Luxury options exist in every product category, from clothes to cars. Sometimes you pay more for a custom design, exotic materials or painstaking craftsmanship, and sometimes price is inflated just for a brand name. In the PC world, there are limited components to work with, but manufacturers often try to go all-out with features and construction innovations. Lenovo debuted an intricate and expensive new kind of hinge with the Yoga 3 Pro a few years ago, inspired by metal watchstraps. No other company has anything like it, and it's still found only on Lenovo's most expensive models.
The hinge isn't the only premium touch on the new Yoga 920. It joins a select group of non-gaming laptops that cost around Rs. 1,50,000, and it boasts of high-end design as well as specifications. There's a lot to like about the Yoga 920 on paper, but for this kind of money, we're looking for perfection. Here's our full review.
At the international launch event, we saw the Yoga 920 in a variety of metallic colours. In India, however, Lenovo is only releasing the Yoga 920 Vibes Edition, which is a special edition with a black patterned cover. Lenovo says that it chose this design from amongst 130 ideas submitted by students at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan, Italy. It's supposed to symbolise dynamism, lightness and simplicity, and we do quite like it. The pattern is subtle yet visually arresting, and because it's printed on highly reflective glass, it looks like it has depth and movement. The dull silver frame contrasts nicely with the dark surface as well.
Lenovo reserves its watchstrap hinge for its highest-end products, and the Yoga 920 is the latest one. It's made up of multiple smaller segments, some of which are dull and others highly polished, and definitely stands out against the otherwise minimalistic body. This is a laptop that will make people look twice, and whether that's a good thing or otherwise is highly subjective.
The Yoga 920 can be folded over backwards and used as a tablet, or propped up in tent mode which is more stable. At 1.37kg, it makes for an unwieldy tablet. You can't sit back and relax with it in one hand or resting against your knees. When fully folded over, the two halves of the device don't lie flat against each other, so the upper half tends to dip and bounce back every time you tap with the stylus or a finger. You can see this happen in our video review, embedded above.
Speaking of which, the Yoga 920 Vibes Edition comes with Lenovo's Active Pen 2 in the box. It needs an AAAA battery, and thankfully one is included, because they're expensive and hard to find in India. The Active Pen 2 promises 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and works with Windows Ink, which is Microsoft's framework for stylus compatibility across hardware manufacturers and app developers.
Unlike some other 2-in-1s, the Yoga 920 doesn't have a slot, loop, or magnetic dock for the stylus. Instead, you get a little plastic bracket that clips into the sole USB 3.0 port, allowing you to keep the Active Pen handy. Other than the obvious downside of blocking the only full-sized USB port on the device, we found this awkward because it's easier to unplug the bracket than it is to slide the stylus in and out of it, and the positioning isn't ideal with the Yoga 920 in tablet mode. Rather than being a convenient way to carry the Active Pen 2 around with the Yoga 920, it just becomes an extra thing to worry about losing.
As a laptop, there's a lot to like about the Yoga 920. It's relatively easy to carry around and comfortable to use. The keyboard is large and well spaced, and even the arrow keys aren't too cramped. The keys are soft and have a satisfactory amount of travel considering how thin the body of this device is. You can choose between two backlight levels, but there's no automatic adjustment. There's a little bit of flex in the centre of the keybed, but it didn't affect our typing speed or accuracy. The trackpad is also quite generously proportioned, there's even a fingerprint reader that works with Windows Hello for user authentication.
The screen measures 13.9 inches and has a resolution of 3840x2160 (4K) which makes it incredibly sharp. It looks great from all angles, but is highly reflective. The top and side borders are relatively narrow, but there's a massive chin below the screen. This looked a bit funny to us at first but we forgot all about it after a day or two.
There are two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left, which means that you get all the benefits of USB Type-C plus file transfers at up to 40Gbps with compatible devices, and DisplayPort video output. Only one of these ports can be used to charge the Yoga 920 with its bundled 65W charger. Standard USB Type-C chargers will also work, but somewhat slower. There's a 3.5mm combo audio socket on the left, and one standard USB 3.0 Type-A port on the right. There's no SD card slot. The power button is also on the right so you can get to it in laptop or tablet mode.
Unlike some of its competitors, Lenovo doesn't include any dongles or adapters in the box. We also would have liked a sleeve or even a microfibre cloth (which could really come in handy).
Because Lenovo is only launching the top-end Vibes Edition in India, there are no options when it comes to hardware - Lenovo thinks that people who are shopping for laptops in this price range are only looking for the best, so this is the top spec. We have Intel's recently launched 8th Gen Core i7-8550U "Kaby Lake Refresh" processor, with four physical cores and Hyper-Threading. It runs at 1.8GHz when you aren't doing anything heavy, and can turbo up all the way to 4GHz with one core if necessary to complete tasks quicker.
You get 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD, and we wouldn't accept anything less at this price. Lenovo uses Intel's integrated UHD 620 graphics rather than a discrete GPU, which means that there's very little potential for gaming. The Yoga 920 has JBL speakers and the company's website alludes to a software update coming in February 2018 that will enable Dolby Atmos enhancement for headphones. There's also Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1. Lenovo says that the 4-cell Lithium polymer battery will deliver 10.8 hours of battery life because of the 4K screen - the variants with full-HD screens can get up to 15.5 hours, but these aren't available here.
Lenovo ships this laptop with Windows 10 Home. Because the Yoga 920 has a touchscreen and stylus, Windows automatically spaces out icons and other elements a bit more than usual. The UI scaling is set to 300 percent by default because of the screen's incredibly high resolution, but we found this to be too high. It effectively gives you the same usable area as a 1280x720-pixel screen, and we were much more comfortable at 200 percent or less.
The Windows Ink Workspace is a panel that you can pull up with one tap on a taskbar icon. It gives you quick access to apps that specifically benefit from a stylus, as well as the Windows 10 sticky notes and screenshot annotation features, and Microsoft's own Sketchpad app. You can do neat things such as draw straight lines against an on-screen ruler, and post your scribbles directly to social media.
There are two Lenovo apps pinned to the taskbar - Lenovo Vantage and Lenovo Settings. The latter guides you through a few setup options before informing you that all its functions have been merged into the Lenovo Vantage app, which makes us wonder why it's there in the first place. Vantage lets you check for system updates, run diagnostics, check your warranty status, download recommended apps, and manage the webcam, mic, trackpad and power saving features.
The Yoga 920 gave us no trouble at all in day-to-day use. It was pleasant to work with, and handled over a dozen browser tabs plus assorted other programs without breaking a sweat. The CPU and amount of RAM are more than enough to make Windows feel snappy and responsive. We were able to hear the fan spin up sometimes, even when we weren't doing anything particularly stressful.
In benchmark tests, we found that this laptop was quite a solid performer. We got 3,138, 4,644 and 2,869 points in PCMark 8's Home, Creative and Work scenarios respectively. POV-Ray ran its render benchmark in 3 minutes, 31 seconds, while Cinebench gave us scores of 170 and 555 in its single-core and multi-core runs. SSD performance stood out in particular, with random read and write speeds of up to 431.5MBps and 444.9MBps respectively. We also found that the top half of the keyboard got quite warm when the Yoga 920 was pushed to its limits during benchmarks.
High-resolution videos, including 4K files, looked and sounded great. Other than having to find an angle that didn't reflect our overhead lights, we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment capabilities of the Yoga 920. The speakers are on the bottom, and can get muffled if the laptop isn't placed on a flat surface. They work best in tent mode, and are somewhat obstructed in tablet mode. Sound quality is great for a laptop, with no distortion at high volumes.
On the other hand, like most ultraportables, this machine is not at all suited to gaming. Only a few premium models such as the Asus ZenBook UX430U have basic discrete graphics processors and can handle games at low to medium settings, and the Yoga 920 is not one of them. We got scores of 498 and 420 in 3DMark's Fire Strike Extreme and Time Spy tests respectively. Unigine Valley running at 1920x1080 at medium quality gave us 18.1fps. We tried a few games, but Rise of the Tomb Raider wouldn't even load when set to 1920x1080. We were able to run it at 1280x720 with the Low quality preset, and still got only 15.79fps on average in its built-in benchmark. You could probably enjoy quite a few casual games and even some older 3D ones, but if gaming is a priority, this category of laptops isn't for you.
So far we're thoroughly impressed with the Yoga 920's looks and performance as a laptop, but we also spent time with it exclusively in tablet mode. The stylus is comfortable to use, and it feels extremely responsive. There's zero lag, and you feel like you're writing directly on the surface of the glass under the tip. It takes some time to get used to Windows 10's text input panel, but handwriting recognition is pretty good most of the time. We tried Microsoft Word and OneNote as well as assorted drawing apps and the annotation features in Microsoft Edge, but felt that stylus input is still more of a novelty than an everyday convenience. Sketching is fun, but there aren't many reasons to choose to write or edit documents with a stylus rather than keyboard.
The battery lasted for 2 hours, 2 minutes in our high-stress Battery Eater Pro benchmark. With ordinary use including a lot of video streaming, the Yoga 920 made it through a workday but needed to be plugged in by the evening. It took just over an hour to charge when in standby. This is decent enough performance for a thin-and-light notebook, but we think that some people would like the option of a full-HD screen rather than 4K if the tradeoff is nearly 50 percent better battery life.
The Lenovo Yoga 920 Vibes Edition is attention-grabbing and that's exactly what a lot of people will love about it. It's far better as a laptop than as a tablet, but even if you never use it that way, the flexible hinge and touchscreen are great to have. The hardware is top-notch, and it can handle pretty much all your office work and entertainment needs without breaking a sweat. We would have liked a few little conveniences such as an SD card slot, more USB ports, and a better way to carry the stylus around, but overall the usage experience is pretty slick.
Lenovo has chosen to stick to the high end with only one variant which costs Rs. 1,49,999. It checks all the boxes for a premium ultraportable, but it's up to buyers to decide whether they actually want to spend that much, when alternatives such as the HP Spectre series, Asus Zenbook Ultra, and Dell's XPS 13 (recently refreshed with a new, ultra-slim design) are available at much lower starting prices. Lenovo's own Yoga 720 costs a lot less and isn't very different, though the company hasn't yet refreshed it with 8th-gen Core CPUs. Even in such an expensive niche market segment, you have a lot of choices.
Lenovo Yoga 920 Vibes Edition
Price: Rs. 1,49,999
Ratings (Out of 5)