Video Perspective: Lenovo Yoga 900 Skylake-powered 2-in-1 Notebook Preview

Subject: Mobile | November 11, 2015 - 03:15 PM |
Tagged: yoga 900, yoga, video, Skylake, Lenovo, Intel

The barrage of Skylake powered notebooks and tablets has begun and the PC Perspective offices are filling to the gills with boxes and samples. I have already previewed the new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book in preparation for our full review, so I thought I would do the same for the Lenovo Yoga 900. This is the first product released as part of a new branding scheme Lenovo has adopted for its flexible notebook line. 

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The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a 13-in convertible notebook that can be used in the classic clamshell form factor in addition to the fully collapsed mode to operate as a tablet (and in two other forms). It maintains the same watch bad style hinge that was introduced with the Yoga 3 Pro and starts at $1099 with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, a 3200x1800 resolution touch screen and a 256GB  NVMe SSD. You can find it in orange, gold or silver colors.

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Even maxed out with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, the Yoga 900 is quite affordable, at just $1299!

For this generation Lenovo has decided to use the full 15 watt Skylake processor which will improve performance over the Yoga 3 Pro (the previous model) quite dramatically. If you remember back to last year, the Yoga 3 Pro was thinner and lighter than the Yoga 2 Pro but actually took a step backwards in performance (using a Core M processor) and battery life. Lenovo got lots of feedback that users weren't interested in those trade offs and the Yoga 900 is a bit thicker and heavier, but offers better performance and impressive battery life at over 9 hours in our Wi-Fi browsing tests.

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Connectivity is decent for a thin and light machine including two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 port, SD card reader and a combination power port / USB port. That combo port is used to plug in your charger when you are tethered to power or utilize it as an additional USB port for accessories when mobile. 

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The keyboard and trackpad are still question marks for me - it definitely doesn't feel like previous Lenovo keyboards, with very little throw a requirement to fit in this form factor. I'll give it until we post our full review to really pass judgment.

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Check out the video preview as well for some more thoughts on the new Lenovo Yoga 900!!

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November 11, 2015 | 03:56 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why 3200x1800?? It's only 13".

November 11, 2015 | 05:23 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No this 15 watt laptop processor obsession is going a bit too far, and the money would be better spent on a PC. laptops have become so gimped down performance wise that it's better to stick with the regular IvyBridge/Haswell based SKUs that are still available in new older model laptops that remain in the retail channels for sale, and the retail channels are full of these older model but more powerful SKU's with Quad core i7 35 watt parts.

Laptops are becoming so weak performance wise that Apple's A9X is starting to become more powerful against some of Intel's 15 watt SKUs. So the A9X may not be beyond competing with Intel's x86 lower power x86 variants, with the A9X's GPU even better for graphics than the Intel's HD 5200 graphics. PCs are far from dead, it's laptops that are dead.

It better just to build your own PC and hold on to those regular form factor laptops. Maybe when AMD's Zen product line is released to market there will be better Graphics for a much lower price in an x86 based laptop SKU. And Apple's iPad Pro is mostly a waste running iOS and not OSX, because M$'s surface pro's are way overpriced for the amount of CPU/GPU performance. The only way that Tablets are performing like laptops is because the x86 Intel dominated market of laptop U/M series SKUs have made laptops weaker at faster pace than the tablet SKUs have been becoming more powerful. For laptops is just one big race to the bottom of the barrel. PCs are the best value for the money!

November 15, 2015 | 08:32 PM - Posted by Kraaketaer

You're completely missing the point of this class of device. You don't need portability? Then don't get an ultraportable PC. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. I don't think anyone's confused about this, really.

There are plenty of more powerful laptops out there, but they're geared towards professional use, not consumers. Some of them even match the battery life of these tiny things, thanks to huge batteries.

But for >99% of PC users, modern 15w CPUs can do everything they want (and more), all the while staying cooler, requiring less noisy fans, and allowing for smaller, lighter, more practical packages. The ~10% per generation performance increases of today are okay simply because that more than matches the increased demands of end user software - all the while improving battery life.

My girlfriend's Yoga 2 Pro performs 10-20% better than my old ThinkPad X201 (CPU perf, the GPU is more like 10x) - while consuming 3/5 the power, being far slimmer, having an immensely superior screen, running more quietly, and matching its battery life with roughly half the actual battery capacity. Even though they're three CPU generations apart, I'd call that significant progress.

November 15, 2015 | 10:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Then there is the cost of these new GimpTops, the older generation laptops have more processing power for lower costs while Ultrabooks/Thin and lights have less power and cost more. There is nothing stopping OEMs from shipping 35 watt SOC capable laptops the can be run at a user selectable 15 watts, if the users wants longer battery life and still allow the user the option of 35 watts. AMD was all about advertising The Carrizo FX8800P benchmarked at 35 watts, but the OEMs only put the Carrizo FX8800P in laptops at 15 watts, cheating the users out of the option of ever being able to run the part at its full wattage. The marketing people where emphasizing the variable wattage of the Carrizo APU but that was for the OEMs to save money with, rather than as and option that should have been given to the consumer.

Now the market is flooded with these Apple knockoffs and most Windows OS based Ultrabooks/thin and lights do not even come with Thunderbolt ports and they still cost about the same or more than Apple's overpriced kit. I'm sure that Intel gets more of those dual core Ultrabook i7 processors on a wafer and Intel still charges top dollar for the non quad core i7 gimped Ultrabook SKUs. Intel sure has a sweet little game going on now that the fab process node shrinks are running out. The gimping of the laptop market SKUs is Intel's way of getting more chips out of a wafer without having to do a die shrink at all, just cut back on the number of cores and try the get x86's power usage down to around what an ARM based processor uses! Mostly ARM base processors at 28nm that is, because x86 is never going to beat ARM designs in the power usage metric now that the ARM based industry is going to 14nm.

It's a good thing that the retail channels still have plenty of the IvyBridge, and Haswell SKUs, so consumers with a half brain can still avoid the ultrabooks. Laptops where light enough 2 laptop generations ago!

You just keep up with the spin, but new laptops are dead, and PC's will live on, and those older generation laptps where the best for a lower cost than any Ultrabook Joke that Intel is playing. AMD with Zen better not be all thin and light 15 watt because there are enough of Intel's older laptops in the supply chain to avoid both Intel's and AMD's 15 watt SKUs for quite some time!

November 11, 2015 | 05:25 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Will sliding it under a hotel door become a new metric? How will you test it?

November 11, 2015 | 05:43 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

>Lenovo notebooks
Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer for fish to be in my dish, not in my hardware.

November 12, 2015 | 06:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For consumer laptops, yes. But consumer laptops from ANYONE are invariably turds.

Business-class laptops (e.g. Thinkpad) are fine though. Free of crapware, marginally better support (and much better warranty support if you're willing to pay) and generally more robust.

November 28, 2015 | 03:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You must be working for Dell with its worldwide installation of their eDellRoot flawed root certificate!

November 11, 2015 | 06:40 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Keen to read the full review. It would be good if you could review some more workstation-like notebooks too. Like the HP ZBook and other Xeon based portable devices.

November 12, 2015 | 10:05 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"HP Zbook Studio packs workstation power into an ultrabook", this is the title of one Zbook article over at Techreport, and when you see Ultrabook think thermally throttled! It looks like even the workstation SKUs are being gimped down to Apple style proportions, and even the portable/laptop workstations are getting the Ultrabook/thin and light treatment, I just wonder how upgradable these new Thin and Weak Ultrabook SKUs are compared to the workhorse portable workstations of old. I'll bet the gimping has worked against the newer workstation's upgrade-ability. It's time to go back to the PC based workstations to get your money's worth, and give the new Ultrabook/Thin and light “laptops”/”portable workstations” the cold shoulder! Hit them in the wallet, and make those quarterly earnings reports tank, it's the only way that they will listen!

November 11, 2015 | 09:06 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Not sure how much Lenovo pay you for these reviews, but really is it worth it?
Is it enough cash that after all their lies and malware can they be trusted at the moment? I mean these are recent events after all..
It is really hard to find reviews with integrity these days, obviously you don't care about manufacturer ethics or your image of a reliable source perhaps?

November 29, 2015 | 09:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The joke is on you and your Dell worshiping. Look at two-faced Dell computers for installing insecure spying root certificates on all its eDellRoot-infested computers sold two months after Lenovo.

You American flag-waving fan-boy don't know what is right and wrong in the world.

November 12, 2015 | 01:09 AM - Posted by dylanweber (not verified)

How is the customizability of the trackpad? I have a Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro and I had to do some pretty frustrating registry edits to get the trackpad to be entirely left click and two-finger right click. This registry fix kept breaking (especially when upgrading to Windows 10) and I'm wondering if there is a way to fix that.

November 12, 2015 | 03:29 AM - Posted by Ultramar

Ryan are you able to compare the keyboard on this unit to a macbook pro or an hp spectre(best keyboards for 13'' imo) ?

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