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|
|Display||11.6 inch, 1,366x768|
|OS version||Microsoft Windows 8.1|
|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"|
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.
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.
*Solid build quality
*Too heavy for tablet use
*Short battery life
*Holding the tablet by gripping the keyboard is unsettling
Reviewer's rating: 7 out of 10
The Yoga is very portable and a good fit for the road warrior.
The 11-inch Yoga 2 is not much bigger than the MacBook Air.
The battery is not user-replaceable.
Ports on the left side of the Yoga 2 11 (Left-Right):
Proprietary power port, USB 3.0, SD slot, microHDMI
Ports on the right side of the Yoga 2 11 (Left-Right):
Power button, Wi-fi on/off, Volume up/down, audio, USB 2.0
While not as good as a ThinkPad keyboard, this one is not bad. The entire touchpad is not clickable, only the strip at the front of the pad.
The styling of the Yoga 2 11 is similar to the familiar black ThinkPad design.
The Yoga 2 is heavy while used in the hand in tablet mode. It is also strange gripping the exposed keyboard under the screen.
The display hinges are very sturdy for propping up the device in tent mode for watching video or giving presentations.
The Yoga is OK for occasional tablet use.
The keyboard is exposed when using the Yoga as a tablet.
The Yoga 2 11 compares favorably size-wise with the 11-inch MacBook Air.