Phishing (pronounced as “fishing”) is a social engineering technique that is used for contacting individuals or businesses, in an attempt to obtain information such as credit card numbers or bank account passwords and other details.
The information acquired is usually used to commit identity theft or financial fraud. The messages appear to be legitimate and are delivered by electronic communication in the form of e-mail and text messages. These messages can be sent to a general audience or can target a specific person. The message can look as if it has been sent by a trustworthy source such as bank that you do business with regularly, tech support departments, a credit card company, a Human Resources Department, or from friends on social networking sites.An example of this is a recent email distributed as a LogMeIn Security Update.
In the case of a specific target, the attacker is usually already aware of the name, address, and other credentials of the victim. This is called Spear Phishing. In both general Phishing and Spear Phishing the phish may be either in the message, or the message will request that the victim click on an attachment or a link contained within the body of the correspondence as in the example above.
Similar to Spear Phishing is Whaling. This form of Phishing is used to target upper level corporate management in an attempt to obtain restricted internal information. As in Spear Phishing, the attacker is familiar with the target.
Vishing, a combination of "voice" and phishing, also called "VoIP phishing," is the voice counterpart to phishing. Instead of being directed by e-mail to a Web site, an e-mail message asks the user to make a telephone call. Criminals set up an automated dialing call people in a particular region or area code. This technique uses forged area codes and names of the financial institution, organization or business.
Smishing uses SMS texts to a mobile phone to initiate the scam. If a victim logs onto one of the fake websites with a smartphone, they could also end up downloading malicious code that could give criminals access to anything on the phone.
What to Look For
* Is your name missing, or does the message appear to be sent as a generic mass mailing?
* Is the message requesting personal information?
* Phishers are getting better at writing realistic copies of legitimate looking business correspondence. However, does the message contain typos or grammatical errors?
* Is the URL in an email’s link suspicious? When rolling your mouse over a link and looking at the bottom left corner of the email client's window, is the actual address represented in the link where you really intend to go?
* Does the message convey a sense of urgency, threats, warnings, or alerts? Example: “There is a problem with your account. Click this link to re-activate your locked account.”
How to Protect Yourself
* Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, texts, or phone calls.
* Keep a regular check on accounts, and use a different password for each account. Using a Password Manager is a good idea.
* If you are suspicious about a request made of you, go straight to the official website of the company in question (not the link provided in the email), to log into the account – or call them. If you want to go to a business website, type its URL directly into your browser’s address bar.
* Make sure any web site requesting personal information is secure. Look at the browser address bar to see that the URL (link) begins with "https". The "s" stands for secure. Information entered is encrypted.. If “https”, does not show, it is not a secure site. Do not proceed. As an alternative right-click on the link to select Copy, and Paste see that the URL (link) begins with "https". The "s" stands for secure. Information entered is encrypted.. Paste the URL's text into a blank notepad so you can analyze the link further.
The following are websites that will scan links:
Use good defense. Protect your email by making sure anti-virus software, firewalls, and email spam filters are up-to-date. Review your credit card and bank account statements regularly so that you can quickly notice illegal activity on your accounts. Check with your credit card companies to see what type of credit card theft protection is available.
Finally, if you receive spam that is phishing for information, send it to email@example.com and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email. If a local business is mentioned, notifying your local law enforcement is advisable. Most organizations have information on their websites regarding how and where to report issues. If you believe you've been scammed, file a complaint at ftc.gov, and visit the FTC's Identity Theft website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. In addition, there are online groups with forums for reporting and discussing phish attempts.
Resources and Additional Reading
After reading the news that Mozilla's Firefox's browser tab includes sponsored tiles accessing ads and what Mozilla considers "popular content" I thought that perhaps it's time for a review of browser extensions for the consumers who don't enjoy advertising and the value that it provides to themselves and to others.
It’s not just the annoyance of seeing ads, but social media, search engines, and many other advertising networks and data collection sites track us as we read online news, log in at our favorite sites, watch videos, take surveys, and browse the web. As consumers we need to empower ourselves to develop better practices for making privacy choices when we share and access information on the internet. This involves more than simply relying on our resident anti-virus and anti-spyware.
What can we do? First of all, we can remind ourselves that the best defense is the person sitting in the chair behind the computer. We've heard all that before. What if we are vigilant, are malware-free but are still seeing PPC (pay-per-click) ads, tempting coupon offers, and you-can't-live-without-this product advertising? What about the tracking that we don't see?
In this article, my goal is to discuss how many of the ads and trackers used by websites can be avoided. One way that this can be accomplished is by using browser add-ons such as Adblock Plus, or Adblock Edge. In order for advertising to be acceptable, it must meet criteria set by Adblock Plus. Adblock Edge is similar to Adblock Plus, but is without the acceptable ads feature. Fluff Busting Purity and SocialFixer are great options for those of us who prefer to have some control over Facebook content.
I’ve tried all these over the years, and have settled on a few that meet my needs. You may want to take a look at them as well as similar products. A search will produce reviews, comparisons, and alternatives. Please keep in mind that you may come across some potentially unwanted applications claiming to block ads. One is mentioned in a removal guide by Malwarebytes. Therefore, while doing that search I suggest having WOT (Web of Trust) installed so that you know which sites are trustworthy. We don’t want the prevention to be worse than the problem that we are trying to avoid.
Some users like to use a hosts file, a form of browser immunization, to block ads, banners, 3rd party cookies, 3rd party page counters, web bugs, and even some hijackers. A hosts file is available for us to install manually. Alternatively, security products such as Spybot Search & Destroy may install a hosts file as one component of their product. Customers would need to decide whether they would have a need for other features included in the all-in-one security products. Understanding a hosts file is another topic, so we'll save that for a future article.
Aside from seeing unwanted advertisements, should we be concerned about tracking and data mining? According to Wikipedia, "The overall goal of the data mining process is to extract information from a data set and transform it into an understandable structure for further use.” Businesses and governments use our information to reveal more than we are aware of.
As far as monitoring tracking, there are several browser add-ons, such as PrivacyFix, Ghostery, and Cocoon that can help. By using a tracker privacy extension we are protected from companies that are compiling data based on browsing history and selling it to the highest bidder. AVG PrivacyFix scans for privacy issues based on our Facebook®, Google®, and LinkedIn® settings. It takes us to the settings that need to be fixed. From there, we can see the pros and cons of each setting, allowing us to make the best decision on how much we are sharing. While PrivacyFix is mainly for social media, Ghostery, allows us to see what we are blocking on all websites. It uses Ghostery’s tracker profiles to educate us about the companies that are tracking us. Ghostery, gives the user options to block tracker by tracker, site-by-site, or block by a mixture of the two. Blocking can be paused or disabled altogether. Ghostery is available for many devices and browsers. Unfortunately, there is no version available for Internet Explorer. Cocoon is in an all-in-one plugin that protects privacy by allowing websites and advertisers to see only Cocoon computers, not your computer. When using it everything done online is secure and private. While reading about Cocoon, if you have children be sure to take a look at CocoonKids. CocoonKids safeguards children’s online privacy and security while providing various tools at a parent’s disposal such as a whitelist that will allow parents to control what websites their children can and cannot visit.
What about "sandboxing"? Sandboxing technology isolates programs to prevent untrusted programs from damaging the rest of the computer. The software that we use is already sandboxing much of the code running every day. Most browsers sandbox themselves to run in a low-permission mode. However, some folks may decide to run an extra layer of protection by installing Sandboxie. When using Sandboxie webpage advertising will still be visible with browsers that normally show them, and the trackers will still be "calling home" during the browser session. However, after the sandboxed browser is closed, trackers will no longer be following it.
Currently, the applications mentioned in this article have free versions. See each vendor's page to note whether your browser is supported. Experiment to see what works the best for you depending on which browser(s) you use regularly.
Sources and Additional Reading
Do Not Track - the privacy standard that's melting away
Mozilla Launches Browser Ads
Online Advertising and Hidden Hazards to Consumer Security and Data Privacy
I have my ThinkPad Helix for a few weeks now, and thought it was time for a review with my impressions after a few weeks of use. The ThinkPad Helix was used to study mathematics in college with the digitizer pen, taking pictures, Skype, Lync, and so on.
What will be discussed in the video:
READY, GET SET, SNAP: Love our Yoga tablets and laptops? Give us a shout out the next four weeks and you may get your hands on one of the 20 (you read it right- 20!) Yoga systems we are giving away.
And better yet, you stand a chance of winning a trip to London, United Kingdom, as we are also giving away SEVEN trips to the fab city!
All you have to do is to follow the Lenovo Facebook account of the country you are a legal resident of (for instance, in my case, I am Singaporean, so I would follow Lenovo Singapore), look out for the theme posted, snap and post an original picture to depict the theme in response to the call to action to your Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter/ Tumblr accounts with the hashtag #yogamyway AND #LenovoContest_XXX (in my case, it would be #LenovoContest_SG.)
Note that we accept a maximum of three entries a week – submit more than that and you would be disqualified.
The best part of it all? Participation in this contest, which will run for four weeks from today (August 20, 2014, 0000hrs UT), is free.
Winners will be judged based on the following criteria:
Do note that you have to be 18 years old and above (pssst: the human subjects in your photo submissions have to be as well), and be a legal resident of the 50 states in USA and the following countries to qualify:
Columbia, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenjia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Thailand, United Arab Emirates , United Kingdom, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Please do refer to the following Official Rules in the attachment below.
Here’s a video showing you how to take part:
Good luck, and no cheating please
Official contest website: Click here to see submissions!
PHOTO CREDIT: LENOVO
It’s almost time for students everywhere to head back to school. Whether you are the parent of a student or a student yourself let’s take some time to investigate what you can do to stay safe online.
* Before purchasing security for your school needs, it would be wise to check to see what is offered by the school, or whether there are any requirements as to what type of products are preferred.
Protect the computer with an anti-virus that automatically updates. Not only can the internet be a dangerous place, but there is always a chance that while students are exchanging files, an infection could travel onto the computer from removable media or via a file sharing application. Most anti-virus programs or suites include the ability to scan multiple drives. It would be a good idea to make sure your security software includes website blocking of known dangerous sites.
For an extra layer of protection, you may want to add an anti-malware application such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. There is a Free Version as well as a paid Premium Version. However, only the Premium Version includes automatic updates, realtime scanning, and IP blocking.
Automatic updates are a big help. Make sure your computer is configured for automatic updates or to prompt for download and installation of operating system updates as well as those for anti-virus and other software. Busy students do not have time to monitor sites that list regular updates.
A firewall is included on current Windows operating systems. Your school may use one as well. It would be good to discuss the school's firewall policy with them so that there are no conflicts if the resident firewall on your computer is enabled.
Use a hardware lock to secure the computer. Laptops usually have a slot on one side for a cable lock. The cable can be wound around a chair or table leg. Some locks come with a battery powered alarm. A combination lock is preferred by many laptop owners because it will prevent loss of a key.
Password-Protect the computer’s user accounts and email. Using the Control Panel, configure the computer to prompt for a password when waking up from the sleep state. Check to be sure the Guest account is disabled, and do not share laptops, passwords or accounts. It is not uncommon for a student to ask for malware removal help after his friend unintentionally infected his computer while visiting a questionable website. Manage the passwords used for websites. A password manager can be a big help when using sites that require login passwords. It may be possible to find one that is portable so that it can be carried on an USB stick in order to run on Windows systems without being installed. A password manager can not only generate random-character passwords if you choose to do so, but its settings will allow the user to automatically close it after a specified time period.
Take time before the school year begins to research several managers in order to decide which one will meet your needs. Some of these, such as KeePass have free as well as paid versions; others may be only paid software. It would be good for the student to practice using one of these well before he leaves for school so that he is comfortable with it.
Below are some comparisons and reviews of password managers. Something that you might want to note in your research is whether a manager is cloud-based. In other words, will information be stored in "the cloud" or locally on the computer?
Consider installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) utility that will protect the connection and allow the user to surf online anonymously. Check the school’s policy regarding these. You may need one for off-campus locations as well. There are free and paid VPN’s available.
Locate and recover that laptop if stolen. Many new laptops have a locator/theft recovery program installed. Find out if this is already included on your laptop, whether the subscription has been activated, or whether you can purchase this software.
Beware of P2P file sharing and pirated software. These are two of the most common ways to attract trouble. Because of budget restrictions and peer pressure, students may be encouraged by friends to download pirated software or "cracked" software. It is not only illegal, but in many cases this software installs malware. Peer-to- peer file sharing is dangerous as well.
Be vigilant when surfing. Advertisements that look inviting may be the wolf in disguise. Do not click on ads and links without investigating their reputation. This is especially true when using social media. Examples would be advertisements for games, giveaways, videos, music, and surveys. It would be wise to install Web Of Trust (WOT) as a browser add-on. WOT displays a colored icon similar to a traffic light next to website links to show which sites users trust for safe searching, surfing, and shopping online: green = a good site; red = bad site with a poor reputation, and yellow = proceed with caution.. The colored icons are also shown in popular search engine results, social media, online email, shortened URL’s, and others. Should someone decide to visit a site rated as having a poor reputation, a pop-up will appear asking if the user really wants to access the page or whether he would prefer to bypass it. Even children can learn how to recognize the colored icons by using WOT.
Secure not only the computer but the tablet and phone as well. Protect those photos, and personal data. Set a lock screen and use security measures similar to those used for a laptop. Install security applications, download apps from approved sources, and be aware of their permissions.
Your computer’s security is only as good as the person sitting on the chair behind the computer. If you use common sense with your technology you will stay safe and have a good school year.
References and Additional Sources:
A couple of months ago, I was gifted with an IdeaPad Yoga 11s, Clementine Orange, of course! This was the first time I had had a chance to use a Yoga for more than a few minutes, and I loved the format. The size and weight of it was very convenient, the screen was bright, and the keyboard felt good. I really enjoyed being able to use it in different modes, and with the touch screen, I could prop it up in my lap while I watched television at night and browse the web, Twitter and FB easily with the flick of a finger. But I'm a die-hard ThinkPad TrackPoint fan and kept turning back to my cherished ThinkPad X301 more and more. So I thought I would use the 11s to recruit a couple of new Lenovo fans - my nieces.
They were puzzled when I gave them the t-shirts but donned them quickly since they knew there was Something Good in that bag.
They were thrilled when they pulled the Yoga out!
Lenovo's got two new fans!
Seen That'sFantastic, or David Rivera around in our app development board and wondered who he is? We caught up with him over an email interview to find out more about what he does, and how he hopes to grow our latest community.
Serene: Hi David, nice having you hear - do tell us about yourself.
David: I’ve been involved in software development professionally for over 20 years, but my interest in computers started when I was a teenager taking some after-school computer classes, where I quickly learned BASIC programming and learned to love working with computers! Over the years I’ve worked on many different products using many different development tools, but my main interest was always in developing software that an end user got to use every day. Lenovo has provided a great opportunity to work on all kinds of new technology, and to be able to focus on specific interesting ones, like security and NFC.
Serene: Interesting background, but how did you get into area of software development?
David: It was a natural progression for me to move from developing software based on input from others, to having more of an impact in design and future direction using my own technical expertise, plus lots of work with customers and other technology providers. It’s very rewarding to be involved in the early stages of a product, make significant decisions that define the direction of the product, and work with a great team to see it get done and into the hands of users.
Serene : What was the biggest project you have worked on so far? What were the challenges?
David : I’ve worked on lots of big projects over the years, but I’ll use my work as a software architect on the original Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet as an example. It was our first enterprise-focused tablet, and it was also the first Android-based product for many of us on the team. There were so many challenges in bringing this product to market, including coming up with build processes, working with new hardware components, and working with third party software vendors. My focus on the product was on security and manageability, so it was very challenging – and rewarding – to explore new ideas in these areas on the Android platform. Ultimately, we delivered a product that had its positives and negatives, but we learned a lot from the experience!
Serene: What are some of the things aspiring developers/architects should take note of when trying their hand at developing apps?
David: Our group has had an increased focus on code quality. We’ve learned that doing all the design work up front, from the user experience to how the software components will work together, makes a big difference in delivering quality software. Sometimes that work isn’t as exciting as actually getting to write new code, but you’ll find that doing that upfront work will make the code development experience, and debugging, go much more smoothly. There are many good tools out there to help in doing proper design work, so use them! It will help you in the long run!
Serene: What would you hope community users will ask you about? What is the expected turnaround time?
David: I’d love to hear community users proposing some new ideas or concepts they’d like to pursue, and asking me for any suggestions on how to implement those ideas or to help refine them to make great products. The turnaround time will depend on the question – if I have to do some research on a question it may take a few days. If there are just requests for input on ideas or concepts, then I should be able to respond within a day or two.
Have a question for David? Join in the conversation here.
Missed the Lenovo App Development Team's tweet chat on the ThinkPad 8?
Here's a few highlights from the hour-long event, which saw Alysia Baker, ThinkPad Product Marketing Manager, answer questions about the ThinkPad 8 tablet, as well on as app development for the product.
Q: What does the Lenovo App Development Program offer to developers?
A: Our developer program offers a community forum, developer resources, member discounts and loaner prog.)
Q: What is the Quickshot cover and what kinds of apps would work with it? @midrosoftdev #lenovodev
A: The Quickshot cover incorporates "wink" functionality. The camera app loads when you put down the flap #lenovodev
Our customers don't have to fumble around with removing their cover and loading the camera app #lenovodev
Q: Any specific types of apps you're hoping devs will key in on?
A: Our Quickshot cover and camera feature is popular and there is some opportunity to expand that functionality #lenovodev
Q: What are some types of apps that would be great for that beautiful FHD screen?
A: Almost anything visual. Super bright 370nit screen makes even PP pop.
Q: Is the TP8 stylus-capable? Do you think the platform would be good for note-taking? Is there already an app?
Pen experience is personal and is a big area of needed improvement. Screen res will be less an issue in future.
Q: Can you briefly speak on NFC technology and Think tablets?
A: TP 8 has NFC and 2 preloaded apps - QuickDisplay (Tap 2Display) and QuickCast (Tap 2Share). NFC is must on tablet.
For the full transcript of the event, click here.
Want to know more about our app development program or share tips and tricks? Join in the conversation here. And keep an eye out for other hangouts and tweetchats coming your way.
He had never done anything of this nature before, but community moderator zoltanthegypsy rose to the occasion, trying his hand at developing an Android app on a Yoga Tab 8 we sent him. He shares his experience here:
I recently had my first taste of Android development. With no prior Android experience – as either a user or developer – it was pretty interesting. The occasion was porting a toy tcl/tk application that was running in Windows, Linux, and Apple’s OS over to the Android environment. More about that later. Much later…
First, thanks to Lenovo for providing the Yoga Tablet 8 for this exercise. I’m a old-school keyboard and TrackPoint using command-line c coder, so I was a pleasantly surprised by the little tablet’s capabilities. The touchscreen is very readable and usable and the “kickstand” is a nice feature. It’s handy to have the YT8 propped up and visible while using an external keyboard or poking at it from an attached PC.
Battery life is ridiculous. In all my playing with it, I haven’t needed to recharge yet. I can’t give you specific numbers but in my use case it looks to be at least 10+ hours. Nice.
Another very useful feature is the OTG (on-the-go) micro USB port. The provided standard micro USB cable works for charging or attaching to a PC for file transfer. With an OTG adapter plugged in, the tablet becomes a USB host. The OTG adapter provides a female USB connector that can be used to attach a keyboard (nice for development work) or things like my USB flash nunchucks (pictured below) for file backup and off-line transfer.
Bluetooth is also available. The Lenovo compact USB and Bluetooth keyboards worked very well with the YT8.
A pair of apps were immediate necessities. I’m comfortable working from the Linux command line (a Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android environment – mostly invisible to the user) so I needed a terminal emulator. Off to the Google Play Store and grabAndroid Terminal Emulator. It was obvious very quickly that the stock on-screen keyboard was going to be a challenge. Arrow keys to recall and modify previous command line entries are close to mandatory. Back to the Play Store and add Hacker’s Keyboard. There are some really excellent free apps available via the Play store. Who knew?
Now it’s easy to navigate the internals of the system – hunting down file paths and manipulating things not easily accessible via the stock file browser. I’ll admit that it was often even easier yet to attach the YT8 to my desktop PC and just use Windows Explorer (yeah, I’m running Win 7 on the desktop) to navigate the tablet’s filesystem. The tablet shows up as an attached storage device in explorer.
Development guides and tools:
To the bookstore… some browsing and guesswork led me to Ed Burnette’s Hello Android. For me – the totally clueless – it was a good place to start. Looks like development is usually done with an Android emulator running on a host machine. Faster is better. See below.
The book said to install Java (the development kit, not just the runtime), an IDE, and the Android SDK. Things change fast in this realm so it was a little easier than that. The JDK SE 7 development kit comes from Oracle. Everything else can be found at the Android developer site. The Android SDK now includes the Eclipse IDE, so that’s a plus.
First impression of the Android emulator: slow. Really, really slow. Unusably slow. This can be greatly improved by installing the Intel Hardware Accelerated Execution Manager (HAXM) and an x86 Atom System Image. These allow taking advantage of the host computer’s hardware virtualization. Thanks to this article: Slow Android emulator, which provided some guidance. Else, I would have been stuck with this.
I wanted to add the Terminal Emulator and Hacker’s keyboard to the emulator. Another thing that you real developers already know: in order for the emulation to install apps from the Google Play Store, it’s necessary to link the emulation to a Google account. To do that, the Google APIs must be added to the Android emulation. Use the SDK manager in the Android IDE. Another way to do this is to browse to the app in the store and then follow the link to the individual app’s author’s site. There’s usually a download link there.
The project. At last:
This began with a desire to try some GUI programming. In my professional life I design hardware and write Linux and Solaris device drivers and test code. Command line stuff. vi and BASH. No GUI experience at all.
My little toy GUI project was a Sudoku solver written tcl/tk using Active’s free community edition multi-platform tcl. It doesn’t do anything useful but was a good learning experience. For fun it will try to solve (but not generate) Sudoku puzzles in Arabic numerals (123…) or Kanji (四, 五, 六).
Problem is, that’s tcl/tk. Android requires Java. Yikes. The conversion could take forever since I don’t know Java. Lenovo’s Android developer forum and AndroWish to the rescue…
The Lenovo forums have recently added the Lenovo Developer Community, includingAndroid Ecosystem Developers. I posted a n00b’s request for guidance there: [Android n00b] how to begin? No idea how such a basic request would be received.
I got an almost immediate reply from Christian Werner, the author and maintainer ofAndroWish. This is a wonderful project that’s brought tcl/tk to Android. With his encouragement – he even caught a typo in my code that had been lurking there all along – I quickly had my little toy program running in the Android emulator and on the Yoga Tab 8. Maybe I can put off learning Java for another year or two
At this time it’s necessary to launch my little program from AndroWish’s command line. The next phase of the project will be to convert it into an actual Android app. Christian has provided tools and a how to: HelloTclTk.
Many thanks to Christian Werner for his help, to the nice people at the comp.lang.tcl newsgroup for getting me going in the fist place, and to Lenovo for providing the Yoga Tab 8 – and a place to post and share.
..oh, almost forgot…
Have experience in app development or want to know more about this from like-minded individuals? Join our app development community here!
Having owned several Lenovo products, forum guru ColonelONeill had the opportunity to put a Flex 15 through the paces recently, and he shares his experience in this review:
The IdeaPad Flex 15 hails from a totally different family tree compared to my current set of laptops (I have the X61t, W520, and previously, the T400), making the first consumer laptop to pass through my hands in a long time. Ergo, it had high standards to compare itself against, but it did not disappoint.
(Flat Flex: How the Flex 15 looks when displayed flat on a table.)
The build quality on the IdeaPad Flex 15 appears very good; it felt quite solid. The hinges were quite stiff (two-handed operation is required), and went the full 300 degrees with no problems. Battery placement between the hinges was quite clever too. The texture on the lid is really slick, although dust seems to stick to it for some reason. A little disconcerting was the extent to which the lid twisted, but it presented no artifacts. In fact, the machine will support itself from a corner of the lid ThinkPad-style with no problems.
(Flexing the Flex 15 - how the system 'folds')
Physically, the Flex 15 isn’t too svelte a machine with a footprint exceeding the W520, albeit at about half the thickness. Nevertheless, the machine is fairly light, and slips into a backpack easily. The black-grey color scheme I quite like, much better than the fruity orange alternative that Lenovo also offers.
In terms of port selection, the IdeaPad Flex 15 comes with one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI output, a cleverly designed Ethernet jack, a half-depth SD card slot, and headset port. Additionally, the power button can be found on the right side of the machine, along with what appears to be a reset button and a physical volume rocker switch
(From the top: ColonelONeill's X61T, followed by his W520 and the Flex 15)
Initial setup went smoothly as with all Windows 8 systems, and it quickly became a usable system. The combination of Windows 8, UEFI, and an SSD made for really short boot times. Note that for those interested, there is also an HDD option available.
The display of the Flex 15 was shipped with a significant blue cast, but a quick eyeball calibration with Windows’ calibration wizard got the color temperature on par with my W520’s display (using someone’s Spydered profile). Brightness was very good, although black levels were quite high. As long as you’re not aiming for color accurate work, the screen will do fine. However, I must say that the screen resolution was a little low for such a large display nowadays; hence, workspace suffered accordingly. Standard glossy screen gripes apply.
Out of the box, there was a wacky Synaptics driver that didn’t seem to do the job right. It seemed to fail to reject movement noise, especially when pressing down on the touchpad. Updating to the latest available ones (navigate to support.lenovo.com and select Drivers and Software) helped significantly. Physically speaking, the touchpad was large and roomy, with pseudo-physical buttons. Being a TrackPoint person and still being uncomfortable with touchpads, I soon switched to using the touchscreen.
On this note, the 10-point touchscreen behaved well at all times, and was quite responsive under Windows 8. No hassles there. Switching the laptop into stand mode disables the keyboard (but not the touchpad, possibly due to custom drivers), and exposes the touchscreen as the sole interface device. The on-screen keyboard worked as expected of touch-based devices, but this, personally, I felt isn’t the best solution for data entry.
The keyboard was surprisingly good. While it isn’t quite a ThinkPad keyboard, it is a solid contender; I found no significant areas of flex, and there was a consistent response from all keys. Typing was fairly accurate, although the key throw was a little shallow for personal preferences. Median typing speed was around 120WPM on this machine. Leaving F4 and F5 as their usual selves in the function keys is a neat idea, although it didn’t respond to Ctrl+F4 and Ctrl+F5 as expected.
Battery life was top-notch; the Haswell ULV chip draws a nominal amount of power under standard operating conditions. Typically, it will run around 8-10 hours with basic office tasks (browsing, IM, document editing). Intriguingly, having USB devices plugged in drained far less power relative to my W520 under the same situation.
Performance-wise, the ULV is more than enough for office-oriented tasks and light media consumption. The integrated HD4400 will run Counter-Strike Source plenty fine with nearly max settings (less anti-aliasing) at the native 1366x768 at a solidly playable 50+ FPS. In fact, this machine can run Crysis at around 30 FPS native resolution, which is quite playable, albeit it being somewhat of an eyesore that can’t really be called Crysis.
(Color Crysis: How the game looks on the Flex 15's screen.)
Under nominal office conditions, the cooling system usually runs passively, occasionally spooling up to push out some accumulated heat. Running games pushes the chipset’s power consumption (as measured by HWMonitor) up to its rated 15W, and requires the fan to run continuously to maintain an equilibrium temperature of around 52 degrees Celsius. A bit annoyingly, the fan’s sound profile isn’t very good; the noise generated is quite noticeable in a quiet room, especially when it first kicks into gear.
All in all, the IdeaPad Flex 15 is a solid machine that gets the job done. Personally, it felt quite paradoxically like a part desktop replacement, part Ultrabook, and fills both segments quite well. Performance is adequate, and battery life is stellar, which makes it great for taking to lectures or libraries. Build quality feels great, though only time will tell how long it stands up to the rigors of student life. One key suggestion is a better 1920x1080 display option, solving the biggest gripe I have with a machine of its stature.
Have a Flex 15 and have tips on how to improve user experience?Join in the discussion here.
Lenovo invited me to come along to CES with them again this year, and naturally I said an enthusiastic yes! For a geek, being able to go with a hardware manufacturer is a dream come true! Being behind the scenes, talking to all the Lenovo employees and other advocates and visitors, handling all the new products – all of these make for quite a rush! I’ll try to compress a whirlwind week of experiences into a few paragraphs and pictures.
First, the products:
Of course, the first thing we went for was the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon and the ThinkPad 8. Both of them were beautiful, solid systems that we spent a lot of time handling. Being such a fan of the classic keyboards, I was surprised to find out how much the new X1’s Adaptive Function row appealed to me. The ThinkPad8 is a beauty and fit so nicely in my purse. If it hadn’t been for that tether…
In the pic above, you can also see the keyboard of the gaming notebook with its red backlight. I typed on it for a little while and really liked the feel of the keys. The phones, while not (yet) sold in the USA were very nice. The one I’m holding in the pic felt good in my hand.
Here's a few of the people I spent the week with:
Meeting everyone is even better than seeing and holding the products. There’s Lee who sat down with us while we were eating lunch one day and told us all about how Lenovo tests dust; Nazia who was our hostess and made sure we made it from event to event on time; Mike who manned the X1 Carbon table and let us walk around with untethered X1s; Gavin and Kevin taping the unboxing video; David, another advocate, who was as awed as I was with the experience; left to right, there’s Gavin, Garick (another advocate) and Rod who is over Social Media in Singapore and finally me, actually holding a new X1 Carbon. Lenovo did a great job of including us in so many activities and making sure that we had access to anything we needed to make our experience great!
Gavin called this a Social Media Caper:
This is something Lenovo did in Times Square earlier last year and reprised in Las Vegas. This was so much fun! We walked down the Strip from the Venetian to the Bellagio meeting people along the way and signing them up to win a Yoga Tablet that had been autographed by Ashton Kutcher. Here’s a few of the people we met along the way
And, finally, the food:
I think the pictures say it all - we did not go hungry!
All in all, the 5 days went by in a flash! We walked for miles, we ate until we were stuffed, we saw Penn & Teller and Cirque du Soliel’s Ka and met so many new friends. Lenovo put on a grand party for their customers and advocates, and I can only say a fervent thanks for letting me go along for the ride!
Noticed a new section within our forum community?
Yep, that's right. We have opened up a brand new space for folks out there who are interested to know more about this area, and for you to share your knowledge.
Krista Summitt, Chief Storyteller for Lenovo Dev, describes what this space will be for:
"We’re striving to build a global community of developers who are stoked about creating apps for Lenovo PC+ devices and Lenovo Innovation Technologies.
Peer to peer support is king. As with the main hardware boards, support, info, and moderation comes from the community, not Lenovo staff.
Sharing any "knowledge base" types of content you have created that would help the community.
What the Windows Developers Board Is For. We are obviously looking for Windows desktop and Win8 metro development conversations (duh! I know) , but here are some specific items we'd love to hear about from you:
How We Roll Here…
In general ,the vibe on these boards will be transparent, useful, challenging, and non-marketing-speak-ish. We try to save the “unique selling propositions” and “corporate-speak” to the marketing crowd. We try not to take ourselves too-too seriously as well. "
So make yourselves at home. Join in the conversation here!
Lenovo has graciously invited me to come along to #CES2014 with them again this year! Last year, I got to meet Andreas Gotthelf from here in the forum as well as Gavin O’Hara, David Roman and many of the other Lenovo employees. This year, David Gross, Chris Karrafa and I are teamed up to represent the advocates, and I’m looking forward to meeting both of them. Like Andreas did for me, I’ve been sharing tips with them for the trip (stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, get your Twitter account warmed up).
If you followed the CES2013 board last year, you know that Andreas and I had pretty much free-rein in the Lenovo Lounge where all the products were on display, and we did our best to take pictures of every square inch of every product to share with you. David, Chris and I will be doing the same thing this year.
Last year, the Helix was the device that I was so attracted to – going back to it again and again to hold it, seeing how it felt in my hands, poking at the screen, checking out the latch mechanism. I can’t wait to see what will be unveiled this year. I’ve seen the phone announcement that went out a couple of days ago, and I think there will be more announcements this afternoon (writing this on Sunday morning).
What are we going to see? Will there be a new multi-function device building off the Helix form factor? How tiny have they made the desktops? Just how much ThinkPad is there in the ThinkPad Yoga? As a co-founder of the 7-row-keyboard
fan club cult, what is going to be my reaction to the new “buttons” in the TrackPad? What is Lenovo going to announce that will excite me? I’ll be sharing all those answers and more here and on Twitter, FB, Instagram and G+.
I’ll keep an eye on the CES2014 board in the Special Event section of the forum for questions from you guys and will try to get answers for you!
Have a question for Jane, or want her to take pics/ ask our execs a particular question? Post in the CES 2014 board!
Happy New Year!
2013 was a very interesting year indeed for our forum support community with the rollout of the newest Windows operating systems, on top of the usual new product and line launches, particularly the network storage devices and our expansion into the phone and tablet market.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who have gone on this learning journey with us, especially the moderators and gurus, as well as Microsoft MVPs, who continually help us out with maintaining a conducive environment for healthy discussions.
The spirit of Community in our forums is truly amazing.
One of the threads that I have come across that really showcase this is this thread started by Synergy, who signed up especially to share his experience upgrading his system to Windows 8.1. As the thread progressed, more and more community users came in to verify and share additional insights they gained from the experience, including SpideyMan, Mikey94025 and Dieschote.
This was teamwork at its best.
As we start another year, we wish to thank you in advance, and we really look forward to your continued positive participation in our community!
Was helped out by someone outstanding in our forums and wish to give this person or persons a shoutout? Post here!
How quickly time flies – it’s that time of the year again – our forums’ anniversary, and what a ride it has been for us as a whole.
As you know, ours is a peer-to-peer technical support community run by volunteer moderators and gurus, who form the backbone of our family, as not only do they help alongside you with the questions, they also help us keep the community going by ensuring that discussions are kept on track and conducive for exchanges.
As we celebrate our sixth birthday, we catch up with some of the moderators and gurus, who share a bit about themselves and get their thoughts on how the forums have changed or evolved the past six years.
In 2007, even before the English community went live I was invited by Jane L as I was (and am still) active in other ThinkPad forums, even before the official Lenovo Forums were opened to the public.
The same reason drew me to stay here and on other platforms – a simple love for the ThinkPad.
As time passes, I stayed on because I found myself being able to help others, and this urge to do so has kept me going over time.
Looking at the forums over the past six years, I must say that the community has evolved tremendously, and I am hoping it will just continue to grow and flow on its own.
I got onto the forums by chance, when I had an issue with my ThinkPad, and was not able to solve the issue on my own. I did a search on the internet, and the Lenovo forums came up as having a solution. I tried the proposed solution and it solved it and later, encountered another. I then registered as a forum member and posted a question on the new issue to ask for help. I then stayed on because I found myself being able to help others despite having a limited knowledge then of ThinkPads, as most of the problems posted were simple and could be resolved quite easily (if you knew what you were doing.)
As my knowledge on the subject of ThinkPads grew, my compulsion to stay and help others likewise grew stronger. Visiting this community to help others has become somewhat of a hobby for me.
I came looking for advice in setting up my first ThinkPad. I started first at ThinkPads.com and found a reference to the forums. I saw some posts that I knew the answer to. My first solution made me feel good, so I tried to help out more.
Over time, I find this community and its members have become family, and which I belong to.
The community has evolved big time over the years. I saw Lenovo weaning away from IBM and standing on its own two feet. It continues and I'm just caught up in it. I'm just happy that I can be a part of it in my own small way. All the changes I've seen have all been for the good. There will always be a few growing pains along the way, but that's life.
In May 2011 I bought an IdeaPad Y560p laptop at a retailer in Thailand, but unfortunately discovered a sound dropout fault in this machine. Searching the net I found a thread in Lenovo Forum concerning this dropout issue... but without a solution, i posted asking for help anyway.
Next I contacted Lenovo Thailand Tech Support and discussed the problem with the very competent and helpful support-tech. A few days later he called me with the good news, that he found out that an older version BIOS would solve the sound dropout and then downloaded this BIOS file to my machine... problem solved... I was impressed by the excellent fast service and was very happy.
Subsequently I adopted the above mentioned Lenovo Forum thread just to help other Y560p users, who suffered from this very sound fault, by providing them with the BIOS version I had received from Lenovo Thailand. At that time there was no BIOS offered on Lenovo’s driver download page for the Y560p model laptop. A new fixed version BIOS was only available about six months later.
I was then later invited to become a guru, and found it to be fun to answer users’ questions in the forum and offer possible solutions to problems with their Lenovo laptops.
As time passes, I find the Forum community is steadily progressing for the better and I think it's very good the way it is.
I got my hands on a Lenovo K1 tablet two years back and was fascinated by the discussions in the English community. I was aware there was a sister Spanish language community and then decided to lead a discussion on the device there.
As time passed I made more and more friends as I met more people from all over the world through this platform. While I am glad to have helped the community, I would like to say thank you to the people who have helped me as well.
As time passes I honestly find the questions getting more challenging, with as technology changes, and different issues surface. That said, I am very happy to help in whatever ways I can here.
Have some idea or suggestions about how our community looks and feels? Tell us your suggestions here. And thank YOU for being a part of this awesome family as well.
I just received one of the Yoga #betterway tablets to try out and review.
Join the discussion >>> HERE and I might choose YOU to receive a Yoga Tablet of your very own! An early holiday present!
Posting on behalf of agotthelf (Andreas Gotthelf)
The long wait finally comes to an end. Lenovo just revealed their newest member to their Yoga family, the Yoga Tablet. The new Yoga Tablets, which come in 8" or 10 " (hence Yoga Tab 8 or 10) have 1.2 GHz quad core processors, 1GB Ram, 1280x800 pixel display resolution. So regardless of what screen size you need, Lenovo has got a device for you.
You don´t have to carry much weight with you also. The Yoga Tablet 8 weighs 401 grams and the 10.1 inch model just 605 grams.(note: for WiFi only models; the 3G models weighs approximately five grams more).
Because of the special hinge design the amount of force needed to hold it in your hand is minimized. It's so easy to carry the tablet around.
I think absolutely great is the news about 18 hours of battery life on the new Yoga Tablet. So will have enough time to consume, create and share that content you want.
As you know certainly know the Yoga family is famous because of their flexibility and their different modes. The new Yoga Tablet offers three modes.
The tablet mode, I´m sure everyone knows how to use this.
The second mode is called Hold mode, which is designed for reading stuff, looking at your photos or just to share content with your friends.
The last one is called Tilt mode and is designed for web browsing, gaming and typing.
On the back of the tablet there are two slots: the right one is for a 64 GB micro SD card and the left one is a micro SIM card slot, which offers the opportunity to connect to 3G networks as well.
The Wifi only version will hit the market right now and the Yoga Tablets with Wifi+3G will come end November.
The sound coming from the stereo speakers is great, because it is enhanced with Dolby Digital Plus DS1. I watched some videos on Youtube and have no complaints at all. The sound is clear, crisp and loud enough.
If you need the tablet for writing your stuff, it is recommended that you then order the Bluetooth 4.01 keyboard, which is only available for the Yoga Tablet 10. You can charge it in only three hours. It´s only 5 millimeters thin and sports a smart Sleep and Wake function in order to save battery time. If you carry it around with your tablet, you can easily attach it to your tablet screen and it works then as a screen protector.
A lot of accessories, like sleeves or colorful back covers are available, too. So it is really easy to customize your tablet or fit a cover to a color that you like at a particular moment. There will be a wireless display adapter available too.
All in all, I think both models offer a powerful way to consume, create or share the content you want to. The price for the Yoga Tablet 8 is 229 € and for the 10 inch model it is 299 €. The keyboard for the 10 inch model cost 99 €.
So it is really an affordable device which fits in every mode of your life.
Best and greetings from Milan
Have a #betterway in which you use your tablet? Share your nifty trick here and who knows? A surprise may come your way.
Welcome to the Lenovo Forums Community!
As you may be aware, ours is primarily a peer-to-peer technical support community where knowledge is shared and contributed by fellow product users, who through their use of our various products, lend their expertise and experience in answering the questions you may have, or issues that you may encounter.
So how should you ensure that your query gets answered as quickly as possible?
As you type, a list of related discussions or articles will then appear on the dropdown menu:
Click on SEARCH once you are done.
You can also choose to pull Search results from the Community threads or discussions, or from our Knowledge Base articles, or refine your Search results through the various filter options by clicking on Advanced Options.
2. Provide details about your product
Say you searched , but found that no one else has the same issue. What you can do now is to register an account with our community so that you can post your question. (Or just log in if you already have an account)
During the registration process, we ask that you tell us your country of residence, so that our community may provide you better and more suitable suggestions on resources closest to your location.
Once you registered and verified your account (check your inbox of the email address you provided during your registration; click on the link sent there by us), use the following guidelines when you are posting:
- Tell us what laptop/ desktop you are using and its operating system
If you are asking about, for instance, an issue regarding a T420 laptop, look for the ThinkPad board. In this case, post inside the Discussion of T400 / T500 and newer Txx series ThinkPads section. Tell us if you are using Windows Vista/ 7/ 8? 32 bit or 64 bit? Linux? Ubuntu? This gives our community a much better idea of the platform on which you are running your system so they can help diagnose your problem/ issue. If possible, try also recalling and providing information on when you had updated the drivers of your machine (if ever.)
P.S We ask that you do not 'hijack' existing discussions - if you have a new issue related to an old topic, please start a new thread instead. If you have a similar symptom but a different model system, please start a new thread but include a link to the discussion you found that may be related. This will help others in the community "connect the dots" .
3. Be specific about the symptoms, and include them in the thread title.
By choosing a good thread / topic title that is specific for your system and your symptoms, you will increase the odds that other members of the community will respond to your thread. This matters for several reasons. First, it helps others understand the system and issue while scanning the board. Secondly, it helps others who are using search within the community. Lastly, it helps other customers who are using Google, Bing, or Yahoo find your question (and hopefully the subsequent solution) even if they weren't specifically looking for this forum.
As you begin posting, tell the community about your system and the issue you are having. Try to recall what were you doing when the issue or problem occurred? Specifying this shortens the time needed for our community to make a diagnosis and help you carry out troubleshooting.
The following is a pretty good example of what to do:
We understand your frustrations when it seems as if no one has the answer to your question. But returning a few hours later and typing in ‘BUMP’/ ‘UP’ or any similar comments in response to your thread doesn’t really help. Re-read your post. Are there additional details you can provide so the community can help you? Were there other things that you did after you posted that did/ did not work?
Instead of "bump", try posting a follow on comment with additional details that you might have remembered, more troubleshooting that you have tried in the elapsed time, or perhaps links you found to similar discussions elsewhere in the forum or even on other sites. This moves your thread back to the top, gives the community more information to help solve the problem, and shows that you are actively working on the issue.
Remember ours is a peer-to-peer technical support community – everyone is here to help!
Hope the above helped you in getting your answers more quickly! Also, if there is a special someone in our community who went out of his/ her way to help you, or provided an excellent tip, give them a kudo, and let us know in the Forum Housekeeping board!
Avid gamer and community guru ColonelONeill test drives the C540, and shares his thoughts on gaming on the touch-enabled system here.
The C540 is an immediately likeable machine, with an appropriate form-factor, and a humble, muted physical design. Out-of-the-box experience was a quick and smooth experience, and Windows 8 makes beautiful use of the hardware; gestures were snappy, and programs loaded quickly. It was almost dead silent; you can barely hear the noise of the fan and hard drive even in a silent room.
One of my first orders of business was to try surfing the net using the touch-screen instead of a keyboard-mouse. Commands missed much more rarely than I expected, which I later found out was due to Windows 8’s fancy new fuzzy targeting algorithm. Desktop Firefox behaved a bit strangely with touch; half of the time it couldn’t figure out if I was selecting text or scrolling the page.
As a desktop/media station crossover, it seemed appropriate to install XBMC. The HD2500 integrated graphics handled it splendidly, and responses to touch gestures were very fluid. After tweaking the screens calibration a bit, it became a great media consumption device.
The i3-3120 clocks in at 3.40 GHz on two physical cores, so I figured it was time to try some heavier tasks. As such, I loaded up one of my favorite games, Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. This game is quite demanding on systems, despite hailing from the technologically ancient year of 2007. The graphics chip faltered here, and I had to turn visual effects way down to make it playable. However, the simulation speed (entirely CPU based) never dipped for a second.
Furthermore, seeing as touch-screens weren’t mainstream in 2007, the game was built entirely for keyboard and mouse interaction. Nevertheless, I set out to play exclusively with the touch-screen controls. Testing the waters, the game responded fairly well to touch input, zooming in-and-out with pinch zooming, and box selecting units successfully. Tap-and-hold also properly indicated a right-click. With the basic commands out of the way, my first issue was with the lack of the idea of ‘hover’ with touch-screens, which made it difficult to place a building in an exact location. Zooming didn’t trigger a little more often than I would’ve liked, but was generally well-behaved. Certain actions still had to be keyboard-triggered though (e.g.: holding Shift is necessary to issue waypoint orders). I’d like to see Lenovo include a configurable on-screen button overlay program, the same way physical buttons are emulated on mobile devices.
In the end, I did get two main takeaways from the effort. The first is that playing with a touchscreen isn’t quite feasible. While the gestures were smooth and well-behaved, holding ones hands up to a vertical screen for an hour is quite an exercise in endurance. Secondly, the surface of the screen too much friction for repeated dragging; it burns the surface of the finger. A different surface texture would be nice, or perhaps a screen protector.
Putting the games away for productivity, the conventional keyboard comes back into play. For extended typing, the touch-screen is less than practical. Saying that, typing accuracy is pretty good with the on-screen keyboard (despite the awkward angle). The keyboard that ships with the C540 types a lot like the keyboard on my X100e, which is a good keyboard all around. While nothing to write home about, the stock keyboard and mouse don’t get in the way.
All in all, the C540 is a good media, work, and even light gaming machine. It offers lots of bang for the buck, and has no major flaws. It would have been nice for a discrete graphics card option, but that’s just the gamer in me talking. Ultimately, it’s a great choice for a shared family computer.
Technology journalist Michael Archambault, otherwise known as Marcham93 in our forums, experiences, for the first time in his life, gaming and writing on a touch-screen desktop, and tells us how the B540 has improved the way he consumes digital content here:
A few weeks ago, Lenovo shipped out their multimedia IdeaCentre B540 desktop to my front door; since then, I have been putting the 23 inch touch screen all-in-one desktop through its paces. To my happiness and Lenovo’s honor, the B540 is an incredible system to work with.
When I go to sleep at night I leave my machine in Sleep mode for fast access in the morning. As a technology journalist I need to have access to the latest content as fast as possible and the IdeaCentre’s Intel Core processor and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM make that a reality.
After I pull myself out of bed and start up the IdeaCentre I’m welcomed by the touch friendly start screen of Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows 8. Before testing out the IdeaCentre B540, I had never interacted with Windows 8 on a screen size of such magnitude and let me tell you – it makes all the difference.
As I scroll through my morning news, whether via an RSS client or an official publication house’s application, the B540 responds perfectly to my touch and never lags behind. The edgeless design of the unit is not only beautiful, but also allows for Windows 8 edge gestures to be picked up correctly and this makes the machine all that better to use.
Being able to interact with a large touch screen monitor is like a dream from science fiction movies of long ago come true; the Lenovo B540 helps to connect consumers and make those dreams a reality. Scrolling through content, checking my email, and interacting with friends is only a touch away – literally.
One of my favorite uses of the touch screen, outside of work purposes, is playing some of the hot new games from the Window’s Store. You really haven’t played or experience Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride until you’ve played them on a gorgeous touch screen display such as this one.
When I’m not playing games, the IdeaCentre B540 has certainly helped pick up my productivity and get me what I need more quickly. Touch is the future of user interaction and Lenovo has certainly nailed it down here. Swiping through my never-ending list of emails, flicking through PowerPoint presentations, and working in Photoshop have become an enjoyable experience.
Let’s not forget that this machine is a multimedia All-In-One loaded with an NVidia GeForce 615M 1GB graphic card, a whopping 8 GB of RAM, and a speedy 7200 RPM 2TB hard drive. If I want to watch a movie or go dungeon questing in World of Warcraft – this machine can handle it. I was quite surprised at the level of detail the built-in speakers achieved and for once, I felt I didn’t have to demand the speakers be thrown aside for external ones.
My only wish for a future iteration of the system, would be the inclusion of a more powerful graphics card. The NVidia GeForce card placed within the Lenovo B540 is a mobile card designed for laptops and while it can handle games, as I mentioned above – I want to be able to up the detailed settings as much as I can. Hopefully Lenovo will either add a more powerful GPU down the line or we will see an all-in-one touchscreen desktop from their gaming line of IdeaCentre PCs.
That said, all in, I was excited to try out Lenovo’s latest all-in-one desktop and I was not disappointed. The unit’s 23 inch touchscreen could not be overlooked and to my surprise – improved my productivity. Couple the touch features with an NVidia graphics card and Dolby Advanced Audio and you’ve got the ultimate machine – Lenovo’s IdeaCentre B540 Desktop.
Lifelong ThinkPadder Jeremiah lands an IdeaPad for the first time, a Yoga11S, and comes out so impressed by this new guy on the block that before he wrote this review, actually thought of running his car over it to see if the convertible can survive.
Here's what he thinks about the Yoga11S:
I was never a fan of the IdeaPad series.
Having been a loyal and steadfast supporter of the ThinkPad line, the Yoga 11S was the first Idea system I ever owned. I’m impressed so far, as the Yoga screams quality and innovation.
‘Mature’ is the last word I expected to use to describe an innovative product; maturity just doesn’t fit. Nevertheless the Yoga 11s exudes maturity. It is strange, considering this is the first product cycle of its life. But we aren’t talking about product cycles really, are we? Remember Pokemon? This, to me, is the final form.
The Yoga’s purpose is simple - it’s engineered to be an instrument marrying work and play, a union of what you want and what you need. If you had just one device to exist in our connected world, this is it. I’ve used it for about a month as a replacement for every gadget in my bag of tricks (besides the cell phone) and found it did the trick.
I’m not going to talk about software much in this review, when it really comes down to it Windows 8 it is pretty much the same across the board. What I’m deep diving into is the hardware. I tested a Yoga 11s with the following specs: i7 3689Y, 256 GB SSD, and 8 GB DDR3.
The hardware reminds me of the ThinkPad line. The outside of the Yoga is more striking than I’d expected, covered in a finish that I can only describe as metal leather. This, I find, is very reminiscent of the original Pocket Yoga design. And this feature itself is enough to start a love affair with this laptop for me.
The palmrest was the next thing that I immediately noticed. See the grainy texture going up and down? Better than a ThinkPad. That’s right. I said it. No horizontal movement or temperature change. I really didn’t think that was possible. No more freezing palms in winter, or sweaty mitts in summer. As a former service manager for a computer repair shop I’d like to think that I’ve handled close to 100% of the laptops out on the market and this is THE BEST palmrest I’ve ever put my hands on. I did not expect this much attention to detail put into in what I had thought in the past to be a low-end product. This one feature forced me to rethink my entire view of the Idea line.
While my love for and loyalty remain with the classic Thinkpad keyboard (7-rows FTW), I recently made the switch to a 6-row and I must say it was easier than I expected. I’m not going to feed you a load of drivel and tell you that the Yoga’s six-row keyboard is the bomb. It isn’t. It’s not meant to be. Key-presses are clean, travel is short and the layout is good, really good for an 11” Laptop. I had zero issues with drivers when changing to different modes, even when running multiple hefty programs in an attempt to throw it for a loop. It reliably turns on or off when flipping the screen around (which I do with much gusto). All in all, the keyboard is easy to use and is very quiet.
The Yoga’s trackpad is large – it’s a tiny bit smaller than that of an average laptop hard-drive.
Clicks, taps and gestures are all well recognized. I have no complaints here; the surface is smooth yet tactile. The keyboard is the same – operation of and on it is smooth - just flip the screen around and the view/ orientation is adjusted accordingly.
These are the ports available on the Yoga 11S: 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, 1 HDMI out, 1 SD/MMC reader and a charging port. No more than you need, except for an Ethernet port. I miss that, but if you pressed me, I couldn’t tell you a time over the past month that I’ve needed it. Weird, as at one point in time I would have considered it indispensible.
My biggest complaint: speakers. At first I thought it was something wrong with Netflix. Then I was sure that the stock Windows 8 audio driver was used in the system. I poked around for a good half hour and I came to the realization: my cell phone is twice as loud as this laptop. That said, fidelity over headphones was great but the laptop absolutely cannot be taken to a party without a set of external speakers, with it emitting WEEB WEEB WEEB instead of WOB WOB WOB (embarrassing, much?). The fan is in the back near the speakers so it’s not overly loud but kind of like the speakers. Bah-dum-dum-tish!
The webcam works great – with a resolution of 720p it’s one of the best I’ve ever used. I used the Yoga during the G+ Hangout with Lenovo if you caught it last month. The picture and colors were extremely clean and tracking was good.
Download/ Wi-Fi speeds
I downloaded Steam and Portal 2 within 20 minutes over Wi-Fi.. Download and upload speeds average just above 40mbps down at home (throttled from the cable company). At Startup or Resume the Wifi reconnects to my router before I can get to the setting. The Yoga’s range is impressive; reception deteriorated only after a distance of 60 ft from my Netgear N600. I took the Yoga with me to a local coffee shop and had a excellent connection as it was more than enough for me to have a video chat with my Dad on Hangouts really quick, and I could surf the web at the same time.
The screen is very colorful, and a super bright 320-Lux. That’s way higher than the industry’s ultraportable average of 234-Lux. Deep, rich color and an excellent contrast ratio make up for the screen not being 1080p. The 10 point Touch is fluid and responds very well to stimuli, even to my toddler’s grubby little hands.
Better yet, I was impressed by the viewing angles provided by the laptop as it was wider than expected, and the IPS screen is fantastic for gameplay.
Graphics and Gaming
Intel’s new 4000 graphics chip is, IMHO, excellent or at the very least it runs Portal 2 like a boss. I ran everything at the highest setting the screen would allow and enjoyed smooth- as- butter play. I actually got a little sidetracked from this review and played for three to four hours. Oops. Then not 24 hours later, one of my wonderful friends gifted me Borderlands 2 on Steam. (Why do they do this when I have work to do?)! I dived into setting up the GPU settings for Borderlands and was delighted to run everything at the max but bullet decals and anisotropic filtering. All I’ve seen up to level 11 is very minimal lag during splices between cut scenes and Boss Battles. Now it’s time to see if this sucker sets my pants on fire…
Well thankfully I didn’t need a new pair of pants (heat dissipation is nominal), but I did grab a pair of headphones for Teamspeak 3. More players equals more loot, don’t you know!
I was initially very concerned about the build of the Yoga; as soon as I got it I was determined to break it, thinking that it did not deserve to sit near my ThinkPad collection so I let my three-year-old use it. I have thrown it (seriously!) and still do so into my car every day on my way to work, slammed the lid down, flexed it hard moving the screen back, and dropped it from the kitchen table to the floor. Twice.
And the machine still works beautifully.
There’s not a lot else I can do to the Yoga without throwing gross neglect or negligence into the picture. Color me impressed.
I really don’t think this is an IdeaPad; I am convinced that this is a ThinkPad in sheep’s clothing.
Know what it’s missing? That little red dot I love so much.
Discovered a nifty trick on our Touch-enabled laptops, such as the Yoga11S? Share your expertise and knowledge in our community!
Missed our first ever Tweetout on the Yoga11S? Or the Google Hangout we had?
Fret not – here’'s a quick summary of the questions answered by our panelists and participants, which include the likes of Jeffrey Witt, who is Lenovo’s Director of Product Reviews, and forum advocates Nate Sarbin and Andreas Gotthelf. We also had Lenovo advocates such as David Gross, Jeremiah White, Chris Collins, tech blogger Michelle McGraw, and even Intel come in to answer questions on the new Yoga 11S.
To view the video of the entire Hangout, click on the video below.
What are the key differences between the Yoga11 and Yoga11S?
All three Yogas – the 13, 11 and 11S offer the ability to contort and be flexible, due to the innovation of the Yoga hinge, where testing took a long time (systems were put through more than 25,000 times of opening and closing).
The Yoga 11 is powered by Nvidia Tegra 3 that runs at a maximum clockspeed of 1.3GHZ and features an integrated graphics processor. It runs Windows RT and runs apps designed for the new Windows 8 interface. It comes with 2GB RAM weighs about 2.79 lbs (1.26 kg) and has a 11.6 inch glossy, five-point multi-touch screen. It does not come with a vent.
The Yoga 11S, on the other hand, is powered by the Integrated Intel HD4000 processor and runs full Windows 8 (or, if you want, Windows 8 Pro). As a result of this, it weighs slightly heavier and is slightly thicker than its earlier counterpart as the Intel CPU requires vents. The Yoga 1S has a 10-point capacitive multi-touch display with IPS technology with 300-nit, 1366 x 768 resolution and it also offers up to 8GB of RAM.
The display glass for the Yoga 11S, as shared by Jeffrey Witt, is also thinner, yet sturdier and stiffer due to the One-Glass-Solution, which allows touch sensors to be embedded.
What are the various modes in the Yoga good for?
The Yoga folds into four modes – the laptop mode, the tent mode, stand mode, or tablet mode.
Advocates shared that they liked using the Yoga in tablet mode when they are on the go, especially watching videos whilst in commute. Video viewing and web surfing are also easier, according to Nate Sarbin, in stand-mode, especially when aboard planes. Michelle McGraw, whose favorite app is AllRecipes, loves to use the Yoga in tent mode as this allows her to follow the instructions listed in the various recipes easily, and even watch the videos while cooking for her family.
Just got your hands on a Yoga and have a nifty tip for our community? Share your knowledge here.
Missed our first ever Tweetout event on the Yoga 11S? Fret not - here's yet another chance for you to learn more about our latest offering.
JOIN US for our upcoming live hangout on 17th June, 9pm EST.
Lenovo team & insiders will be going deep on the new Yoga 11s – Features, Modes, Evolution..and a lot more.
Users can send in queries via Twitter or G+ during or before the session using @Lenovo,#lenovohangouts
Learn more about Yoga - www.lenovo.com/yoga
A little info about our hangout participants:
Having been always fascinated by computers and all things related to the internet, avid ThinkPad supporter Jeremiah White beefed up his computing knowledge though his experiences in computer sales, and tinkering with and troubleshooting other people’s systems. Jeremiah now works in the field of Heavy Equipment Construction and spends much of his time helping out other users in the various Lenovo social media channels.
“I have had a passion for technology my whole life. Continuously excited to see how it changes, grows and to what new limits it can be pushed. I love to get my hands on every new piece of hardware I can and test it to its limits. Keeping up with both the computer and mobile spheres I have seen how they have changed over my life and how they are starting to converge in many ways. This love for technology has driven me to pursue a degree in computer science and I hope to move into programming.
Another area of interest for me outside of technology is music. I enjoy rock/metal and have more recently taken an interest in house/dance music though I am open to all types of music. I played guitar for several years in a band and had a blast doing it.”
Michele McGraw (ScrappinMichele) is the creator of ScrapsofMyGeekLife.com, a lifestyle technology blog offering daily commentary, advice, reviews and shared experiences of how her real life and the digital domain connect. Michele’s motto is “Digital, not diamonds and gadgets, not gold.” She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Currently is the VP of operations for a small biotech startup in central Virginia focusing on diabetes therapy, and hopes one day to find a cure. Loves working for a small company as this still allows him to be the techie geek jack-of-all-trades. He faces new challenges daily, which keeps him young, at heart at least
Nate also finds time somehow to help out in the Lenovo Forums English Community, offering tech advice in his capacity of a Community Moderator.
Want to find out more about the Yoga11S?
Make a date with us this Jun 7, 6 pm EST (To check the time the event is taking place in your area, please visit this site.)
Our English and German community moderator, Andreas Gotthelf (@agotthelf) will be one of the four featured guests, and will be sharing his experience with the Yoga11S' predecessor, the Yoga 13, during this event.
Founder and maintainer of LockerGnome, Inc, Chris Pirillo (@ChrisPirillo), and Lenovo Insider Chris Collins (@CollChris) will also tweet about how the Yoga machines fit their lifestyles, and how to get the best of this nifty tool. And better yet, if you have a question about the Yoga's processors, tweet your questions to @Intel then.
Best of all, twitterers with the best answers and responses to questions tweeted out during the event stand to get surprise Lenovo treats!
So make a #Yoga11S date with us during #LenovoTweetout @lenovoforums @lenovo
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