If you're looking for a Windows 10 Ultrabook, you can't go wrong with Lenovo's flagship Yoga 900. It has the style with power to back it up with Intel's 6th-generation Core i7 processor.
Bend it, flip it, or fold it. The Yoga 900's elegant hinge allows the screen to flip around a full 360 degrees, which means you can select from four modes based on what you choose to do: Laptop, Stand, Tent, or Tablet. The Yoga 900 is also incredibly thin and light, starting at just 2.8 lbs. and 0.59 inches thick. It has a beautiful design, but don't let its looks fool you: this convertible laptop can do some serious work, too.
Should you buy the Yoga 900? It isn't perfect (no computer is), but the starting price of $1,199 is worth it for the specifications and design you get in return.
The base model of the Lenovo Yoga 900 features a nice set of specs:
- 6th-Generation Intel Core i7-6500U Processor (2.50GHz 1600MHz 4MB)
- 13.3-inch QHD+ (3200x1800) LED Glossy Multi-touch
- 8GB LPDDR3 1600MHz RAM
- 256GB SSD storage
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 520
You can upgrade to 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage for an extra $200, which is what we have on our review unit. We have the model in Silver, but you can also get it in Orange or Gold.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 has a magnesium alloy exterior and a soft leather-type material surrounding the keyboard that feels nice to the touch. The edges have a hard rubber material that helps add friction when using the Yoga 900 in Tent mode.
We're big fans of this hinge and wish more manufacturers followed this design.
The hinge on the Yoga 900 is composed of 813 individual components, resembling an over-complicated watchband. It is stiff, so the display stays firmly in the position you set, but fluid enough when you need to move it. There's still wobbling when you touch the screen, but it's not a deal breaker. We're big fans of this hinge and wish more manufacturers followed this design. If you look closely, you can also see the air vents on the back where the hinge is located.
The left side of the Yoga 900 includes the power port that doubles as a USB 2.0 port (typical for Lenovo's Yoga line), as well as single USB 3.0 and USB-C ports and an SD card slot. On the right side you'll find another USB 3.0 port, a headphone/microphone audio combo jack, and buttons for rotation lock, Novo system recovery, and power. Missing are the volume buttons you find on many other convertible PCs and tablets. These would have been useful when using the Yoga 900 in Tablet, Tent, or Stand modes.
Up front, the 13.3-inch IPS touch display on the Yoga 900 is sharp with wide viewing angles. It's glossy, so glare is an issue outdoors and under bright lights, though you can work around this by moving the display. The wide viewing angles certainly help in this regard. Other than that, we have no complaints about the images it produces. The screen is also responsive to touch, with no issues in registering our pokes, prods, and swipes.
Above the display is the front-facing HD camera for video calls. The images are sharp, but sometimes appear a little washed out. You should really use your phone instead for better selfies, though it'll do for video calls. Unfortunately, this is not a RealSense camera for super-charged Windows Hello biometric authentication.
We would've preferred more screen real estate instead of the wide bezels
Below the Yoga 900's display is a Windows key. It's barely visible but trust us… it's there. You can tap it to bring up Windows Start. We would've preferred more screen real estate at the bottom, since the bezel seems a bit much.
The backlit keyboard feels fine to type on with adequate travel when pressing the keys. There's also backlight with bright, dim, and off options. The keyboard is generally great, but we do have two complaints: the shift button on the right is smaller than we're used to, and we don't like having a key (home) directly to the right of the backspace button. We pressed the home button frequently by mistake, sending the cursor back to the start of the line instead of deleting the characters to the left.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 has a row of handy hotkeys along the top of the keyboard. They give you quick access to certain system settings like volume, screen brightness, Task View, Airplane mode, and more. There's also a Function (Fn) key that is used in combination with other keys for more options. For example, pressing the Fn key with the Esc button enables "Paper Display" mode, which adds a bit of yellowish warmth to the display to make reading easier and less straining on the eyes.
It's mind-blowing that users are required to tinker with the registry for a basic feature
The trackpad on the Lenovo Yoga 900 measure a fairly standard 3.6 x 2.5 inches. It is smooth to touch and responsive to taps. Our only complaint is that there's no option to enable two-finger tap as right-click. It's mind-blowing that users are required to tinker with the registry to have what's otherwise a fairly standard option.
The speakers are located on the bottom of the casing, and that's frankly not ideal, because they easily get muffled when using in our lap. They're loud, but sound a little flat to our ears. We'd prefer more bass. You can get better sound when watching movies in tent mode, though.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 comes with Windows 10 Home. It also comes pre-installed with software such as Photo Master, Share-it, Reach-it, and a trial of McAfee Livesafe. We didn't care for them, and they served as a reminder for why we prefer to buy our PCs as bloatware-free Signature Editions from the Microsoft Store.
On the other hand, Lenovo's Companion and Settings apps are great for discovering features on the laptop. For example, Lenovo Settings let you enable battery conservation or battery stretch modes that help you achieve longer battery life. You can also turn a Yoga 900 connected to an Ethernet cable into a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices The Lenovo Companion app can run a hardware scan for the PC or check for Lenovo's own updates.
When it comes to performance, the Lenovo Yoga 900 doesn't struggle at tasks such as opening emails, browsing the web, watching Netflix, and writing documents on Microsoft Word. We've also installed Adobe Photoshop CC and didn't notice any issues. That's what we expect with an Intel Core i7 Skylake processor inside. However, we found a problem using Lightroom. We had to disable using the graphics processor in Lightroom's preferences in order to edit images. Perhaps a driver update for Intel HD Graphics 520 driver can fix this issue.
If you're looking for numbers, here are the results from the CrystalDiskMark and Geekbench 3 benchmarks:
The Lenovo Yoga 900 isn't a gaming laptop, so don't expect amazing results when playing demanding games like Call of Duty: Black Ops III. For example, Black Ops III is playable in low settings, but the experience is terrible. Don't even bother trying. You can still play smaller games that are available at the Windows Store. For example, Asphalt 8: Airborne looks fine on the Yoga 900.
The fans on the Yoga 900 keep it cool. They're audible, but they're not annoyingly loud, and will definitely spin up when you've got games going. That said, the laptop doesn't get very hot, peaking at about 85 degrees after twenty minutes of gameplay. The hot spots are on the top right corner of the keyboard and the back where the vents are located.
With a 4-Cell 66 Watt-Hour battery, we noticed an average of about 8 to 9 hours of usage on the Lenovo Yoga 900. It takes about 2.5 hours to charge fully from empty. The laptop comes with a compact charger and cable that's about 6 feet long. The compact charger has the benefit of not taking up a lot of space in our bags, which we very much appreciate.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is thin, light, and powerful for everyday tasks with its 6th-Generation Intel Core i7 processor. The magnesium alloy body, faux leather trim, and watchband hinge make it look very elegant, and the long-lasting battery will make users happy.
We like that we can position the Yoga 900's display any way we want depending on the situation. For example, we prefer to use Tent mode when watching Netflix. On the other hand, we barely use it in tablet mode. It feels too big to hold as a tablet and the 16:9 aspect ratio feels too narrow in portrait.
You can't go wrong with Lenovo Yoga 900. The price is reasonable for its specs. For comparison, the Dell XPS 13 with the same specs as the base model of the Lenovo Yoga 900 costs $400 more. The HP Spectre x360 with 13-inch display has a similar price and specs, but it's slightly heavier, thicker, and has a less attractive hinge.
Overall, we think anyone looking for a Windows 10 Ultrabook will be very happy with the Lenovo Yoga 900.
Already own this machine? Let us know what you think about it in the comments!