9 December 2016

REVIEW: Lenovo Yoga 900S

Yoga-like positions.

If you are a laptop-er who actually carries their laptop around with them, you'll know what a literal pain a big heavy machine can be. For true portability you need a computer that is both light and slim, while also providing enough oomph to keep you working all day long. Oh, and if it looks hot-damn cool, more the better, right? We review the Lenovo Yoga 900S.

Two things struck us immediately about this laptop: first was how slim it was, at just half an inch thick when closed, and secondly the unique hinge that joins the screen to the keyboard. And then we picked it up – the thing weighs just shy of 1KG, and considering the screen is 12.5 inches across, makes this an exceptionally thin and light device. Our put-upon backs all just cheered.

That special hinge has been the focus of the Yoga 900S's marketing campaign, as it allows the laptop to transform into a tablet. The hinge will swivel through 360 degrees, meaning the entire keyboard section can be flipped around the touchscreen and tucked out of sight. When you do so, the keyboard functions are disabled and Windows 10 enters finger-friendly tablet mode.

And, as the hinge is stiff in whatever position it is placed into, you can angle the screen however you like, flipping it over to the use the keyboard as a flat stand, or propping the whole thing up like an 'A' board. But of course old school fans will be pleased that despite all that clever design the Lenovo Yoga 900S is still very much a workhorse laptop can be used in a conventional manner.

Windows 10 works very slickly on it, powered by the Intel Core M5 processor and 4GB of RAM. Ours came with a 128GB hard drive and a glorious QHD 2560 x 1440p touch display. Combined, that all adds up to a quick machine which never gave us any problems during day-in day-out operation. Speaking of the day, the Lenovo Yoga 900S features an exceptionally impressive battery life of upwards of 10 hours – so long as you only do menial things. Lenovo boast it can provide ten hours of video playback – with WiFi off – which is fairly accurate. However, heavy web browsing, editing, and downloading will bring that down to about six hours in our experience. Still, fantastic considering the size of the machine.

In terms of physical ports, you don't get many, mostly due to the thin profile. On the left side there is a USB C next to an oddly shaped full-sized USB port. As well as being used for general connections, this is also the laptop's power input, by way of a USB power cord that is essentially the same size as a phone charger. Again, big win for those travelling around. On the other side is a full-sized USB 3.0 next to a headphone jack, which itself is next to the very small power/wake button. And that's it, baby. No HDMI, no SD card slots, and obviously no Ethernet ports. We certainly haven't missed any of them, though.

Typing on the keyboard is easy, and despite the lack of depth there is hardly any bounce or bending of the surface itself. It feels all very sturdy and solid, even though the body is fully plastic – with the exception of the gorgeous hinge.

The touchscreen also supports physical pens, although the Lenovo Yoga 900S (unlike the Yoga Book which we'll be reviewing soon) doesn't come with one of it's own. We can imagine in tablet mode that would work very well, but using the pre-installed Windows Ink Workspace can still be fun with a few quick strokes of your finger. Investing in a pen might be a good idea if you're a designer and planning on using the laptop for work, but for everyone else it really isn't something you'll miss

Other things to note about the Lenovo Yoga 900S are the crisp Dolby speakers, the oddly velvety soft covering on the inside face of the keyboard, and the 720p webcam – pretty good for a laptop. Altogether this is a computer with a lot going for it, but... the price. The basic model of Lenovo Yoga 900S starts at £999, which might surprise many people – certainly it surprised us. When first playing around it with it, we assumed it be a £500-600 laptop, so a grand is quite a lot. The price really seems to have come from fitting so much processing power into something so thin and light. It seems that the lack of pain in your back my result in a pain in your bank account.

If you have the money to spare (and need to buy one right now) go for it – seriously, this is an amazing machine and one Lenovo should be truly proud of. If not, a cheaper, bigger, or less-powered computer might be for you, for now at least.

From £999

Visit lenovo.com

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