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Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11: $799 Windows RT Notebook Bends 360 Degrees

With the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT, its ARM-based version, just a few weeks away, Lenovo has unveiled its first RT-based system, the IdeaPad Yoga 11, a flexible PC that's a notebook first, tablet second. Like the larger IdeaPad Yoga 13, the $799 Yoga 11 has a screen hinge that allows its its lid to bend back a full 360 degrees and turn into a tablet or operate in presentation and tent modes. However, unlike the Yoga 13, which runs on a standard Intel Core Series CPU, this 11-incher is powered by Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 processor.

Besides its Tegra 3 CPU, the 2.8-pound Yoga 11 features an 11.6-inch, 1366 x 768 screen with 10-point touch, a 720p webcam for conferencing, up to 2GB of RAM and up to 64GB of eMMC storage. Despite its svelte, .61-inch frame the notebook offers a 2 USB connections, an SD card reader and HDMI out.  The notebook will be available in both silver and orange colors and we definitely prefer the bold look of the orange.

We had the opportunity to spend a few moments with the Yoga 11 last month and we were impressed with the device's attractive, soft-touch chassis, tactile Accutype keyboard and unique, firm hinge design. With soft-touch deck, this hybrid promises a truly fantastic typing experience. 

Every other Windows RT device we've seen or heard of, from the ASUS Vivo Tab RT to the Samsung Ativ Tab, has been a slate that just happens to have a full-size keyboard dock. The Yoga 11, however, does not have a detachable keyboard; it starts as a clamshell and, in our opinion, its users will probably spend a lot of time with it in clamshell mode. Since Windows RT comes with Office 2013 home and student and the Yoga promises 13 hours of battery life -- a bit less with Wi-Fi on -- this could be the ultimate all-day PC for students.

However, for $799, you get a device that can only run new-style Windows 8 apps. Whether consumers buy the Yoga 11 will largely depend on the strength of the apps in Microsoft's Windows Store, which so far has been rather bare. We look forward to putting this notebook / hybrid combo through the paces when it comes out later this fall.