Lenovo Yoga 900

Inspired by classic watches, but made with the latest electronics

Lenovo Yoga 900

The Yoga Pro 900 is an iterative release, improving on the flaws of its predecessors. In this regard, the experience is similar to the refinements that Microsoft made moving from the Surface Pro 3 to the Surface Pro 4 this year.

We liked

Lenovo put a lot of thought into the design of the Yoga 900. Given the similarities between the Yoga Pro 3 and the Yoga 900, it's easy to forget that a lot of change has gone into this year's model. Not only did Lenovo add Intel's newest processor, but the processor class also changed from a Core M to a Core i series. Lenovo did a fantastic job moving to this powerful form factor while still retaining the same clean design.

The laptop never felt too hot in general use, and the clever placement of the fan means that users won't have scorching thighs when using the Yoga 900 as a laptop, adding to the "lapability" of the device. Heat dissipation is also aided by a redesigned internal fan as well as through the faux-leather keyboard deck.

For port management, I love the versatility of Lenovo's proprietary charging port. When you're not charging the laptop, the charging port can double as a third USB port on the slim device.

Most importantly, the Yoga 900 maintains its premium status with an impeccable slim and lightweight Ultrabook design that also converts into a tablet. In this form factor, the device is meant for more casual tablet use and multimedia consumption, especially with tent and display modes. Business users looking to stay more productive will likely look for devices that support an active digitizer, but most users will be happy with the versatility that the Yoga 900 delivers as a two-in-one device.

We disliked

While Microsoft managed to shave a little bit of weight and thickness off of the Surface Pro 3 moving to this year's model, Lenovo went the opposite direction. The Yoga 900 is almost 0.1 inches thicker and 0.22 pounds heavier than last year's model. Lenovo representatives claim that the slight bump is needed to accommodate a larger battery. However, moving from the power-sipping Core M to a more powerful Core i7 processor, the larger battery made no impact on battery life, with both models faring just over five hours on our battery life test.

And while it may not be Lenovo's fault, compatibility issues with Windows 10 and Intel's graphics driver are problematic nuisances for a flagship consumer convertible, resulting in driver crashes and screen flickering. These problems plague an otherwise gorgeous, QHD+ resolution display.

For touch typists, the shallow key travel on the keyboard will be disappointing, especially considering the fact that the Yoga 900's form factor makes it an Ultrabook-first device. The keyboard feels shallower and stiff compared to the Microsoft's new Type Cover for the Surface Pro 4.

Final verdict

The Yoga 900 is what the Yoga 3 Pro should have been: a powerful, lightweight Ultrabook. As manufacturers race to make their devices slimmer and lighter, Lenovo played it safe and made this year's model just a little heavier and thicker to accommodate a larger battery, a necessity considering that we're working with more power-hungry internals.

These sacrifices paid off. Despite the zippier upgrade to an Intel Core i7, battery life on the Yoga 900 is similar to the Core M-powered Yoga 3 Pro, an impressive feat of engineering considering that Lenovo had to also build in vents and add fans for active cooling.

But are the upgrades enough? Despite the latest chipsets, processing performance is about comparable with last year's premium Broadwell processors, and the jump to a Core i7 didn't post any significant CPU gains when benchmarked against the humble Core M from last year. Where the Yoga 900 shines is in the graphics department, and you should find no trouble with light or moderate video and graphics work using Adobe Creative Suite and casual gaming.

For business users, the Lenovo Yoga 900 fails to be as versatile as a Surface Pro 4. It lacks a dock to connect more than one external monitor, and you can't rely on the USB-C port to charge the device. But if you're looking at an extremely lightweight travel companion with a decent keyboard, the Yoga 900 delivers with a gorgeous display, light form factor and solid build quality.