Introduction, Design, Features
If you trim the bezels around a laptop display to almost nothing, you can do one of two things with the saved space. The Dell XPS 13Yoga 900 predecessor with a 13.9-inch panel and increasing the top model’s resolution from 3,200×1,800 pixels to 3,840×2,160 (also known as 4K).
Unfortunately, we went into a pout when we saw that the 910 Lenovo sent for review was the $1,179 base model, whose display resolution is a humble 1,920×1,080 (also known as 1080p or full HD). Equipping an otherwise identical convertible—Core i7 CPU, 8GB of memory, 256GB solid-state drive—with the 4K screen hikes the cost to $1,279. A model with the 4K display, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD is $1,649.
Our Yoga’s battery life, however, turned that frown upside down: With only one-quarter as many pixels to illuminate, the 1080p version lasted for a whopping 19 hours in our battery rundown test. We can’t guess what the 4K Yoga’s stamina would be, but it would inevitably be shorter.
Whichever screen you choose, the Yoga 910 is the new flagship of Lenovo’s hybrid fleet. Slightly smaller and thinner (0.56 inch) than the 900 despite the larger screen, it’s slightly heavier (3.04 pounds) for the same reason. It wears the same trademark “watchband” hinge, an elegant piece of engineering that lets it assume the four now-familiar flip-and-fold positions: laptop mode; tablet mode (screen and keyboard back to back); tent mode (an inverted V for working with touch apps); and stand mode (an easel-like backbend for viewing presentations or videos).
It has the latest conveniences, such as two USB-C ports plus a USB 3.0 port and a fingerprint reader compatible with Windows Hello for quick and secure logins. Its seventh-generation Core i7 processor delivers ample performance.
All in all, the Yoga 910 is clearly Lenovo’s best consumer 2-in-1—and arguably its best 2-in-1, period, though business customers may be tempted by the 14-inch ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which is a tad lighter (2.8 pounds) and available with a dazzling OLED display. The X1, however, lacks the watchband hinge and USB-C ports and is much more expensive.
Stamped from a single piece of CNC-machined aluminum, the 910 has a handsome silver sheen. Yoga and Lenovo logos decorate the lid. The full-width, 813-part watchband hinge seems to have been crafted by a jeweler; it holds the screen at any angle without a wobble. There’s almost no flex in the display even if you grasp it by the corners, and none in the keyboard deck, combining with the rigid unibody design to give the system a feeling of solidity.
Open the lid, and you’ll see the left, right, and top screen bezels have been trimmed to 5mm, joining the XPS 13 and the 910’s closest rival, the 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360, in a gorgeous, nearly borderless look. There’s an ample bezel beneath the screen, partly because the top bezel has no room for a Webcam. On the positive side, the Lenovo’s bottom-bezel camera frames your upper chest and head instead of peering straight up your nose as the Dell’s does.
On the system’s left side are two USB-C ports. The one closer to the hinge offers always-on charging for handheld devices, as well as accommodating the Yoga’s own AC adapter (a compact plug that can take up two spaces on a power strip). The other offers video-out if you have a suitable adapter (Lenovo’s USB-C to HDMI dongle is $35).
Both, we should note, are USB 3.0 rather than USB 3.1 ports. The Yoga 910 does not support Thunderbolt 3 as the Spectre x360 does, so you’re out of luck if hoping to connect a fast storage array or combo storage and video dock. But as we’ve said in other reviews, the only machines for which we consider Thunderbolt 3 a must-have are workstations, not general-purpose productivity partners like the Lenovo.
Looking at the Yoga’s right side, you’ll see a full-sized (Type A) USB 3.0 port, along with an audio jack, the power button, and the pinhole for activating Lenovo’s emergency system recovery if Windows won’t boot.
Lenovo has tweaked the 910’s keyboard layout compared to the Yoga 900, most prominently by replacing the dedicated Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys—those functions are now performed by pressing the Fn key along with the cursor arrows.
As a rule, we prefer dedicated keys (and we’re puzzled as to why the backslash key has extra plastic along its bottom so it touches the Enter key), but at least the cursor arrows are in the proper inverted-T arrangement, and the 910’s typing feel is good enough to forgive a multitude of sins.
Travel is somewhat shallow, but the keyboard offers a firm feel with good tactile feedback; bright, even backlighting; and makes just the right amount of noise (audible but not annoying). It’s not a match for Lenovo’s best ThinkPad keyboards, but you’ll be typing at full speed within a few minutes of starting out.
Both the good-sized touch pad and the touch screen let your fingers glide smoothly, responding accurately to taps and swipes. The IPS full HD screen isn’t the brightest—we kept it to the top couple of backlight settings—but delivers wide viewing angles, bold contrast, and nicely saturated colors. It arrived with Windows 10’s zoom set to 150 percent, which if anything made text and icons a bit too big; we found user interface elements were still perfectly legible at 125 percent.
The 910 has two JBL speakers with Dolby Audio Premium software. Sound wasn’t very loud—we had to crank it to 60 or 70 percent for daily use compared to most laptops’ 20 or 30—and not as rich as the quad-speaker Spectre; turned all the way up, bass tended to disappear.