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Normally, when a company releases two laptops in different sizes (the MacBook Air, anyone?) we review just one: we assume you'll get the gist about the design and trackpad the first time, ya know? So it's funny, then, that we're taking a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 after we've already tested the Yoga 13 and named it one of our favorite Windows 8 convertibles. They look alike, with an inventive hinge allowing you to fold the screen back like a book cover. The keyboards are the same too, though the 11-incher's is understandably a tad more crowded. They even have the same oddly shaped power port.
Except, of course, they're totally different products. Whereas the Yoga 13 is a proper laptop, with a Core i5 processor and full Windows 8, the Yoga 11 runs Windows RT, and is powered by a Tegra 3 chip (yes, the same one you're used to seeing in Android tablets). That means a big dip in performance, but exponentially longer battery life. Legacy x86 apps are off-limits too, given that this is Windows RT and all. Now that we've set up that equation for you (weaker performance plus longer battery life minus standard Windows apps equals what?) let's meet up after the break to see if this is just as good a deal as its big brother.
Gallery: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 review
So you like what you've heard about the IdeaPad Yoga 13, but still don't relish the prospect of trying to wield a 13-inch Ultrabook (and its matching high price) as a convertible tablet. Not to fear: Lenovo has started taking orders for the system's smaller cousin, the IdeaPad Yoga 11, a few weeks ahead of its planned December launch. The foldable, 11.6-inch Windows RT machine is available to buy in 32GB and 64GB models that cost more than expected in regular pricing, at $849 and $949 respectively, with post-Thanksgiving discounts that whittle those figures down to a more reasonable $679 and $759. Don't count on an early ship date, by any means -- Lenovo is quoting "more than 4 weeks" as of this writing -- but do expect to secure a place in line for what's arguably the least conventional of the ARM-based Windows PCs we've seen so far.
Don't think that Lenovo is keeping the IdeaPad Yoga's bendy secrets all to itself: its Japanese partner NEC is bringing a variant of the ARM-based Yoga 11 to the land of the rising sun as the LaVie Y. The 11.6-inch blend of laptop and tablet keeps the signature 360-degree display, 2GB of RAM and 64GB of storage as its more internationally-minded counterpart, and confirms that there's a quad-core Tegra 3 powering either of the Windows RT systems. What differences exist will stem from the software: there's hints of a custom NEC app on an otherwise vanilla interpretation of Microsoft's platform. The LaVie Y should precede its IdeaPad sibling by days, arriving in stores around November 22nd, although any local buyers will pay dearly for the privilege with an estimated $1,136 price. We'd suggest that patience ought to be a virtue for everyone else.