Lenovo Yoga 900 Review Editor's Choice

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Sleek design; Strong performance ; Very sharp display; 4 USB ports (including 1 USB Type-C)

The Cons

Display could be brighter; Undersized right Shift key

Verdict

Lenovo's flagship 2-in-1 is the total package when it comes to hybrids, featuring a stunning design, solid performance and a supersharp display.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 is like a Transformer wearing an Armani suit and a Rolex. This superthin premium convertible ($1,199 to start, $1,399 as reviewed) features a slick, understated design on the outside and a pixel-packed quad-HD+ 13.3-inch screen and a powerful 6th-gen Intel CPU on the inside. Lenovo's innovative watchband hinge holds the whole package together, making it easy to switch among multiple modes. Other laptop-tablet hybrids last longer on a charge, but the Yoga 900 is easily one of the best 2-in-1s money can buy.

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Design

The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a vision of 2-in-1 sleekness. Never mind that it's a tenth of an inch thicker than last year's Yoga 3 Pro; the 900 features lovely magnesium panels on the top and bottom, and a new luxurious, faux-leather plastic on its deck and palm rest. But as with its predecessor, the standout feature is the sparkling watchband hinge that's made of 813 individual pieces, ensuring the screen is always secure no matter what mode the 2-in-1 is in. It's sturdier than last year's watchband hinge.

A closer look at the base of the hinge reveals some clever cooling vents that help keep temps down in this superthin hybrid, and new for this year is the Lenovo's ability to match the hinge's paint with whichever color you choose for the system (options include clementine orange, champagne gold or platinum silver).

Lenovo has also included what it calls Auto Lock hinge technology, which is supposed to make the system easy to open with one hand. But unless you really grind your fingers into the tiny crack between the deck and the lid, this gimmick doesn't really work.

Lenovo includes a shadowy capacitive-touch home button in the fat bezel beneath the display, while the rest of the buttons are located on the right side. There's a power button with a small white light, a tiny recessed button for triggering Lenovo's OneKey Recovery software, and another button to toggle the system's rotation lock on and off.

At 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches and 2.8 pounds, the Yoga 900 is ever-so-slightly smaller, and noticeably lighter, than other 13-inch convertibles, including the HP Spectre x360 (12.79 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches and 3.26 pounds), the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 SE (13 x 8.7 x 0.75 inches and 3.63 pounds) and Microsoft's Surface Book (12.30 x 9.14 x 0.51-0.9 inches and 3.34 pounds). Even the 13-inch MacBook Air, which is often thought of as the leading thin-and-light laptop design, is a touch larger and heavier, at 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.11-0.68 inches and 2.96 pounds, and it's not even a convertible.

Lenovo Yoga 900 Size
Weight 2.8 pounds
Dimensions 12.75 x 8.86 x 0.59 inches

 

Keyboard and Touchpad

Like most Lenovo laptops, the Yoga 900 features the company's scallop-shaped keys, along with two levels of backlighting. The 900 retains the frustrating half-size right Shift key from last year's Yoga 3 Pro, but to help make amends, this year's flagship hybrid has a new set of slim Function keys above the number row. These keys give you dedicated buttons for controlling things such as brightness and audio. (The Yoga 900 lacks a volume rocker, which some other 2-in-1s do have.) Just be careful about accidentally hitting the Close Window button that doubles as the F4 key.

The keys have a short travel distance of just 1.1 millimeters, but the relatively springy response and 58-gram actuation weight help combat any sense of deadness when bottoming out. This allowed me to hit 81 words per minute on my first run through 10fastfingers.com's typing test, which is actually slightly higher than my typical 75- to 80-wpm range. Users with sensitive wrists will find that the soft-touch deck makes their hands feel more comfortable while typing.

The one-piece touchpad measures 3.5 x 2.5 inches and features a soft-touch finish across its top. Using two fingers to scroll through Web pages was supersmooth, and the system never confused left or right mouse clicks during normal use (unlike the Surface Book). Ideally, Lenovo would have made the touchpad a little wider, because a little more mousing real estate would have been nice, and the silky coating is so seductive I just want more of it to touch.

Display

Featuring a pixel-dense 3200 x 1800 13.3-inch display, the Yoga 900's screen is supersharp and does a wonderful job of showcasing photos and movies, no matter which mode it's in. Images remained bright and colorful even at very wide angles. When I watched the trailer for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, the rich, goldenrod lapels on Samuel L Jackson's jacket provided a great contrast to his dark winter coat.

Lenovo Yoga 900 Display: Test Results
Benchmark Score How it Compares
Brightness 284 niits Below Average
Color Gamut (sRGB) 93 percent Above Average
Color Accuracy (Delta e) 2.8 Above Average

 

The biggest weakness of the Yoga 900's display is its brightness, which is slightly below average. We measured the Lenovo at 284 nits, which makes the Surface Book and the HP Spectre x360 13 significantly brighter, at 387 nits and 339 nits, respectively. The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 was only slighter more luminous, at 316 nits.

MORE: Best Lenovo Laptops

The Yoga 900's color range was a tad short of covering the entire sRGB color spectrum, scoring 93.2 percent. That puts it ahead of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (88.6), but behind the Spectre x360 (103.2 percent) and the Surface Book (98.5 percent).

The Yoga 900's color accuracy was similarly strong, but not at the head of the pack -- it earned a Delta-E rating of 2.77 (closer to 0 is better). The Surface Book scored a superb 0.57, while the Dell Inspiron and the Spectre x360 were also better, at 1.16 and 1.25, respectively.

Audio

The Yoga 900's stereo JBL speakers are positioned behind two grilles and feature Dolby DS 10.0 Home Theater Certification. Unfortunately, even after playing around with the included Dolby Audio app, I found the bass was lacking. However, when I listened to Drake's "Hotline Bling," I liked the crisp sound of the staccato percussion and richness in the mids and vocals. One downside of the speakers' bottom-mounted design is that audio can shift greatly from quite airy to sometimes harsh depending on what surface the system is resting on.

You'll get the best audio experience when the Yoga 900 is transformed into tent mode. The biggest improvement Lenovo could make on the 900 is to find a way to position speakers on the front of the display, possibly on that big bottom chin, in hopes of delivering a more direct and powerful audio environment.

Ports and Webcam

This is how you do ports on an ultraportable. The Yoga 900 has not only one reversible USB Type-C port for forward-thinking tech enthusiasts, but also three other USB ports (two USB 3.0 and a combo USB 2.0/DC-in) for connecting to a plethora of peripherals. There's also a full-size SD card reader on the left side and a combo headphone/mic jack on the right. Although there's no dedicated video-out connector, you can still push content to an external monitor using the USB Type-C port with a DisplayPort adapter.

For video chatting, there's also a 1-megapixel 720p camera, which pleasantly surprised me with well-exposed images. A picture I took in our well-lit office produced sharp details both on my face and in the background, which is pretty impressive for a sensor with such limited resolution.

Performance

Featuring an Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, our review configuration of the Yoga 900 is more than capable of handling the needs of a demanding home or business user. With multiple video streams, more than 20 browser tabs and Photoshop open in the background, Lenovo's well-equipped hybrid didn't miss a beat.

On Geekbench 3, a synthetic test that evaluates overall system performance, the Yoga 900 scored 6,264. That's better than both the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 (6,085) and the HP Spectre x360 (5,614), but less than the base Core i5 Surface Book (6,814).

Lenovo Yoga 900 (Core i7 / 16GB / 512GB): Performance Tests
Benchmark Score How it Compares
Geekbench 3  6,294 Above Average
Spreadsheet Macro Test  4:18 Above Average
File Transfer Test 181.76 MBps Above Average

 

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When we used the 512GB SSD to duplicate 4.97GB of mixed media files, the Yoga 900 finished in 28 seconds, for a transfer rate of 181.76 MBps. Once again, that's fast enough to beat the Spectre x360 (141.4 MBps), the Inspiron 13 7000 (127.23 MBps) and the ultraportable average (154 MBps), but slower than the Surface Book's superfast 318 MBps SSD.

To test real-world performance, we also used OpenOffice to match 20,000 names and addresses. The Yoga 900 took just 4 minutes and 18 seconds to complete the task, which was slightly faster than the Inspiron 13 7000 (4:32) and 40 seconds quicker than the Spectre x360 (5:04), but pretty much the same as the i5 Surface Book (4:17).

Graphics

The Yoga 900 is far from being a gaming machine, but with its Intel HD Graphics 520, it's still possible to enjoy a game or two. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft ran like a dream at max resolution and medium settings. World of Warcraft ran at a not-too-shabby 49 frames per second on auto settings and 1920 x 1080 pixels. Dell's Inspiron 13 7000 and HP's Spectre x360 managed just 27 fps and 26 fps, respectively, at the same settings, although the Surface Book with integrated graphics wasn't too far behind, at 43 fps.

In 3DMark's Fire Strike graphics test, the Yoga 900 scored 840. That's ahead of the 710 from the HP Spectre x360 and the 630 from the Dell Inspiron 13 7000, but slightly behind the 854 from the Surface Book with integrated Intel graphics. The ultraportable average is a good deal behind, at 665.

Battery Life

With a runtime of 7 hours and 57 minutes, the Yoga 900's battery life is just shy of the ultraportable laptop average (8:07) and almost 2 hours longer than last year's Yoga 3 Pro (6:05). Unfortunately, 7:57 is still short of times put up by similar 13-inch convertibles, such as the HP Spectre x360 (9:28) and the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 SE (8:26). And let's not forget the Surface Book -- Microsoft's premium laptop managed an impressive runtime of 12:29.

Laptop Battery Life (hh:mm)
Lenovo Yoga 900 7:57
Category Average 8:07

 

Heat

Even with its superthin design, the Yoga 900 does a good job of staying cool. On the Laptop Mag Heat Test, the bottom of the system measured just 92 degrees Fahrenheit, which is safely below our traditional 95-degree comfort threshold. Elsewhere on the system, temps were even cooler, measuring 87 degrees between the G and keys and just 80 degrees on the touchpad.

Configurations

The Yoga 900 starts at $1,199, which includes a 6th-gen Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Another $100 bumps up the storage to 512GB, and an extra Benjamin on top of that increases the RAM to 16GB, for a fully loaded price of $1,399. For those looking for some color in their hybrid, it's nice to see that there's no price difference between the base clementine orange, champagne gold and platinum silver models.

Lenovo Yoga 900 Cost By Configuration
Config CPU RAM / Storage Price
Base / Recommended Core i7-6560U 8GB / 256GB $1,199
Splurge Core i7-6560U 8GB / 512GB $1,299

 

Software and Warranty

The Yoga 900 features Windows 10, a small selection of preloaded Lenovo tools and utilities, and a trial for McAfee LiveSafe. That means you have access to Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana, its new Edge Web browser and the built-in mode detection that can automatically switch between laptop and tablet views depending on which position the system is in.

Lenovo's preinstalled apps include Lenovo OneKey Recovery, Lenovo Companion 3.0, Lenovo Photo Master, SHAREit and REACHit. The most useful of these is SHAREit, which allows you to easily transfer and receive files from nearby PCs and mobile devices, even without a Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

Bottom Line

Previously, HP's Spectre x36013t was easily our favorite 13-inch 2-in-1, but the Yoga 900 makes it very difficult to choose between these two commendable convertibles. HP's machine offers a slightly lower starting price and longer battery life, but the Yoga 900's crisp, high-res display; 15 percent lighter body; slick hinge; and even better performance can't be denied. People who prefer a detachable design may consider Microsoft's Surface Book, though it is more expensive, and has shorter battery life in tablet mode and a worse touchpad. However, among consumer 2-in-1s, the Yoga 900 reigns supreme due to its irresistible blend of premium design and potent performance.

Ask a Question
CPU 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-6500U
Operating System Windows 10
RAM 16GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 512GB
Hard Drive Speed n/a
Hard Drive Type SSD Drive
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 13.3
Native Resolution 3200 x 1800
Optical Drive None
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 520
Video Memory Shared
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model WiFi 2 x 2 802.11 a/c, Bluetooth 4.0
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 3.5 x 2.5
Ports (excluding USB) USB-C
Ports (excluding USB) Headphone/Mic
Ports (excluding USB) USB 2.0
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
USB Ports 4
Card Slots SD memory reader
Warranty/Support standard one-year warranty
Size 12.75" x 8.86" x 0.59"
Weight 2.8 pounds
Company Website www.lenovo.com
Add a comment
8 comments
  • Hans Thoma Says:

    This particular laptop is next to useless outdoors. It has one of the dimmest screens available. Plus it's a standard glossy screen, which causes a ton of reflections. Get yourself a Samsung 9 Spin, it's the brightest 2-in-1 available, and it has an anti-glare coating.

  • Brenan Says:

    This laptop has serious trackpad and bluetooth issues. Using the trackpad was not a smooth experience. I have a wireless bluetooth mouse that kept loosing connectivity. Did not have this issue using a different laptop

  • Kamrul Hossain Says:

    is it have more storage. about 1000gb or2000gb.

  • Marshal Gabala Says:

    I was using the yoga 900 to play Microsoft Solitaire Collection and the screen/vents got really hot more than I would like. Is that normal or should I get it checked out. I've had it for just over a day.

  • Bob Norlin Says:

    Many good points, so I focus on my little PROBLEM:
    The Lenovo YOGA 900 touch-pad is slightly loose, not much but enough to make it CLATTER, especially in the center of the touch-pad!!! Right where you mostly use it...
    It is a noise that I have never experienced before on any of my many lap-top computers, (from a ridiculously priced GATEWAY, my favorite 1x DELL XPS M1730, 3x Panasonic C-18 TOUGHBOOKS, 2x Toshibas from Harvey Norman, 1x Sony Vaio UX Micro PC and some more Dells etc...Plus, not one of my cheap ~$35.00 wireless LOGITEC K400r keyboards with integrated touch-pad CLATTERS!) and this CASTANET-CLATTER certainly "gets under your skin..". It is in stark contrast to the beautifully quiet Lenovo YOGA 900 keyboard. The keyboard is great!

    Yes, I paid MID $2K AUD and of course expecting a top quality computer unit with flexible and predictable tactile performance. :-(

  • Gareth Lloyd Says:

    I just bought the 16GB/512GB i7 yoga 900. Very impressed with the laptop but not the battery life. Averaging around 5 hours. How do you test battery life to get 7:57?

  • RonMMM Says:

    I was planning on buying this beautiful laptop. Unfortunately after reading the "Cons" I stopped reading. I have used a keyboard with a small left shift key. It is an awful experience. That defect alone killed it for me.

  • Andrew Says:

    Was the spectre x360 being compared with the new one maxed out like the Yoga is? Ie. the Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, Intel 520 graphics, QHD, etc?

    I'm debating between the Yoga and the latest spectre, and not sure what is the best product.

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