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With a starting price of $1,099 (about AU$1,481) the Lenovo Yoga 900S comes at a surprisingly high standard considering the base configuration includes a Core m5 processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB of RAM and a 1080p screen – or a QHD+ screen in the UK for £999.
For the fifty fewer clams, you could get an Intel Core i5-powered Dell XPS 13 with double the memory and storage. Alternatively, the HP Spectre x360 starts at an even more affordable rate, with the same specs as Dell's Ultrabook and an all-metal, transformable shell.
That said, the higher-end version of the Yoga 900S is more tantalizing and better justifies its $1,149 (about £810, AU$1,549) price. It comes with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display, a faster Core m7 processor as well as twice the memory and storage compared to the starting configuration.
And, considering the upgraded model is a mere $50 more, I would highly suggest picking it up unless you're trying to maximize battery life.
Here is the Lenovo Yoga 900S configuration sent to techradar for review:
- CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515
- RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 (1600 MHz)
- Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS LED glossy multi-touch display
- Storage: 128GB PCIe SSD
- Ports: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type-C, headset jack
- Connectivity: Lenovo AC Wireless (2x2) + Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 720p webcam
- Weight: 2.2 pounds (9.99g)
- Size: 12.01 x 8.19 x 0.5 inches (W x D x H) (3.05 x 2.08 x 1.28 cm)
More and more thin laptops are abandoning Intel's Core M platform due to the bad reputation the chip developed in its early days. The Yoga 900S missed out this revolution when it was announced at CES 2016. However, even with only a Core m5 processor, I never feel like the Lenovo Yoga 900S is struggling to keep up.
In fact, I'm able to play Hearthstone with the graphical settings on high. And, I can Photoshop a few images without major hitching despite running five other programs at the same time.
Again, this is with the Core m5 model. I can only imagine the Core m7 version would run even faster.
Here's how the Lenovo Yoga 900S performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 3,609; Sky Diver: 1,909; Fire Strike: 479
- Cinebench CPU: 160 points; Graphics: 23.32 fps
- GeekBench: GeekBench: 2,248 (single-core); 4,532 (multi-core)
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,203 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 6 hours and 29 minutes
- Battery Life (techradar movie test): 7 hours and 21 minutes
Sadly, on paper, it seems the Lenovo Yoga 900S runs a little slower than other contemporary Intel Core m5 machines. The Dell XPS 12 and Apple MacBook both returned higher Geekbench scores bubbling over the 6,000 mark, whereas the Lenovo's 2-in-1 only scored 4,532 points.
The Lenovo Yoga 900S also looks to be deficient on the graphics end. In the Cloud Gate 3DMark test – which stresses the integrated graphics components – the hybrid scored 3,609 points, while the XPS 12 scored 300 points higher and the ZenBook UX305 finished with 4,228 points.
Keep in mind the machines compared above were running with the same processor when tested. However, this Yoga 900S model is outfitted with half as much RAM as the others – this could be the root cause of the lower numbers.
Battery to last
Most 13-inch laptops get an average of six hours of battery life, the Lenovo Yoga 900S smashes that average with nearly seven and a half hours of screen-on time. The notebook ran for 7 hours and 21 minutes while playing TechRadar's standard movie battery test on loop. Even against the grueling PCMark 8 benchmark, the 12.5-inch hybrid kept chugging along for 6 hours and 29 minutes.
On an average workday full of chatting on Slack, editing documents in Microsoft Word and Google Drive, listening to Google Music and the occasional YouTube video diversion, the Yoga 900 lasted for 7 hours and 16 minutes. Throwing in some more serious Photoshop image editing cut the astounding run time to 5 hours and 57 minutes.
This is an impressive showing for a laptop that only weighs a little over two pounds, and it only takes the machine 2 hours and 45 minutes to fill back up from empty.
Screen and speakers
With a long battery life and gorgeous screen, the Lenovo Yoga 900S is an excellent streaming video companion. The display renders vibrant colors with blacks deep enough to make you forget about the thick bezels around the edge of the machine.
However, I wished Lenovo went with a brighter panel, as glare is apparent even if you're sitting far away from a window on sunny day. I also have to regularly max out the screen brightness while working with documents or just reading up on webpages.
The speakers are a little less noteworthy, as they lack power and are merely serviceable. Due to being located on the bottom of the laptop and downward firing, the audio quality can vary between passable on a desk to muffled on your lap. Switching the machine into tablet mode makes the listening experience slightly better, but only slightly.
If you're looking for the best aural experience, plug in a pair of headphones.
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Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.