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Review: Lenovo Yoga 300 Intel Celeron 11.6″ Convertible – practical portability from Lenovo

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Rating: ★★★★


  • Good all-rounder for most day-to-day tasks
  • Very decent keyboard with good feedback and decent key size
  • Excellent range of connectivity (3x USB, HDMI, Ethernet, Bluetooth)
  • Very decent wireless connectivity with dual band 802.11ac support
  • Very powerful and cleverly designed charger


  • Touchpad leaves a lot to be desired
  • Intel Celeron processor performs reasonably well but isn’t hugely energy efficient
  • 2GB RAM is fixed and cannot be upgraded
  • Low resolution display (1366×768/720p)

Buy now from Amazon – best price at time of writing £159.99

Buy now from eBay UK – from £210 NEW or £160 NEARLY NEW

It’s been a little while since I last wrote a review for a portable computer, so I thought I’d head back to my roots and see what’s new on the market at the moment. I managed to pick up this budget Lenovo Yoga 300 tablet online and I’ve put it through it’s paces.

The Yoga line from Lenovo is nothing new. The concept is simple – any “Yoga” device has 360° hinges meaning that it is essentially a “convertible” and can theoretically be used as both a tablet and a conventional notebook computer. Yoga laptops from Lenovo have been around since 2012 and the release of Windows 10, but since then they have become more refined and have picked up several improvements.

Inside the box you get the notebook itself, a 45W mains adapter and a small amount of paperwork. Unboxing the device and powering it up for the first time was fairly simple – except I found that I had to plug the unit in for the first time before it would boot (despite having almost a complete charge from the outset). Relatively promptly you’ll end up at the Windows 10 setup screen (Windows 10 now comes pre-installed on these devices, despite earlier versions being available with Windows 8.1). It’s the usual set of set up questions, with the exception of one additional step for Lenovo registration (which is optional). Once you’re done with that, the notebook will reboot and you’ll be ready to go fairly quickly. The notebook comes with a fair amount of additional pre-installed software, such as various Lenovo tools (handy but not strictly necessary) and a 30 day trial of McAfee LiveSafe which is OK but nowhere near as responsive as Norton Security or even Windows Defender (which is free and comes with Windows).

The first thing I noticed with this notebook is the quality of the keyboard. Lenovo really seem to have a knack for putting together really decent keyboards with just the right level of typing feedback and the perfect level of movement, making lengthy periods of typing an absolute breeze. As I use a pretty wide variety of keyboards very frequently, it did take me a little while to pick up the position of prominent keys such as enter and shift, but this was a minor bugbear that’s very common with new devices.

Sadly, the same really can’t be said for the touchpad. It still baffles me as to why manufacturers decided to remove the physical left and right mouse buttons and rely on either the tap-to-click function or, worse still, a designated area that is possible to tap but almost impossible to click and drag. Youch! It’s not unusable by any means – it’s just such a shame that manufacturers haven’t learnt this lesson. For simple navigating as a mouse pointer it’ll work without issue – it’s just so painful trying to move things with a finger and thumb! This technique only seems to work with Apple MacBooks – primarily because they have a large enough touchpad area to make the idea workable. For everything else – forget it!

Thankfully, there are other areas where this device really shines. The overall build quality is very impressive and device feels really solid. The brushed black metal that lines the lid and chassis looks very professional – although it does show wrist marks a little more than I’d like. The touchscreen display also works impeccably, with very little delay and a high level of accuracy.

Connectivity stands out on this device with a grand total of three USB ports (consisting of 2x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0), a full size HDMI connector, a collapsible gigabit Ethernet port, a full size SD card reader and a 3.5mm headphone jack. For a device that is just 14mm thin from bottom to keyboard level, this is seriously impressive. Having the USB ports is eternally useful on these portable devices – especially as one of them is what Lenovo call an “always-on” USB port, which basically means it’ll charge devices such as your mobile phone even if the computer is completely switched off (essentially acting as a portable battery bank). Furthermore, the device comes with a very well designed reversible 45W power adapter, meaning that charging from flat to full only takes around two hours and is easy to connect in low light. These small things matter!

File transfer speeds over the on-board wireless 802.11ac adapter were impressive.

File transfer speeds over the on-board wireless 802.11ac adapter were impressive.

File transfer speeds over the on-board wireless 802.11ac adapter were impressive.In addition to physical connectivity, you also have very decent dual band wireless 802.11ac networking, which performs very well. When transferring a large file from my NAS to the device over around a 10m distance through two floor levels, I was still achieving in excess of 11MB/s (~85Mbit/s) which is perfectly adequate and on a par with my much more powerful MacBook Pro. The device will of course still pick up your older 802.11a/b/g/n networks too.

Running multiple applications ate up the RAM fairly quickly, but the device handled basic multitasking well.

Running multiple applications ate up the RAM fairly quickly, but the device handled basic multitasking well.

Running multiple applications ate up the RAM fairly quickly, but the device handled basic multitasking well.Actual performance from a benchmarking point of view is more or less par for the course given the specs of the device. With a 1.83Ghz Intel Celeron processor (with Turbo Boost up to 2.25Ghz) and 2GB of RAM, it’s no ground breaker. It’s perhaps a little more snappy than the similarly priced Linx 1010 tablet, but the Atom processor in the Linx is a fair bit more efficient in terms of power consumption and this shows in the around 4-5 hour battery life while in light use on the Lenovo. Nonetheless, most apps load very quickly and boot times are better than average for a device of this class. It’s a shame to see a 11.6″ device with only 2GB of RAM as this will hold you back if you want to run several applications at once, but there are more expensive models available with better specs. As would widely be expected most basic applications (such as Spotify, Microsoft Office and Google Chrome) will run simultaneously without too much trouble. Streaming 1080p video from YouTube was flawless (even though the device has a 720p display).

There are a couple of other minor niggles that might irritate a few people. Unsurprisingly, the on-board speakers are weak and lack bass – I wouldn’t want to use them for any extended period of music playback. The keyboard, while very comfortable to use as aforementioned, lacks a couple of useful keys. There’s no skip forward and backward function keys, which meant I frequently had to stop what I was doing and pull up Spotify to skip between tracks. The bezel around the display is surprisingly large and leads me to wonder whether Lenovo would have been capable of providing a slightly larger screen area without having to increase the size of the device. Finally, there is a tiny of bit of play in the hinges on the device, so if you type quite heavily (like me) you might experience a teeny bit of screen wobble which, while not enough to annoy me, was a little too noticeable in some scenarios.

Overall, it’s a very impressive device but just has a couple too many minor issues to warrant a five star review. Don’t get me wrong – sometimes I can be a little picky with these minor things, but that’s what reviews are for! It does what it’s designed to do and makes working in a small space very enjoyable – which is much more than can be said for some other devices in this class. Who would I recommend it to? Well, if you’re looking for something to type up reports on the go with or you feel the need to be connected to your emails and social media around the clock this is probably the perfect device for you. If you’re looking for a larger laptop replacement that’ll cope with more demanding tasks such as multimedia editing or gaming, look elsewhere as you’ll want something with more defined internal specifications.

Buy now from Amazon – from £210

Buy now from eBay UK – from £210

See also: Linx 1010 Review – best Windows 10 tablet on the market right now?

Review: Intel Compute Stick – an entire PC in a dongle?

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Rating: ★★★★☆

RRP £119, best price at time of writing £115 on Amazon

Over the past few years we’ve seen computing get much smaller – the Raspberry Pi revolutionised the lower powered computing market with its tiny build size and its ability to run various flavours of Linux.

When Intel first announced the Compute Stick, I was interested to see what kind of computing power today’s world is looking at in incredibly small spaces. And who else better to try and pack multiple processor cores into a small space than Intel themselves? So I picked one up and decided to give it a test drive to see what we’re looking at.

There are actually two versions of the Compute Stick – a Linux designed version which is cheaper and comes with more basic specs – and this one which comes with a full fat version of Windows 8.1 ready to go. In terms of tech specs, you’re looking at a quad core Intel Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, a MicroSD card slot, one USB port and an HDMI connector.

Set up is as simple as any other Windows device really. Plug in the HDMI connector into any TV or monitor, the micro USB connector into the supplied power adapter and you’re just about ready to go. As soon as the device powers up it’ll go straight into Windows setup. Before you know it, you’ll be at a Windows desktop, ready to use the machine.

It’s not the most powerful computer in the world – I think it’s best to compare it to a decent spec Windows tablet. However, you’d be surprised at what it is capable of doing. Without too much trouble at all I had Microsoft Office 2016 running smoothly together with my favourite music streaming apps and basic Windows store games. It’ll happily play streaming video in 1080p – YouTube videos were playing without any dropped frames.

The device has a significant advantage over other low powered Windows devices because it does have a small fan fitted over the CPU. When the Compute Stick is idle, it runs completely silently – it’s often quite eerie using a desktop computer and not being able to hear anything. If CPU load starts to run quite high, then the CPU fan will kick in – it’s reasonably quiet but not by any means silent. What this means is that the Compute Stick can sustain higher CPU loads, whereas other devices like tablets would be forced to reduce clock speed to prevent overheating. The device can therefore use the full potential of the top 1.83Ghz turbo boost clock speed – not bad.

So who is this device aimed at? Well I think this is ideally someone who wants to turn a TV or projector setup into a smart setup with Windows. Having Windows on your TV is about as good as it gets for smart functionality as you have very little limitation in terms of which services you can use as they’re pretty much all going to work with Windows. This device would also work well for those who need to take their computer with them everywhere but don’t want the weight of a laptop. For example, if you spend quite a lot of time in hotel rooms then this could be ideal for you as it really is just plug and play. Your whole computer is ready to go wherever you go – in something the size of a large USB stick.

There are one or two downsides. Firstly, I found that I had to do a number of driver updates to get the most out of the device – all of which were available on Intel’s website – but I felt it made such a noticeable difference that it is worth recommending to everyone. Secondly, the single USB port does make connectivity quite difficult particularly when you’re probably going to be using the port for a wireless keyboard and mouse. You can quite happily run a powered USB hub with the device to get extra ports, but it somewhat defeats the point.

Other than those minor niggles, this really is a fantastic device that’s ideal for people who want to transform a TV or have ultimate PC portability. At around £120 here in the UK and around $150 in the US, it is a fantastic price for a tiny PC – especially when you consider it comes with full Windows 8.1 (which should be upgradable to Windows 10 once all Windows updates are applied) and a year of McAfee antivirus.

Buy the Intel Compute Stick on Amazon

Review: Linx 10 Windows 8.1 tablet and keyboard dock/case

UPDATE: Linx have just released their new Linx 1010 tablet which is the updated version of the Linx 10. Check out our full review here!

Over the last few months, Windows 8 tablets seem to have been nose-diving in cost. The introduction of Intel’s new Bay Trail Atom processors, paired with the new Windows 8.1 with Bing operation system setup for tablets, has meant manufacturers can start to get tablets out at prices that are even competing with some budget Android tablets.

This is great news for people who like the idea of a tablet but need more of the productivity factor. Tablets that have recently joined the market include the HP Stream 7
and the new Linx tablet range (coming in 7 inch, 8 inch and 10 inch variations). All of which come with a free copy of Office 365 Personal lasting for one year – which in itself saves around £60. When you bear in mind that the HP Stream 7 comes in at just £99.99 on the high street, you could be onto a real winner if you need a basic tablet for web browsing which also gives you the ability to touch up those PowerPoint presentations on the way to work.

The basics

I got a chance to get my hands on one of the more recent additions to the market – the Linx 10
– fetching mine for about £179 which includes the manufacturer’s own keyboard case (you can get them without the case for about £160). I chose to give this tablet a try as it is one of few in its price range to come with 2GB RAM. Many small Windows tablets (including the HP Stream 7) come with 1GB RAM – which will be fine for the odd web page or email here and there, but you’ll struggle more if you attempt any multitasking. 2GB RAM is a little more comfortable for Windows – and while I’d really like to see a minimum of 3GB, 2GB will be fine for on-the-go usage. The Linx 10 comes with a (you guessed it) 10 inch IPS display coming in at 1280×800 pixels – this is nothing on, for example, the iPad Air – but you’ll find the pixel density is still ample for watching videos on the go or browsing the net. You get a quad core Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.33Ghz – and it’ll “Turbo Boost” up to just over 1.8Ghz in short bursts when you need it. You’ve got 32GB of on-board storage (of which about 20GB is usable) – and that can be expanded with a microSD card of up to 64GB in size. Other notable features include a micro-USB port (which you can use with an adapter – which was included with mine – to convert into a normal USB port for memory sticks or mice) and a micro-HDMI port for external viewing. It’s also worth noting that it comes with a 1 year subscription to Office 365 Personal – something quite common with Windows tablets these days.


Let’s face it – a quad core Atom and 2GB of RAM isn’t going to breaking new records in terms of speed, but truth be told performance is still pretty awesome for something as small as this. You’ll find programs like Google Chrome and iTunes load pretty quickly, and getting into any of the included Office programs is nice and speedy too. This isn’t the kind of tablet to be using Photoshop or playing any demanding games with – not only considering performance but also screen size, but the quad core Atom does arguably provide decent levels of performance in most day to day applications. You will still struggle having more than two or three programs open at any one time as the 2GB RAM on-board will quickly fill up – if you’re looking for something more capable of multitasking you’d be better off looking at a 11″ laptop or a Surface Pro (although the price difference might put you off!). Overall, though, I really can’t argue with the performance of this device given it’s size – it’d give a 2010 mid range laptop a run for it’s money in application start up times.

Battery life

Battery life on the Linx was about average – I found I was getting about 5-6 hours usage from one charge. This isn’t half bad – but a 1st gen iPad mini (which you can now get for a similar price) will fetch you around 8-10 hours of battery life on one charge. The tablet also takes rather a long time to charge which can be irritating when you’re in a hurry. The battery definitely isn’t the strong point of this tablet – but to be fair it’s not awful and it wouldn’t necessarily put me off the device.

Practicality with Windows

This is where you really need to have a think. These days you’ve really got three choices for tablet operating systems – Android, iOS or Windows. In terms of what you can do with the operating systems – iOS and Android are more or less the same. If you go for a Windows tablet you either get Windows RT or Windows 8. In my opinion Windows RT is a no-go – only because it provides few advantages over a more intuitive operating system like iOS 8. However – if you grab a Windows 8 device – you’ve got the ability to run many of the applications you run on your main computer while you’re on-the-go. What I mean by that is you can run EXE programs.

The Linx 10 comes with Windows 8.1 built in. In principle this is fantastic. Many people are not a fan of the Metro UI (or Start screen) in Windows 8 on conventional desktops or laptops – but on a tablet it really comes into its own. Navigating the Start screen is a piece of cake on the Linx 10 and it’s actually comfortable to explore.

Being a Windows 8 tablet – you’ve also got the use of the traditional desktop and desktop applications. In principle, this a fantastic tool to have. In reality, however, the benefits of this are somewhat limited. With the tablet’s screen size being 10″, it’s difficult to navigate the small Windows taskbar/desktop icons. You might want to look into a stylus if you feel you’ll be using the Windows desktop a lot – or even better still have a look at the Asus VivoTab 8 which includes a WACOM stylus. So while it’s very handy to have the functionality available – it’s not always easy to use and I found it irritating after a while when just relying on the touchscreen alone.

Keyboard case

The Linx keyboard case you can get with this tablet is probably the only one you’d want to consider as it’s designed specifically for the tablet. You can buy it within a bundle or it’s about £30 on its own. The case itself is quite nice. It’s a nice sturdy case that folds neatly around the tablet. The case also folds up (in an origami style) to make a stand which does the job. Attached to the case is a keyboard and touchpad. Neither the keyboard or touchpad are really anything to shout about – the keyboard’s keys are a little too stiff for my liking and feedback is poor, while the touchpad is too small to work with. They’ll be fine for writing the odd email or short Word document, but I’d struggle to use them for an extended period of time. You can buy the official case here. Of course, if you’re not so fussed about the (official) case, you could use any Bluetooth keyboard to get the job done.

Value for money

At around £160 for the tablet itself or £180 for the tablet and keyboard case bundle, I think the tablet represents very good value for money – especially when you include the bundled copy of Office. You won’t get much better from a 10″ Windows tablet today at that price. If it’s definitely Windows that you’re looking for – this is definitely good value for money.


As a budget Windows tablet, I feel this is a very good offering. It has minor flaws that seem to surround the keyboard case, but the tablet itself is a decent little device for the money. If you’re not desperate to run Windows on a tablet, you may be just as well with an Android tablet or an iPad – but if productivity is your thing then this is definitely a good buy. For browsing the net on the train or sprucing up a Word document on your lunch break, this is likely to be an ideal companion. However, if you’re looking to do more intensive tasks like video editing, you’ll still be better off with a laptop or conventional desktop.

If you aren’t in any hurry, I’d probably keep an eye on Windows tablets over the next few months. The upcoming launch of Windows 10 is likely to bring some new ideas to the table; and once we get to the point where manufacturers are happy to stick 4GB of RAM in a tablet they really might give your laptop a run for its money. For the mean time, though, this is a decent tablet with a wide range of unique capabilities at a promising price.

Rating: 8/10

Buy from Amazon