The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a great laptop for people who need to get a wide range of stuff done while on the move. As a perfect “in-the-middle” device, it isn’t perfect for any single task, but is perfect for trying to get a bunch of different things done at a time.
For the purposes of this review, I received a model with an i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. I tried to keep it as close to an out of the box experience as possible for the review. While Lenovo did provide the laptop used in this review, that fact does not impact my overall judgement of the device.
Lenovo Yoga 900 Overview
We’ll begin with an overview of what makes the Yoga 900, well, the Yoga 900. If you already know about all of the specs and design choices, feel free to skip to the piece-by-piece breakdown or the general review.
Processing Power and Memory
The version of the laptop that I received for review sported a beefy 6th generation Intel Core i7 along with 8 GB of DDR3 RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage. You can get up to 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, but I personally don’t see the point of that in an Ultrabook. If you have a specific use case that would require that, it is an option for you.
Pre-installed on the Yoga 900 is a handful of Lenovo specific applications along with the general Windows bloatware. Most models ship with Windows 10 Home, but the top configuration includes and upgrade to Windows 10 Pro.
Pre-installed Lenovo software
- Lenovo Photo Master
- Lenovo Solution Center
- OneKey Recovery
- Lenovo Companion
- Lenovo ID
- Lenovo Settings
In all honesty, I haven’t looked through all of the included Lenovo apps. Actually, I only looked through Lenovo Solution Center, which seemed to provide easy troubleshooting where the application will test all of the hardware and tell you what is having problems.
In any case, all of the added applications can easily be removed by uninstalling them just like any other app.
Ports & Buttons
Around the sides of the laptop, you will find a variety of ports and buttons for your plugging and pushing pleasure. Or, at least to interact with the laptop and hopefully get it to work the way you want it to.
You will find three USB 3.0 ports around the edges, including one that acts as the power input. Don’t worry, though. You will still be able to use this port as a regular USB port when you aren’t plugged in. You will have to use the same port for charging, though, as the charger is uniquely shaped to prevent you from plugging it into a standard USB port.
Joining the standard USB ports is a USB Type-C port. You also get an single audio jack (no separate audio out and mic in) and an SD card slot. That’s all you get for input and output. There isn’t even a display port of any kind, excluding the USB-C port that can most likely output video. I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to test this.
Buttons include a power button and a rotation lock button. In a very poor design choice, these buttons are very similar in feel and are on the same side of the laptop rather close to one another. This lead to multiple accidental locks or shutdowns while trying to disengage or enable auto rotate.
Excluding the power and rotation lock button issue and a keyboard issue to be mentioned later, the design of this laptop is outstanding. The build feels solid, yet lightweight—perfect for on-the-go usage. The inside supposedly has a premium leather build, but it feels more like rubber than anything to me; not in a bad way. I actually really enjoy the feel of the inside of the Yoga 900.
The watchband inspired hinge is a really cool addition that looks great and works even better. I talk about the hinge more in-depth in the piece-by-piece portion of the review.
Lenovo Yoga 900 Piece-by-Piece
For those who care, this is where I dissect the laptop piece by piece. I’ll cover what worked for me and what didn’t. For those who don’t, you can skip to the general review.
Around the outside
The design of the laptop is pretty standard. On the left side, you will be greeted by two USB 3.0 ports along with a USB 3.1 Type-C. One of the full-sized USB 3.0 ports is uniquely shaped. This port is also used for charging the laptop, but it can be used just like a normal USB port.
Joining the three USB ports is an SD card slot. A small gripe I have with the SD card slot is that it is only half as deep as usual. When you stick an SD card in there, half of it will remain sticking out while on most other computers it will be near flush with the edge of the devices.
If you turn it around to the other side, you will find your power button, a rotation lock, 3.5mm audio jack, and another USB 3.0 port. Other than that, you have JBL speakers on the bottom of the laptop and this watch band hinge. I will touch on both later.
The display is one of the two parts about this laptop that I didn’t like. While it is a beautiful display with a QHD+ screen, the resolution killed it for me. The 3200 x 1800 resolution makes everything appear smaller than normal.
This might not be a major issue for most users, but it caused issues for me. Some programs that I tried to use contained text that was too small to read due to the resolution. This made using the computer take a little more effort than I would have liked as I strained to read the tiny text.
A simple solution for this issue is to change the display settings and make text, apps, and other items about 250% bigger, but that isn’t an ideal solution as not everything will scale how you’d expect.
Unfortunately, this scaling method is becoming common place in high resolution computers. Some laptops go as far as to recommend a scaling and enforce it by default. The Lenovo Yoga 900’s recommended scaling is 250%.
The keyboard is the other part that caused me to not want to carry around the laptop for use full time. While there is nothing wrong with how the keys themselves are designed, I am not a fan of the layout being used.
In order to make room for full sized arrow keys, Lenovo decided to half the size of the right shift key. Because of the way that I type and the size of my hands, I tend to strike the right shift key on the outer most part of the key. This coupled with the way the Lenovo keyboard is set up means that I often end up hitting the up arrow instead of the shift key.
However, that is my only grievance with the keyboard. Typing on the keyboard feels as nice as one could hope from a laptop keyboard. The addition of two levels of backlighting brightness is a welcome addition that I really didn’t expect to see.
Firstly, I must admit that I have previously been spoiled in this regard. I normally use a HP Spectre x360 that has a trackpad about twice as long as a normal trackpad. I have grown used to this size and find anything smaller to be a pain to work with.
That being said, this Lenovo trackpad is one of the better ones that I have found on laptops. The movement is smooth and picks up with little to no effort. Definitely added by the Synaptics Pointing Device drivers, the trackpad is able to determine which movements are actually you trying to move the mouse and which are you trying to reach a key on the keyboard.
The smooth trackpad makes up for the unfortunate keyboard layout in my own opinion. You may have different thoughts about the keyboard and trackpad depending on how you use your own laptop.
The talking point of the Lenovo Yoga 900 is the watchband hinge. It captures the attention of bystanders and does a really good job at being unique, yet functional. While the fancy design wasn’t necessary per se, as plenty of other convertibles get by without it, it does its job very well.
You can move the screen to any angle (that I’ve tried) and continue using the laptop without the screen slowly falling flat like it would on less sturdy designs. The convertible design does create an issue with the display orientation, however.
While most times, Windows is able to automatically recognize that it is being used as a tablet and switch between desktop and tablet mode according to user set settings, there have been some issues with the auto-rotation of the laptop.
There is an auto rotate lock button on the side of the laptop, but there is no way to check to see if auto rotate is currently enabled or disabled. On several occasions, I’d hit the button multiple times just hoping that it would allow the screen to rotate into the desired location.
There would be times when I gave up on the auto rotation and resorted to manually switching the screen orientation using Ctrl + Alt + Arrow Key [in direction of desired orientation]. It wasn’t as simple as using the auto rotation, but it was just less of a headache at the end of the day.
The battery life on the Yoga 900 is outstanding. On multiple occasions, I would forget to charge the laptop after a full day of work, and it would be able to power through the second day ,dying just at the very end of the day.
You should have zero problems using this laptop as your main computer for an entire work day involving heavy usage without a charger. However, mileage may vary depending on how intensive your work is and what sort of applications you have installed draining the battery further.
Lenovo Yoga 900 General Review
For my review, I mainly used the Yoga 900 for coding and media consumption. I used it to work on my Java program in Eclipse for most of the day before draining its battery with nonstop Netflix streaming after getting home.
The high density resolution initially proved to be an issue while trying to design my application’s GUI until I caved and enabled the display size from 100% to 250%. At 100%, text was just too small to read and created more issues than I wanted to deal with.
Despite my complaints about the keyboard layout, it didn’t take long for me to get used to typing on it. After about three days, I no longer found myself hitting the up arrow key accidentally instead of the Right-Shift key. So, while the keyboard may initially pose an issue, it is one that you can quickly overcome.
Throughout my time with the laptop, I never came across a situation where I wished that it was more powerful. There is also little issue with it being too powerful and overheating. The cooling is very effective and, for the most part, silent.
I didn’t even realize that it had a fan built into it (even though I could safely assume that it did) for the first week of usage because the fan never even started up under normal usage. It didn’t kick into life until I started a massive download and then tried to get the poor machine to start up The Division off of a personal whim (I never expected it to work). The Division did eventually start, but the framerate was unbearably low, and I couldn’t even pass the character creation stage.
Hardware Limitations? Non-Existent
The i7-6500U processor packs quite the punch and will be able to power through just about any CPU intensive task you can throw at it. While the GPU is an integrated Intel HD Graphics 520, it would be silly of you to want much more on an Ultrabook. Now, this is the second time that I have brought up this point, but you have to remember what the intended use case of this laptop is while you consider purchasing it. It is a mobile work station—on-the-go, light, and portable.
I haven’t found the 8 GB of RAM to be a limiting factor in any capacity. The only issue in the specs could potentially come from the max 512GB of storage if you intend to store massive amounts of media on your laptop. However, you can easily move your data through a high capacity SD card and leave the SD card in your laptop as a near permanent fixture. Access to the data stored there won’t be as fast as if it were on the SSD, but it shouldn’t be a problem except for the initial move of media to the card.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is packed with power in a sleek package that will last all day long and is easy to carry around. While it is expensive, you are paying for a quality laptop that won’t let you down as long as you don’t try to use it as a gaming laptop, which I did (naturally).
I can’t fully recommend this laptop as you can get similar performance out of a laptop for a few hundred dollars less, but it is a great choice if you have to money and really want a Lenovo Yoga. The other, cheaper options tend to have a less powerful CPU or aren’t as portable, though.
Know your options before making the purchase. If you have considered the alternatives and still want the Yoga 900, you can’t go wrong with that decision and will be happy with your purchase.