Lenovo Yoga 11S Ultrabook Review

Lenovo Yoga 11S Ultrabook Review

The Lenovo Yoga 11S is described on the company’s website as a groundbreaking multimedia mini ultrabook, measuring just 11.6-inches, the convertible is a bit lighter than the Yoga 13 (although not by much) at 3.08 pounds. What it lacks in size compared to the larger Yoga 13, however, is reflected in the price tag as it starts at just $749.99 – a full $150 cheaper than the starting price of the larger system.

 Evaluation unit is equipped with an Intel Core i5-3339Y clocked at 1.5GHz (max Turbo frequency of 2.0GHz), 8GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and a 256GB Samsung solid state drive. As referenced earlier, the Yoga 11S packs an 11.6-inch IPS display operating at 1,366 x 768.  
 Price announced today - $999.99.


  • Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S - $750 - $999
  • 11.6-inch IPS multitouch display (1366×768)
  • 3rd Generation Intel Core i5-3339Y CPU (1.5GHz - 2GHz)
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • 256GB Samsung SSD
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Integrated 720p HD Camera
  • HDMI out, 1 x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, SD/MMC card reader
  • 3.5mm Audio In / Mic Jack combo
  • 4 Cell Lithium-Ion battery (~6 hrs)
  • 11.73" x 8.03" x 0.67"
  • 3.08 lbs

Aesthetically, the Yoga 11S is virtually identical to its bigger brother which isn’t a bad thing. The outside of the lid feels like a semi-soft plastic and is silver with the Lenovo name engraved in the corner that still looks very clean and modern.
Across the front edge of the system is a backlit power button, battery indicator and a small recessed button that’s used to launch OneKey Recovery – a software suite that allows you to back up your system or recover it from a previous state. On the right side of the Yoga 11S is a screen orientation lock button, right side speaker, a single UBS 2.0 port and an SD/MMC card reader.

There’s not much to see on the reverse save for a row of ventilation slots between the screen’s two hinges. Moving to the left we find a combination headphone / microphone jack, a single USB 3.0 port and an HDMI-out port.

On the bottom of the Yoga 11S are four anti-skid pads and 11 small six-sided screws that would need to be removed with a non-standard screwdriver to gain access to the internals. This would make the task of adding or replacing system memory a bit more time-consuming but it does appear to be possible.

The screen on this hybrid doesn’t have a gaudy plastic bezel as there’s a single piece of glass that covers the IPS panel but there is a sizable bezel that frames the actual screen. Normally I wouldn’t approve of this but since this system doubles as a tablet, it’s acceptable as it gives you ample room to actually hold the device without inadvertently making contact with the touchscreen.

Lenovo has included a 720p webcam that’s centered just above the screen with what appears to be an ambient light sensor beside it and another on the far right edge. At the very bottom of the screen is the Windows 8 Start button that quickly allows you to switch from Windows UI to the traditional desktop and vice versa.

The keyboard on the Yoga 11S features island style keys which is becoming commonplace on notebooks today. The board is a little more compact compared to the Yoga 13 but even still,  . The entire middle area of the keyboard sinks in noticeably when pressed.


Key layout is acceptable aside from a few keys like Backspace and Tab being shorter than usual. It’s also worth noting that the Page Up / Home and Page Down / End keys aren’t in their traditional space. Instead, you will find them at the bottom right flanking the Arrow keys.

Performance, Usage Impressions

 System arrived running Windows 8 64-bit although one could opt for the Pro version . Windows 8 is how quickly it boots to a usable state (having a solid state drive certainly helps here). From a cold boot,  in Windows and ready to go in 14 seconds flat. That’s a few ticks slower than the Yoga 13 but all in all, it’s very fast and runs circles around anything else Microsoft has released to date. With Windows 8, we were forced to modify our benchmarking procedures slightly. PCMark Vantage refused to give an overall score no matter how hard I tried. We are also doing away with our “real-world” web-browsing battery test in favor of the much more standardized Powermark application. All of our other testing procedures have been carried over from Windows 7

The iTunes encoding tests consist of converting 14 MP3s (119MB) to 128Kbps ACC files and measuring the operation's duration in seconds. For file transfers, we measure how long it takes to copy two sets of files from one location to another on the same hard drive. On the small files test we transfer 557 MP3s, totaling 2.56GB. For the large file, these same MP3s were zipped into a single file measuring 2.52GB.

As  found with the Yoga 13, this system works well as a notebook. It’s thin and light enough to carry around with you throughout the day. Windows 8 combined with a large screen makes for a great tablet experience compared to the bevy of “standard” sized tablets on the market but there are some areas where it could be improved upon when used as a slate.

Despite being nearly two inches smaller in terms of screen size, the Yoga 11S is only 0.32 pounds lighter and is equally as thick as its bigger brother. As such, it suffers from the same issue that plagued early tablets – it’s simply too heavy. Using a three pound tablet for an extended period of time without resting it on your lap or propping it up will certainly have you feeling the burn. It’s an unfortunate tradeoff but one that seemingly has to be made. Granted you can use the system in a number of different configurations (as a true tablet, flipped on its side or propped up in the shape of an upside-down V), it’ll be up to you to decide if the tradeoff is worth it or not.

Flash memory pricing has finally reached a level that makes it feasible for manufacturers to include SSDs as a standard option in new portables, as a result the last few notebooks . reviewed all have come equipped with a solid state drive.

Some may not approve of a notebook with 'only' 256GB of storage capacity, but given the vast number of cloud storage options, streaming video services, and streaming audio services available today, it’s really a non issue. In fact, a few short years ago a 256GB SSD alone would have cost you more than the total price of this ultrabook.

The IPS panel on the Yoga 11S is one of the better ones . as seen  it exhibits excellent viewing angles both horizontally and vertically. Screen brightness could be improved by a few ticks and as always, a resolution bump would be welcome but otherwise, you won’t be disappointed with what the 11S has to offer.

As utilized Prime 95 to generate a full load on the CPU in order to objectively measure heat output and fan noise. The fan didn’t generate too much racket but It was a bit concerned with the amount of heat being generated. 

The cooling fan was able to pump out a good bit of heat but the bottom of the notebook beside the exhaust vents in the center was extremely hot (too hot to keep my finger on for more than a second or two). Mind you, this was observed when the system was connected to the power adapter. A separate test without the power adapter plugged in produced much better results as the same area was nowhere near as hot as it had been before.
as conducted ,standard notebook battery tests on the Yoga 11S. Our video playback test consists of looping a 720p rip of the movie Inception at full screen with max brightness and Wi-Fi disabled. This is a taxing test that resulted in just 2 hours and 49 minutes of battery life.
Powermark test consisted of running the application at default settings under the “Balanced” profile which gives a mixed workload of web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback. This test was also run at max screen brightness and resulted in 3 hours and 32 minutes of uptime.

 informal YouTube 4k resolution video test pushed the CPU to around the 50-60 percent usage range. The video never showed any signs of lag nor did the cooling fan ever spin to a noticeable level. For comparison, the Core i5-3317U inside the Yoga 13 hovered mostly in the 90 percent usage range although even still, there was no visible lag.

The two speakers in the Yoga 11S are positioned on either side of the keyboard along the edges of the machine. This seems like good placement as you can still get the full effect even if the system is sitting in your lap. I’ve never been a fan of speakers on the bottom of a notebook as the sound gets muffled by whatever surface the system is resting on at the time.

Placement aside, the speakers sounded alright but they did seem a bit tinny. Output didn’t get very loud even when pushed to the limit, but no distortion was noticed either.

A lot has changed since late last year when  first looked at the Yoga 13. That system showed that there is a market for convertible notebooks and while the Yoga 11S is essentially a slimmed down version of the original, there needs to be more to it at this point to make it a true standout device.

Performance is on par to the competition but the Yoga 11S is a victim of unfortunate timing. By that, it mean it narrowly missed the release of Intel’s 4th generation Core series chip known as Haswell. Granted, Haswell doesn’t provide a huge performance boost compared to Ivy Bridge, but it does deliver significantly better battery life in mobile devices – an area where the Yoga 11S fell flat in our testing.

Moreover, for a system that is a good bit smaller than the original,  it expected  to be a bit lighter on its feet or perhaps a tiny bit thinner. In reality, it’s only marginally lighter than its bigger brother and the exact same thickness. 
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Write by: RC - Thursday, July 18, 2013

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