Lenovo Yoga 900 evaluate: Similar skinny design with fewer compromises
Lenovo’s Yoga laptops hardly want an introduction at this level: The corporate’s iconic 2-in-1s are so fashionable that its rivals have been copying them proper and left. Final yr’s version, the Yoga three Professional, was particularly notable for a way skinny and lightweight it was: simply 2.6 kilos and half an inch thick, and that was with a folding touchscreen, too. The issue, we discovered, was that as straightforward because it was to carry, that compact design got here with vital compromises, together with lackluster efficiency and mediocre battery life. Enter this yr’s mannequin, the brand new Yoga 900 ($1,199 and up). Like its predecessor, it has a thirteen-inch, three,200 x 1,800 display and a slim construct, however this time it claims quicker efficiency, longer battery life and a sturdier hinge. It’s, primarily, an enchancment in virtually each means.
- Quicker efficiency
- A lot-improved battery life
- Base storage is now 256GB
- Nonetheless skinny and lightweight, however sturdier
- Sharp display with good viewing angles
- Some undersized keys
- Touchpad wants fantastic-tuning
- Barely thicker and heavier than final yr’s mannequin
Lenovo’s latest Yoga presents far fewer compromises than it did final yr, with a skinny and lightweight design that is matched by lengthy battery life and quick efficiency. It is nice to see the corporate responding to consumer suggestions, however perhaps subsequent time it can high quality-tune the touchpad as properly, and keep away from shrinking down any of the keyboard buttons.
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The Yoga 900 seems totally different from the one which got here earlier than it, however that is solely as a result of Lenovo has a recent emblem. Aside from that, the corporate caught with its tried-and-true design. Meaning a magnesium-alloy case, out there within the standard silver, orange and gold colours. Lenovo additionally stored final yr’s show: a thirteen.three-inch, three,200 x 1,800 IPS panel with 300 nits of brightness. The “Watchband” hinge is again too, and as ever it’s what it feels like: a mechanism designed to look hyperlinks on a wristwatch.
I am going to depart it to you to determine if the bling is an excessive amount of — if nothing else, we will agree that the hinge’s skinny design helps hold the laptop computer good and skinny. It is also sturdier than final yr’s mannequin. Once I reviewed the Yoga three Professional a yr in the past, I used to be involved to seek out that the display made a slight creak once I folded it again. There’s none of that right here; rotating the show feels clean and managed. Not that the Yoga three Professional ever broke on me, however all issues thought-about, I might relatively my $1,200 system not sound prefer it’s about to snap.
The keyboard deck is usually the identical, too. As earlier than, the complete floor is roofed by a textured, rubbery materials, with orange accents on the keys and touchpad. Although the keyboard usually seems the identical, it is truly barely totally different, with six rows this time as an alternative of 5. That additional row up prime leaves room for devoted settings buttons, permitting you to regulate issues like quantity and brightness with out having to carry down the Perform key. Sadly, although, most of the main buttons have been shrunken down, together with the Tab, Caps Lock and proper Shift keys. The Backspace button particularly is so small that my finger ceaselessly missed it altogether, hitting the Delete key within the higher-proper nook as an alternative. It is a disgrace, as a result of the buttons themselves really feel surprisingly sturdy, particularly contemplating how comparatively flat the keyboard is.
I had specific hassle with the touchpad, which is irritating as a result of the trackpad on final yr’s mannequin was initially finicky too; you’d assume Lenovo would have gotten higher at this. What follows looks like a compilation of each gripe I’ve had with sure Home windows touchpads through the years: The cursor does not all the time go the place I would like it to; proper-clicking typically takes a number of tries; and I typically discovered myself by chance doing issues like rearranging pinned browser tabs. The state of affairs acquired so dangerous that I discovered myself utilizing the touchscreen for hitting ship in Gmail and toggling IMs in Slack — issues that basically weren’t designed to be accomplished with a finger.
The excellent news is that regardless of having a 50-% greater battery and extra highly effective internals (extra on that later), the Yoga 900 is virtually as skinny and lightweight as its predecessor, at 2.eight kilos and zero.fifty nine inch thick. It is easy to hold in a single hand and does not overwhelm my over-the-shoulder bag an excessive amount of. The truth is, I might go as far as to say that its lightness stays one of many issues that I like greatest about it. Round these skinny edges you will additionally discover a wide selection of ports, together with two USB three.zero sockets; a USB Sort-C socket permitting for video output; a four-in-1 reminiscence card reader; and an influence connector that doubles as a USB 2.zero port (sure, you’ll be able to plug peripherals into it). Lastly, the underside aspect is residence to 2 audio system, which pump out serviceable sound, particularly in Tent Mode once they’re not muffled towards a flat floor.Efficiency and battery life
It is virtually as if Lenovo learn all these critiques of the Yoga three Professional that complained of lackluster efficiency. The brand new Yoga 900 solely comes with one processor choice, and that processor is a newly launched, sixth-era Core i7 chip. What’s extra, it now begins with 8GB of RAM, although you will get it with a whopping sixteen gigs, just like the mannequin I examined. Oh, and whereas the Yoga collection has lengthy had strong-state drives, the bottom storage is now 256GB, up from 128GB. Not too shabby!
Certainly, the Yoga 900 is quick. I had no drawback juggling Slack, Skype, Spotify and Chrome with 9 pinned tabs — a workload that routinely chokes the brand new 21.5-inch iMac with its 5,400RPM exhausting drive. Startup can also be speedy: about 15 seconds to the desktop. The SSD, in the meantime, will get into the five hundred-megabyte-per-second vary for each reads and writes (that final half is not any small feat on different machines). If something, I felt typically that the flaky touchpad and undersized Backspace key slowed me down, to the extent that they pressured me to concentrate to what ought to in any other case really feel pure: typing and mousing. However the machine itself is quick.
What I can not account for is the truth that though the Yoga 900 feels quick, its benchmark scores are nonetheless decrease than one of many Floor Guide models I examined; that mannequin had the identical graphics card, however half the RAM and a Core i5 processor, not i7. I’m wondering, then, if the Yoga 900 might have been even quicker with higher tuning besides, I did not really feel like I used to be wanting for velocity in actual-world use.
Lenovo charges the Yoga 900’s 66Wh battery for eight to 9 hours of use. I might say that is a conservative estimate: Even with the brightness fastened at sixty five % and an HD video looping constantly, I nonetheless logged 9 hours and 36 minutes, a two-hour improve over final yr’s Yoga three Professional. Clearly, had I caught to extra modest brightness settings, and had I been utilizing the machine extra intermittently, I might have managed much more runtime.
Within the grand scheme of recent-day laptops, that is nonetheless not an distinctive displaying — the HP Spectre x360 can eke out eleven and a half hours, and the Floor Guide can handle almost 14 in the event you get it with built-in graphics. Then once more, these are heavier machines with room for greater batteries. In comparison with different skinny and lightweight machines, just like the Floor Professional four and the Dell XPS thirteen we reviewed earlier this yr, the Yoga 900’s battery life is simply nearly as good if not higher.Configuration choices and the competitors
Even the Yoga 900’s base specs are fairly good. For $1,199, you get a twin-core 2.5GHz Core i7-6500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB strong-state drive and, in fact, that three,200 x 1,800 show. From there, you’ll be able to rise up to 512GB of storage and as much as 16GB of RAM. Aside from that, although, the processor, graphics and show keep the identical, which explains why the highest-finish mannequin is comparatively shut in worth ($1,399); there is no want for tons of configuration choices, because the entry-degree sku is already stacked.
Whereas the Yoga 900 might sound expensive, then, you may additionally argue it is a whole lot for the cash, contemplating the specs, battery life, show, measurement and weight, and the actual-world velocity. Even the keyboard is snug, that small Backspace key however. That stated, it nonetheless faces some stiff competitors from virtually all corners of the PC universe. There’s the Dell XPS thirteen touchscreen pocket book ($800 and up) and HP’s Spectre x360 convertible ($900-plus), each of which have been lately upgraded with sixth-gen Core processors. The Spectre x360 particularly has the identical type issue because the Yoga, however with even longer battery life and a extra snug keyboard and touchpad. It is for these causes that we gave the Spectre a fair larger rating of 88.
Microsoft’s Floor E-book additionally acquired a good higher score than the Yoga 900. Although it is solely the corporate’s first try at a correct laptop computer, the agency truly received most issues proper, together with a premium but distinctive design; greatest-in-class battery life; quick efficiency with numerous configuration choices; and a fantastic keyboard and trackpad. Additionally, whenever you detach the thirteen.5-inch display, the pill portion weighs simply 1.6 kilos, making it even simpler to make use of as a slate than Lenovo’s providing. It is pen-enabled too, which the Yoga 900’s display is not. The one factor is that the Floor Ebook has actually brief battery life in pill-solely mode, whereas with the Lenovo, it is the identical 9-and-a-half-hour runtime both means.
There are different skinny-and-mild Home windows laptops, however they are not nearly as good. As of this writing, Samsung and Acer have not refreshed their premium notebooks with the newest Intel processors. Toshiba, in the meantime, has a pint-sized laptop computer with a 4K display, however these additional pixels imply the battery life is worst in school — round 5 hours in our exams.Wrap-up
The Yoga 900 is the laptop computer Lenovo ought to have launched final yr. It is notably skinny and lightweight, however manages to supply quick efficiency and lengthy battery life. It is also extra sturdy than the 2014 version — a reassuring factor if you’re about to drop $1,200-plus on a pocket book. All advised, it actually appears that Lenovo listened to its clients (and reviewers), and the product is best for it. Should you’re studying this, although, Lenovo, I might hope that subsequent yr’s comply with-up has a redesigned keyboard with no shrunken buttons, and that the touchpad is extra dependable. You then’d have an actual winner in your palms.