It was nearly a year ago that Lenovo showed off the Yoga, its first crack at a convertible Windows 8 laptop. The finished product was pretty good when it launched 10 months later, but its 13-inch touchscreen was a bit too unwieldy when flipped around to tablet mode.
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Lenovo is showing off a follow-up: the IdeaPad Yoga 11S, with a smaller 11.6-inch, 1366-by-768 resolution display. Like the original IdeaPad Yoga 13, this machine runs a full version of Windows 8, with support for all existing desktop apps. (Another 11-inch IdeaPad Yoga launched late last year with Windows RT, which can only install tablet-optimized apps from Microsoft’s own store.)
Just like the existing Yogas, the Yoga 11S has a touchscreen that folds completely around into a tablet (with its keys resting a bit awkwardly on the underside). Lenovo likes to say there are actually four modes in one, because users can stand the clamshell up on its two edges like a tent, or prop the screen up from tablet mode so it’s facing forward. Though I didn’t get much time to play with the Yoga 11S, I think the smaller screen will make it more manageable as a tablet.
The Yoga 11S will also be one of the first devices to use Intel’s Ivy Bridge “Y” series processors, which draw less power than current Ivy Bridge chips. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean a big boost in battery life for the Yoga 11S. It’ll clock between 6 and 7 hours on a charge, due to the fact that there’s a smaller battery inside compared to the Yoga’s bigger brother, but the improved thermal design means less reliance on noisy fans to keep the system cool. The Windows RT-based Yoga 11, by comparison, lasts up to 12 hours on a charge.
Other specs for the Yoga 11S include at least 128 GB of solid state storage and at least 4 GB of RAM. In my brief hands-on, the trackpad and keyboard felt just as high-quality as the larger Yoga.
Lenovo says it will ship the IdeaPad Yoga 11S in May or June, positioning it as a back-to-school laptop-tablet convertible. It’ll have a starting price of $799 with an Intel Core i3 processor.