The market is filled with fantastic touchscreen laptops these days, but Lenovo may have topped them all with the Lenovo Yoga 920 – the long-awaited followup to the Lenovo Yoga 910.
Lenovo laptop news
The Lenovo Yoga 920 retains the 360-degree hinge of its predecessor, but expands on it with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, a reasonably placed webcam and prolonged battery life.
There are so many great 2-in-1 laptops these days, including the fantastic Surface Book 2. So, does the Lenovo Yoga 920 stand the test of time, even in the face of its successor, the Lenovo Yoga C930? The short answer is yes, but keep reading and we’ll explain why the Lenovo Yoga 920 is worth your time.
Here is the Lenovo Yoga 920 configuration sent to TechRadar for review:
CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-855OU (quad-core, 4MB cache, up to 4GHz)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM: 16GB DDR4
Screen: 13.9-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), headset jack
Connectivity: 802.11ac (2.4 & 5GHz); Bluetooth 4.1
Weight: 3 pounds (1.37kg)
Size: 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches (323 x 223.5 x 13.95mm)
(W x D x H)
Price and availability
As with other 2-in-1 devices, the Lenovo Yoga 920 comes in different configurations, though thankfully Lenovo hasn't gone overboard by offering a confusing array of options.
Luckily, since the Lenovo Yoga 920 has been succeeded by the Lenovo Yoga C930, we should start seeing prices drop, especially for refurbished models – which is great, as the Yoga 920 has aged particularly well over the last year.
The base model comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, a 13.9-inch 1080p touchscreen and an Active Pen stylus, and costs $1,199 / £1,199. This model is available in the US and UK.
There’s a second model that’s similar to the one above, but features a faster Intel Core i7 processor and 512GB of SSD space. This configuration will set you back $1,549 / £1,349 and again is available in the US and UK. From these prices you can see that in the UK, the higher-specced Yoga 920 offers much better value for the money.
Finally, there’s a version that features an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 16GB RAM, up to 1TB of storage and a UHD (3840 x 2160) screen. This model is only available in the US and Australia, and costs $1,999 / AU$2,999. Keep in mind that the Australian model is currently capped at 512GB of storage.
Unfortunately, Australian readers will be missing out on the lower-specced options, but at least the price conversion compared to USD is pretty fair. Similarly, in the UK, you’ll have to live without the 4K screen.
While the Lenovo Yoga 920 is definitely not a cheap device, the price is comparable to what you would see with similar high-end laptops, and quite a bit cheaper than the Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch).
If you’re looking to pick the Surface Book 2 up, it’ll set you back $1,499 / £1,499 (about AU$2,600) to start, for a 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an integrated GPU. However, prices top out at $2,999 / £2,999 (about AU$5,2000) for the top-end version, coming with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD and a GTX 1050 GPU.
The Lenovo Yoga 920 comes in a wide range of configurations, not to mention prices, but none of these options feature dedicated graphics. Instead, the Lenovo Yoga 920 uses an integrated graphics solution, which should be able to handle most everyday tasks, like photo editing. However, don’t expect to get far with heavy gaming or video editing.
When you’re paying a premium price you want a device that looks – and feels – premium as well, and Lenovo has done an excellent job of that with the Yoga 920. It has a thin yet sturdy feel to it, weighing 3.0 pounds (1.37kg) and measuring just 12.7 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches (323 x 223.5 x 13.95mm).
This means the Lenovo Yoga 920 has a nice heft to it, without feeling overly heavy. It also has a nice metallic finish which contributes to the premium feel, although after only a few hours of use, the metal finish becomes a fingerprint magnet, so you’ll want to keep a microfiber cloth handy to keep it looking pristine.
It’s a small price to pay, however, for such a good-looking 2-in-1. The hinges along the back of the Yoga 920 are also eye-catching – we’ve fluctuated between thinking they're stylish and finding them a bit gaudy. There’s no doubting the strength and build quality of the hinge though, which is essential for a convertible laptop as that hinge is likely to see a lot of action as you flip the screen orientation, so you don’t want it to be a point of failure.
The hinge on the Lenovo Yoga 920, similar to the Surface Book 2, is strong enough to angle the screen without the body tipping up, while the display remains held in place. However, unlike Microsoft’s 2-in-1, the design of the Yoga 920’s hinge doesn’t stick out quite as much, and, of course, it can flip the screen a full 180 degrees.
2-in-1 convertibles that flip their screens to turn into a tablet-like device struggle to provide quite as good a tablet experience as 2-in-1s on which the screen detaches from the keyboard, as you’re still left with a slightly bulky device with a back that feels like a keyboard (because it is one).
Lenovo has managed to address at least one of these points thanks to the thinness of the design – even with the screen flipped all the way back this is still a thin device, though not quite as slim as standard tablets. That keyboard back remains, and while it doesn’t feel that nice (compared to the smooth, flat back of a normal tablet), it's at least clever enough to turn off the buttons, so they don’t interfere when in tablet mode.
This is why it’s easy to recommend the Lenovo Yoga 920 as a laptop that can occasionally turn into a tablet, rather than vice versa. If you’re looking for something that you’ll use mostly as a tablet, but want it to turn into a laptop occasionally for typing, we’d recommend something like the Surface Book 2, or perhaps a tablet that comes with a physical Bluetooth keyboard.
The Lenovo Yoga 920’s display bezel is impressively thin, and the webcam is now back at the top of the screen where it belongs. On the Yoga 910, the webcam was housed in the bottom bezel, which led to some unflattering shots, and in general people weren’t too happy with that placement. With the camera returning to the top of the screen, videos look much more natural when using VoIP software – and thankfully, putting the webcam back there hasn’t required making the top bezel any larger.
Because of how thin the laptop is, it’s probably no surprise that there aren’t a ton of ports available. On the left hand side there’s a combination headphone/mic jack and two USB-C ports (one of which is also used as the power supply), and on the right is a full sized USB-A 3.0 port. This is obviously not a lot of ports, but it’s more generous than the MacBook with its single USB-C port.
To be honest, we didn't find the number of ports restrictive, and it’s a reasonable trade-off for the svelte design. If you have a number of USB devices that you want to attach you’ll need an adapter, though the Yoga 920 also has built-in Bluetooth support.
The fact that it still features one full-size USB port means there’s some flexibility here for using legacy devices, as well as memory sticks.
Stylus pros and cons
One of the biggest issues with the Surface Book 2 is that despite its high price, the Surface Pen wasn’t included, necessitating an extra purchase on top of the initial, already expensive, outlay.
Luckily, Lenovo bucks this trend, and includes the Active Pen stylus as part of the Lenovo Yoga 920’s package. This battery-powered stylus has a pleasing design and the Yoga 920 responds well to it thanks to its screen being able to detect 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. Light presses and hard presses are registered accurately in the art apps we tried, and the laptop kept up with even the most frantic scribbles.
However, you’ll have to hold down one (of two) buttons on the stylus to engage the erase mode – unlike the Surface Pen, which has a nifty feature where you can use the other end of the stylus as an eraser. Overall, though, we’re pleased with the Lenovo Active Pen, and we love the fact that Lenovo includes it right out of the box.
However, it's not all good news. Lenovo had to find a way to easily store the stylus within such a slim design. Microsoft’s solution with the Surface Pen and its Surface devices is to magnetically attach the stylus to the body of the main device; it's a nice feature that’s handy, though not completely secure, and it helps to give those devices a premium feel.
However, for the Yoga 920 Lenovo has decided on a plastic holder that slots into the full-size USB port and holds the stylus there. This ends up feeling a bit cheap and tacky, and it also means you’re losing access to a USB port while you're using it. It’s a shame, as so many other elements of the Yoga 920's design feel premium, and this just feels like a fudge.
First reviewed December 2017
- Images Credit: TechRadar