I’ve reviewed quite a few Lenovo products this year. I’ve had the pleasure of trying out everything from AIO PCs to laptops to tablets. Out of all these systems, I think I finally found my favorite one.
“Hybrid” is the flavor of the week right now as companies are releasing a variety of products that meld two different types together. You have everything from phablets to laptop/tablets and even desktop PCs/tablets. Mish-mashing is the name of the game, and no one does it better Lenovo.
I have two products right now that encompass the concept of a hybrid perfectly: the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S and the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix. One is a laptop that thinks it’s also a tablet, and the other is a tablet that thinks it’s also a laptop. I say that as a compliment, not to show any sort of identity crisis, since both perform their “primary” function very well, in addition to their “secondary” function. Sure, there are some issues here and there that I will point out, but by and large, these two products are fantastic.
The aforementioned “favorite” Lenovo product is the IdeaPad Yoga 11S (the laptop that thinks it’s a tablet). If I had to replace my current laptop today (which I desperately need to do; it’s a 7 year old Gateway!) the Yoga 11S would be the one that I would get without hesitation. I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials featuring the Yoga line; that one with the female spy running from pursuers, using her trusty Yoga in all four of its configurations.
That’s the appeal of having the Yoga 11S; the four different configurations. It can be used in Laptop Mode (should be self explanatory), Stand Mode (flip the screen back past 180 degrees and stand it up with the keyboard facing down), Tent Mode (fold it into a “V” and stand it up), and Tablet Mode (fold the screen all the way back 360 degrees). You may think that you will never need to use all those different setups, but it actually comes in handy more often than you would think, and it’s very nice to have the option there to set it up however you see fit.
Sitting on the couch and don’t want to have it set up as a full laptop? Pop it back into Tablet Mode and sit back and relax. Cooking dinner and reading a recipe off the Yoga 11S, but don’t have the counter space to set it up in Laptop Mode? Change it to tent mode. Need to type out an essay? Put it back into Laptop Mode and use it like you always have. It’s versatile, and that’s what I love about it. Also, the keyboard is disabled automatically once the Yoga 11S is swiveled past 190 degrees.
The IdeaPad Yoga 11S boasts these specs:
– Intel Core i5-3339Y, 1.50GHz processor
– Windows 8 64-Bit
– 11.6″, 10-point LED multi-touch display
– Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000
– 128GB SSD hard drive
– 8GB DDR3 SDRAM
– integrated stereo speakers supporting Dolby Home Theater V4
– 720p HD webcam
– wireless and bluetooth
– ambient light sensor, accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, Digital Compass
So why do I like the Yoga 11S so much? Well, first off, it’s light….SUPER light. It weighs just over 3 lbs, which makes it a cinch to carry just about anywhere. It’s also a very small and sleek unit, sporting dimensions of 11.73″ x 8.03″ x 0.67.” Pretty much if you have a carrying case that can fit a tablet, you can fit this as well with an almost unnoticeable difference in weight. However, you WILL notice some issues with the weight if you are the type to use your tablet in bed for reading or other stuff like that. I like to lay on my back while holding my Nexus 7 over my face, reading a book. This is not recommended with the Yoga 11S….I can assure you.
Also, because it tends to lean more towards laptop than tablet, the Yoga 11S is missing a rear camera. It’s not a big deal (my Nexus doesn’t have one either), but it makes Skyping with my parents nearly impossible since they only want to see their granddaughter running around….not me. Their son.
The only other complaint I really have is how the unit feels when it’s folded up into Tablet Mode. I use it in Tablet Mode much more than I originally thought I would. Something about having the convenience of a tablet in my lap just seemed appealing to me, and I found myself using it a lot that way. When it’s folded completely, the keyboard is still exposed. While it’s disabled, there’s something weird about your fingers holding the device with the keys being exposed on the back. Luckily, Lenovo provided me with a slipcase that slides over the exposed keyboard part. The downside to that? It’s a thin, cloth case, and I can still feel the keys. But, at the end of the day, this is merely a First World Problem, and it’s definitely not enough of an annoyance to keep me from loving the Yoga 11S.
Other than the four configurations, probably my favorite thing about the Yoga 11S is the keyboard. I HATE laptop keyboards. I have yet to use one that I liked, and I have used probably somewhere in the neighborhood of hundreds of laptops. The Yoga 11S’s keyboard though, is fantastic. It features rounded keys designed with ergonomics in mind and provides a much more accurate typing experience. Now, if only the touchpad were as good….
As I did with my IdeaCentre Horizon 27 review, I’m going to gloss over the Win8 features. Again, at this point in the game, you either love it or you don’t, and nothing I say is going to change that. This is, first and foremost, a Win8 machine, and you’ll have to understand that going into a purchase. Sure there are a few cool quirks like motion controls (which use the webcam to allow touch-less gestures a la the Galaxy S4 phone) and a handy dandy app that allows you to set preferences for popular programs based off of whichever of the four configurations you have the Yoga in, but those aren’t going to be the main reason why you bought your unit.
You bought it because you wanted a small, light, sleek, fast, powerful, and versatile hybrid laptop, and that’s exactly what you’re getting.