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Lenovo Yoga 2 11: A small laptop with tablet potential

Michelle Mastin | June 20, 2014
Lenovo made a lot of compromises to hit this price poing, and did little to advance the hybrid concept. Still, the Yoga 2 11 has a good price-to-performance ratio.

The Yoga's primary identity is firmly rooted in being a laptop--but it's not a great one. The 11.6-inch IPS delivers resolution of only 1366x768 pixels, which is disappointing when you can find similarly priced tablets boasting 1080p displays. Having 500GB of storage is great, but it comes in the form of a mechanical hard drive. After testing so many tablets that use solid-state storage, I definitely felt slowdowns during storage-intensive tasks. Mechanical drives also lack the durability that flash memory delivers--that's especially important for a device that's meant to be used on the go.

The Yoga 2 11 is powered by an Intel Pentium N3520 processor, which is slightly more powerful than the Atom Z3770D in the Dell Venue Pro 11 and the Atom Z3740 Asus uses in its older Transformer Book T100. All three CPUs come from Intel's Bay Trail family, but the Pentium is capable of addressing up to 8GB of memory, where the two Atoms are limited to just 2GB. Lenovo outfits the Yoga 2 11 with 4GB of DDR3L/1333 memory. (Note that Dell has since moved the Venue Pro 11 up to Intel's Atom Z3775, which can address up to 4GB of memory.) You can see a comparison of the four parts on Intel's website.

Lenovo sells slightly different SKUs on its own website. I found a model selling for $499 there, too, but it came with a lesser Intel Celeron N2920 processor. Models with the Pentium N3520 were priced at $599, but their hard drives were supplemented by 16GB SSDs.

Lenovo's small hybrid produced a Notebook WorldBench 9 score of 28, one point shy of the Dell and three points better than the Asus. Laptops based on Intel's Core processor family--such as HP's Spectre x2, which is powered by a Core i5-4202Y--typically perform twice as fast. Then again, HP's machine costs almost twice as much as the Yoga 2 11 ($900 as of this writing).

In the final analysis, the Yoga 2 11 is just a good laptop that's capable of some cool party tricks. If your primary tablet use-case is movies, business presentations, or other applications that will benefit from its tent and stand modes, it's a superior alternative to just buying another clamshell laptop. I don't see it replacing the reading experience a dedicated tablet delivers, though. I'd also recommend you audition the trackpad and keyboard before laying down your cash--they didn't seem up to snuff.

 

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