Lenovo Yoga 900 Review // 2-in-1 Laptop Done RIGHT!

Lenovo Yoga 900 Review // 2-in-1 Laptop Done RIGHT!


I’ve been using computers since I was about 9 months old. I’ve been around the tech
scene for a looong time. My first laptop ran Windows 95, had no wireless internet access,
nor even an ethernet port – simply a dial-up modem.
With that long-term experience, I’ve spent most of my life with the accepted philosophy
that unless you spend multiple thousands of dollars on a laptop – laptops aren’t really
worth crap, at least for someone who already has a powerful desktop workstation that I’d
spend 90% of my time at. BUT despite my distaste for all laptops within
my budget ranges, I’ve only ever been able to really get immersed in writing on a laptop.
Website articles, video scripts, personal writing and fiction – writing is something
that’s always been very important to me, so I’ve been on a quest for a high-end laptop
to last me a few years lately. We’re going to be starting quite a few laptop
reviews now that I’m on this quest, so let’s start with this one – the Lenovo Yoga 900. The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a 13” convertible
laptop – and it’s a total badass. Starting for around $1200 – the same price Dell is
asking for a 2-in-1 with only a Core M in it – you get an Intel Skylake i5 or i7 processor,
a wonderful 8GB of RAM (configurable up to 16GB), a 256 or 512gb SSD for near instantaneous
boot ups and shut downs, and a gorgeous 3200 by 1800 resolution IPS multi-touch display.
And then some boring, but useful stuff like Windows 10 pre-installed, 8260 AC wifi and
Bluetooth 4.1. And it even has a USB type C port on it! But
we’ll get to that in the physical overview. On the whole, this is one badass laptop, and
has definitely renewed my faith in premium laptops, but it does have some quirks to complain
about. Real quick, the unboxing experience for this laptop was awesome – the box had this riser
system to kinda “reveal” the laptop to the user. Pretty cool. For a “premium”
product of this price I would expect such an experience, but I’ve been surprised to
see so little of this happening these days. Let’s take a look at the laptop itself. This is a very thin laptop, incredibly so
at just over half an inch thick!. I’d call it an Ultrabook by my own classification – but
I know there’s specifics that go in to the official classification, so I’m not sure
if it technically is. It weighs about 2.9 pounds and is great for carrying on the go.
The beautiful silver body houses quite the machine in here. The highlight of the outer view is their new
“watch band” hinge system – and it’s pretty impressive. Lenovo seems to have re-defined
the laptop hinge in a very good way by using aluminum and steel pieces to create hinges
similar to a watchband that keeps the screen completely sturdy and still while typing in
normal laptop mode, or keep it locked into place for stand mode, tent mode, or tablet
mode – yeah, this screen folds ALL the way back. Which isn’t the newest feature, but
the hinges feel much stronger than usual. Given that my mom has broken multiple laptops
via damaged hinges, convertible laptops have always scared me. The hinge also acts as the ventilation for
the laptop – with an incredibly quiet metal alloy fan inside that keeps it cool without
ever getting very loud. There’s some warmth to the hinge under load, but it doesn’t
get hot to the touch. My problem with this is that there’s no
proper leverage for actually opening the laptop. It takes me a long time to get it open: Despite
that the keyboard side is grippy and the screen side is not, I don’t have any part of the
laptop to put my finger on to actually open it up, so I have to hold it a specific way
and use both hands. This is a weird inconvenience. Along one side we have a USB 3.0 with always-on charging
functionality that is, thankfully, still black to match the rest of the laptop instead of
the usual blue. Next to that there’s a 3.5mm audio combo
jack, an auto rotate control button, a “Novo Recovery” button that I don’t want to
press, and a weirdly-located power button. The other side features a SD card reader,
a USB type C 3.0 port with video out capabilities, another USB 3.0 port, and then a really fascinating
USB 2.0 port. Notice that I didn’t list a DC power in
port anywhere – that’s because the power plug is integrated via a few extra pins within
this orange USB 2.0 port. The extra pins are only connected when the power cable is connected
a certain way, and the other end runs to the USB input of the included wall wart. When
you’re not charging the laptop, you get an extra USB 2.0 port on the laptop, and the
wall wart can actually charge your
other USB devices, such as your phone! While it’s not charging via the USB type-C port,
it’s still really cool technology. Let’s move to the surface – here we have
a wonderful, black, rubbery surface around the keyboard and trackpad, which grips to
my hands quite comfortably without causing too much friction. The trackpad has an attractive
silver border. The trackpad is quite smooth and very responsive, I love how it feels.
But it feels a little too sensitive, and often when just trying to scroll down websites I’ll
end up zooming in on them, which is a tad annoying.
The mouse buttons are quite clicky and satisfying feeling, no complaints there. The keyboard, on the other hand, is a little
mushy and can cause some typos here and there. I’ve written quite a few video scripts on
it already, and when I’m going, it’s quite enjoyable to write on, but I have had some
issues where keys don’t end up getting pressed. The trackpad is very nice feeling, but generally
feels too sensitive to extra touching – for example whenever I’m trying to scroll on
a webpage, I often end up zooming in, instead. That can be quite annoying. The dedicated
mouse buttons are appreciated, however. Then we have the screen – a beautiful, 3200
by 1800 IPS multi-touch display. I absolutely LOVE it…. When I’m inside. I’m impressed
that the reflective glass manages to not distract from my usage too much, and it’s bright
and sharp, inside. I tried using it outside at my fiancee’s university and I literally
just could not see the screen at all, even with max brightness. It looked as if the backlight
was turned off. This was a tad disappointing as it was a nice day out, but oh well. Above the screen is a 720p webcam, here’s a sample: [webcam sample] Other Usage Notes
Overall, using the laptop was a blast, and the small form factor and speed of the beefy
i7 means that I really wish I had one. However, I ran into some weird issues, which
might have been mostly Windows 10-related. The wireless icon kept glitching out or disappearing,
and sometimes when I hit the airplane mode button – which was generally on accident since
the function keys had the extra controls as the first layer instead of the actual F1-F12
buttons, which I don’t like – airplane mode just wouldn’t turn off until I restarted
it. Thankfully with the SSD, it reboots almost instantly. I’d love to see how quick this
bad boy is running Linux. I’ll have to get ahold of one to try for myself sometime. Secondly, charging seemed to not be working
properly. While the laptop is plugged in, the battery icon keeps bouncing between showing
just battery usage and plugged in and charging. I can’t tell if this is a software issue
or an issue with the charger. But overall, this laptop is blazing fast and
does quite well on benchmarks. Frankly, my biggest complaint is that Windows scaling
still SUCKS and so I have to run things at tiny icons for 100% scaling at the native
resolution because I simply cannot stand how blurry Windows elements get when scaling.
Bleh, WINDOWS WHYYY?! Conclusion
Overall, the Lenovo Yoga 900 is an amazing laptop. It doesn’t have my favorite keyboard,
and I have issues opening it, but it is blazing fast, super lightweight, super thin, and very
quiet. Really, for a laptop of this price range, it’s hard to beat it.
I’m not a big tablet guy, but in 2016 I prefer a touch screen – something Apple really
needs to catch up on, ironically. Lenovo delivers us a 2-in-1 convertible that works well without
making the keyboard detachable – I can’t stand keyboard detachable models.
Props, Lenovo. My faith in premium laptops has been restored.