Review: Yoga 2, 11-inch flexible Windows hybrid

Review: Yoga 2, 11-inch flexible Windows hybrid

Summary: The refreshed model of Lenovo's Yoga bends over backward to do everything.

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  • Lenovo Yoga 2 11 review

    Lenovo's Yoga line of Windows hybrids has been refreshed, and awkwardly named the Yoga 2 11 and Yoga 2 13. The smaller 11-inch model is the subject of this review and after a few days of use it's clear it's a good small laptop and a tablet that is appropriate for occasional use.

    The Yoga 2 11 is thin and light for a notebook. A photo later in the gallery shows how favorably it compares size-wise with the 11-inch MacBook Air. It fits in smaller gear bags and is easy to carry around on a daily basis.

    Hardware specs as reviewed 

    Processor  Intel Pentium (Bay Trail), 2.16GHz
    Memory  4GB
    Display  11.6 inch, 1,366x768
    OS version  Microsoft Windows 8.1
    Camera  Front: 720p
    Storage  500GB SSHD + 16GB SSD
    Ports  1-USB 3.0; 1-USB 2.0; microHDMI; Audio in/out; SD/MMC slot
    Connectivity  Wi-fi (802.11 b/g/n); Bluetooth 4.0
    Battery  6 hours; 34 Whr
    Dimensions  11.7" x 8.12" x 0.67"
    Weight  3.196lbs

    Use as a laptop

    The Yoga 2 11 is well constructed for such an inexpensive laptop (starting at $599). It feels almost as sturdy as ThinkPad models costing much more. It feels very solid in large part due to the display hinges. These allow pushing the lid all the way back and under the keyboard, stopping at any point in between.

    See related: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 hands on: Flexible laptop for flexible Windows 8 | Review: ThinkPad X1 Carbon, best one ever | ThinkPad Yoga: Serious work laptop, decent work tablet (hands on) | Hands on with the ThinkPad X240: Two batteries are better than one

    This flexible screen is where the Yoga derives its name. It can be positioned to form a laptop, tablet, and put in tent mode. The latter allows positioning the laptop in an inverted "V" shape facilitating watching videos or for giving intimate presentations. The hinge is not too rigid to make it hard to adjust, but is stable enough to support the notebook in any position.

    The Bay Trail processor in the Yoga 2 11 is not the fastest, but has worked surprisingly well in my testing. Tablet use is fluid, and notebook use is not bad. Gaming is not the best but other functions are snappy and lag-free.

    The keyboard is not as good as a ThinkPad model, but it's not bad. The key travel is very shallow, but doesn't impact fast touch typing. The trackpad is small, but nice and responsive. The integrated mouse buttons are located along the bottom of the trackpad, and must be hit squarely to activate.

    Use as a tablet

    I am not a fan of convertible notebooks, as none I've tried (out of dozens) have yielded a good tablet experience. I find that tablets with a keyboard attached (although hidden) are just too heavy for comfortable use in the hands.

    The Yoga 2 11 doesn't change that impression, as the 3+ lb. form is just too heavy to use as a tablet. That discomfort is compounded by holding the tablet with the keyboard exposed under the screen. It feels abnormal to be gripping the keyboard keys on the back of the tablet.

    The touch tablet operation is otherwise solid, and the Bay Trail processor runs it well. The touch interface scrolls smoothly, and apps run as expected without lag.

    Conclusion

    The Yoga 2 11 from Lenovo is a convertible notebook that is a good fit for those wanting a good laptop for occasional use as a tablet. It offers six hours of operation on the battery, which is not great for a tablet. The starting price of $599 is what I would expect for a hybrid with a Bay Trail processor.

    Pros:

    *Good price

    *Solid build quality

    *Reasonable keyboard

    Cons:

    *Too heavy for tablet use

    *Short battery life

    *Holding the tablet by gripping the keyboard is unsettling

    Reviewer's rating: 7 out of 10

  • Yoga 2 11 laptop mode

    The Yoga is very portable and a good fit for the road warrior.

  • Yoga 2 11 thin profile

    The 11-inch Yoga 2 is not much bigger than the MacBook Air.

Topics: Mobility, Laptops, Reviews, Windows 8

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6 comments
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  • Digitizing Touch??

    It does not look like it has digitizing touch. Not worth considering.
    MichaelInMA
    • yep, thats what I thought too.

      n/t
      Ram U
  • I never

    I never understood what the Yogapad was trying to do.
    Pollo Pazzo
  • Kendrick's review is quite biased...

    ...sounds like he's searching hard to find a good thing to say about every problem. The commonest words in the review are "not bad" and "but"!

    I know he's a big Lenovo fan, but there has to be a limit.
    jaykayess
  • Easy to imagine a use case

    If Windows is required, then keyboard is also required. If keyboard is required, then why make it detachable? Until Windows RT gets enough quality apps to justify a pure tablet, this may be the best work around. It is really inferior to other tablets when one has to hold it in one hand and, assuming the CPU power is sufficient, superior to other tablets and notebooks in all other cases thanks to the ability to properly position the screen. It is slightly lighter and much more budget than the alternative and evidently better solution of Mac Book Air + iPad, those who want to cut the expenses 70% must be happy. And Lenovo offers Yoga Tablets for those who really prefer the one hand grip.
    gak@...
  • Yoga 11

    James, you rated the 11" Yoga 7 out of 10 since it didn't deliver awesome tablet experience. What would you give it if it were rated strictly as a notebook?
    Dem6Rep