I get a lot of laptops in to test but one has stood out this year and that is the Lenovo Yoga C630. This is the first of the second-generation of “always connected” PCs powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 platform and it is amazing. The underlying concept of trading off a little performance for a massive boost in battery life and an always-on WAN connection sounded good when I first heard it, but this really changes the entire notebook dynamic once you actually have it in use.
There are currently two breakout notebooks in market that I struggle to pick between: this Lenovo and the HP Spectre Folio which lacks the battery life of this Lenovo product, but is wrapped in leather making it far easier to carry and hold than a typical laptop. My idea of a perfect product would be a blend of the two concepts. But, I want to focus on this Lenovo this week as I prepare for a day trip to San Francisco.
I generally use a desktop computer for work and grab one of many laptops I have when I need to go on the road—often fighting for a plug so I can keep the laptop charged when I arrive at the event. It really is a surprise how many tech venues don’t supply enough power for those of us who work off laptop computers and take extensive notes.
The fight to compete on who can build the thinnest and lightest laptops has resulted in a majority of products which are sexy to look at and light to carry, but have battery life that is well short of what is needed. They may advertise 10 or more hours but often only give you 6 hours or less depending on how bright you need the screen to be, with the end result being battery anxiety.
I have an electric car, the Jaguar I-Pace and battery anxiety is a major deal with electric cars which is why, even though the car is incredibly comfortable and capable, I don’t drive it on long trips. I just don’t want the aggravation and I feel the same about laptops. I don’t want to worry about running out of power.
Massive Battery Life
I’ve been leaving it on my coffee table not plugged in for several weeks now just so I had something handy if I needed to respond to someone quickly while watching TV and it has behaved like a champ. On the road taking notes I’ve had this last several days without charging (far better than either my smartphone or smartwatch) and it will charge with a USB-C smartphone charger—reducing the panic if I leave the laptop’s charger behind.
The charger it uses is small and portable, pretty much like a smartphone fast charger, and it charges at a decent clip, giving you enough power to continue to work after a few minutes of fast charging. Now a lot of laptops have fast charging, but the point of this thing is you don’t really need it because you can always charge it in your hotel room or on the airplane (assuming they have power at the seats) in transit. It will also charge well with a USB-C car charger giving you lots of charge options.
Several of my laptops have SIM slots and are always connected to a 4G network, so connectivity isn’t really a stand out feature for this product. In addition, given AT&T charges $10 a month for each additional device (making me seriously consider switching to a carrier who doesn’t do this) connecting every laptop I have that can connect to a WAN network is just too costly. However, this laptop is always connected, and it is the one I leave my SIM in because it is always ready to go, and I don’t sweat the battery life. The result is that I can connect near instantly almost everyplace I go. For instance the Wi-Fi was down at our local airport for a couple months which typically means I have to turn on tethering on my smartphone and use it as a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to the network (kind of a pain particularly because this has Wi-Fi turned of on that phone when I return home and any pictures I take don’t, as a result, automatically sync with the cloud slowing down my productivity substantially).
Keeping the laptop connected means my phone does what it is supposed to do automatically, and I can even open the laptop on a plane before takeoff and instantly connect for that last email or update before takeoff.
Wrapping Up: The Future of The Connected PC
I think this Lenovo Yoga really represents a significant change in how people do and should build laptops. In a way it also anticipates the coming of the Microsoft Windows Virtual PC which, I think, is the future of desktop computing but requires a pervasive connection to a low latency (5G) network. I think—with the rollout of 5G—that a future always connected PC could become our new standard. If you get a chance to try one of these laptops out, give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the product’s performance (it won’t set any records but it’s not bad at all), battery life, convenience, and utility.
As I said, there are currently two laptops at the top of my list of favorites—this one and that HP Spectre Folio. I wish I didn’t have to pick between them, so my ideal product would be a blend. But barring that, this Lenovo Yoga C630 has become my overall favorite product simply because it has the battery life I’ve always wanted in a laptop computer.