Lenovo Yoga 900 review

The big news in laptop CPUs in 2015 was the Intel Core M, a chip so small and efficient that it allows machines such as the MacBook 12in to offer levels of performance similar to those of an Intel Core i5 system. The Lenovo Yoga 900 flips things around again (literally). This is a slim, light laptop with a fold-back touchscreen and a long-lasting battery. But it also has a full-fat Intel Core i7 processor. Think last year’s Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro, but with a six pack and bulging biceps. See also: 20 of the best laptops you can buy right now

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

Lenovo Yoga 900 review: Price

Make no mistake, though, the Lenovo Yoga 900 isn't a bargain laptop. It’s more expensive than the similar but less powerful Yoga 3 Pro, starting at £1,199 for the Core i5 version and moving swiftly up to £1,499 for the 900-131SK with upgrades to a Core i7 CPU and increased storage.

At the time of review, Lenovo was offering £100 off the Yoga 900 when bought through its own web shop.

Plus, you get a choice of silver or orange versions. The latter should appeal to anyone that wants to be noticed: the lid and hinge are too bright to miss.

Lenovo Yoga 900 review

Being a hybrid - a laptop and tablet in one - the obvious rivals is Microsoft's Surface Book but if you want a hybrid on a budget, then have a look at HP's Envy 13.

Lenovo Yoga 900 review: Design

When you see a Lenovo laptop bearing the ‘Yoga’ name, it tells you all you need to know about its key design feature. The Yoga 900 has a special hinge that lets the screen flip around 360 degrees, so that the display sits flat on the back of the keyboard.

Before you use a laptop like this, it’s easy to dismiss the thing as a gimmick, and think you wouldn’t want to use a tablet weighing more than a kilogram. However, it’s the angles in between that matter most. As the Yoga 900 hinge can sit at just about any angle, it can turn the display into a shallow-footprint touchscreen PC, an impromptu TV or a tablet that stays at just the right angle as you laze on the sofa. This Lenovo uses the same style of ‘watch’ hinge that we saw in the Yoga 3 Pro. It’s made of 800-plus pieces and looks fantastic. As the Watch monicker suggests, it design is inspired by stainless steel watch straps.

Lenovo Yoga 900 review

It is similar to the one used in the Microsoft Surface Book, spreading the tension across more than the usual two connection points you get with a bog-standard laptop hinge to make the mechanism steady, while keeping its motion easy and smooth.

You could argue that Microsoft’s take on the idea is a bit more cohesive, though. In making the hinge a different colour from the rest of the laptop and deliberately exposing its workings, some might think that the Yoga 900 is a bit showy.

If you want to take the bold look of this Lenovo even further, you can get it with a bright orange lid/underside. Many like the company’s laptops for their steady, serious ThinkPad keyboards, but this is something altogether different.

The Yoga 900 build is well built throughout, too. The lid and underside are made from a magnesium alloy, which looks a lot like aluminium and is very strong, but has a touch that some mistake for plastic. Still, the application here still feels pretty metallic,

Continuing the trend of conspicuously not making Apple-like moves, the Yoga 900’s insides have a faux leather finish. It’s much nicer than that might sound, coming across like a lightly textured soft-touch finish rather than an old car dashboard. It feels very pleasant, and has a seriousness that offsets the bits you might call frivolous or flashy.

Other than being able to flip its screen around, the key appeal of the Yoga 900 design is its portability. At 1.3kg and 15mm thick, it’s thin and light for a 13.3in machine with an Intel Core i7 CPU. That’s 300g lighter and 3mm thinner than the 13in MacBook Pro.

It makes a fantastic work laptop to take on your travels: trust us, it’s what we’ve been using it for. The Yoga 3 Pro is even thinner and lighter, but that’s because it uses a lower-power CPU that can get by with passive (fan-less) cooling.

Lenovo Yoga 900 review

Lenovo Yoga 900 review: Connectivity

The Yoga 900 only has to trade away one major connection to get to its size too, an HDMI port. There is USB-C, as well as two USB 3.0 sockets and an SD card reader.

To top these off, the power connector can double as a USB 2.0 port, which is just as good as a USB 3.0 if you’re going to plug a keyboard, mouse or slow external hard drive into it. But, yes, if you want to use the Yoga 900 as something to plug into a monitor or TV a lot of the time, the lack of a standard HDMI port is a shame.