Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11 review

A Yoga convertible with a flexible price

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11

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The hinge mechanism Lenovo uses on its hybrids is one of the best methods we've seen so far for combining laptops and tablets into one device but, as ever, both modes are a compromise. The Yoga 2's laptop position is hampered by a poor keyboard and, in tablet position, that keyboard still proves distracting – and this machine is just too heavy to be used for lengthy periods.

The Pentium processor has enough power to handle general computing, and the Ultrabook-style dimensions mean the Yoga is better used as a laptop than a tablet. If you need a notebook, though, devices like the Toshiba Satellite M50 and Acer Aspire V5 have better ergonomics and benchmarks and cost similar amounts to the Yoga – and, if you're after a tablet, the £500 required for the Yoga could go towards an iOS or Android device and a high-quality keyboard case. If you do that, you'll get a machine that's slimmer, lighter and with a better app selection.

That means we're only able to recommend the latest Yoga to people who really are set on buying a hybrid. The smart design and reasonable quality elsewhere mean this is the best hybrid we've seen at this price.

We liked

The Lenovo's physical design looks good and works well. The hinge is a sturdy mechanism that means the Yoga can be quickly flipped into any of its modes, and the simple styling means this system looks far better than most other £500 laptops.

The Pentium processor has enough power to handle a wide range of general computing tasks, and it's capable of playing Windows Store games. The screen is brighter and with better contrast than rivals, the speakers are surprisingly good, and the trackpad is decent.

We disliked

The Yoga's weight and dimensions are good for an Ultrabook, but they're bad for a tablet. That means this system is just too heavy and thick to be used in one hand for any length of time – it needs to be on a lap or a tabletop, which defeats the point of tablets entirely.

The keyboard has little travel and a deeply unsatisfying action, which isn't like Lenovo. And, while that Pentium chip is capable when it comes to less demanding tasks, it can't handle intensive work or top-end games.

The battery life is mediocre and the screen, while bright, loses out with a low resolution and average colour accuracy.

Final verdict

The latest Lenovo is another slick hybrid, with a good mechanism that's strong and easy to use. As usual, though, machines of this type involve compromises: it's too cumbersome for tablet use, and the keyboard is too poor to make this a satisfying laptop. Despite this, the Yoga 2 11 is the best cheap hybrid we've seen – but only take the plunge if you really do need a convertible device rather than a dedicated laptop or tablet.

Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.