Lenovo had announced the upgrade to its slim Yoga 3 Pro at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It was eventually launched in India in early February. Departing significantly from the naming convention, Lenovo calls this the Yoga 900, although in terms of design language, it is heavily inspired by the Yoga 3 Pro. Let us take a look at this 2-in-1 laptop and see if this is the high end laptop you should think of investing in.
Build and Design: 8.5 / 10
The design language is quite similar to what we had seen with the Yoga 3 Pro last year. You get an ultrabook which can go all the way around and give you the multi-mode operational features. The aluminium hinge mechanism, which has a design inspired by metallic watch bands, is seen again with the Yoga 900. This has become a sort of an identifier for the Yoga series flagship ultrabooks now. We like how well it has been implemented, ensuring that the display is steady no matter at which angle it is, spare the mild bobbing when tapping on the display.
The Yoga 900 ultrabook measures just around 15mm thick when the lid is closed and weighs a mere 1.27kg. Although this makes the Yoga 900 slightly thicker and heavier than the Yoga 3 Pro, one must realise that the Yoga 900 comes with an Intel Core i7 processor, unlike the Yoga 3 Pro which had a fanless Intel Core m solution powering the ultrabook.
The Yoga 900 comes in three colours, of which we got the golden coloured model. The Yoga branding is embossed on the top left hand side along with the Lenovo branding on the bottom right hand side. It has a matte finish and there’s a textured rubber finish running along the edge of the laptop. On opening the lid you are greeted with palm rest which has an elegant leather finish all around the keyboard. The display has thick bezels.
Coming to the ports, on the right hand side you have the USB 3.0 port at the top, followed by the 3.5mm audio jack, rotation lock key, reset button and the power button which has an inbuilt LED indicator. On the left hand side there the power port at the top followed by another USB 3.0 port, a USB Type C port with video out and finally an SD card reader. On the rear side you have downward firing JBL speakers.
The Yoga 900 looks every bit as elegant as its predecessor. Lenovo has managed to add more finesse to this category of ultrabook by paying more attention to the palm rest area. The Yoga 900 thought light is still pretty sturdy.
Keyboard and Trackpad: 7/10
The Yoga 900 has a 6-row chiclet keyboard. But it is something about the finish of the buttons that makes you take time getting used to typing fast on the keyboard. We felt that the Yoga 900 keyboard has a slightly less travel than the keyboard on the Yoga 3 Pro. We ended up with a lot of typos. Also thanks to the extremely reflective surface of the display, the lower portion of which almost acts like a mirror and you can see your fingers as you are typing, which is frankly distracting. There is no dedicated number pad.
The trackpad on the other hand is impressive. Even though it is a single slab of plastic with extremely responsive left and right click buttons. There is a fine chamfering around the trackpad which adds in a bit of elegance to the overall design.
Although the Lenovo Yoga 900 is an upgrade to the Yoga 3 Pro, it houses top of the line internal components. The Yoga 900 is powered by an Intel Core i7 6500U, a dual-core hyper-threaded CPU which has a base clock speed of 2.5GHz and a turbo boost frequency of 3.1GHz. The Skylake U processor is based on the 14nm manufacturing process. It comes with 8GB of LP-DDR3L RAM and has a 512GB Samsung SSD storage of which around 476GB is available to the user.
It runs on Windows 10 Home single language edition and thankfully apart from the McAfee Intel security suite and Lenovo’s three apps (Companion, ID and Settings) we did not come across any bloatware. Harmony settings app can be set to change display settings depending on the mode you set your Yoga 3 Pro in. For instance, if you switch to a reading mode, the display gets a warm tinge to reduce strain on your eyes. ‘My Favourites’, section makes most frequently used apps easier to find. You also have certain applications which are Harmony compatible and you can optimise settings for the same.
There is a 1MP HD CMOS web camera. The 13.3-inch display has a 3200 x 1800 pixel QuadHD+ resolution. There are downward firing JBL Stereo speakers with Home Theatre certification. Since this is a slim ultrabook, there is no dedicated LAN port and neither do you get any USB to LAN adapter. In fact, there are no bundled accessories with the Yoga 900 apart from the power adapter.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 uses the same 13.3-inch QHD+ IPS display that we had seen with the Yoga 3 Pro. The 3200 x 1800 pixel resolution on the Yoga 900 gives it a pixel density of 276 ppi. The display quality is really good with excellent white levels and thanks to the high pixel density. But in the Lagom.nl Black level tests, we noted that the top two rows of black boxes completely merged into each other and we could not differentiate between them. The black levels aren’t the greatest though we did not notice much backlight bleeding. Colours appear really vibrant. But we felt that the display is a bit too reflective. Any dark scene on the screen and the display becomes a mirror. This can be a buzzkill specially when you are engrossed in a movie, especially when other factors such as the audio are good. Having said that the way text appears on the display, rich with barely any sort of dithering, just makes the Yoga 900 a pleasure to read long articles on. The Reading mode ensures less strain on the eyes.
Thanks to the Intel Core i7 processor paired with 8GB of RAM, the Lenovo Yoga 900 speeds through most of the regular as well as compute heavy tasks. The lack of a dedicated GPU means that this will not be a gaming beast, but the internal Intel HD 520 graphics solution gave playable rate of around 33FPS for GRID Autosport at 1080p resolution with Low preset. You could get a better frame rate at lower than full HD resolutions.
We even used Adobe Premier Pro to do some video editing work and not once did we notice any sort of slowdown. So this is certainly a good machine if you are someone whose work involves multimedia editing on the go. Watching movies is another pleasant experience, provided that you get used to the fact that the display will be reflective in dark scenes.
Windows 10 Home OS ran smooth, but the software glitches were noticeable. When switching from the tablet mode to the desktop mode, it definitely takes a second or two longer. Also the touch experience when using in the desktop mode is not ideal, only good enough to swipe through photos in an album.
The response of the touchscreen was good in the tablet mode, but using it as a handheld tablet for a long period is not convenient at all. The tent and stand mode are preferrable if you want to use the Yoga 900 as a tablet.
Battery Life: 7.5/10
The one thing we hated with Yoga 3 Pro was the limited battery life on the ultrabook. We could barely get beyond 6 hours on regular use on a product which sported Intel Core m processor – a processor expressly meant for fanless laptops with long battery life. The Yoga 900 has certainly shown improvement on that front. We could easily complete a 8-hour work day with this ultrabook which involved tasks such as working on office documents, watching some YouTube videos, editing photos, surfing the web and listening to music. The PC Mark for Android gives a total time of around 4 hours 26 mins, which is decent considering this is an Intel Core i7 system.
Verdict and Price in India
Lenovo Yoga 900 takes all the good points of the Yoga 3 Pro and improves upon the one negative aspect of its predecessor to give a really wonderfully crafted all purpose 2-in-1 ultrabook. The price of the Yoga 900 is definitely steep at Rs 1,22,000 – around Rs 7,000 higher than the Yoga 3 Pro. At that price point, Lenovo can only woo only the highest end customers who want a good looking 2-in-1 which will let one do work as well as play, while on the move.
Over the Rs 1 lakh price barrier, Yoga 900 has to compete with its own ThinkPad Carbon X1 which is a better buy for business users. On the Mac OSX front, you can get a Core i5 based MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage around Rs 94,000 whereas a Core i7 based model could go upwards of Rs 1.5 lakhs. If you're a gamer, then the Yoga 900 is definitely not for you.
So for the regular user, there isn’t much motivation to blow so much cash to get the Yoga 900. There are many options which although thicker and heavier than the Yoga 900, will come with better internal specs. It is only meant for those who are looking for a stylish notebook which also performs great and is sold on the multi-mode operational philosophy.
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