Lenovo has been adamant to conquer the transforming 2-in-1 segment. The original Yoga was a very good example of the actual usefulness of that type of platform when it’s designed right. It was insanely popular, attractive and performed pretty well, considering the ultrabook specs. The Yoga line is alive and well, continuing to push boundaries with a few more innovations in each iteration. The Yoga 910 is the current consumer model, and they’ve stuffed a large battery and a good spread of hardware to hopefully continue the legacy that they’ve started. But does the update, with its new physical appearance, provide enough of a reason to pick this 2-in-1 up?
Lenovo’s Yoga 910 might be the sexiest laptop around
Who would want a 2-in-1? Surprisingly, a lot of people. The touch aspect, something that smartphones were responsible for making popular way back when now, is natural, right? We’re naturally tactile and being able to touch things on the screen in front of you seems innate. You want to and you probably have accidentally tried to interact now that it’s a normal part of our daily lives. I think this form-factor is something that we naturally kind of want, because it’s a futuristic rendition of what we might think paper is. No, this doesn’t have a pen but that doesn’t mean the touchscreen is useless. Quite the contrary, actually.
The problem is adapting to the use-cases that are there. You may not be used to a device that’s literally so flexible in how you use it. So at first it’s just a novelty that has little actual usefulness. That’s until you find your own way and slowly make touch that natural part of computing that it should be. We’re tactile creatures, so it makes sense to integrate that sense into the fray in some fashion. For computing, I tend to find myself at home with touching the screen now, usually for mundane things like closing a window, though when it makes more sense to move my hand to the screen while viewing things. Or just because. It’s also become a habit as I’ve become increasingly more spoiled by the trackpads from MacBook Pro’s.
Review Unit Specifications
The unit being reviewed here costs $1179.99 on the Lenovo site.
Looking around, there’s actually quite a bit changed here. The Yoga 910 is a good-looking machine, not that the Yoga line was particularly unattractive to begin with. Now there’s a fully metallic exterior with a new hinge mechanism that looks fairly effective, and not at all fragile. Previous iterations, and the Yoga P40 had this issue, had a hinge mechanism that was prone to occasionally going out of alignment. If you weren’t careful it would be cockeyed. But it would still work, and never broke. This hinge, following closely in the footsteps of Microsoft’s Surface Pro, is innovative, to say the least. It’s sturdy and good looking. It draws the attention of anyone passing by, because it’s unique yet wholly practical.
Also even more sturdy is the entire outside chassis, which has been reworked and remade with Aluminum. It’s even fingerprint resistant, to a point. And it also seems to defy my middling attempts to scratch it as well. Though those were more from everyday activities and taking a knife, or keys, deliberately to it. It’s a unibody design that’s very attractive and even understated. The whole thing is elegant, competing with Apple’s designs in their simplistic beauty. Aside from the hinge which is most definitely not simple.
Flipping it into a tablet is both easy and natural. It’s light enough that it can be rested on your forearm without fatigue. 3.09lbs isn’t very much, considering. It’s also small enough to be fairly convenient when being used as a tablet for whatever mobile functions you might need. The thickness, which isn’t that much, is still adequate for holding onto and feeling like it’s secure. The battery life also makes it a good choice for using as a tool out in the field.
The keyboard can be compared to the original ThinkPad Yoga, in that its slightly shallow though the actuation is sure and the overall typing experience being enjoyable. The only negative is the tiny size of the right shift button. Being so small, it’s easy to miss and make mistakes if you’re used to a full-sized set of keys. It’s a strange oversight given how wonderful and award-winning Lenovo laptop keyboards usually are. But there are bound to be some things that need improving for the next iteration. And some concessions allegedly needed to be made to accommodate the small size of the chassis.
Navigating the Yoga 910 is easy enough with just the touchscreen, though the trackpad isn’t half bad either. It’s massive compared to the size of the laptop and it seems very responsive. I didn’t have any problems with mis-clicks or other anomalies that tend to occur with ClickPad’s such as this one. The surface is smooth and it’s actually far better than I would have expected. The buttons are separate and have no issues when you want to click or double click. Tapping two fingers is the preferred method anyway. There are no complaints about the ClickPad on the Yoga 910. It’s very nearly perfect. At least a lot closer than ClickPad’s have ever been.
The Fingerprint sensor integrated into the chassis is both attractive and very useful. It seems to be fairly accurate and has no trouble once you’ve properly enrolled your fingers. Having that capability is actually kind of nice. You sometimes get used to the ease of which biometrics allows you entry into your electronics. It’s nice that Windows Hello has come so far, and integrates so easily into many different aspects of the OS. It’s very easy to setup and I encountered no issues with the fingerprint reader.
The 13.0” 4K screen is a sight to behold. It’s simply gorgeous. The panel that Lenovo has chosen to use here is perhaps one of the best outside of a Mac. The thin bezels allow them to stuff a larger screen into a smaller space and the effect is nice. The touchscreen layer is responsive and with a bit of practice you can easily navigate through Windows 10 with just your fingers. The display is accurate, too, with a Delta-E rating of 0.79 while being able to reproduce a whopping 99-percent of the RGB color gamut. When pushed to its maximum, the Yoga 910 can produce 301 nits of brightness. That’s very bright, and even useable outdoors.
On the connectivity front we actually see that the Yoga 910 is quite well endowed. Though it only has 1 USB 3.0 port of which to use legacy devices, you’re able to expand even further by way of the two USB 3.0 Type C ports. They haven’t been around long enough for there to be a huge proliferation of adapters and devices, but at least it offers a huge amount of bandwidth to play with. And adapters are getting a bit less expensive now, too. So the options are infinitely more useful when you account for that fact. A simple expansion adapter can give you LAN, HDMI out and a few more USB 3.0 ports for your trouble. It’s disconcerting that they don’t offer USB 3.1 nor have support for Thunderbolt 3. But in reality USB 3.0 is more than enough for most tasks. Unless you have an external flash-based RAID, or external PCIe storage chassis, this will realistically be more than adequate.
The Yoga 910 is not exactly the most ambitious project from Lenovo. It does, however, further refine the use-cases that have been found for this form factor. On its face you’ll find a 2-in-1 with the less power-hungry specifications, a large battery and a useful screen. And underneath you have hardware that is surprisingly capable given the mobile chops of the CPU. Kaby Lake does indeed improve performance noticeably, as you’ll see.
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To be perfectly fair, this is not in-and-of-itself a gaming machine. At least not without a future firmware update to allow for the use of external GPU enclosures. The HD 620 isn’t quite sufficient for modern games, even at 1080P, though it can play some less than modern games at good resolutions. But this isn’t being marketed as a gaming machine anyway. Because it isn’t quite up to the task, we’ve modified the gaming benchmark portion to reflect the different usage of the Yoga 910.
In The Division, at 1080P with the settings on the lowest, it was able to achieve an alright FPS of 25. Civilization VI fared better with acceptable performance between 20-30 FPS at 1080P. This isn’t a gaming machine, though non GPU intensive games will perform alright given you lower the settings and the resolution a bit. It’s enough to pass the time while on a train, plane or automobile.
These battery tests are derived from PCMark 8 so that they can be replicated with ease. We calibrate to 200 nits of brightness as well.
The larger 48Whr battery proves it’s useful. The Yoga 910 is able to outlast every laptop we’ve tested thus far, beating out the competition by a few hours, even. The only machine with better battery life is the Surface Book, which has a much larger battery than this does. It does a magnificent job. Long battery life in a form-factor like this is a boon.
To test entire system temperature in a realistic scenario, and to have those temperatures go as high as we could think in a real scenario, we ran Ashes of the Singularity at the test prescribed above and recorded the temperatures during that run. We look at both the CPU and the GPU. Here, the GPU is in the CPU. So they end up being nearly the same temperature.
Temperatures are somewhat well controlled. The actual CPU itself is cool enough that there are no issues. That heat does get transferred to the aluminum exterior, which does get a touch toasty. Though it’s never uncomfortable on the lap.
Noise is tested in the same environment as is temperature. We run the benchmark of Ashes of the Singularity and then report the maximum reported noise.
On the noise front it’s equally well controlled. It never really get’s too loud to be annoying while doing anything less than playing a game. And even then it’s still oddly controlled.
Lenovo really hit the nail on the head with their redesign. It’s mostly positive changes in the right direction. Their Yoga vision is becoming more tangible as time goes on and the Yoga 910 is representative of what that might look like. Battery life was always the enemy of this form-factor. You just couldn’t squeeze a large enough battery and couldn’t make a good machine last long enough. Without tradeoff’s of course. The only really terrible issue is the small size of the right shift key. It’s difficult to get used to even if it does save a bit of space.
So what’s the verdict? The Lenovo Yoga 910 represents the best of it’s class, even rivaling Microsoft’s own Surface Book. In fact, even without Thunderbolt 3, this is is better than that even without a dedicated GPU option. Very little is wrong here.
- Fantastic Display
- Strong Battery Life
- Snappy Performance
- Right Shift Too Small
- No SD Card Slot
- No Thunderbolt 3