The Lenovo Yoga 900S packs plenty of computing power into a slim, light, and exceptionally flexible little package.
The 2-in-1 hybrid laptop is the new standard. While there are still some tasks and functions that require the horsepower of a full-blown desktop PC, portability is a prime consideration today. Pure tablets, however, fall short in certain areas, which is why a thin, lightweight, 2-in-1 hybrid like the Lenovo Yoga 900S is such an ideal device.
I’ve had a chance to work with the Yoga 900S for a few weeks now, so let me share my thoughts with you.
The design of the Yoga 900S is impressive. The “S” designation comes from the fact that it is a slimmer version of its Yoga 900 sibling. It is exceptionally thin—a mere half-inch thick—and weighs in at 2.2 pounds. The unit I used is a champagne gold model with a 1.2GHz Intel Core m7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage.
It has a 12.5-inch QHD IPS LED display. It is a multi-touch display with a max resolution of 2560 x 1440. The Yoga 900S uses an Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU, and has 802.11AC Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity.
It has a backlit keyboard, and—like its predecessors—it earns its “Yoga” name by virtue of its exceptional flexibility. The hinges look like metal watchbands and allow the display to fold completely backward so the display is flat against the back side of the display if you want to use it as a tablet.
The Yoga 900S has a built-in 720p HD webcam. It runs Windows 10 and has a variety of ports. There is one audio combo jack, and three USB ports. One USB port is USB 2.0 and doubles as the power port for the device. The other two are USB 3.0 ports—one is Type A and one is a Type C that includes video out capabilities.
Like any 2-in-1 hybrid, the Lenovo Yoga 900S offers the best of both worlds, while making some concessions to make it all work.
One tradeoff between the larger Yoga 900 and the Yoga 900S is the processor. The Yoga 900S uses the less powerful Core M processor. That said, it is a 6th-generation Intel Core M processor, and is more than capable of handling all of the computing needs and then some for most users.
In order to create a slim, lightweight device, it also foregoes the old school DVD drive. We live in a digital, cloud-enabled, streaming-from-the-Internet world today, so plastic discs are much less common or necessary, but if that is a need of yours you’ll have to pick up an external USB DVD drive or something.
The flexibility of the hinge allows you to use the Yoga 900S in four different basic configurations. You have the standard clamshell laptop mode, and the aforementioned tablet mode when you flip the display completely backward. You can also flip the display backward leaving the keyboard as a base to use it as a stand, or flip the display around and set the Yoga 900S in a tent mode.
Lenovo claims that the Yoga 900S delivers 10.5 hours of video playback on a single charge. Your mileage will, of course, vary. Lenovo does provide the following disclaimer on its site as well: “Testing is based on local HD video playback on a QHD display set at 200nits with Wi-Fi off. Battery life is approximate and will vary according different factors, including system settings, features selected and usage. The maximum capacity of the battery will naturally decrease over time.”
I used an 11-inch MacBook Air as my primary computer for a couple years, but transitioned to the 2-in-1 PC world when Microsoft introduced the Surface line. When I traveled with the MacBook Air, I also carried along an iPad for those times when I just wanted a tablet. The 2-in-1 gives me the power of a full PC, while still allowing me to use it as a tablet when I choose.
The Yoga 900S is beautiful, and masterfully engineered. The aesthetics are on par with the quality of the MacBook Air. Lenovo manages to effectively balance creating a device that is very thin and light without making something that feels cheap and plastic.
I type for a living, so the keyboard is important to me. When you use a device that is itself smaller than a standard keyboard there are necessarily some concessions that have to be made. It is a small keyboard and accessing some of the keys took a little getting used to. In fairness, though, that has been true for me any time I change keyboards no matter what size they are. Once I got used to it, I had no real issues with the Yoga 900S keyboard.
I never really pushed the Yoga 900S battery to exhaustion, which I guess supports the claim that it can go all day on a single charge. I also didn’t spend 10-plus hours watching HD movies on it, but suffice it to say that the battery is impressive and should make it through the day under normal usage conditions.
As awesome as the hinged flexibility is, the Yoga 900S solution for becoming a tablet isn’t one I prefer. I like being able to actually detach the display and use it as a more “pure” tablet. In my opinion, if I still have to carry the entire bulk of the device I am not really getting the benefit of having a “tablet” even if it is in tablet mode.
My biggest complaint about the Yoga 900S is the Lenovo bloatware. It comes with a variety of Lenovo utilities pre-installed, like SHAREit, REACHit, WRITEit, Photo Master and more. These applications might be great, and some people may appreciate having a suite of tools installed and ready to go. Personally, I prefer to choose and install my own software on a pure Windows 10 operating system.
Lenovo is a respected name in laptops, and the Yoga 900S doesn’t disappoint. If you really need the additional horsepower you can get the Yoga 900, but if portability is important to you I don’t think the extra bulk and weight are worth the incremental performance boost.
The Yoga 900S is gorgeous to look at and a pleasure to use. Take out the Lenovo bloatware and this device is almost perfect. At $1,099 for a Core m5 model with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD, or $1,299 for a Core m7 version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD it is priced competitively with similar ultrabooks and 2-in-1 hybrids. I would highly recommend spending the extra $200 for the additional RAM and SSD storage.