If you’re up for a new Windows laptop and want a convertible unit – and if nothing less than the best will do – you should check out the Lenovo Yoga 900. We tested a 13-inch unit and were quite impressed by its innovative, slick design, excellent specs, and powerful performance.
Have a look at our test of the Lenovo YOGA 900 today!
Class-leading design and features
Practically by definition, convertible laptops need to be a tad better designed than “ordinary” laptops. For one, their hinges need to support them being used in different positions, from ‘stand’ to ‘tent’ to full-on tablet; their entire chassis has to be quite rigid to reduce the possibility of damage while being used in the various positions they can be contorted into; and they can’t also be massively thick, because they have to be thin enough to be able to be used properly as tablets.
Lenovo is indisputably a company that does possess the design chops to make sophisticated devices like convertibles. It’s been in the market for quite some time, and has amassed quite a bit of experience and expertise at putting laptops together.
But even given the company’s storied history, the YOGA 900 still does stand out, and then some.
Lenovo’s well aware of what it needs to do to compete in the rarefied air of the high-end laptop segment. It paid special attention to making the YOGA 900 look and feel great. Physically, the 900 is really striking, and few laptops match its innovativeness and sheer appeal. It took the place of an older model, the YOGA 3 Pro, when it debuted – by contrast, it’s a little bit thicker than the model it replaces, but it makes far fewer compromises in the name of pure design, and as a consequence is far more appealing.
Just as its predecessor did, the YOGA 900 also boasts a stunning watchband-style hinge, but this new version is sturdier than the older one – not just good to look at but also superior in terms of function. The laptop’s top and bottom feature gorgeously tooled magnesium panels. Its palmrest and deck have been enhanced to be more finger- and palm-friendly by dint of the addition of a layer of faux leather on top.
We mentioned earlier that the YOGA 900 is remarkably thin and really quite light for a convertible laptop. How thin and light exactly? Its starting weight is 1.29 kg and it’s 14.9 mm thick – and Lenovo drums up the fact that it’s the world’s thinnest Intel Core i convertible device. The observant among you will note that the 900 is somewhat thicker than the YOGA 3 Pro, 18% thicker to be exact. This was intentional on Lenovo’s part, in order to accommodate a more powerful processor, larger battery, and more heavy-duty cooling mechanism than could fit in the 3 Pro. Partly because of this, the company claims up to 9 hours of real-life battery life on a single charge.
More key tech specs? How about a 6th-generation Core i7 processor as the top-end option, a QHD+ touchscreen display (3200 x 1800) with IPS technology, Intel Iris graphics, and PCIe SSD technology? And in case you were wondering about ports, the YOGA 900 gets two USB 3 ports, a single USB 2 port, an SD/MMC card reader, the usual 3.5 mm audio jack, and a USB Type C port.
We set aside some time to put the YOGA 900 through its paces. It flies, and then some.
First off, that eye-catching hinge really does work wonders when shifting this laptop from position to position. At no time did we feel that this very thin device was flimsy or unstable; the hinge kept it secure yet was never hard or awkward to move.
Whatever the position, the screen proved impressive under most circumstances, being bright, sharp and clear; however, we have to say that the bezels are a bit on the big side, especially after having tested laptops like Dell’s XPS 13, and that we also found the screen to be a tad too reflective under bright lighting. Media playback was more than satisfactory, and not only due to the screen; the 900’s speakers are surprisingly good even for a high-end laptop, although they’re still weren’t bass-heavy enough to satisfy us.
The powerful new processor in our test YOGA 900 puts it head and shoulders over the YOGA 3 Pro. The 900 felt far snappier in every single task than the unit it replaces, and didn’t blink when we threw all our tests at it, not even once. For this level of performance we’re happy to give up a little bit of thinness vis-a-vis the older model. We also liked the keyboard on this model; it had excellent key travel and responsiveness. Both touchscreen and touchpad also proved to be pretty good, too.
We were unable to replicate Lenovo’s 9-hour battery life; we came closer to 7.5 hours on average. Not too bad, but hopefully Lenovo can try and improve the YOGA 900’s battery life somehow.
The bottom line
Quibbles about the battery life and screen aside, it’s hard not to like the Lenovo YOGA 900. Lenovo’s leveraged its industry-leading experience to craft a convertible laptop that’s no less than a definite winner. Even though laptops like the Dell XPS 13 can match or beat it in some aspects, none of the other convertible laptops can do so. This one really is the total package. It’s well worthy of your consideration.