Lenovo Yoga 900 review: A big power boost for Lenovo’s ultra-slim Windows 10 laptop
Lenovo has been making great hybrids since the dawn of time, but rather than lithely bending over backwards, its Yoga 3 Pro fell flat. Hamstrung by a sluggish Core M processor and unremarkable battery life, even its novel “watchband hinge” wasn’t able to rescue it from mediocrity. Now, however, its successor is here, and the Lenovo Yoga 900 looks like it might just make amends.
Lenovo Yoga 900 review: Design
Externally, Lenovo hasn’t done much to change the recipe. The laptop is still ultra-thin – the “thinnest Core i convertible laptop”, according to the company – and Lenovo has stuck to its guns with the ostentatious watchband hinge. That’s a good thing, too, since that was one of the previous model’s strengths.
The hinge is constructed from 812 interlinking pieces of aluminium and steel, and just like last year’s model, all the tiny links work together to provide enough resistance to make a very effective hinge. As with all of Lenovo’s convertible laptop designs, it also allows the laptop to be posed in a number of different positions – contorting all the way from laptop to tablet and everywhere in between – but the weight remains a very reasonable 1.29kg.
There have been a couple of small changes to the overall design. The hinge is now colour-coded to match the chassis (the laptop is available in orange, gold and silver), and the hinge mechanism itself has been refined, delivering a smoother opening and closing action than on last year’s model. It’s a highly impressive feat of engineering, even if not everyone will find it especially pretty to look at. To my mind, it’s more peculiar-looking than cutting-edge.
Elsewhere, in place of the rubber carbon fibre-effect plastic surrounding the keyboard and touchpad of last year, the Yoga 900’s palm rest is now clad in real leather. Not that you’d notice: it is a touch softer and warmer when you rest your wrists on it, but it’s indistinguishable from textured plastic until you actually touch it. And what will it look like after a couple of years’ use? Scruffy, probably, rather like my long-suffering wallet.
In more practical-minded changes, the touchpad of the original has been enlarged, following criticism that the Yoga Pro 3’s was too small, and the function key row has been reintroduced along the top of the keyboard. The laptop has no native video output port this time around, but you do get a USB Type-C connector, which can output a video signal via an adapter. Frustratingly, Lenovo doesn’t include one in the box, although it has at least resisted the temptation to use the Type-C port to power the laptop. As with last year, the Yoga 900 charges up via a dual-purpose USB socket.