Lenovo Yoga 910 Review

by Reads (9,030)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 7
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 5
      • Usability
      • 6
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 7
      • Features
      • 7
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 6
      • Total Score:
      • 6.57
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Exceptionally thin and light design
    • Beautiful borderless 4K touch display
    • Long battery life even with the 4K display
    • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
    • Good performance
  • Cons

    • Pricey in its upper tier configurations
    • Cooling fans can get noisy
    • Must use a USB Type-C adapter for video out
    • Keyboard layout annoyances
    • Awkward webcam location in notebook mode

Lenovo is well-known for their Yoga hybrid notebooks, capable of converting to a tablet and two other modes in addition to being just a notebook. They’re sold in all shapes and sizes, from the innovative 10.1-inch Yoga Book, to the more practical 11.6-inch Yoga 710-11.

The Yoga 910 we’re reviewing in this article is the most premium 14-inch convertible that Lenovo offers. It sits a tier above the Yoga 710 14-inch in the lineup, which we reviewed with mostly positive impressions earlier in 2016. The Yoga 910 is larger than the slim Yoga 900S, and more powerful thanks to its 7th generation 15-watt Intel Core U-series processor.

The Yoga 910 makes an overall impressive styling statement thanks to its 0.56-inch thinness, and designer features like its watchband hinge. It has ample performance for most tasks, too, owed to its available Intel Core i7-7500U processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of solid-state storage.

This kind of technology doesn’t come cheap, though. At $1,049 starting, and our review unit coming in over 50 percent higher than that, the Yoga 910 is one of the more expensive 14-inch convertibles on the market. Its main competition comes from the HP Spectre x360.

Lenovo Yoga 910

Lenovo Yoga 910

Lenovo Yoga 910 Build and Design

The Yoga 910 looks a lot like the less expensive Yoga 710-14 from a distance. Their length and depth are almost identical, with the Yoga 910 coming in at 12.7×8.8 inches. But where the Yoga 910 shines is in its 0.56-inch thinness, as opposed to 0.68 for the Yoga 710-14. It’s also almost a half-pound lighter at 3.04 pounds.

However, the Yoga doesn’t beat the HP Spectre x360 when it comes to being thin and light. The HP is ever so slightly thinner at 0.54 inches, and lighter at 2.85 pounds. It’s also a bit shorter, at only 12 inches.

Despite ranking as light for a 14-inch notebook, the Yoga 910 is still heavy and bulky to use as a dedicated tablet. The Apple iPad Air 2 is one-third of the weight. As we’ve concluded with nearly all of the convertible notebooks that have passed through our hands, the Yoga 910 best used as a notebook, but it can pull double duty as a tablet in a pinch.

P1440581_1920The silver exterior on the Yoga 910 is magnesium-aluminum. The top half of the chassis is all one piece. The black keyboard keys and display border add some much-needed contrast. At the time of writing, silver was the only available color.

The strength of the chassis is admirable, as is the stiff lid. We had trouble inducing flex in the chassis, despite our pressing and prodding. The metal exterior resists fingerprints well. We like the diamond-cut touchpad border, and shiny finish on the front, left, and right sides of the chassis.

We Yoga 910’s watchband hinge design was originally introduced on the Yoga 3 Pro in 2014. It’s managed to stay unique nearly all this time; we’ve seen many different hinge designs, but nothing as intricate or elegant. Composed of several hundred parts, the hinge is supremely smooth to operate, though you’ll need to use two hands to open the display.

The watchband hinge of the Lenovo Yoga 910

The watchband hinge of the Lenovo Yoga 910

The watchband hinge easily allows the Yoga 910 to transition into a tablet or its two in between modes. The first of the alternate modes is presentation mode, where the display is rotated back 270 degrees and the keyboard sits flat with the surface. The second is the A-frame tent mode, with the display opened 270 degrees and the notebook resting on the top of the display and front of the chassis, literally like a tent. We prefer presentation mode for its stability, but both modes seemed to work fine for us.

User upgrades weren’t a priority for Lenovo when they designed the Yoga 910. There are no dedicated access panels, so you’ll presumably have to remove the ten tiny screws in the base of the chassis. The M.2 Type-2280 (80mm) SSD is removable, though we didn’t remove the bottom of the chassis to identify where it was actually located.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Input and Output Ports

Ultra-thin notebooks tend to sacrifice when it comes to port selection, and unfortunately that trend is unbroken on the Yoga 910. This convertible has a very limited selection, much more so than the Yoga 710-14.

The left edge has two USB Type-C ports. The leftmost is where the power adapter connects, and supports USB 2.0 transfer speeds if you decide to use it for anything else. The second is a faster USB 3.0 port with video out support. It’s the only physical source of video out on the Yoga 910, meaning you’ll need to buy a USB Type-C adapter to get HDMI or DisplayPort connectivity. No adapters are included with this notebook. Lenovo’s USB Type-C to HDMI adapter is $35 as of writing, which seems a little steep to us. We’d have much preferred just having a real HDMI port in the notebook.

P1440596_1920 P1440595_1920

The right edge has the headphone/microphone combination jack and traditional USB Type-A 3.0 port. Unlike the Yoga 710-14, the Yoga 910 has no media card reader.

All told, the Yoga 910 isn’t that much better off than a tablet like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 when it comes to connectivity. Its thinness precludes larger ports like DisplayPort, but we can’t help but think it should have included a media card reader, at the very least.

The last source of input on the Yoga 910 is its biometric fingerprint reader in the right side of the palm rest. This is something the less expensive Yoga 710-14 lacks. The reader allows the Yoga 910 to support Windows Hello.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Screen and Speakers

Although the base Yoga 910 has a 1080p display, our review unit has the optional 4K display. This adds a little over $200 to the price. On paper, the difference between the two offerings is the resolution, which is four times higher on the 4K display (3,840×2,160 pixels). This results in a razor-sharp picture and an exceptionally high level of detail. Windows text scaling is required on a display this size with such a high resolution; we found 225 percent was comfortable.

Both of the Yoga 910’s display choices have 10-point touch technology and a slick glass surface. The glass is reflective, acting as a mirror when the display is off. The reflections from it can be distracting, especially outdoors or where there’s overhead lighting.

The picture quality of the 4K display is outstanding, with its high contrast and rich colors creating a lively image. It’s overwhelmingly bright in a darker environment. This convertible would make a solid photo editing platform.

Lenovo Yoga 910P1440590_1920
P1440587_1920 P1440586_1920

The viewing angles are practically unlimited thanks to the IPS panel technology. This is an important feature on a device that converts to a tablet, as the screen will be viewed from many different angles.

We like the fact the display is just about borderless. It reminds us of the Dell XPS 13 in more ways than one, but not necessarily to its credit. This design forces the webcam to be located under the display. Your Skype partners will be looking up at your face, as opposed to straight on. But that’s only in notebook mode. If you put the Yoga 910 in its A-frame tent mode, the webcam will then be positioned correctly in front of your face.

The Yoga 910’s audio system consists of two downward-firing speakers under the front palm rest corners. The JBL-branded solution sounds surprisingly full and loud, though slightly muffled due to the speaker’s placement. There’s detectable bass, and almost no distortion near the maximum volume level. Clever audio drivers are to thank for that, though; realistically, we think the sound quality tops out around 80 percent.

The speakers use the surface the notebook is sitting on for projection. The sound isn’t nearly as full when the notebook is on a soft surface, such as a couch. It works rather well in tablet mode, though, as the back of the display lid provides a solid surface.

P1440579_1920Lenovo Yoga 910 Keyboard and Touchpad

The Yoga 910 shares the same keyboard design as the Yoga 710. The Chiclet keys have good spacing and are full-size, though the layout leaves something to be desired. The full-size arrow keys aren’t divorced out, resulting in an awkwardly-placed right Shift key, which is furthermore one-third its usual size. There are no dedicated home, end, page up or down keys, either, having been made Fn-key combos with the arrow keys. The competing HP Spectre x360 has them as dedicated keys.

We disagree with the function row not having F1-F12 as primary keys; instead, what should be the secondary functions are primary, like raising and lowering the volume. There’s no option to disable this. It complicates Windows shortcuts, such as pressing Alt + F4 to close a Window. You’re now required to press Alt + Fn + F4.

The keyboard has two levels of white LED backlighting. It looks good and is plenty bright in the daytime. The brightness can be adjusted or turned off by pressing Fn + spacebar.

P1440592_1920The keyboard’s tactile feel is limited due to the short key travel distance. This isn’t an uncommon problem on ultra-thin notebooks. The typing experience is relatively comfortable, however, and the keyboard deck is rigid.

The oversized buttonless touchpad is simple and a pleasure to use. The clicks are consistent for the bottom 80 percent of the pad, requiring a tad more pressure up top. They clicks are somewhat louder than we prefer, but you can always tap to click if quietness is of the essence.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Performance

From a technical standpoint, the highlight of the Yoga 910 is its 7th generation Intel processor, which Intel refers to internally as “Kaby Lake”. Our review unit is equipped with the top-end Core i7-7500U. At the time of writing, this appeared to be the only processor available in the Yoga 910.

With two processing cores running at 2.7GHz, and capable of reaching 3.5GHz in its Turbo Boost mode, the Core i7-7500U is powerful enough to tackle demanding tasks such as photo editing. Despite its 4K display, though, the Yoga 910 isn’t ideal for 4K video editing. For a task that requires that much resources, you’ll want to look for a notebook with a quad-core processor like the Core i7-6700HQ. (Intel isn’t slated to release the 7th generation quad-cores until the first half of 2017.) But for a notebook as thin as the Yoga 910, the Core i7-7500U is rather impressive. It’s a considerably better performer than the Core m-series processors in the smaller Yoga 910S.

The most significant difference with the 7th generation 15-watt Core i-series processors is the built-in HD 620 graphics, the replacement for the HD 520 in the 6th generation processors. The new graphics core is marginally faster, though as we’ll see in the benchmarks to follow, still not fast enough to replace a dedicated Nvidia or AMD graphics card for playing the latest AAA titles.

The chunkier and less-expensive Yoga 710-14 offers a dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card, which has passable performance for gaming.

Our review unit is packed with 16GB of dual-channel RAM, the maximum supported amount in the Yoga 910. The base model has 8GB, regarded as the bare minimum these days.

The Yoga 910’s storage options range from 256GB to 1TB. The storage is solid-state (SSD) only, as a hard drive would be too thick to fit in the chassis.

Our Signature Edition Yoga 910, a Microsoft Store exclusive, has a 512GB PCI-Express drive. It’s a Samsung OEM model supporting the NVMe protocol for fast read and write performance. It’s theoretically upgradeable, given the drive is an M.2 Type-2280 (80mm) format drive, though we didn’t attempt to remove the tiny screws in the Yoga 910’s base to verify this. This convertible isn’t intended to be upgraded by the end user.

One of the benefits of the Signature Edition is that it comes with a clean install of Windows 10, free from bloatware like anti-virus trials and so on. We aren’t sure if the Yoga 910 comes with bloatware to installed to begin with, but the Signature Edition is essentially a guarantee of a clean experience out of the box.

The 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD in our $1,599 review unit are responsible for most of the price hike over the base model. We think the best value in the Yoga 910 lineup is the base model, with the 1080p display, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage for $1,049. The 4K display adds a little over $200 to the price by itself, or about 20 percent of the notebook’s base price.

Value-wise, the Yoga 910 will have a difficult time facing up to the competing HP Spectre x360 at its current price point. As we wrote this, HP offered it with the same specs as our Yoga 910 for just $1,099, albeit with a lesser 1080p display. Nonetheless, we can’t see the Yoga 910’s 4K display making up for that kind of price disparity.

The base Spectre x360 is about $90 less than the base Yoga 910, as we write this, so perhaps only the upper-tier Yoga 910 configurations are a bit confused on price.

Our Lenovo Yoga 910 Signature Edition review unit has the following technical specifications:

  • 13.9-inch 4K/UHD display (3,840×2,160 pixels, IPS panel, glass surface, 10-point touch support)
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Intel Core i7-7500U dual-core processor (2.7GHz, up to 3.5GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache, 15-watt TDP)
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 16GB DDR4-2133 dual-channel RAM (max. supported)
  • 512GB M.2 PCI-Express SSD (NVMe SAMSUNG MZVLV512)
  • Qualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A 802.11ac wireless network adapter
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Dimensions: 12.72 x 8.84 x 0.56 inches
  • Weight: 3.04 lbs.
  • Starting price: $1,049
  • Price as configured: $1,599

Lenovo Yoga 910 Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
yoga910_wprime32_chart

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
YOGA910_PCM8HOMEchart

3DMark Fire Strike is a newer DirectX 11 benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
Yoga910_3dmfirestrikechart

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
CDM-1

Lenovo Yoga 910 Heat and Noise

It’s mildly interesting than a notebook just 0.56 inches thin is actively cooled. Indeed, the Yoga 910 features two tiny cooling fans, positioned at either side of the rear of the chassis. They push air towards the watchband display hinge.

The Yoga 910’s surfaces hover around room temperature for normal operation. While running our demanding benchmark suite, we noticed the fans kicking into high gear, and the chassis getting warm on the top and bottom around the center rear of the keyboard. The amount of heat generated wasn’t close to uncomfortable. The fan noise is more concerning, however. The fans have to spin quite fast to move air, resulting in a whine that can be heard a fair distance away from the notebook. This wasn’t the norm, though; the fans for non-demanding usage either remain off or run at a lower speed. We wouldn’t want to be in a quiet place when the Yoga 910 starts installing Windows updates and the fans spool up, though.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Battery Life

We use Futuremark’s Powermark benchmark in Balanced mode to test battery life. It runs a stressful series of tests, from office productivity and automated web browsing to video playback and gaming workloads. We run the benchmark with approximately 50 percent display brightness.

Powermark battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better battery life):
Yoga910_powerchart

We measured an excellent five hours, 45 minutes of life in this benchmark. This is a remarkable time for a notebook with a 4K display. We suspect the base Yoga 910 with the 1080p display will last even longer. As it stands, the Yoga 910 outpaced the Yoga 710-14, which went for five hours, 20 minutes. The new Core i7-7500U probably is the main reason the Yoga 910 lasted so long in this test.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Power Adapter

The Yoga 910 gets its power from USB Type-C. The 45W (2.25A x 20V) adapter has the two-prong plug built into it. This design can block an outlet. We furthermore would like to see the prong fold into the adapter for storage and transport, but it doesn’t.

The adapter and its permanently attached cable weigh just four-tenths of a pound (185g). The cord is short, though, at just 5 feet, 8 inches. We’d like to see eight or more feet of cable.

Lenovo Yoga 910 Final Thoughts

Lenovo Yoga 910

Lenovo Yoga 910

The Lenovo Yoga 910 rightfully sits in the premium corner of the convertible notebook market. Its svelte design is both beautiful and transportable, at just 0.56 inches thick and a shade over three pounds. Its fancy watchband-style hinge is smooth, strong, and looks great. We also enjoyed this convertible’s long battery life and stunning borderless 4K touch display.

The Yoga 910’s main competition is with the HP Spectre x360. The HP is ever so slightly thinner and lighter, but more importantly comes in at a lower price point. Our Yoga 910 Signature Edition is $1,599 as reviewed; the same specs can be had on the Spectre x360 for $1,099 as we write this, albeit with a 1080p display as opposed to the 4K display on our Yoga 910. The base configurations of both notebooks are priced much closer, with the Yoga 910 being about $90 more expensive. It’s hard to make a value argument for the Yoga 910 in its upper-tier configurations.

That said, we find the Yoga 910’s less expensive sibling, the Yoga 710-14, to be a better value still. It has a similar overall design, gets about the same battery life, and includes a better variety of ports than the Yoga 910, all for being a tenth of an inch thicker and about six ounces heavier. It was around $800 as we reviewed it, with specs comparable to the Yoga 910 in its starting $1,049 configuration. Specific differences in the Yoga 910’s favor include its biometric fingerprint reader and USB Type-C support. On the other hand, the Yoga 710-14 has a media card reader, while the Yoga 910 doesn’t, and its webcam is more appropriately located at the top of the display.

Either way, if only the most cutting-edge design will do, the Lenovo Yoga 910 should be at the top of your list. The upper-tier Signature Edition unit we reviewed has a lofty price tag, but the base model is competitively priced with the HP Spectre x360.

Pros:

  • Exceptionally thin and light design
  • Beautiful borderless 4K touch display
  • Long battery life even with the 4K display
  • Comfortable keyboard and touchpad
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • Pricey in its upper tier configurations
  • Cooling fans can get noisy
  • Must use a USB Type-C adapter for video out
  • Keyboard layout annoyances
  • Awkward webcam location in notebook mode



LEAVE A COMMENT

3 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.

  1. tiki20

    Regarding the webcam – you can use the “tent mode” when using Skype or other software when you want to use the camera. The camera will then be “on top”. 😉

  2. tiki20

    Regarding the webcam – you can use the “tent mode” when using Skype or other software when you want to use the camera. The camera will then be “on top”. 🙂

  3. edit1754

    Also important info: This is a *real* 4K UHD 3840×2160 display! No pentile, no cheating, no downsampling, just 100% honest true 3840×2160 goodness.

    The older Yoga 2 Pro, Yoga 3 Pro, and Yoga 900 used RG/BW Pentile to claim 3200×1800 resolution, but the displays actually looked worse than normal 1080p IPS displays. This is a MASSIVE upgrade.