Lenovo’s had an excellent run of 2-in-1 hybrids lately. The ThinkPad X1 Tablet is a top class competitor to Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, and the Ideapad Miix 700 packs all that 2-in-1 goodness into a significantly cheaper, more affordable chassis. However, both these devices are more tablet than laptop, so it’s refreshing to see Lenovo’s latest hybrid puts the laptop side of things first for a change.
Following hot on the heels of the Yoga 900, the Yoga 900S is a stripped down version of Lenovo’s flagship ultra-portable. It has a slower processor, less RAM and a lower resolution display than its 900 stablemate, but the trade-off is that it shaves around 300g off the 900’s overall weight, making it the company’s lightest laptop yet at just 999g.
That’s an impressive feat of engineering, but the good news is that its gorgeous 12.8mm chassis still has room for full-sized USB ports, so you’re not sacrificing flexibility for a lighter, more streamlined device. Admittedly, the single USB2 port also does double duties as the main power supply, so you’ll lose this whenever you’re plugged into the mains. However, you also get a USB3 port and a USB Type-C port, the latter of which can output video to external displays and support USB3-speed devices provided you have the right adapter.
As you’d expect, there’s no Ethernet port here, but its 802.11ac Wi-Fi should (in theory) serve you perfectly well for getting online. I say, ‘in theory’, as I actually had several issues with the 900S’ wireless card, even after installing multiple drivers. This is obviously a major drawback for any kind of laptop, yet I did get in touch with Lenovo and was told this is an isolated issue with th review unit I was sent. Provided this issue doesn’t persist in other units, though, the 900S has plenty of other features to draw the eye.
Chief among them is Lenovo’s ever-welcome 360-degree watchband hinge, which adds a welcome touch of class to proceedings, and the genuine leather palm rest. The palm rest in particular looks and feels rather nice. It’s lovely and warm when you put your hands on it, but it also doesn’t draw attention to itself, as you could easily mistake it for textured plastic at a distance. Of course, the big question is whether it still look as swish after a couple of years use. If my long-suffering leather clad wallet is anything to go by, it’s likely to get scruffy pretty quickly, but hopefully a bit of love and TLC will keep it looking pristine for as long as possible.
At least the watchband hinge helps the screen feel strong and sturdy. It’s reassuringly rigid when used in kickstand mode, and I was able to rotate it 360 degrees with ease. Sadly, I can’t say the same about the display’s casing, as its plastic lid felt worryingly flimsy when placed under pressure. This is disappointing for a £1,000 laptop, and I’d expect more given its high price.
The quality of the display is also a little lacking. While its 12.5in, 2,560 x 1,440 resolution panel looks lovely and sharp in the flesh, our tests revealed that it can only display 86.1% of the sRGB colour gamut. It’s not that much worse than the original Yoga 900, but when you compare it to the more colour-accurate display on the similarly-priced Dell XPS 13, the Yoga 900S simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The display does have some redeeming features, such as its reasonable peak brightness level of 289cd/m2 and a very respectable contrast ratio of 1,014:1, but that’s not much consolation when the colour accuracy is below average.
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