Lenovo doesn’t always get things right, but when they go well, they can go very well indeed. The 13.3-inch Yoga 900, which launched late in 2015, was a superb machine — portable, powerful and good looking. Its ‘watchband’ hinge, with 813 separate components for 360-degree screen rotation, has become a trademark of the series.
The follow-up 12.5-inch Yoga 900S appeared in the middle of last year, combining spec upgrades with a smaller, slimmer, lighter (999g) shell, and again earned plaudits.
Now Lenovo has followed up with the 13.9-inch Yoga 910, which retains key features of earlier models, while updating for the latest specifications. It doesn’t come cheap. The starting price of £1,299.99 (inc. VAT; £1,083.32 ex. VAT) — or $1,199 in the US and €1,499 in Europe — rises to a massive £1,749.99 (inc. VAT; £1,458.32 ex. VAT) for the top-of-the-range model.
Physically the Lenovo Yoga 910 is immediately recognisable as part of its series. The watchband hinge is the key design cue: it allows the screen to be rotated through a full 360 degrees for working in a range of different modes, and is solid enough to hold the screen steady in any position. I was sent a grey model to review. This should suit an office environment; if you like a more ‘blingy’ look, you can go for silver or champagne gold options.
The all metal unibody chassis is pretty tough. There is some flex in the lid section and around the wrist rest area, but I’d be happy stowing this laptop in a backpack without a sleeve in terms of protecting the innards. However the outer chassis may well be prone to scratching if it isn’t covered in transit.
The Yoga 910 doesn’t continue the 900S trend towards smaller, lighter devices. Its measurements of 323mm by 224.5mm by 14.3mm and starting weight of 1.4kg are significantly bigger and heftier than the Yoga 900S. In size terms it’s closer to the Yoga 900, despite packing in a larger screen.
|Yoga 910||323 x 224.5 x 14.3mm||1.4kg||13.9 inch|
|Yoga 900S||305 x 208 x 12.8mm||0.999kg||12.5 inch|
|Yoga 900||324 x 225 x 14.9mm||1.29kg||13.3 inch|
The upshot is a laptop that’s on the weighty side for an ultra-slim model, and too heavy for this user to hold in one hand in tablet mode for any length of time.
Still, Lenovo says that the Yoga 910 is the “world’s thinnest Core i convertible”, with a smallprint explanation that this claim is “Based on Lenovo’s internal analysis as of Aug. 25, 2016 of 13-inch or greater 2-in-1 convertible laptops using Windows sold by major competitors shipping >1 million units worldwide annually; measured with keyboard attached in closed position.”
The screen is a thing of beauty. While not all variants of this laptop offer a touchscreen, they all have a 13.9-inch IPS 3,840-by-2,160 (4K) display that’s impressively sharp and bright. Colours pop out, and video in particular looks superb.
A miniscule 4mm bezel along the short and top edges has allowed Lenovo to cram this relatively large display into the chassis. As Dell’s adventures with the 13.3-inch XPS 13 show, minimalist bezels make for a superb user experience. My touchscreen model was responsive too, so I had no trouble working in modes with the keyboard hidden.
The screen is very reflective, though, which won’t go down well with every user. And there’s another issue: just as Dell did with the XPS 13, Lenovo has had to relocate the webcam from its usual central position, above the display, because there simply isn’t room for it to sit inside the tiny bezel.
Dell put its camera in the bottom left corner of the screen, requiring a bit of readjustment to ensure a central view; Lenovo has positioned the camera in the middle of the large (29mm) bezel below the screen. I found it easier to sit with my face central to the screen, but the low-down position gave a somewhat unflattering ‘up the nostrils’ view when I was working in laptop mode, which is not ideal. Video chats made with the Yoga 910 in ‘tent’ mode are better as they effectively invert the screen so that the camera sits above it.
The backlit keyboard is well sized and comfortable to type on. There’s no flex, and I was quite happy typing at normal touch-typing speed. My grumble here isn’t with usability for typed input, but that the keyboard doesn’t lock when the Yoga 910 is flipped into tablet mode. This is not unusual, but I do feel that keys are vulnerable to undue pressure as the device is gripped in tablet mode, and would much prefer key retraction and/or lock in this mode.
The touchpad is wide enough to carry the cursor right across the screen with space to spare. It is responsive and smooth under the fingers.
My only gripe is that there’s no visual cue when the touchpad is disabled via a Fn key. I’d like a light on the pad or the Fn key to let me know I’ve intentionally put the touchpad out of commission. On a couple of occasions I stabbed at the pad thinking it was broken, when it was simply disabled.
There’s a fingerprint reader on the far right of the wrist rest for those who want to use biometric authentication. This is a new addition to the Yoga 9xx range and is the only way to log in via Windows Hello — face recognition via the camera isn’t supported.
There are multiple variants of the Lenovo Yoga 910 on sale at the Lenovo website as I write. The least expensive model comes in at
£1,299.99 (inc. VAT) and sports a 2.5GHz Intel Core i5 7200U processor, 8GB of RAM, Windows 10 Home, a 13.9-inch 3,840-by-2160 non-touch screen and a 256GB SSD.
Stepping through configuration options and choices between silver, champagne gold and grey models eventually leads to the eye-watering £1,749.99 (inc. VAT) configuration. This has a 2.7GHz Intel Core i7 7500U processor with 16GB RAM. It still runs Windows 10 Home, has the same 13.9-inch 3,840-by-2160 screen (again without touch support), Intel HD Graphics and a 512GB SSD.
A range of models do support a touchscreen, and this includes the £1,549.99 (inc. VAT; £1,291.66 ex. VAT) Core i7 7500U system with 8GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
Touchscreen variants only seem to be available off the shelf with 8GB of RAM installed, whereas my touch-screen-equipped review sample had 16GB, along with the top-end Intel Core i7 7500U processor and a 512GB SSD. In effect, then, my review sample was a touchscreen version of the most expensive model available currently online. Other variations are also available on request, including up to 1GB of SSD storage.
Connections are far from plentiful. There are two USB-C ports, one of which doubles as the charge connector, while the other supports video-out. A USB 3.0 port and an audio jack complete the set.
Twin speakers deliver plenty of volume but — as so often on laptops — lack rich bass tones. Still, they should be fine for videoconferencing and presentations to small groups, and also for some entertainment workloads too.
According to Lenovo, my Yoga 910 review unit is good for 10.5 hours of battery life, and it should certainly get you through an average 8-hour working day. With the screen set to 75 percent brightness rather than the rather lacklustre 40 percent that’s the default on battery power, one three-hour test period under moderate workloads — web browsing, writing and media streaming, with wi-fi always on — saw the battery deplete from 100 percent to 75 percent.
The Yoga 910 is a step forward for Lenovo’s versatile Yoga line. It doesn’t do what the 900S did and downsize, but instead manages to fit a 13.9-inch screen in a chassis that’s almost the same size as the 13.3-inch Yoga 900 — albeit with some weight gain.
The superb screen and all-day battery life are real plus points. Note, though, that you’ll pay handsomely for a top-end spec.
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