Tech Review: Yoga 3 11

Ultrabooks have become the new norm among laptop lovers, and Lenovo has a released another strong piece of hardware for the Ultrabook crowd.

Features and Design:
The Lenovo Yoga 3 11 is a multi-mode ultraportable laptop with an 11.6-inch multi-touch Full HD display and an incredibly well designed body. Everything about holding the laptop feels right -- it is lightweight but doesn't feel cheap, it is incredibly slim, and despite its thinness it is has a variety of ports that'll meet most users demands. This includes a mini HDMI port, 4-in-1 card slot, a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port, and a combo audio jack. Total machine measurements come in at 11.42 x 7.75 x 0.62-inches, and the weight sits at 2.65lbs. It's definitely one of the lightest machines on the market. Because it is a multi-mode laptop, the Yoga 3 can be opened completely flat, can be folded into a tent shape for propping it up without a secondary stand, and can be folded completely open for use as a tablet (though it is still a little thicker than such). This has been Lenovo's calling card for most of their machines, and the Yoga 11 is no different. As for what lies under the hood, that’ll depend on what specific specs you spring for. There’s up to 8GB of RAM possible, which comes alongside an Intel HD Graphics 5300 and Intel Core M 5Y10c 0.80GHz processor. The system is loaded with Windows 8.1 64, as well as Lenovo’s own personal software. Other features including a 720p-resolution webcam, up to a 256GB SSD, battery life that is decent enough with a little over 6 hours on a charge (depending on how you’re using the system), 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also a pair of stereo speakers with Waves Audio certification.

Performance and Quality:
This particular model I am testing has 8GB of RAM which is more than enough for many. True, more RAM is always better, but I am dubious that most consumers need so much. As per Lenovo's website, 8GB is max, with 4GB available too. The price difference as of today is only $20, making the increased memory option a no-brainer.  To be honest, Lenovo should scrap the 4GB option.  Where you will see a big difference in price is storage. My review unit has a 256GB SSD, while 180GB is available too. Quite frankly, while the increase in storage is appreciated, since most people are starting to venture into the world of cloud storage, it's not that important anymore.  Graphics are Intel (HD 5300), and not NVIDIA, so do not expect amazing gaming performance. Actually, expect nothing other than older and casual games. With that said, Intel graphics are ideal if you want to run Linux, as non-free drivers are not required to get the most performance. 1080p videos on YouTube ran without any hiccups.  Not only is the screen fantastic, but the speakers as well sound great.  Usually, I tend to use headphones with laptops and computers, but the Yoga 3's speakers did the job just fine.  Battery life is quite good from the 4-cell variant. Lenovo promises 6.5 hours, and that is achievable as long as you do not tax the system too hard.  When you do have to charge it, you will notice the most bizarre plug. It is a modified USB, with a wider top, so it is not rectangular. This is to prevent the charger from being plugged into traditional USB ports.

Final Thoughts:
The Lenovo Yoga 3 11 is a phenomenal laptop that is both silent and fanless. It is small and thin, making it a wonderful travel companion.  True, the Core M processor is not a powerhouse, but it is quite peppy. When paired with 8GB of RAM, it is a very capable machine for everyday tasks.

+Sleek Design
+Great Speakers and Screen
+Solid Battery Life
S&S Rating: 8/10


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