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Lenovo Yoga 900 Review – The Iconic Convertible PC Is Back And Better Than Ever

chipchickpick1With its four unique modes of use, the original Yoga was a true trailblazer in the PC world. Four generations later, we have the Yoga 900. Physically, the Yoga 900 doesn’t look that much different than its predecessor, the Yoga 3 Pro, but the more we have gotten to spend time with it, the more we can see that Lenovo really listened to user feedback when creating the 900.

All four of the modes that defined the Yoga series (and also redefined the PC landscape) — tent, stand, tablet, and laptop — are still here thanks to the 360° hinge. We used the Yoga 900 at CES 2016, and it’s in challenging settings like CES that the 900 thrives. This is because the Yoga 900 quickly transforms into whatever you need it to be. Need to show a presentation on the go? Stand mode is perfect for presentations and watching movies. But then the Yoga can also be converted to a tablet or laptop when you need it to.

Lenovo Yoga 900
Flashback to CES 2016, and the kit that we were lugging around

The 360° watchband hinge design that first appeared on the Yoga 3 Pro is back, and this time it has been improved so that it is tighter and sturdier. There’s also a new bold color option available this time around — champagne gold, which joins the platinum silver and clementine orange options. We especially like the new gold option, since it complements the watchband hinge and makes the Yoga 900 look more luxurious and jewelry-like. That said, we are a bit disappointed that the Yoga 900 is a little thicker than the previous generation, measuring 14.9 mm / 0.59″ thick and weighing 2.8 lbs compared to 12.8 mm thick and 2.62 lbs for the Yoga 3 Pro. That said, it’s a fair trade off for the better performance that the 900 provides.

How many laptops sport a beautiful watch-band like hinge like that?
How many laptops sport a beautiful watchband like hinge like that?

The 13″ QHD+ display on the Yoga 900 is the same excellent IPS display with 3200 x 1800 resolution and 300 nits brightness. Colors are vibrant but accurate, and in general visuals are sharp and the display gets adequately bright. One disappointment about the display is its relatively thick bezel, which feels like a waste of real estate and makes the chassis larger than we’d like.

Performance on the Yoga 900 is top notch thanks to a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-6500U processor. The Yoga 3 Pro was running on a Core M processor, and as a result its performance was disappointing. The system can also now be configured with 16 GB of RAM, making the device a serious multitasking powerhouse on the road.  The system we tested earned a PC Mark Home Conventional 3.0 Score of 2367, a PC Mark Work Conventional 2.0 score of 2539, and a Geek Bench score of 6778, all indicating excellent leading performance in its class of ultraportable laptops and convertibles. The benchmarks also indicate that its performance is very similar to that of the Surface Pro 4.

Yet, despite the extra performance this time around, Lenovo says that the Yoga 900 runs 30 percent cooler. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to verify this because we didn’t have the Yoga 3 Pro on hand for reference.

Another gripe we had with the older Yoga 3 Pro was that its trackpad was finicky. Fortunately, the trackpad on the 900 is not only larger, but also much more usable and responsive without being too sensitive. The keyboard also offers a solid experience with good tactile feedback and spacing between keys. Lenovo has also added a dedicated function row, which is a nice touch. Furthermore, the palm rest is covered in a faux soft leather covering that helps keeps your hands comfy while typing. Last but not least, the keyboard is also backlit.

And thank you Lenovo for making the Yoga 900 convenient for users by including both USB Type-C and older USB ports. Why can’t more companies make ultraportable laptops that way? At least until USB Type-C becomes more popular, it’s seriously painful to have a laptop without a full-sized, older USB port! The laptop also packs in a 4-in-1 card reader.

Read on for the verdict…

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