products tend to see major cuts, at which point they're often worth re-evaluating.
If you want a full-bore Windows 8 laptop, look elsewhere. Windows RT restricts you to the Metro (i.e., tiled) interface and whatever apps you can find to run there. The good news is that Microsoft Office 2013 is already among them (and it's bundled here), and at this point you can find most of the heavy-hitter apps (Evernote, Netflix, and so on) in the ol' app store.
I do recommend checking out CNET's review of the IdeaPad Yoga, which concluded with an overall 7.0 rating and found it "a great laptop alternative" -- but took issue with the bulk factor when using the Yoga as a tablet.
About a dozen user reviews on Lenovo's product page average out to 4.1 stars out of 5, praising its battery life and recommending it as a particularly good option for students.
Ultimately, you'll have to decide if $299 is a good deal on a Windows RT-powered tablet with a built-in keyboard. Or a Windows RT-powered laptop that doubles as a tablet. Given that you could easily pay that much for a non-touch-screen laptop alone, I think it's worth careful consideration. I'm actually fairly tempted to grab one of these for a family member. Your thoughts?
Watch this: The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 will not be parted from its keyboard
Bonus deal: Do you love retro gaming, or know someone who does? Then check out StackSocial's Retro Nintendo Gamer Bundle, which for $59 shipped gives you a RetroN game console, three NES-style controllers, one Zapp gun, and your choice of two NES games (from a massive library). That's less than you'd typically pay for the console itself.
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