PROS / The Yoga 900’s slim, convertible design is super flexible and ultraportable.
CONS / The battery life falls short of other top models, but it is still long enough to get you through a day of work.
VERDICT / The Lenovo Yoga 900 is one of the best ultrabooks on the market. It's a highly capable model that goes anywhere.
Lenovo helped pioneer the convertible ultrabooks category with its original Yoga systems, but the Lenovo Yoga 900 manages to be both the best ultrabook we’ve reviewed and the most versatile 2-in-1 system we've had our hands on. With its combination of top performance from Intel’s new Skylake processors and a convertible design that lets you use it anywhere, the Lenovo Yoga 900 offers excellent computing capability and extensive mobility. This laptop lets you work or play while going most anywhere you want to go, earning it the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Specs & Performance
The Yoga 900 is one of the first laptops we’ve reviewed that comes equipped with Intel’s 6th generation processors, code named Skylake. The new architecture gives the Yoga 900 a leg up on the competition with better energy efficiency and improved overall performance, translating into faster responsiveness, fewer compromises in capability and better battery life. Our review unit (the Yoga 900-13ISK) came equipped with a 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U dual-core processor paired with 16GB of memory, a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD) and an Intel HD Graphics 520 integrated graphics. The Yoga 900 can also be configured with a smaller 8GB allotment of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
Our colleagues at Laptop put the model through its paces, and the Yoga 900 put up solid numbers in Geekbench 3 (6,750 points) and Spreadsheet tests (258 seconds), and it offered superb graphics performance, with top scores in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited (63,112 points) and World of Warcraft tests (75 frames per second), outpacing nearly all competitors thanks to the improved graphic performance of Intel’s new HD Graphics 520 integrated solution. Compared to other top performers, the Yoga 900 offers the best capability by a fair margin.
Design & Construction
Just as important as performance, however, is portability. The Yoga 900 manages to be distractingly slim at only 0.59 inch thick, and it's the lightest of the systems we reviewed at just 2.8 pounds. The top and bottom panels are made of a sturdy magnesium alloy that should stand up well to the bumps and bangs of daily life. The panels are available in platinum silver, clementine orange or champagne gold.
The convertible design flips back and forth from laptop to tablet, meaning that it’s not only portable, travelling with you from point A to point B without weighing you down, it can be used along the way in tablet mode. The compact size and light weight mean you can easily carry it one handed, and you won’t feel too weighed down during prolonged tablet use. Battery life wasn’t stellar, but it can go nearly 8 hours without needing to be recharged, so you can use it through a full work day without having to bring along a charger.
You might think that the finer design touches are just icing on the cake, but there are functional aspects to them as well. The watchband-style hinge looks impressive with its 813 individual parts, offering the flexible usage modes that give the Yoga its name, like stand mode and easel mode. The hinge also conceals subtle ventilation slots, and it helps shave fractions of an inch off of the thickness of the system. Plus, it stands up well against the pokes and prods of touchscreen use. A faux-leather surface on the palmrest looks good, but it also gives you a more comfortable surface to grip when it’s folded around behind the display.
The Yoga 900 is more compact than most of the ultrabooks we reviewed, but it still boasts a full 13.3-inch display with a resolution of 3200 x 1800. The In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel offers wide viewing angles – nearly 180 degrees with no color distortion – and crisp details. The display is slightly dimmer (266 nits) and ever so slightly off on color accuracy when compared to the best competitors, scoring an average DeltaE of 2.77 in Laptop’s color accuracy testing (closer to 0 is better), but only the sharpest eyes will notice the difference. Like all convertible ultrabooks, the display supports 10-digit touch, as well as all of the gesture controls built into Windows 10.
Accompanying the high-resolution display is high-quality sound thanks to two downward-firing JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater enhancement software. The position of the speakers allows consistently good sound quality in both laptop and tablet modes.
The Yoga 900 is outfitted with two standard USB 3.0 ports, one with always-on charging for smartphones and other gadgets. There's also a USB 2.0 port that doubles as the power jack, as well as standard ports like a headset audio jack. This model also has an SD card slot. While you won’t find an HDMI port on the system, there is a USB Type-C connector that can be used with third-party adapters (not included) to offer HDMI or DisplayPort video outputs, and it will also work with the one or two USB-C equipped storage devices already on the market.
In addition to the ports mentioned, you’ll also find several physical buttons along the right-hand side of the Yoga 900, including a power button, a “Novo” button for Lenovo’s OneKey Recovery tool, and a screen rotation control. A capacitive Windows button is built into the bezel below the display for touch and tablet use. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, both standard on current ultrabooks.
Help & Support
The Yoga 900 comes with a standard 12-month warranty, along with several avenues of support, including phone support, live chat and dedicated support channels online and through social media. Lenovo’s support tends to be good, ranking 5th out of 10 in Laptop’s annual Tech Support Showdown. Generally speaking, you’ll have the best results using online support guides and live chat on Lenovo’s website, though you can also get questions answered on Twitter, via phone support or through Lenovo’s help forums.
The Yoga 900 also comes with built-in support and recovery tools preinstalled, like OneKey Recovery system restoration. You'll find Lenovo Companion 3.0 for update and feature management, along with troubleshooting and tutorials. There are also system optimization tools and a connection to Lenovo’s support staff. Other software includes a 30-day trial of McAfee LiveSafe security, along with proprietary apps for photo management (Lenovo Photo Master) and file sharing with other Lenovo systems (Lenovo SHAREit, Lenovo REACHit). With Windows 10 Home preinstalled, you’ll also have new features like Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant and Edge Web browser.
In striking a balance between high performance and extreme portability, the Lenovo Yoga 900 is one of the best ultrabooks we’ve seen. The convertible functions of the 2-in-1 ultrabook add versatility to the already impressively slim design, while the processing hardware offers category-leading graphics and enough processing potency that you’ll never feel like you’re making a compromise in the name of portability.