The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S is the baby brother to the extremely popular Yoga 13. Don't confuse the Yoga 11S with the Windows RT Yoga 11 released in the fall of 2012. The 11S is a full Intel Core convertible Ultrabook running Windows 8 64 bit, just like the Yoga 13. We first saw the Yoga 11S when we met with Lenovo at CES in January 2013, and now the Ultrabook is finally shipping. Is it still cool? Let's see.
Like the Yoga 13, the Yoga 11S is a mid-range machine that sits above most IdeaPad models but below Lenovo's ThinkPad models like the considerably more expensive ThinkPad Helix. It starts at $749 for the Core i3 model with 4 gigs of RAM and a 128 gig SSD, and our 1.5GHz Core i5 with 8 gigs of RAM and a 256 gig SSD sells for $999. The Yoga 11S has Lenovo's excellent AccuType keyboard, a roomy buttonless trackpad, single band WiFi 802.11n, Bluetooth and a webcam. All Yoga 11S models have Intel HD 4000 graphics.
The Yoga is aptly named since its robust dual hinges have 360 degrees of rotation. That means you can use it in laptop mode, tent mode, presentation mode with the display facing away from the keyboard and in tablet mode. At 3.08 lbs., it's not as comfortably to hold for long periods of time in tablet mode compared to lighter 10" Android and iOS tablets or 11.6" transformer Windows 8 tablets like Lenovo's own Helix or the Samsung ATIV 500T and ATIV 700T. In return for the weight, you get a beefier keyboard, large trackpad and Lenovo's typical strong build. The Yoga 11S is available in gray or clementine orange and it has a grippy soft touch finish.
The 11.6" IPS multi-touch display is bright and sharp, and at 1366 x 768 resolution it won't beat full HD tablets and Ultrabooks for sharpness, but it's a perfectly appropriate resolution for a small screen (fonts and icons in the Windows desktop don't look tiny). I doubt anyone will look at this screen and say "yuk". It's colorful, easy to read and videos look lovely. It is a glossy display, so glare can be an issue, but the 360 degree hinges mean you're apt to find a position that mitigates glare.
Lenovo went with Intel third generation Ivy Bridge Y series CPUs that came out many months after Ultrabook ULV CPUs started shipping. The Y series targets Windows tablets and small Ultrabooks, and it runs at slightly lower clock speeds than U series CPUs. It has a dual voltage design so it consumes even less power than U series CPUs. Lenovo offers the Yoga 11S with your choice of a 1.4GHz i3, 1.5GHz i5 or 1.5GHz i7 CPU. Benchmarks are a bit lower than U series counterparts, and our Yoga with the 1.5GHz Core i5, 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a Samsung mSATA 256 gig SSD scored 3,837 on PCMark 7, which is a bit below the 4,300- 4,600 we see with Core i5 U series Ultrabooks. We'd love to see how long the Yoga 11S could run on fourth gen Intel Haswell CPUs, but that refresh may be far off since Y series Haswell CPUs aren't yet in production.
Here's our Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S video review. Our full written review will follow.