Hands on at CES: Lenovo Impresses with Paper Thin Yoga 900s and New Consumer Laptop Lineup

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Lenovo isn’t pulling any punches at CES 2016. The Chinese computer manufacturer landed in Vegas with a cornucopia of products in tow, including an impressive array of new accessories and some upgrades for the enterprise-crowd with Leonvo’s Thinkpad line. There’s plenty for consumers to excited about as well, with ridiculously thin designs, improved performance and Lenovo’s most promising gaming laptop to date.

Lenovo Uses Yoga to Shave Down that Extra Fat  

Lenovo Yoga 900s 2You expect to see thinner and sleeker devices when you attend CES, but somehow there’s always a few models that manage to surprise and cause you to do a double take, the Lenovo Yoga 900s is one of those devices. The svelte design shouldn’t have come as such a big surprise considering the 900S is an extension of Lenovo’s Yoga 900, which blew NBR away with it’s 14.7mm thickness and powerful Core i7 processor. The 900S doesn’t boast the same beefy spec loadout that it’s big brother does, but that’s not really the machine’s selling point.

Instead the 900S focuses on shaving off precious pounds and inches, making it the world’s thinnest convertible laptop at 12.8mm thick, according to Lenovo. At less than two pounds the Yoga 900S makes a perfect travel companion. Even better Lenovo didn’t have sacrifice on build quality thanks to the carbon fiber chassis (available in gold, silver and champagne). NBR got some hands on time with the Lenovo 900s earlier this week, and despite having a comparable width to some smartphones, the device felt sturdy and we struggled to make the chassis give at all.

Lenovo Yoga 900sThe Yoga’s beauty isn’t just confined to its exterior. Keeping up with the sharp the 900S features a vibrant QHD (2,560 x 1,440 resolution) touch display with full Wacom active pen support. The deck is comprised of this fabric that has a similar feel to faux leather. The surface not only looks great, but provides soft wrist rest and excellent grip. Which of course users will need being that this is a Yoga device, meaning the laptop’s hinge is capable of rotating a full 360 degrees to seamlessly change between laptop and tablet. Thankfully the 900S adopts the same clockwork hinge design as it’s predecessor.

Performance is the only area where the 900S really lags behind its predecessor. The Windows 10 laptop runs a Intel Core m7 processor, as opposed to the Core i7 found the 900. The machine offers up to 8GB of memory and upwards of 512GB of internal SSD storage. It certainly isn’t as beefy as the 900, but depending on your needs that might not be such a bad thing. One of the big benefits of the Intel’s Core M processors is that they are low power consumption, and Lenovo has reported that the 900S can get up to 10.5 hours of a battery life on a single charge. NBR hasn’t had a chance to substantiate those claims yet, but if the notebook is capable of running anywhere near that it will further cement the 900S as the ideal travel device.

The Lenovo 900S will start at $1,100 and be made available starting in March 2016.

A Keystroke of Brilliance

Lenovo Ideapad Y900While the 900S was all about portability the Lenovo Ideapad Y900 skews in the other direction at over 10 pounds. But that isn’t water weight the 17.3-inch gaming rig is carrying. Lenovo is clearly getting serious about its gaming line, if the Ideapad Y900 is any indication.

The first thing I noticed about the device was the large stylized Y logo, resting at the center of the aluminum display lid. It’s the new logo of Lenovo’s gaming line. The sharp pointed angles have an otherworldly feel to them (sort of reminiscent of Alienware) and fit in perfectly with the gamer aesthetic.  

As Lenovo’s new flagship gaming laptop, the Ideapad Y900 does a lot more than look the part. While the specifics of the device’s innards have yet to be finalized, gamers will like what Lenovo has planned. The Y900 will ship with an overclockable 6th generation Intel Core processor with up to 64GB of RAM. Users looking for optimal performance will have the option of opting for a pair of 256GB PCle SSDs in RAID 0 with up to a 1TB HDD. But the big news is the graphics. Every Ideapad Y900 will ship with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 980M GPU, with either 4GB or 8GB of VRAM.

If the specs didn’t prove that Lenovo is looking to play with the big boys, the device’s new keyboard will. Similar to the recently released MSI GT80S Titan SLI, the Ideapad Y900 will feature a mechanical keyboard. For those that have never tried a mechanical keyboard before, it’s one of those luxuries, that doesn’t seem like a big deal until you try it, and then it becomes a necessity. Like a lot of manufacturers today, Lenovo is using its in house developed switches. However, after getting some time with the keyboard I’d probably compare it to something like Cherry MX Brown, with relatively low activation, perfect for fast and rapid actuation. The keyboard was also relatively quiet for a mechanical keyboard. It still produces that satisfying click after each keystroke, but it’s not so loud that your roommate will be pulling the hair out of their head every time you boot up your PC.

The Lenovo Ideapad Y900 will start at $2,000 and be made available for purchase in June 2016.

Lenovo has a Pair of Stylish Ideas

Lenovo 710s 2Following in the Yoga 900S’ footsteps the Lenovo Ideapad 13.3-inch 710S boast an incredibly slim profile and lightweight design at only 2.6 pounds. The 710S sports a beautiful silver metallic chassis and an attractive FHD panel, though the display’s bezel is a bit thicker than that of the Samsung Notebook 9. However, the 710S will likely have a lower price tag and specs to match.

Lenovo is cramming an impressive amount of power into that small frame. The Windows 10 laptop will run up to a 6th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, with optional Intel Iris graphics and up to 8GB or RAM. The 710S also supports up to 256GB of PCle SSD storage.

The Lenovo Ideapad 700 isn’t nearly as svelte as the 710S, but the 15-inch and 17-inch models have their own sense of style. Both models are nearly identical save for the different screen sizes, and have similar spec loadouts. Looking at the Ideapad 700, my eye immediately gravitates towards the display hinge. It’s located at the center of the deck, but doesn’t run the full length of the display, allowing the edges of the display to appear as though they’re almost suspended in air. It’s a nice little addition, and a rarity among devices such as the Ideapad 700, that focus on offering substance and the best bang for your buck.

ideapad-700-15-inch-in-Black_Windows-10The main focal point for the Ideapad 700 is what lies under the hood. Both models run on Windows 10, with up to 6th generation Intel Core i7 standard voltage CPUs with up to 16GB of RAM, and up to Nvidia GTX 950M graphics. The Ideapad 700 also provides a number of storage options including up to a 1TB HDD, or 1TB of SSHD, or consumers looking to eek out even better performance can opt for either a 128GB or 256GB SSD.

The Lenovo Ideapad 710S 13-inch laptop will start at $800 and will be made available starting in July 2016. Both the Lenovo Ideapad 700 15-inch and 17-inch laptops will start at $800 and will be made available starting in June 2016.

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