on January 1, 2013
I actually purchased the Yoga 11" directly from Lenovo's site. I do want to point out that my entire experience was really positive working with their sales and customer service staff. The item shipped quickly and without hassle - they required signature but since they ship via UPS, they allowed my neighbor to sign. Ultimately I did return this item which I'll explain more on, but that process too was outstanding. They immediately (like while on the phone with them) emailed me pre-paid UPS shipping labels and provided all the instruction I needed to get it sent back.
- Versatility and form factor: The 11" size is plenty portable, and it's relatively light for a laptop. The available touch-screen with it's various "modes" makes it nice to use while standing itself up in a wide range of positions across it's 360 degree rotation.
- Build quality: It feels solid, the lines fit together well, it doesn't creak or flex when you hold it from outer edges. The palm rest is textured and it seemed more durable than others I've used that discolored over time. That said - it's casing is made of plastic and I hoped for higher grade materials. i.e. the aluminum found in Apple's products.
- Internal hardware: It uses the same Tegra 3 processor that comes available in $200 Android tablets, and as a result you're stuck with a diluted version of Window's 8, and it occasionally has a hard time keeping up with the performance demands.
- Windows RT: This isn't a review for Windows RT so I'll keep this brief. It's too limited, the Windows Store comes up short on apps I find essential, and being an ARM chip means you're stuck with RT indefinitely with no declared upgrade path to RT Pro.
- Tablet Mode: I thought I wanted the Yoga because it was the ideal compromise between laptop and tablet. Unfortunately, it isn't. It's just a bit to long (or tall) when holding it in portrait style. It weighs 3.8lbs which is definitely too heavy for practical tablet use, and the keyboard remains exposed when in this mode, which for me felt very awkward.
- Price: Considering the sacrifices with the weak-ish CPU, being stuck with Windows RT, and that it doesn't quite deliver on the tablet concept - it's overpriced at $799.
In summary: I returned the Yoga because I found it to be fundamentally the same offering as the Microsoft Surface, but you're charged $300 more for the attached keyboard and it's various "modes". The stand mode is super convenient, but it's not worth the difference in price.
It needs a capable, lap-top grade processor that can run full Windows 8, and it needs to get closer in width/height ratio to true tablets while still offering lap-top productivity for it to be worth $799.
When the app store is ready, I will want a Windows 8 device. And a convertible of some kind would make a lot of sense for me if someone can produce one that delivers beyond concept and pays attention to the details that reveal themselves in daily use.
on March 30, 2013
Lenovo's Yoga 11 is pretty great. I had some trepidation about Windows RT until a friend of mine let me use his Surface. After using it, I knew I had to have an RT device, but I wanted something that felt more like a laptop than a tablet. Lenovo makes incredibly good hardware right now and this device is no exception.
The keyboard, typing surface, palm rests, and track pad are the absolute best I've use in an 11" form factor. It's even better than my MacBook Air for purposes of generating text and casual computing. Some of that credit is due to Windows RT and the Windows 8 gestures one can employ using both the screen and the track pad.
The screen is extremely good for a device this size and very easy on the eyes for extended typing sessions. Text and pictures are crisp and the range of colors and trueness of their hue is very good. I particularly like watching streaming media and reviewing photographs with the device. The touch screen is responsive and as accurate as my iPad or Nokia Windows Phone.
Windows RT does a really good job managing system resources. I thought I would have to exert a greater degree of workspace management to keep it running smoothly, but it handles multiple tasks rather well. The WiFi is a little slow being single channel I think, so pages don't load instantly like you think they would. However, this is all in the name of battery life I think, and a worthwhile endeavor it was.
The battery lasts for 11.5 hours or thereabouts from what I can discern. This was with WiFi on, and 3-5 applications running with the screen at 50% brightness. Unless you're working outside, 50% is still plenty bright to do whatever and nice enough for streaming video.
For most of what I do, the device has the functionality and the included Office Programs are preferred to 2010 Professional loaded on my other machines. While you can't side load applications other than what it comes with or what you can find in the Windows Store, I haven't found myself missing much except a decent PDF viewer. I've had to make due with Adobe's touch version and the one Microsoft included to get my by most of the time, but I rarely need more than two open at once.
The machine came with very little bloatware. Three applications in the Start menu that took as many seconds to uninstall and the machine was free and clear. The fact that Windows RT doesn't have too many applications out for it yet isn't all bad I suppose.
on April 10, 2013
The Yoga 11 is an incredible product for those who can work in the Windows RT operating system (research Windows 8 vs Windows 8 RT if you do not know the difference). After doing my research, I knew my computing needs could be met with Windows RT. I chose the Yoga 11 over the Microsoft Surface RT after much debate.
I am attending graduate school online and needed a comfortable typing device for the long hours of school work I do. I liked the Yoga 11's attached keyboard much better than the touch and type keyboards that are attachable to the Surface RT that I tested out in the store. The two devices have the same internals so the choice really came down to form factor. The Yoga 11's keyboard is one of the best laptop keyboards I've ever typed on.
For schoolwork I have no difficulties accessing my class blackboard website and doing my required work or watching lectures. Microsoft Office 2013 is included with Windows RT devices and is perfect for all the Word, PowerPoint, and Excel work I do. This was a huge benefit because I would have had to still purchase Microsoft Office separately if I had decided to get a standard Windows 8 device. The only thing I wish RT had was a desktop PDF viewer as I read many research articles in this format. The included PDF viewer does get the job done, it just requires you to leave the desktop. I got over it quickly.
For personal use I love the ability to convert quickly between a tablet and laptop. This eliminates the need to have a device for each purpose. Some say this is too heavy to use as a tablet. If the weight of the device bothers you as you are using it as a tablet, you can put it into "stand" or "tent" mode and set it on your lap or a table. Feeling the keys on the back when using it as a tablet is a little weird at first, but I got used to it very quickly and never think twice about it. Also, the keys are disabled once you take the Yoga out of laptop mode so don't worry about accidental key presses in the other 3 modes.
Every once in a while there are some stutters or lag. This happens rarely and is no different than any regular laptop or desktop I've seen stutter from time to time. Some programs load a little slower than they do with the more powerful x86 processors, but we're only talking a few seconds.
As other reviewers have stated, Windows RT cannot run certain "traditional" windows programs like Photoshop or play traditional CD-ROM games. If you need to run specific programs that are not supported, then clearly this device is not for you. DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE BUYING. Windows 8 and Windows 8 RT (or just Windows RT) are two different, but very similar operating systems. It's sad how many people bought this device without researching the limitations and then frustratingly gave it a low rating because it didn't meet their needs. *Keep in mind you can remote desktop into other computers and access all their programs. I've done this to test it out and it works great for programs, though I have not tried playing a game through remote desktop.
I chose an RT device for a few reasons.
--10+ hours of battery life on a single charge while most laptops last only about 4 or 5 with real use
--the ability to leave the device on for days without turning off
--there are no fans, this does not get noisy after hours of use the way standard laptops do
--Microsoft office is included at no extra cost. This is only on Windows RT devices. Buying a standard Windows 8 device will require you to purchase Microsoft office separately.
--I do not need to run any x86 programs that would require me to get standard Windows 8
--This has the ability to use Remote Desktop to get into my Windows 8 Pro desktop to run any x86 programs as if they were on this device as long as I am on the same network. That means I can use Google Chrome, Photoshop, or whatever else can only be installed on standard Windows 8.
The one thing that annoys me with Windows RT is the speed at which it loads some websites. Most websites pop up instantly while a few seem to load and reload for 10-15 seconds before I can view them. It seems like it's mostly the ones with a lot of ads. Hopefully this will be fixed in a software update. Speaking of software updates, there have been a ton of them out for Windows RT devices. Before you do anything else on your Yoga, update it. Many of the bugs and quirks have been worked out through these updates.
The Yoga 11 is incredible in looks and performance. Do your research. If a Windows 8 RT device meets all of your computing needs software-wise, then I would definitely recommend the Lenovo Yoga 11.
on April 6, 2013
Summary - great at $500 (or below), if you want a laptop-focused convertible/hybrid and can work within RT's limits. Great design and build quality. Epic battery life. Surprising performance.
First, a kind-of "caveat emptor" - many reviews of Windows 8 and RT devices have negative feedback that's really about the OS. So, I'll leave most of those aside and suggest people search for general reviews of W8 and RT prior to purchase. But first, some specific heads-up regarding RT:
Yes, it's essentially a "locked down" version of Windows 8 and you can't install any "traditional" Windows programs. Check the websites of your key programs or substitutes to see if they're available via the Windows Store. Note to MS: It's maddening that you can only browse the Store on a W8 or RT device; let people do this BEFORE buying. And because you're stuck with IE 10, you're also stuck if you need a specific browser extensions/add-on that isn't available for it. For me, in Chrome, they are the bit.ly, Pocket, Springpad, and a user agent string changer (to deal with temperamental hotspots). Given the slow growth of Windows Apps, IE 10 needs to step up and fill in the gaps, but it feels only partially done. RT has Office, but without Outlook and some power-user features. If you need those, you likely need a full W8 laptop anyway. I'm also concerned that MS doesn't have 2-step authentication for its services, especially since many W8 "social integration" features give it access to your Gmail, FB, etc. There are many more personal issues I have with RT's execution, which were deal breakers at the original $799, but are tolerable at $500.
Positives - there are many.
Build quality: excellent and the materials are well-chosen: the rubberized texture on the palm rest also keep it secure when it's face down, flipped over in "stand mode". The black, soft-touch, chiseled look is sharp, and I prefer its feel, durability and scratch-resistance to aluminum - or worse, the faux silver plastic. The hinges, case edging, and various details are top-notch.
Screen/keyboard/mouse: resolution is okay, but works well for W8/RT's "Metro" interface. On an 11.6" screen, the resolution limit is most noticeable in something like Next Issue, when magazines are zoomed to fill the screen in landscape-mode. The keyboard is great; FAR better than on comparable RT and Atom-based W8 convertibles, and any portable bluetooth one. The trackpad is mostly good. Sometimes, it doesn't easily register physical clicks, and there's weak (or non-existent) palm rejection. But as you get more comfortable with touch in W8, it becomes a smaller issue.
"Modes": as a laptop, it feels just as good as an 11" Macbook Air, and has very similar dimensions and weight. Many 10"-or-larger tablet owners will love "stand mode" on their laps. It's an easy, very natural setup for reading, watching movies, Skype'ing, etc. It's a bigger difference than you think from just having a laptop on your lap. Tablet mode is less appealing, given its dimensions and weight, but I find that the case with anything bigger than a 7"+ tablet. And I haven't found reason to use tent mode yet.
Battery life and performance: battery life is truly great. On a full charge, the day I set it up (with screen brightness at 70% and all the downloading/installing, background music streaming), it lasted nearly 12 hrs. It re-charged in about 1hr. RT and apps run well on this Tegra 3. The "user experience" feels far more like a 1st-generation Ultrabook on W7 than not. My Nexus 7, which has a slightly slower Tegra 3, tends to choke and feels slower. So while there are legitimate issues with RT, it is definitely well-optimized for ARM chips.
Other pluses: Navigating many everyday "computer-y" things in Android and iOS is tougher than in RT. Adding printers? USB ports with storage? Traditional, drop-and-drag files and folders? In Desktop mode, RT is mostly as good and easy to navigate as W7.
In June, there will be an Intel i5-powered, "full" W8 version. Much faster, and install mostly whatever you want. It'll be $799, almost ½ lb heavier, slightly bigger, and probably realistically squeak out only 5 hrs of battery life. But for many people, it might be worth it.
Think of it this way... what would you think of an 11" MacBook Air that had the same 360 degree "flip", touch screen, and 10+ hr battery life? But running only iOS, but only some of the apps. No? How about at $500?
on June 5, 2013
You have to know what you're getting into with Windows RT because it's very different from other versions of Windows. You can't install any traditional Windows software on it so you'll be spending most of your time using app downloaded from the Windows Store.
That said, I think it's a welcome change. This computer is very easy to use and to manage. It's a simplified experience like using an iPad, but with a full laptop form factor so it's easy to type.
The trackpad and keyboard are both top-notch, and the touchscreen is excellent. I almost never use the flip-around tablet mode, but that's okay because it makes such a great regular laptop anyway. The only thing I wish it had would be shortcut keys for the Windows Charms on the keyboard like the Surface has.
What really sets this apart from other laptops I've owned is the battery life. It charges in about two hours and then it lasts about 14 hours of medium-heavy use before needing to be charged again. I can just charge it overnight and then take it with me all day without worrying about bringing a power cable with me, and that's a game changer for me. Traditional laptops have always been frustrating because I never felt comfortable taking them out of the house without hauling along the power cable and that made them not very portable.
It's also really nice to use on the go because it resumes from sleep instantly. None of my previous laptops have been able to do that. And if you use it to listen to music you can close the lid to put the computer to sleep and your music will continue playing, which is a nice touch.
on November 27, 2013
Let's get the obvious out of the way first: This laptop/tablet hybrid does not run Windows 8.1. Instead, it runs the ARM variant of Windows which is called Windows RT. Windows RT cannot run traditional Windows apps such as Photoshop, iTunes, or VLC. Instead, it can only run apps that are downloaded from the built-in Windows Store. If you need to use apps that extend beyond the basics of web browsing, casual gaming, or Microsoft Office, this is not the device for you. You would be better served by purchasing the Ideapad Yoga 11S, which retains basically the same look/feel of this model but runs full Windows 8.
All that being said, if you are a student or someone who is a light computer user that doesn't need all of the bells and whistles of a full-fledged operating system, the Yoga 11 is a brilliant device that you'll be exceedingly happy with. The recent Windows 8.1 RT update breathes new life into this device by improving boot time and making it feel "zippy" with none of the lag that plagued the original Windows RT release. While many reviewers pan this device for running Windows RT, they constantly neglect to mention all of the BENEFITS that the Yoga 11 offers to the end user:
1. Super long battery life. I easily get 10-13 hours on a single charge on my Yoga 11 depending on what I'm using it for. More importantly, this thing can charge to about 90% full battery in as little as one hour. This alone makes it the perfect travel companion. The included AC charger is small and compact, but knowing that you won't have to frantically pull it out every few hours gives you peace of mind. If you're on a long flight, you'll be able to get at least 2 full movies in before worrying about your battery.
2. Thin, silent, and fanless. By the definition of an "ultrabook," this device fits the bill. At 2.8 lbs. it is only slightly heavier than the Samsung Chromebook, but it can do twice as much as that device (more on that later) making this a great value. It's extremely well-built and has a nice soft touch finish, and it feels very sturdy when you're holding it. You won't hear any creaks from cheap plastic here; this is meant to be a high-quality product. Furthermore, because it uses an ARM chip, it is fanless and completely silent when it's running, and it doesn't get hot! You can place it on your lap (or stomach if you're laying down) for extended periods without searing your flesh off.
3. Sandboxed desktop environment. Sure, lots of people will complain that Windows RT can't run legacy Windows apps and doesn't have as many apps as Android or iOS (although I'd argue that that's a GOOD thing), but THIS is the future. I'll say it again: Windows RT is the future of where Windows is headed. While that seems like crazy talk, think about this: It's a Windows that doesn't get viruses. It's a Windows where if one app crashes, it doesn't bring down your whole system with it. It's a Windows fully committed to touch without the need for a traditional desktop, even though it has one anyway. With the recent news that Microsoft plans to merge Windows RT with the Windows Phone OS, these benefits will be even more realized on mobile devices. In fact, I predict that Windows RT will eventually do away with the traditional desktop altogether. It might not be with the next update, but mark my words...it'll be sooner rather than later.
4. Microsoft Office INCLUDED. How's that for value? Full disclaimer: The RT version of Office is missing some features that the full desktop version includes, but once again, students and casual users won't miss those features at all, much less realize they were missing in the first place. You can still do about 95% of everything that you'd be able to do on the regular version of Office, meaning that the Yoga 11 can be as much of a productivity device as a casual one. Need to edit that Powerpoint presentation while you rent and watch a movie at the same time? Done. Even better: With the Windows RT 8.1 update, Outlook is now included in the RT Office Suite!
So I've told you all the reasons why this device is awesome, but no single product is perfect. The Yoga 11 does have a few minor flaws, none of them being dealbreakers, but just some things you should be aware of:
1. No USB 3.0. Bummer, I know. Still, if you're buying this device, you probably don't care how fast your USB is anyway, and 2.0 is sufficient enough. It also comes with HDMI and an SD card slot to make up for the absence of USB 3.0.
2. Not so great as a tablet. Lying in bed with the Yoga propped on your stomach or using it in tablet mode while sitting at a table is fine, but it's a little on the heavy side to use as a tablet on a regular basis. Also, while in tablet mode, you can feel the keyboard keys on on the back, which is a little weird. Not uncomfortable...just weird. If it bothers you that much, Lenovo does sell a case for $29.99 that covers either just the keyboard or the entire tablet.
3. Not likely to receive another update. The Tegra 3 chip powering the Yoga 11 is going on 3 years old, so we'll be lucky if the Yoga 11 is able to upgrade to the next iteration of Windows RT. As I mentioned earlier, the Windows RT 8.1 upgrade really does give the laptop a new lease on life, so time will tell if Microsoft and Lenovo continue to support it. At this point, I'm not feeling optimistic.
You really owe it to yourself to give this nifty hybrid device a try, especially if you're a member of the intended target audience which I mentioned earlier. Don't listen to the naysayers; try it out yourself. If you're like me and only need a small, light device for basic computing and travel use, I think you'll genuinely love the Yoga 11.
on September 24, 2013
No Firefox. No Google Chrome. No iTunes. No Torrentz. No Adobe Shockwave. No Adobe Flash. (Only Adobe Reader)
--I'm sure there's a lot more, but those are just the ones I tried.
Because this computer is preinstalled with Windows RT, the only apps available are the ones that come preinstalled, and only the ones you can download from the Windows Store (which isn't much besides the basic necessities). Well, you might say, "I don't need apps, I'll just download the program directly from the website." Wrong. This computer will not allow that either. I eventually decided just to buy the upgrade to Windows 8, but it wouldn't allow that either. So I called Microsoft and they said you cannot upgrade nor downgrade to another operating system like Windows 8 or Windows 7 because this is more of a "tablet" than a computer.
I like this computer, it's small, it's battery life is amazing, BUT...I don't need it for much. Just school, social networking, and music. So, if you're like me and only really need the internet, Microsoft office, and Pandora...then you will be fine. I like the folding aspect of it. I was concerned about the keyboard hitting stuff but I bought a keyboard cover and it works great. HOWEVER, I do not like Internet Explorer. It's too slow and outdated. But that is my only concern (given I'm not a major computer techie). I just try not to have many apps running at once when I use the internet. Seems to help a little.
(There's no disc drive either. Didn't realize that till I got it, but that's an easy fix if you just want to get an external drive that hooks up to USB.) My gf tried to hook hers up to our TV to watch some movies via an HDMI cable, but it said, "Screen Resolution is too low to play this file." We tried everything to fix that but nothing worked. We never had an issue like that on her old computer.
Hope this helped!
on March 21, 2013
coming from a pc with windows 8 upgrade, this is a sizeable windows 8 experience improvement. It does absolutely everything that I need without undue wait time. did not think that I needed office as I have managed to get by without it for some time, somehow I find myself using it anyway and this version (vs @ work) has a cleaner interface that I easily got used to.
I am just guessing that others are more of a power user than I am. for browsing, streaming and social media, I have no complaints. IE 10 seems to work much better here than on my pc, though using favorites is still terrible, nothing against Lenovo here.
the screen is very good, keyboard for my large hands is surprisingly roomy, my one complaint/problem being double letters in a word, sometimes come up as single, maybe I have a lazy typing style as when I am more deliberate, it's perfect.
as for weight, maybe it is heavier than a 10" tablet but honestly its easier to hold when laying in bed than my old android unit. I straighten it out verticaly (screen above keyboard) and put the edge of the keyboard on my chest. this places the screen about 8" higher and this makes viewing much more comfortable for my neck and easier on the hands.
I was hesitant to get a tegra powered tablet and was going to wait for the atom powered units to drop to my price point ($450) but I took the plunge on the strength of some reviews and Lenovo's reputation for quality. absolutely no regrets. really appreciate the larger screen, wonder if I will ever use my laptop again. getting an honest 11 to 12 hours of use...incredible since I have been downloading like crazy and playing with everything to get it set up the way I want. the next task is to increase the number of rows on the live tile page...more than enough screen for 4 rows (up from standard 3)
I'll come back and update if I come up with some significant negatives but so far, exceeding my expectations.
cheersLenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 11.6-Inch Convertible Touchscreen Laptop
on June 21, 2013
As long as you understand the limitations of this product, namely Windows RT, it's a great computer. The build quality is first rate, not a plastic piece of junk like most of the tablets out there. The keyboard is incredible, and you can actually do some work on it. The fact that it comes bundled with Office is a huge advantage for doing work right out of the box. I've had some issues with it recognizing my WLAN extender, but no problem with the router. The size and battery life are well worth the money, now that the price is reduced. If you have the extra cash, buy the 11S with an I3 processor and full Windows 8. For me, my main computer at home is an I7 15-inch laptop running Windows 7 Pro. I will not change this - ever! I also use a 7-inch android with 3G for checking email and quick web-browsing. For going on the road, the Yoga 11 is awesome! Do some work with MS Office in the hotel room and load it up with movies for down time. The screen is beautiful and it streams video just fine. Nice machine if you can live with Win RT, which isn't THAT bad!
on November 23, 2013
I can't believe others are bagging this item and rating the laptop low solely based on the Windows RT operating system.
I received this item last week for $299 as an early Black Friday special on the Lenovo website, and have to say that I absolutely love this computer. Prior to this computer, I owned a 13" MacBook Pro. After the trackpad broke on my Pro and I was quoted $150 at the Genius Bar to fix, I decided to use my MacBook as a permanent desktop and buy a lighter, smaller ultrabook that I could use everyday and for my college classes. (D*mn MacBook was so bulky anyway)
I decided to buy this computer and there are several things I want to point out:
1) This computer is designed beautifully. The surface of the laptop that your palms rest on when typing has some leathery texture to it and it feels superb. The build quality is great too. For what I got the computer for, it was a steal but I would easily be willing to pay up to $500 for this machine because of its sleek design and high quality parts. Not flimsy at all, which was what I expected.
2) Keyboard feels great and I feel that I could type faster on this device than I could with my MacBook. Although I haven't owned a Lenovo computer prior to this, I have heard in my research that they made good keyboards, so not much surprise there.
3) Windows RT is definitely limited. I am a college student and survive on the occasional Tetris Battle or even Settlers of Catan game. The first requires flash, the second requires Java, and as far as I know there is limited flash capability on this laptop and no Java compatibility at all. The games on the Windows Store have been enough to satiate my appetite for procrastinating though so not a huge problem here, although I could see others being a little bit more annoyed depending on what they use this machine for.
4) The Windows Store. I have actually found everything that I've ever tried to look for on here. Facebook, check. Youtube viewer, check. Portfolio manager for the stocks I keep. Better than any other I have ever used (SigFig). One thing that was a deal breaker for me previously when looking into this computer was the lack of DropBox capabilities. Since it was only $299 I was willing to overlook that but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have since added DropBox to the Windows Store.
5) Microsoft Office comes included. Love this, and is a reason why I decided to get this over the 11s. Another huge thing for me is battery life and this computer easily gets more than 9.
This is a sleek and well-made machine and under $400 is a great deal. The bottom line is you need to understand that this is Windows RT. Because of lack of Java compatibility, and the lack of non-Windows-store apps if you are buying this computer for a more specific function (booking deals for work or doing VBA functions on excel) then you will be displeased. I got this item to browse the Internet, use several Internet-enabled applications (portfolio manager), listen to music while I do work, and use light PwP and Excel to do work. Now I am easily using this machine many times more than I use my MacBook Pro.
The only thing I would change is the speed of the machine. But then I guess I would be sacrificing battery life. I guess this fits the bill perfectly.