"And just like that, the tablet market was flooded," is what historians of the future will likely say when speaking in reference to late 2012. Well, they'll probably throw in some end-of-the-world coverage too, but the point is, there are a lot of Windows-based tablet/hybrid/convertible PCs launching over the next few months, and nearly every PC vendor and its mama are getting in on the action.
The Lenovo IdeaTab Yoga 11 is hitting US shores in December, with Lenovo yet to confirm whether we'll see it in Australia. Sporting the Windows RT operating system, a Tegra 3 processor and a built-in keyboard that can be folded out of the way when need be, will it be worth US$799, and inevitably more once the Australia tax is applied? Well, that will depend on its quality and your needs. Read on if that piques your interest.
The Yoga 11 sports an 11.6-inch screen with a resolution of 1366x768 pixels. As someone who's become kind of a pixels-per-inch snob of late, those specs don't exactly grip me with excitement.
Like all Windows RT tablets, the Yoga 11 cannot run Legacy Windows software, only apps designed for the new Metro interface.
So, why the name "Yoga"? Lenovo built the tablet with a keyboard permanently connected to the base of its body. While this allows it to function as a laptop does, you can also fold the keyboard under the tablet screen, either laying it flush against the back or propping the device up in a kind of downward dog position. Hence the yoga reference.
Lenovo is clearly hoping that the Yoga 11 straddles the line between laptop and tablet, but in our brief hands on, we came away feeling like it leaned more heavily toward laptop, especially compared with the feather-light Lynx. As "the world's slimmest multi-mode PC" (according to Lenovo), the Yoga 11 measures 15.24mm thick, but it feels thicker, perhaps because of the keys. And at 1.3kg, the Yoga 11 is quite light for a laptop, but pretty heavy for a tablet.
The 360-degree hinge operated exactly as expected, though, smoothly going from laptop to tablet mode, as well as various points in between. And despite a preview build of Windows RT, the Yoga 11's touchscreen was generally responsive. It also flipped the image on-screen appropriately as we moved the display around.
The tablet houses a quad-core Tegra 3 for brains, features 2GB of DDR3 RAM, and will sport up to 64GB of storage. While Tegra 3 is a solid choice, it's already becoming a bit long in the tooth, as newer CPUs from Qualcomm and Texas Instruments begin to surpass it in performance.
There's also a 720p-capable camera sitting in the top middle bezel, and the Yoga 11 has HDMI and USB 2.0 ports. Lenovo claims 13 hours of battery life for the tablet.
We can't say we're excited about the Yoga 11. A Tegra 3 tablet running Windows RT and priced this high definitely wouldn't be our first choice, based purely on specs. The keyboard attachment is appreciated, but whether it justifies this tablet's very high price remains to be seen.