Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a few different products from Lenovo including laptops and tablets. Find out what I thought about one of the newest devices to the Lenovo family in my Lenovo Yoga 3 (11 inch) review.
The Lenovo Yoga 3 (11 inch) features the following specifications:
- 11.6″ Multitouch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display
- Intel Core M-SY10c CPU @ 0.80GHz
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
- Intel HD Graphics 5300
- Realtek High Definition Audio with Waves Audi certification
- 720p webcam
- Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 a/c WiFi
- Windows 8.1 64-bit
- 0.62″ thick
Lenovo’s Yoga 3 looks like a laptop, but has the added functionality of being able use in four different modes – tent, stand, tablet, and of course laptop. As we’ve mentioned before, tent mode allows you to stand the tablet up like a tent and is great for tasks like viewing photos, sitting on the counter while cooking, or playing touch games. Stand mode uses the base of the laptop keyboard facing down and is recommended for watching movies or video chatting. Tablet mode of course lets you use it like you would a tablet, likewise laptop mode is great when using apps which require a lot of keyboard input.
The left side houses the power button, volume control, audio in/out, and USB 2.0 port while the right side houses the DC-in, USB 3.0, micro HDMI, and SD card ports. When looking at the power adapter, my first thought was to wonder why Lenovo once again went with a different proprietary plug, but the DC-in also doubles as a second USB 2.0 port bringing the number of USB ports to three on the device. The hinges between the screen and the keyboard are really solid, and I can see them lasting many rotations when adjusting the Yoga 3 between its various modes. The keyboard and trackpad are nicely designed and comfortable to use.
One key issue I found with the design though is that the screen feels like it has a bit of give when grabbing it by the corner to flip it over to use in tablet mode. Not a lot of pressure is needed to feel the corner bend back a bit, resulting in being able to see the LCD crystals ripple on the screen on the corner you are grabbing. There is also some give when pressing lightly on the back of the screen which I suspect contributes to the lack of rigidity when flipping the screen around. I quickly trained myself to flip the screen around by grasping the top middle of the screen as opposed to the corners, but I can easily see the potential for screen issues if the corner is continually grabbed and used to switch the YOGA 3 into tablet mode.
The Yoga 3 (11 inch) is light and very thin making it great for computing on the go. It is available in black or white, we tested the white version and it looks pretty sharp.
The 11.6″ IPS display is nice and clear when viewed at multiple angles. The 1080p resolution is great for watching videos, as well as playing basic games. The colours are bright and text is sharp and crisp and easy to read.
Being a laptop/tablet hybrid, the Yoga 3 runs a full version of 64-bit Windows 8.1. As a result, the operating system interface works well in each of its various modes. As with other Lenovo devices, the Yoga 3 comes with some pre-installed software including their Yoga Chef, SHAREit, Veriface Pro, Motion Control, and Reach apps. Pre-installed third party apps include a number of partner apps including Evernote, Kindle, zinio, Dailymotion, The Telegraph, Tripadvisor, OneKey Optimizer, Dragon Assistant, and Stagelight.
The speakers on the Yoga 3 are located near the front on the bottom left and right sides of the laptop. When in laptop mode, the sound bounces off of the table or desk, while in tablet mode it bounces off the back of the screen resulting in fairly decent (but average) and consistent sound across both these modes. When in stand mode, the sound projects a bit more and sounds better than other Lenovo models where the speakers are on the front of the device.
Here’s where the real issue with the 11″ version of the Yoga 3 lies – the Intel M processor. Unfortunately it shows and there were numerous times I found myself waiting for apps or games to load up. Even simple games like Microsoft Bingo, Microsoft Jackpot, and Pinball FX 2 took what seemed like ages to load. Basic tasks like web browsing and document editing ran fairly well, as did watching YouTube and other online videos, but some intro videos for games – like Blizzard’s Hearthstone for example – stuttered so badly that they were unwatchable. Once loaded though, the aforementioned games ran fine and without any hiccups for the most part, there were a couple instances in Hearthstone where I noticed a slight 1-2 second delay between playing a card and the effect it produced.
As far as performance on the Yoga 3 is concerned, if you’re doing basic – and I mean basic – tasks, you’ll be o.k. using it. More CPU intensive tasks or programs such as Adobe Lightroom, while they may run, will most likely cause you some frustration due to load and processing times. If you are just performing basic tasks though, I would recommend getting the 8GB RAM models at the very least.
The plus side of using an Intel M processor is that it allows the battery in the device to last longer between charges. Depending on usage, I varied between 5-7 hours on a single charge. I could have extended this further by using the Power Saver power plan but opted for Balanced mode and on a couple occasions High Performance mode when Intel M processor wasn’t up to the tasks I was performing when the Yoga 3 wasn’t plugged in.
Starting $679USD/$799CAD, the Yoga 3 we tested comes in at $1,099USD ($1,129CAD) regular priced (currently on sale for $869USD/$999CAD on Lenovo’s website). While a portable, convertible, 11.6″ laptop/tablet is a sound idea, I simply don’t see the value of paying over $1,000 considering some of the performance issues on the 11″ Yoga 3 – especially when you can get a Lenovo Flex 3 with a 1.83Ghz Celeron chip for less than 1/2 the price.
Generally speaking, Lenovo has been making some great laptops and tablets lately. However, I think the Yoga 3 (11 inch) misses the mark given the performance issues, price point, and the flexibility in the screen design. A light, portable 11″ laptop/tablet combo is a great idea, but unfortunately the Lenovo Yoga 3 (11 inch) with the Intel M processor just doesn’t quite measure up.