There’s a lot of things to consider when buying a laptop, however when you’re looking for portability, the thickness and battery life are major ones to consider. When carrying around a bag on a plane or just the office, every inch counts with other books and papers, so a thin laptop is important. We’ve seen dozens of thin options, however with their new Yoga 900S, Lenovo has set their sights on the thinnest laptop possible. Let’s take a closer look.
- 12.5” QHD (2560×1440) IPS Touchscreen Display
- Intel m7 1.20GHz Processor
- 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 256GB PCIe SSD
- 10.5 hours battery life
- 12.8mm thin
On the outside the Yoga 900S is a sleek, fairly good looking machine. The hinge will bring some mixed reactions (some hate it, others love it), but overall it’s a beautifully designed machine. That unique hinge offers the same 360 degree rotation Yoga laptops are known for, but with a super smooth and satisfying movement. It absolutely screams premium, just like the rest of the machine.
The majority of the laptop is built from Carbon Fiber, a decision just as much about weight as it was durability, but also features a thin aluminum coating on the lid. Inside the area surrounding the keyboard features a distinct textured yet soft feel which is quite fantastic.
We can’t neglect to mention however the thickness, or rather lackthereof, on this machine. At just over half an inch thick you’ll have no problem fitting this in any bag, backpack, or briefcase regardless of what else is inside. On paper it might not seem like much, but compare something this thin to most other laptops and you’ll be shocked how much of a difference a few millimeters makes.
As for the display, Lenovo has opted to use a 12.5” IPS touchscreen display. Overall it’s just as good as premium laptop display come offering solid colors, quick and accurate touch response, and not a pixel to be seen thanks to the 2560×1440 resolution. Where the display lacks however is in brightness. Put quite simply, it’s not bright, at all. Using this in a lit room indoors requires at least 80% brightness and using it outdoors is nearly impossible unless it’s cloudy. As I write this review I’m using it outside on a very cloudy day, and even then I have the brightness up to 100% and I still wish there was more.
Software & Performance
Just like the majority of Lenovo’s other products, the Yoga 900S packs Windows 10 out of the box with a standard set of pre-loaded applications. I didn’t find anything overwhelming or in the way, but luckily you can simply remove the majority of it.
Under the hood the 900S packs an Intel Core m7 processor, an option from a series of chipsets which I’ve never been particularly fond of. The processor is clocked at 1.20GHz and paired with 8GB of RAMand overall it’s a relatively pleasant experience. Obviously it’s not capable of anything in the realm of gaming, but for typing documents, browsing the web, and sending messages, it works great. I can’t speak to the performance on lesser models, but I can say that my previous experience with lesser Core m processors hasn’t been good, so opt for the m7 if you can.
Battery life is something everyone can be concerned about at this point in time. Recharging stinks, especially on the go. With the 900S however, you won’t need to do it very often. I could easily squeeze days upon days out of this laptop with moderate use and standby time is phenomenal. Even under more taxing usage periods it held up.
One weekend I attended a 3-day, all day convention where I was constantly taking notes on this machine with the brightness up at 80%, Microsoft Word and multiple other apps open, and throughout each day I never came home with under 60% battery life. Needless to say, I was impressed.
As a side note, I was a bit disappointed with the charging method. While yes, Lenovo’s charger works great, especially with the new compact design, I would have really liked to see the USB C port on this device used for charging rather than simply for data transfer.
Speaking of USB C, let’s talk about the rest of the ports you’ll find on the Yoga 900S. Unlike some thin laptops which only offer a single port, the 900S offers a charging port and USB C port on the left side as well as a full size USB 3.0 port and headphone jack on the other. While yes, it’s still a bit limiting, it does at least allow charging while doing other tasks without the use of an adapter.
Last but not least, let’s talk keyboard. I’ve always given Lenovo a lot of praise for their keybords, but on the 900S I don’t have much nice to say. While I do understand that a laptop this thin requires a lot to achieve its size, the keyboard is something that shouldn’t be sacrificed.
On the 900S you’ll find keys which get the job done, but provide very little feedback. I had to use the 900S for a period of over a month just to get used to the keys and I still haven’t gotten fully used to it resulting in plenty of typos on a regular basis.
That said, the backlighting is great, there’s plenty of space between the keys, and it works pretty well overall. But don’t even get me started on the placement of the righthand Shift key, we’ll be here all day.
As for the trackpad, it’s fine. I found it a bit difficult to drag and drop as it was a little grippy, but overall there’s not much to complain about.
At the end of the day there’s only so much you can say about the Yoga 900S. Lenovo set out to build an ultra- thin, premium, and long lasting laptop and they’ve achieved it. If it fits your needs, the 900S is for you, just keep in mind it’s going to cost you a pretty penny. With a starting price of $1,099 ($1,199 for the model we reviewed) it’s not necessarily the best deal out there. That’s further emphasized when you consider that the standard Yoga 900 offers far more powerful for pretty much the same price. Regardless, if you’re interested, check out the links below to check it out.