Choosing the right laptop for your needs can be a daunting task. There are hundreds of models to choose from, from powerful and not very portable gaming laptops to ultra-portable mobile workstations and everything in between. Today we're taking a look at Lenovo's new Yoga 920 2-in-1 laptop.
With a foldable 14-inch display, an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and a first-class design, the 920 is aimed at business people and mobile users who are looking for a slim laptop that can always keep up with them. As a direct upgrade to the Yoga 910, the Yoga 920 adds Thunderbolt 3, an improved touchpad and an active stylus, a longer battery life and better heat management.
The laptop has an all-metal unibody design. It's smooth and simple with straight lines and gently rounded edges. At around 3 pounds, it is slightly heavier than some other models in this range, but can be carried around easily throughout the day with little effort. The professional industrial design also makes it perfect for use in the boardroom.
The model we received for review is bronze, but the Yoga 920 is also available in platinum silver.
I can say that some considerable design work went into the keyboard. The full metal design helps the 920 maintain its rigidity and not bend when typing. Given the thickness of the laptop, the keys aren't terrible, but they have a short range. Some may find it a bit too mushy, but overall I think Lenovo did a good job here.
Despite the extremely short travel distance, yoga offers a good typing experience. If you look at the keyboard layout, there aren't many sins for which you can deduct points. You get the full-size Enter and Backspace keys, a function key and the right Alt and control keys. The up and down arrow keys are compressed, but I don't care. One possible solution could be to shorten the right shift key to make room for the full size up and down arrow keys. Another small inconvenience is that the pages up and down do not have their own buttons, but rather print and insert the screen. I think a far better implementation would have scrolling the page up and down on its own buttons and then printing the screen and pasting as secondary functions.
The trackpad is also very nice. Too often, laptop manufacturers make trackpads unnecessarily small, but that's not the case here. The trackpad has good palm and thumb rejection when you rest it with the left mouse button. Multi-finger gestures are a gentle and natural feeling. While it's not quite at MacBook level, it is as good as possible. The front fingerprint sensor is also a nice touch.
With Windows Hello, it's not quite as fast as a modern smartphone sensor, but it still does the job. I found that I used this more than I entered my password to log in. The Yoga 920 also has far-field microphones with a range of 20 feet for avid Cortana users.
There's not much space for I / O on a laptop of this class, but I think Lenovo did a good job. The left side has two USB-C Thunderbolt ports and a headphone / microphone combo jack. Unfortunately, the included USB-C charger only works on one of the ports. To the right are the power switch and a full-size USB 3 Type A port that is always charged. They may have been able to connect an additional USB port, or possibly even an HDMI port, but overall the port selection is good.
Continue with one of the best features of the Yoga 920: the hinge. At first glance, it reminded me of the mechanics of a premium metal bracelet. The movement is extremely fluid and the mechanism allows the laptop to be folded back 360 degrees. The power supply and the data for the screen are transmitted via a small ribbon cable, which is hidden in the middle of the hinge. The flipping back and forth from tablet to laptop mode is very satisfactory. I found that opening the lid from a closed position required slightly more force than it should have. This reflects a slight over-tension of the hinge, which you cannot get used to.
The display of the 920 is also solid. Although it's not designed for color-accurate work, the viewing angles are great. The screen gets very bright, but I found the lower brightness levels to be insufficient. There are about 10 levels of brightness and I usually stayed in the middle. The lowest level is completely off, but the next 3 levels seem almost identical. There is no good attitude for use in a dark room or if you don't want someone to look over your shoulder. It's hard to say whether this is a Windows or Lenovo screen issue, but in both cases there is definitely room for improvement.
The Yoga 920 is also available with a 4K screen, but I'm very happy with the 1080p model. On a 14-inch screen, in my opinion, the difference is negligible and for most people it is not worth the additional price and battery drain. Unless your applications require a higher resolution, the 1080p variant should be fine. Both models are touchscreens, so that's not a factor.
Once folded into tablet mode, the Yoga 920 is only a hair thicker than a marker. Holding it from behind where the buttons are can be a bit uncomfortable, but they are automatically deactivated so you don't have to worry about pressing them.
If you are in tablet mode, the included active pen is very useful. It requires a single AAAA battery and makes the entry experience much more enjoyable. There are two thumb buttons and a button on the top of the pen that would have an eraser on it. The only problem with this pen is finding a place to store it when you are not using it.
Lenovo includes a small plastic bracket that fits into the USB 3 Type A connector. However, this means that you will not be able to use this connector at all, which can be a problem depending on the peripheral device.
Opening the laptop is fairly easy with a standard set of precision Torx bits. The bottom is made of a piece of metal and serves as a heat sink to keep the laptop cool. Once inside, you'll notice the monster's 70 watt battery. It takes up about 2/3 of the space inside the case. The two loudspeakers are located on both sides of the battery. With a laptop of this size, they stay clear and surprisingly loud. Though not perfect, they're definitely among the best laptop speakers I've ever heard.
The bottom of the laptop felt warm under full load, but the keyboard and touchpad stayed relatively cool. This is partly due to the all-metal construction, which helps to dissipate the heat from the laptop away from your hands. There are two small exhaust fans at the top that blow out through the hinge directly behind the laptop. This means that even if the 920 is folded or resting on a flat surface, the heat can still escape.
During the stress tests, yoga maintained a stable average temperature of 72 degrees across all cores. Initially there were some jumps up to 85-90 degrees, but the i7-8550U quickly throttled to 1.9 GHz.
Apart from the trackpad circuit, there isn't much under the battery either. The only easily accessible component is the wireless adapter. something that a user would rarely change. If you want to get to the M.2 drive, you have to completely disassemble the laptop as it is located under the motherboard. The RAM is also soldered in, so you should be generous when choosing your configuration and want to think about the future.