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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 2 11 Review - Keyboard, Trackpad, Verdict Review

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The keyboard’s black Scrabble-tile keys look good against the silver-coloured surround, but hands-on time with the Yoga reveals issues.

Surprisingly, the flimsy base isn’t too problematic – the lack of travel is more serious. Each key barely has a millimetre of travel, and the buttons feel hollow and cheap. They’re deeply unsatisfying; fine for IM and emails, but no good for serious work. The trackpad is better, but that’s little consolation.

The keyboard impacts on usage during tablet mode, too. Flipping the screen to this position deactivates the keyboard, but it’s still obvious on the rear of the system. Occasionally the keyboard and trackpad failed to reactive when we flipped back to laptop mode, or took far too long to turn back on.

Unlike the Sony, the Yoga doesn’t come with a stylus, and none is available to buy afterwards either. Lenovo does make accessories available, though, with a case, slimline DVD burner, screen protector and a compact wireless mouse all available.

The only other thing we need to mention concerns cameras: while the Sony VAIO includes a rear-facing shooter, there’s no room for one in the Lenovo’s budget.

We’ve long been fans of Lenovo’s 360-degree hinge, and it continues to work well: it moves smoothly while retaining the strength to withstand daily use, and it’s easy to switch between the Yoga’s four positions.

Despite its undoubted slickness, it’s still hampered by perennial hybrid problems. It’s too bulky and heavy to use one-handed for any length of time and, in order to create this transforming device, Lenovo has compromised the laptop experience with a mediocre keyboard that doesn’t live up to the firm’s reputation for producing top-quality typing surfaces.

The Ultrabook-style dimensions, bright screen and capable Pentium chip mean the Yoga works better as a laptop, but at this price better alternatives are available: the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite and the Acer Aspire V5 have superior ergonomics and performance. If you’re yearning for a tablet, an iPad or Android device with a keyboard case would cost similar money and be thinner, lighter and with better apps.

That leaves us only able to recommend the latest Yoga for those who are dead-set on buying a Windows hybrid on a budget. Even then, if you can cope with a smaller 10-inch screen we’d suggest looking at the Asus Transformer Book T100 first. It may be smaller, but it’s also cheaper and lasts twice as long on a full charge.

We love the 360-degree design and the price of the Yoga 2 11, but we’re less keen on the sluggish performance, bulkyness and iffy keyboard. It’s not a bad hybrid, but it’s not our first choice.

Next, read more laptop reviews or pick from the best Windows 8 laptops and tablets

Trusted Score

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Score in detail

  • Performance 5
  • Keyboard 5
  • Design 7
  • Screen Quality 6
  • Build Quality 7
  • Value 7
  • Touchpad 7
  • Heat & Noise 9
  • Battery Life 6

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