Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Convertible Notebook Review: The Power of Low Power
As we’ve covered already at this point, the Yoga 11 is a notebook that’s equipped like a tablet. Our review model came outfitted with 2 GB DDR3L RAM, which is the maximum the chipset supports. Meanwhile, graphics are also handled on-chip (via NVIDIA GeForce ULP) as part of the quad-core Tegra 3 SoC. Finally, the included SSD of 64 GB capacity may seem generous for a tablet, but it’s pretty restrictive in the world of PCs (and on the Yoga 11, only around 45 GB are left to the user after the preinstalled software is considered).
There are obvious benefits to this approach, though performance is always a concern. Fortunately, as is the case with other Tegra 3 Windows RT tablets, the operating system is handled quite well by NVIDIA’s solution—so you won’t be doing a lot of waiting during general usage. The core applications (such as Microsoft Office and the Web Browser) and the Windows desktop operation feel quite zippy, largely thanks to the SSD. However, beefier apps from the Windows Store and heavier browser-based operations (such as H.264 1080p video playback) obviously push the system to its limits. There’s a bit of a lengthy delay before some of the apps load, and hi-res video, while generally smooth, does experience some occasional dropped frames and stuttering.
Startup and shutdown times are very quick, however, and the device sleeps fantastically well, much like the average phone (thanks again to the Tegra 3), except without the need for maintaining a cellular connection.
In terms of actual benchmarks, there’s actually very little available. We resorted to the standard array of browser-based benchmarks instead to provide some concept of how the device compares to others, even if it isn’t a very reliable methodology (as results are heavily browser-dependent as well). For sake of completeness (and curiosity), though, here’s how the IdeaPad Yoga 11 stacks up in the three most popular browser-based benchmarks:
These scores are a little bit scattered, but that’s to be expected considering the differences between the browsers used to perform the tests. For instance, the Sunspider score is fairly strong, generally beating that of such rivals as the Google Nexus and Apple iPad 4 tablets, but the PeaceKeeper score of just 356 is incredibly weak by comparison—something like half that of many modern phones. Meanwhile, the Browsermark result of 1,817 is probably partially hampered by the fact that IE10 is comparatively weak in this test, but it’s still not a bad score.
Ultimately, performance is a bit of a mixed bag. For most general operation, the Yoga 11 comes off as perfectly capable device. Windows RT doesn’t require a lot of power, of course, and that helps. But do keep in mind that you will experience the occasional slowdown or stutter when browsing pages with lots of ads or watching hi-res videos. And while the SSD/Tegra 3 combo works well in most situations, app loading times and other CPU/GPU-taxing scenarios serve as a sobering reminder of the inherent limitations.