PRODUCT REVIEW: This fully reversible laptop (folds to a large tablet) has a sharp 13.3-inch display, a classy-looking watchband-type hinge and a lightweight body.
Laptops aren't in vogue right now, especially with millennials, but they're not going away anytime soon. Smartphones obviously are smaller, more portable, easier for texting and much more difficult to use for business, especially for older people. The tablet became popular five years ago because it was an "in-betweener." Now, however, even tablet sales are retreating.
I suspect the current slippage in worldwide laptop and tablet sales is something akin to the popularity waves and quells that Elvis Presley endured during his 21-year career. The laptop, like Elvis in the 1970s, will be back as soon as users come to their sensibilities and realize that they need great performances from tried-and-true form factors.
I also suspect that Lenovo's new Yoga 900, which comes with Windows 10, will be one of the laptop/tablets that will help lead the way in this sure-to-come resurgence. Why? Because it is a fully reversible laptop (it folds back into a large tablet if needed; right-click on photo to enlarge) with a clear-as-can-be 13.3-inch, 3200 by 1800 display, a classy-looking watchband-type hinge and a lightweight body.
Plenty of Power, Storage in SSD Package
It's got plenty of power (8GB RAM and a fast, cool-running Intel Core i7-6500U processor) and storage (432 GB solid-state drive) and touch support with 10 touch points. Other options for the Yoga 900 include a 256GB or 512GB SSD and up to 16GB of DDR3-1600 memory. All models come with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
The machine fits just fine on a tight in-flight tray table for those of us who don't fly in first class all the time, and it's light enough (2.8 pounds) not to weigh down a backpack.
But above all, the Yoga handles as crisply—or more crisply—than the other laptops I have reviewed. This includes portable PCs from HP, Dell, Google and Toshiba. This is my most important requirement. By handling I mean action on the keyboards, both touch and physical.
The Yoga is very responsive in both modes; I used the unit for a few months, and there was no degradation whatsoever in the way it responded over time. In my opinion, Lenovo makes the best input hardware in the market today, bar none.
Style, slimness and weight are important factors when choosing a laptop, because it does represent you in your business environment. But I believe that thinness—while making a laptop and its owner appear very cool—can be overrated. I'd much rather have a laptop or notebook that feels solid in my hands than one that looks like I could bend it with my bare hands.
There are some models I think I could bend in half, but Yoga 900 isn't one of them.
Battery Life: Excellent
Battery life has been improved greatly over the previous Lenovo model, the Yoga 3 Pro. While the company claims nine hours of battery life—and the Yoga 900 does have a larger, more powerful battery than previous models—we charted an average of about seven hours.
Don't get me wrong; seven hours is pretty darn good compared to the average of five to six hours I've reported in previous laptop reviews. I used to think that if a laptop was able to work on battery for half a business day (four hours), that was an excellent performance.
Not so anymore, however. The standards have moved upward. Yoga has the best battery life I've seen in a laptop thus far. Months of use have not degraded the battery noticeably.
Ports available on the Yoga 900 are enough for general use. The unit features two USB 3.0 Type A ports, a USB 2.0 charging port, an SD/MMC card reader, combo analog audio jack and a USB Type C port. The Type C furnishes standard USB 3.0 (5G-bps) speeds. It doesn't support Thunderbolt 3.
The Yoga 900 starts at $1,199 and is available at Amazon, Best Buy and directly from Lenovo. Go here for specs and more information.