Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S Review

by Michael Wall Reads (25,435)
Editor's Rating
5.86

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 6
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 6
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 4
    • Features
    • 4
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 5
    • Total Score:
    • 5.86
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • 360 Hinge Design
    • Portable
    • Quality Keyboard

  • Cons

    • Low Screen Resolution
    • Limited Battery Life
    • Mediocre Performance

Quick Take

The Yoga 11S offer improved performance to its predecessor, but at the cost of its battery life.


The ultraportable form factor of the Yoga 11 and the stronger performance levels of the Yoga 13 collide in the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S. Lenovo looks to make its 11-inch variant of the Yoga more palatable ditching Windows RT in favor of full-fledged Windows 8 and adding a third generation Intel Core i5 processor.

The Yoga 11S does boast impressive performance gains from its predecessor, but the convertible notebook still leaves a great deal to be desired at its $1000 price point. With other competitively priced devices offering higher screen resolutions and fourth generation Haswell processors, it’s easy to find the Yoga 11S’ specs a bit outdated. Of course the main draw continues to be the Yoga’s simplistic 360 degree hinge design; but is that enough to entice consumers?

Build and Design

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S employs an incredibly thin and simplistic design. The notebook is coated in a silver soft touch metallic casing (a clementine orange variant is also available), which is comfortable to the touch and resistant to fingerprints. A thick black plastic frame runs along the edges of the display and there is a soft textured material with vertical striations that adorns the palm rest. The interior design is unique and comfortable to use while in laptop mode, but the vertical striation do have a propensity for picking up dust and dirt while the device is in tablet or stand modes.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S boasts a luxuriously compact form factor, even by convertible notebook standards. Measuring in at 11.73″ x 8.03″ 0.67″ and weighing in at 3.08 pounds, the Yoga 11S proves thinner than most competing notebooks including the Dell XPS 12 (0.79″) and MacBook Air (0.68″). Admittedly with the device still weighing more than 3 pounds it can be uncomfortable to use one handed, especially while in tablet mode; but the device still offers exceptional portability well on par with other convertible devices.

With its slim design it comes as little surprise that the Yoga 11S lacks in durability. The chassis holds up fairly well to pressure giving slightly when pressure is applied. The display easily flexes when pressure is applied. While the lack of stability is troubling, no noticeable rippling occurs on screen when the display is flexed. Normal wear and tear shouldn’t pose a serious danger to the Yoga 11S, just don’t expect the device to survive direct impact or a fall.

Modes

The iconic defining trait of the Yoga line is its 360 degree hinge. The hinge allows the display to wrap around the entirety of the device with the back of the display lid resting on the bottom of the chassis. This allows convertible notebook to assume a number of roles including stand mode, tent mode and of course tablet mode.

Tent Mode Stand Mode

The 360 degree hinge implementation proves to be far simpler than other form factors such as Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist. Where the Twist’s hinge could often jam or stick, the hinge offers a smooth seamless transition between modes. Additionally, with the Yoga 11S there is no confusion on how to move the device, where with a rotating swivel design users could turn the display the wrong way (admittedly has happened to me before).

Tablet Mode Laptop Mode

The screen rotation can be a bit of an issue. The majority of the time the rotate function worked as intended quickly snapping into the correct orientation; however, there were a few instances where the display would automatically default to a horizontal orientation after tilting the display past a certain point. When this happened I could not get the screen to switch orientations by tilting the device, the issue only subsided after moving the device around for a few minutes. Luckily these instances were few and far between, but they still proved to be an inconvenience.

Ports and Features

The Lenovo Yoga 11s provides all the essential ports, but offers little in the way of extras. The left side of the device houses a mic/headphone jack, a USB 3.0 port, a HDMI-out connector and volume controls. The right side of the device offers a power jack, an SD card reader, a USB 2.0 port and an auto-rotate display button. The power button is located on the front left portion of the chassis.

Left: headphone/mic jack, USB 3.0 port, HDMI-out Right: power jack, SD card reader, USB 2.0

Lenovo incorporates motion controls (powered by eyesight) into the Yoga 11S via the device’s 720p webcam. The controls are rather simplistic only employing right and left hand movements to toggle between options or screens. However, the option is nice especially when trying to thumb through media when you can’t put your hands on screen.

Unfortunately the utility of the controls is diminished due to its limited compatibility. Currently the software is only compatible with Windows Media Player, Windows Live Gallery, Picasa, Windows Photo Viewer, Adobe Reader and Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation. If Lenovo and Microsoft were to integrate the motion controls into Internet Explorer, then they would really have something on their hands.

Screen and Speakers

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S offers an 11-inch IPS LED HD Display with a 1366 x 768 resolution. While the standard resolution isn’t all that impressive the screen manages to read beautifully providing a clear image and vibrant color contrast. The display also offers full 10-point multi-touch controls. The display is responsive quickly reading swipes and multi-finger gestures with consistent accuracy.

The IPS display offers generous viewing angles with images holding up till about 170 degrees before showing any noticeable image deterioration. The screen proves just as flexible on the vertical axis as well with limited image deterioration. The screen is prone to showing reflections in direct light, but the issue is far more pronounced when looking at the display from extreme angles. When viewing the display head on it proves far more resilient.

The Yoga 11S employs two speakers located on the left and right side of the chassis. The pair provides adequate amplitude given their small stature, as the Yoga 11S can easily provide adequate audio to a small group of people, but will struggle to fill an entire room. The speakers also manage to provide a suitable level of audio quality, with no distortion even when at 100 percent capacity. There was a noticeable lack of bass, but that’s par for the course with most notebooks on the market.

Yoga_11_keyboardKeyboard and Touchpad

The Yoga 11S employs an Accutype Chiclet style keyboard. The keys are noticeably condensed, but by shortening the keys Lenovo was able to provide ample spacing making it easier to navigate.

The rounded square keys offer a glossy smooth finish. Travel time is somewhat limited, but that’s to be expected given the devices 0.67″ thickness. Lenovo makes up for the lack of depth with responsive tactile feedback, as keys quickly snap back into place after being struck.

Located directly below the spacebar is the device’s generously sized (relative to the device) touchpad. The touchpad which is powered by synaptic drivers is devoid of traditional mouse buttons. Instead the touchpad regulates the bottom left and right portions of the pad to act as left and right mouse clicks. The pad also employs multi-finger gestures with a single finger acting as a left click and two fingers acting a right click.

Yoga_11_touchpadThe touchpad reads most gestures well, though there were instances where the pad failed to read the two-finger scroll gesture. At times two finger scroll would work perfectly, while other times dragging two fingers across the pad would result in the pointer moving aimlessly on-screen. This issue was persistent enough that I defaulted to use the touchscreen and arrow keys for general navigation.

Disregarding the two-finger scroll the touchpad was a pleasure to use. The slick surface provided a great deal of precision, and other gestures proved far more consistent.


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  1. C3citizen

    Very clever, convenient little notebook. But, after a few weeks and updates, it turns into the usual infuriating, sludge-filled, Windows fuelled hopeless wreck. It goes slower and slower, and for instance, it refuses to accept that it’s connected to the internet, although the “charms” say it is. I’ve had to reset it twice. Lenovo support is also hopeless. Search for help and you just end up reading conversations between bad-tempered wiseacres who know little but say a lot. All computers seem to be like this, hence all the rip-off cleaning programs and work-rounds etc. We don’t accept that sort of performance from cars. I loved it for the first three weeks, then the illusion faded. I wish I’d bought a Mac!