Earlier this year, I got the chance to review Lenovo’s Yoga 910, a 2-in-1 convertible that offered great performance, battery life, and a form factor that I found was easy to carry around all day. Flash forward to eight months later and Lenovo has loaned me its latest edition, the Yoga 920. There’s not a ton new with this machine, but what is new changes your experience for the better in meaningful ways.
Starting with the build, it’s stupid similar to the 910. Whereas the 910 had an aluminum body with a watchband hinge like on the Yoga Book, the Yoga 920 does as well. It’s thin at a half-inch thick and weighs just 3-pounds which doesn’t add a ton of extra heft to your bag. It’s also just really pretty and is a pleasure to take to a coffee shop and show off.
The device can bend up to 360-degrees backward for tablet mode, 270-degrees for a tent mode, 180-degrees for drawing mode, and 90-degrees for a standard laptop mode. Folding the device feels very smooth and I haven’t had any problems with the hinge which Lenovo is known for.
The display is gorgeous
Touching on the display, it’s a 14-inch touchscreen that features a 4K resolution. I have to say, if you’ve never seen a 4K display before on a laptop, you’re in for a treat. Never ever will you see an individual pixel with the naked eye and everything from text to images are pin sharp. Color reproduction tends to be on the more saturated side, but that’s okay since I like a bit more pop. When I review a device’s display, I expect it to wow me, and the Yoga 920’s does.
If I get to have a 4K display, I don’t mind less juice
The only problem with having such a high-resolution display is the drain of the battery. If this were a standard 1080p or even a 2K screen, the device could last longer during the day. However, I’m finding I need to plug it in more often than I expected to. It’s not entirely a problem since I can still get through a full day of use on the machine (anywhere from 6 1/2 hours and up), but I suspect things would be better if the display wasn’t as good as it is.
That’s not the say this is a major issue with 4K displays as the one on the Yoga 920 looks gorgeous. In fact, I really don’t mind the trade-off in battery life since I get to look at an absolutely beautiful screen while it drains. And at the end of the day, if I simply need to carry around a charger with me all day to experience such a pretty picture to handle my workflow in, it’s a small price to pay.
Moving on to the rest of the laptop, the Yoga 920 sports a backlit keyboard that’s comfortable to type on for long periods of time (trust me, I know what I’m talking about when I say “comfortable for a long time”); a trackpad that’s decent in size and is precise enough to handle gestures and everyday operations well; a fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello; a power button along the side, a USB-3.0 port with two USB-C ports and a headphone jack; and very slim bezels surrounding the 4K display.
If there’s a takeaway to anything I just said, it’s the port array. I don’t care what anyone says about USB-C being the future. I still have way too many USB-A cables and connected accessories that have yet to make the conversion to Type-C. Therefore, having just a single USB-A port on the Yoga 920 has proven to be very useful day-to-day since I don’t have to yank out one of my dongles. Of course, as I make the transition to strictly using USB-C, there’s two ports on the machine to help me do so. One charges the device and the other is dedicated to handling data, although both can perform this operation. Overall, you’ll be satisfied with the IO selection on this laptop.
The Yoga 920 is fast, as it should be
In the case of nearly every laptop on the planet, it’s what on the inside that counts. Lenovo packed Intel’s 8th-generation Core i7 processor in our $1,799 review unit with 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. By 2017’s standards, the Yoga 920 should be a screamer, and headed into 2018, it remains that way. Operations are zippy, 16GB of RAM is more than sufficient for heavy workloads, and even more taxing functions like video editing are a breeze on this machine. Mind you, you can’t be running Premiere and Photoshop at the same time while you have thirty Chrome tabs open in the background, but it’s a laptop – you shouldn’t expect that anyway.
You can even try some light gaming on the Yoga 920 with the Intel UHD integrated graphics on board. I wouldn’t go all-in on Halo or something, but lighter titles like Minecraft and Asphalt 8 run fine.
Doodling with great performance on the Yoga 920 is also a thing. With the included Active Pen, Lenovo lets you draw directly on the screen or use it as a simple stylus. I haven’t had any problems during my experience, although it’s questionable whether the pen is actually all that useful unless you’re someone who needs to draw or make 3D renderings on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, there really isn’t anywhere you can put the pen when you’re done using it. Lenovo includes a sort of plastic holster that plugs into the USB-A port on the laptop that can hold the stylus for you, but other than that, you better keep an eye on it.
The fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello log-ins has been nothing short of consistent on the Yoga 920. The 910 I tested earlier this year couldn’t log me in roughly 60% of the time. Therefore, it’s nice to return to a proper sensor that can actually identify my print.
Worth noting this time around is the webcam. I never tend to write about them since they do their job and that’s it, but the Yoga 920’s sensor is actually in the right spot this time: above the display. On the 910, it was below the screen which was everything less than ideal. Now, your Skype calls won’t result in people telling you to blow your nose, if you get my drift.
As for speakers, Lenovo’s JBL sound set on the bottom of the Yoga 920 isn’t great. They’re kind of tinny and don’t get as loud as I’d like, but there is some bass that saves them from total obliviation. Notably, like I said, the speakers are on the bottom of the 920, therefore blocking their full potential while using the machine as a typical laptop. It’s really a shame Lenovo keeps doing this, so here’s to hoping they figure something out next year.
You can scream at Cortana with the Yoga 920, but I don’t
New to the Yoga 920 are far-field microphones. Why would you need them on a laptop? So you can operate Cortana from across the room. The feature works while the display is both on and off, although I have to admit I didn’t use this feature beyond testing it to confirm it works. I don’t personally use Cortana to perform tasks with my voice, but if you’re that kind of person, the feature’s there.
All in all, Lenovo has a great package when it comes to the Yoga 920. It has a gorgeous screen, excellent performance, a beautiful design, a perfect array of IO, a pen for additional input, and enough versatility to balance both play and productivity with the 2-in-1 form factor. If battery life were a bit better and the speakers sounded more pleasing, I’d give this machine a 10/10. But hey, I guess they have to save something for the Yoga 930, amirite?