Lenovo Yoga 900S Review – The Yoga 900S is a stripped-down version of Lenovo’s flagship ultra-portable, the Yoga 900. It has a slower processor, less RAM and a lower-resolution display than its predecessor, but the trade-off is that it shaves around 300g off the 900’s overall weight, making it the company’s lightest laptop yet at just 999g.
Its gorgeous 12.8mm chassis still has room for full-sized USB ports, so you’re not sacrificing flexibility for a lighter, more streamlined device. Admittedly, the single USB2 port also does double duties as the main power supply, so you’ll lose this whenever you’re plugged into the mains. However, you also get a USB3 port and a USB Type-C port, the latter of which can output video to external displays and support USB3-speed devices provided you have the right adaptor.
There’s no Ethernet port, but its 802.11ac Wi-Fi should in theory serve you perfectly well for getting online. We say ‘in theory’, as we had issues with the 900S’s wireless card, even after installing multiple drivers. Lenovo says this is an isolated issue with our review unit, though, so hopefully it doesn’t persist at retail.
The 900S has plenty of other features to draw the eye. Chief among them is Lenovo’s 360˚ watchband hinge, which adds a touch of class, as does the faux leather palm rest. The question is whether the latter will look as swish after a couple years’ use – it might need some TLC to keep it looking pristine.
At least the hinge helps the screen feel sturdy. It’s reassuringly rigid when used in kickstand mode, and we were able to rotate it 360˚ with ease. Sadly, we can’t say the same about the display’s casing, as its plastic lid felt worryingly flimsy when placed under pressure. This is disappointing for a $1244 laptop.
The quality of the display is also a little lacking. While its 12.5in, 2,560×1,440 resolution panel looks lovely and sharp in the flesh, our tests revealed that it displays only 86.1% of the sRGB colour gamut. It’s not much worse than the original Yoga 900, but when you compare it to the more colour-accurate display on the similarly priced Dell XPS 13, the 900S simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The display does have some redeeming features, such as its reasonable peak brightness level of 289cd/m2 and a very respectable contrast ratio of 1,014:1, but that’s not much consolation when the colour accuracy is below average.
OUT OF KEY
The Yoga 900S’s keyboard is equally problematic. There’s very little travel here, and it’s just not as pleasant to type on as other premium laptops such as the Dell XPS 13. The keys are also far too compact, and we feel that Lenovo could have made better use of the space available on the keyboard tray. It doesn’t help that the Yoga 900S’s Shift key is half-height, either, as this has been cut down to make room for its over-sized cursor keys.
Thankfully, the touchpad is a much more practical size, and is perfectly pleasant for daily navigation. Not only is it responsive, but multitouch gestures were a breeze, making it easier to use than the Yoga 900’s touchpad.
The 900S’s biggest departure from the original Yoga 900, however, is its internal specifications. While its dual-core 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 processor definitely isn’t to be sniffed at, it pales in comparison to the fully fledged Skylake Core i7 found in its slightly chunkier 900 counterpart. The 900S also has just 8GB of RAM (again, not terrible), rather than 16GB.
Unsurprisingly, the 900S’s overall performance was significantly slower than the 900, with our rigorous 4K multimedia benchmarks resulting in an overall score of just 20. General use was relatively hassle-free, but it got rather sluggish when we were multitasking and couldn’t manage our Dirt Showdown test at all.
The 900S’s battery also stacks up poorly compared to the regular 900. Whereas the Yoga 900 lasted over 11 hours in our video playback test with the screen set to our standard brightness level of 170cd/m2, the 900S managed only 8h 39m under the same conditions. Yes, that’s probably still enough to last you a full working day, but we were hoping for more given its lower screen resolution and more energy-efficient CPU.
In the end, the only thing the Yoga 900S really has to recommend it is its thinner, lighter chassis, which, given its $1244 price tag, isn’t really enough to make it a better buy than the heavier Yoga 900, especially now that both laptops are roughly the same price. The worrying issue of its hit-and-miss wireless performance also still hadn’t been fixed at the time of writing. However, even if Lenovo patches this problem with a new driver, everything else about the 900S just feels like one big compromise. If you’re after a high-end, ultra-light laptop, the regular Yoga 900 or Dell XPS 13 remain our top choices.
Lenovo Yoga 900S Specifications
- PROCESSOR Dual-core 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54
- RAM 8GB
- DIMENSIONS 12.8x305x208mm
- WEIGHT 999g
- SCREEN SIZE 12.5in
- SCREEN RESOLUTION 2,560×1,440
- GRAPHICS ADAPTOR Intel HD Graphics 515
- TOTAL STORAGE 128GB SSD
- OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 10 Home
- WARRANTY One year RTB
- DETAILS www.shop.lenovo.com
- PART NUMBER PF0IMZH2