Crafting the perfect lap-friendly computing companion is a delicate balance between weight and performance. Add powerful processors, expect hefty returns. If lightweight is what you want, packing in the best processors, along with cooling systems, can be a challenge. For the new Yoga 900 Series, Lenovo decided to rethink the formula.
With last year's Yoga Pro 3, Lenovo went thin — way thin. Like half-an-inch thin. But with that focus on shaving off every millimetre possible, some sacrifices crept in. One being the low-powered Core M processor, which brings better battery life (theoretically) and a fanless design, but don't expect to be play any gigahertz-hungry games or just being a general power user without a few performance hiccups.
With the new 13.3-inch Yoga 900 — a different name, yes, but a true successor to the Yoga 3 Pro — you're getting the best Intel processor, namely a Core i7 Skylake processor, along with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and a 256 or 512 solid-state drive respectively. But with that, comes a little more bulk. Not much mind you, but some.
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (top) and Yoga 900 (bottom)
The Yoga 900 packs on about 0.2 extra pounds but only adds 1.5 millimetres, but even when comparing side-by-side, the two laptops still look and feel remarkably similar. Even with the added lbs, the Yoga 900 is currently the thinnest Skylake convertible laptop out there, and with an increased 66Wh battery (up from 44Wh), you'll hopefully get at least more than 5 hours of real-world use. Lenovo's currently guessing up to 8 hours.
But adding extra weight can be particularly risky, especially when a laptop is designed to be an all-in-one with a built-in 360-degree hinge. To be honest, a tablet that weights 2.8 pounds sounds like a chiropractic nightmare to me, which was already a problem with the lighter Yoga 3 Pro. I can't see the 900 series being much better.
Lenovo also says they have improved on the Yoga's (arguably) stylish watchband hinge, adding more durability so when using the touchscreen in laptop mode, the screen doesn't give under the pressure of your finger. However, when comparing this feature, it wasn't apparent anything was too incredibly different.
The keyboard gets a slight makeover by adding an extra row, freeing the multimedia keys that were previously embedded in the keyboard on the Yoga 3 Pro. But the keys themselves keep the scissor-hinge design and pretty minimal key travel, which could be a plus or minus depending on your personal typing preference. Oh, and the Yoga family will also be joining the USB Type-C party, but its charger remains the fantastically convenient USB charger, which gives you another USB 3.0 port (when you don't need the juice.)
And finally, a few things stay the same. For example, the display is still the same 3200x1800 beast, which can handle all your QHD+ content. Hopefully, Lenovo's paid a little more attention this time around to viewing angles and light leakage problems we saw last year.
The Yoga 900 is a slight redefinition of a laptop convertible. But with a focus on powerful over mobility this time around, this guy is probably better suited for your lap only.