Not too long ago, the only high-end Chromebook on the market was Google's own Pixelbook. But in the past few months, several laptop makers have revealed their own premium Chromebooks. Lenovo's Yoga Chromebook C630 (from $599, $899 as tested) takes things to the next level with the world's first 4K display on a Chromebook. Along with its gorgeous 15.6-inch panel, this 2-in-1 offers excellent performance in a flexible aluminum chassis. But the battery life on the Yoga Chromebook C630 is disappointing, so those who care about endurance should opt for the lower-res 1080p version instead.
Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 Price and Configuration Options
If you're not sold on 4K, Lenovo sells a 1080p model of the Yoga Chromebook C630 for $599 with an Intel Core i3-8130U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 64GB of flash storage. Upgrading to a Core i5-8250U CPU and 128GB of eMMC storage raises the price to $719. The maxed-out 4K model we reviewed costs $899 and packs a Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC flash storage.
The Yoga Chromebook C630 adopts the clean, understated design signature found across Lenovo's newer consumer laptops. I'm generally a fan of the look, but in this case, the results are rather bland. Apart from a black Lenovo emblem on the left hinge, the deck of the laptop lacks any unique design elements. The same goes for the lid, where a smooth, midnight-blue finish is interrupted only by a Yoga logo and Chrome branding.
A little contrast could have gone a long way toward improving the aesthetics of the Yoga Chromebook C630. Some white key font along with a slightly darker shade of blue on the touchpad and keyboard are the only departures from its dark-blue chassis. There is no chrome trim, diamond-cut edges or a power button adorning the deck of this stealthy machine. Even the reliably colorful Chrome logo is concealed in gray on the dark lid.
While it's not the most visually striking laptop, the Yoga Chromebook C630's aluminum chassis feels premium, especially compared to the chunky plastic Chromebooks we're used to. The C630's top and side display bezels are reasonably thin, but the thick bottom bezel is a poorly groomed mustache that nearly spoils the C630's pretty 4K face.
As a 2-in-1, the Chromebook C630 can transform from a laptop into a tablet, thanks to its flexible hinges. The Yoga is rather unwieldy when flipped out of laptop orientation, but I still enjoyed viewing content and playing Android games in tablet and tent mode.
At 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches and 4.1 pounds, the Yoga Chromebook C630 is big and heavy for a Chromebook, but it's fairly portable given the large 15-inch display. The 12.3-inch Google Pixel Slate (11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches, 2.9 pounds) and Google Pixelbook (11.4 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches, 2.5 pounds) are predictably smaller and lighter than the 15.6-inch Yoga Chromebook C630. The 13.3-inch Acer Chromebook 13 (12.2 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches, 3.6 pounds) is also a more travel-friendly laptop than the Lenovo.
I would have liked a wider selection of ports on the Yoga Chromebook C630, given its large chassis, but it still has an adequate variety of inputs.
The left side houses a second USB Type-C port (sadly, no Thunderbolt 3) for power, along with a USB 3.0 port and a headphone/mic combo jack.
The Yoga Chromebook C630 lets you experience Chrome OS in luscious 4K resolution for the first time ever. While the pixel-packed panel is undoubtedly gorgeous, 1080p displays on some competing laptops are brighter and more colorful.
I could see the small emeralds in Jasmine's dress as well as the intricate, striped pattern on the face of her pet tiger, Rajah, in a trailer for the 2019 live-action remake of Aladdin. Saturated colors burst off the display during a parade scene, and the Genie's skin was a rich, pastel blue, although Will Smith looked liked he would have been a better fit for a Las Vegas residency than granting our protagonist's wishes. While the Yoga Chromebook C630's display isn't exactly dim, I wish it were brighter during darker scenes.
The Yoga Chromebook C630's 15.6-inch, 4K display covers 107 percent of the sRGB color gamut, making it less vivid than the panels on the Pixel Slate (120 percent), Pixelbook (117 percent) and Chromebook 13 (126 percent). Still, the Lenovo's display tops the Chromebook category average (83 percent) by a large margin.
We saw similar results on our display brightness test. The 4K display on this Lenovo laptop peaked at 260 nits, which is dimmer than the displays on the Acer Chromebook 13 (282 nits) and both of Google's Chrome OS devices: the Pixel Slate (337 nits) and Pixelbook (421 nits). The category average is an underwhelming 225 nits.
I had no problems using the Yoga's fluid, responsive touch screen to navigate the web and play games, although a stylus should really be included in the box at this price.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Chromebook Yoga C630's island-style keyboard doesn't live up to the ThinkPad's lofty standards, but it still offers an OK typing experience. Because the C630's key travel is low for a 15-inch laptop, at 1.4 millimeters (we prefer at least 1.5 mm), I bottomed out more than usual. The keys are also a bit stiff, and my fingers became fatigued after a long typing session.
On a positive note, the backlit keys are nicely spaced and their above-average 70 grams of actuation force kept my fingers flying during our typing test.
Speaking of which, I typed at 120 words per minute with a 94 percent accuracy rate on the 10FastFingers.com typing test. That is slightly faster than my typical pace (119 wpm) but with a few more errors compared to my average accuracy rate (95 percent).
Below the keyboard is a smooth, soft-touch track pad that responded quickly to my input. I was even able to execute Chrome OS gestures -- swiping left or right to switch tabs and a three-finger swipe to open all windows -- on the 4.0 x 2.7-inch surface.
The two bottom-firing speakers on the front of the Yoga Chromebook C630 produce solid audio quality. Thrice's rock ballad "My Soul" filled our medium-size lab with clear, detailed sound when I maxed out the volume levels. Dustin Kensrue's husky vocals were well-defined, but the high-frequency electric guitar notes sounded hollow and, on the low end, drum kicks were weak.
The same can be said about Box Car Racer's song "And I." The Blink 182 spinoff's love song was marred by a cacophony of guitar sounds, although Tom DeLonge's distinct vocal tone emerged from the mess.
Combine Google's notoriously lightweight operating system with the Yoga Chromebook C630's Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and 8GB of RAM, and you get outstanding real-world performance. There was only the slightest hint of lag when I loaded 23 Google Chrome tabs, two of which played YouTube videos while another pair streamed Apex Legends on Twitch. The Yoga Chromebook C630 also had no problems loading a 4K video, even with all of those tabs running in the background.
The Yoga Chromebook C630 scored a 9,021 on the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance benchmark, netting one of the highest results we've seen from a Chromebook. Only the Acer Chromebook 13 topped that mark with a 10,856, while the Google Pixelbook (7,927) and Pixel Slate (8,071) fell just short. To put the Yoga Chromebook C630's impressive performance into perspective, the Chromebook category average score (4,018) is less than half what the Lenovo achieved.
The Intel UHD Graphics 630 inside the Yoga Chromebook C630 provides mediocre graphics performance. The Chromebook C630 displayed 5,000 fish at a choppy 23 frames per second on the WebGL Aquarium benchmark test, falling short of the Pixel Slate (28 fps) and the Chromebook 13 (40 fps).
Chrome OS and Android Apps
As Chromebook hardware options expand, so does Chrome OS' functionality. Google recently added Android app support to Chrome OS, allowing users to download their favorite mobile apps onto a Chromebook. The results aren't perfect -- apps developed natively for Android don't scale well on a large, high-resolution display (especially the Yoga Chromebook C630's 4K panel) -- but Android apps appeal to a wider audience, especially users who are already integrated into Google's mobile operating system. Given Chrome OS' support for mobile apps, we now strongly recommend buying a 2-in-1 or, at the very least, a Chromebook with a touch screen.
The Yoga Chromebook C630's large 4K display takes a serious toll on battery life. With a runtime of just 6 hours and 53 minutes on our Laptop Mag battery test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits), the Chromebook C630 powers down long before the average Chromebook (8:50). Even the Chromebook 13 (8:15) and the Pixelbook (7:43) -- laptops we criticized for their below-average battery life -- outlasted the Yoga Chromebook C630. Google's Pixel Slate (9:51) tablet stayed powered for 3 hours after the Chromebook C630 shut down.
Note, the 1080p model of the Yoga Chromebook C630 should provide significantly better battery life.
The webcam located on the top bezel of the Yoga Chromebook C630 produces dark, grainy images under artificial lighting. My face looked ghastly in a selfie I snapped in our dimly lit office. While the lens did a decent job exposing the fluorescent lights hanging above me, it did so by darkening my face, which led to an increase in visual noise and smearing of details. The camera captured a much better image when I moved closer to a window. With natural light streaking into the lens, the color returned to my face and I could make out individual strands of hair in my beard.
The underside of the Yoga Chromebook C630 heated to 98 degrees Fahrenheit after we played a 15-minute HD video. That just breaches our 95-degree comfort threshold. Fortunately, the rest of the chassis remained cozy, with the touchpad reaching 85 degrees and the center of the keyboard topping out at 92 degrees.
Warranty and Support
I don't often get to review a laptop that's truly the first of its kind, which is why I was so excited to test Lenovo's Yoga Chromebook C630, the world's first Chromebook with a 4K display. Fortunately, the Yoga Chromebook C630 impressed me with its blazing-fast performance and durable yet flexible aluminum chassis.
Of course, those benefits play second fiddle to the laptop's crisp UHD touch-screen display, which lets you experience Chrome OS with more clarity than ever. While the 15.6-inch display is gorgeous, I was disappointed to discover that competing laptops have panels that are brighter and more colorful. The Yoga Chromebook C630's battery life also suffers from having to power all of those pixels.
If you don't need a 4K display but still want the benefits of a premium laptop, then I recommend the Acer Chromebook 13. Along with its aluminum chassis and strong performance, the Chromebook 13 is a tad cheaper and has slightly better battery life than the Yoga Chromebook C630. The 12.3-inch Pixel Slate is another good option for its long battery life and vivid display, although we ran into Bluetooth issues when pairing wireless headphones.
Overall, the Yoga Chromebook C630 is an excellent laptop for content creators and consumers, and one of the best Chromebooks you can buy.
Credit: Laptop Mag