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Lenovo Yoga 910 vs HP Spectre X360: So alike, and yet just different enough

The Windows 10 notebook ecosystem has generated some excellent machines as a result of Intel’s Ultrabook and Microsoft’s Surface initiatives. Whether it’s traditional clamshell notebooks or 2-in-1 convertibles, there are numerous choices when it comes to thin and light machines with excellent performance and battery life.

More: How Ultrabooks challenged the MacBook Air — and won

Two options, HP’s newest Spectre X360 and Lenovo’s Yoga 910, are so close in terms of overall design that they’re hard to tell apart at first glance. They’re both convertible, flip-around 2-in-1s with relatively small bezels that allow their 13.3-inch screens to fit into unusually small chassis. They’re also both made of machined aluminum, and though they’re similar in many other facets, there are some distinguishing features that allow one of the machines to edge out the other in terms of performance and design.

Read on to find out which 2-in-1 represents the best use of your hard-earned dollars.

Specs

Lenovo Yoga 910

Lenovo Yoga 910 P

HP Spectre X360

HP Spectre X360

Dimensions 12.72 x 8.84 x 0.56 (in)  12.03 x 8.58 x 0.54 (in)
Weight 3.04 pounds  2.85 pounds
Keyboard Full keyboard with backlight Full keyboard with backlight
Processor  Intel Core i7-7500U Up to Intel Core i7-7500U
RAM  Up to 16GB  Up to 16GB
Graphics  Intel HD Graphics 620  Intel HD Graphics 620
Display 13.9-inch IPS display  13.3-inch IPS display
Resolution 3,840 by 2,160 pixels or
1,920 by 1,080 pixels
 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
Storage  Up to 1TB PCIe SSD Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
Networking  802.11ac 802.11ac
Ports 1 x USB type-C 3.0 with video out
1 x USB type-C 2.0 with charging
1 x USB 3.0 with always-on
Audio combo jack
4-in-1 Card reader
2 x USB type-C with HP Sleep & Charge, Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
Audio combo jack
Windows Hello Fingerprint scanner IR facial recognition
Operating System  Windows 10 Windows 10
Battery  Up to 15.5 hours of battery life Up to 8 hours of battery life
Price  $1,300+  $1,050+
Availability Lenovo HP
Review 4 out of 5 stars Coming soon

Design chops

Both the HP Spectre X360 and the Lenovo Yoga 910 are Windows 10 convertibles with touchscreens that can be swiveled a full 360 degrees, thus allowing them to perform as a standard clamshell notebook, in tent mode, in presentation mode with the keyboard inverted, and or as a tablet. In terms of the use cases they support, therefore, they’re essentially identical.

Another similarity between the two devices is their use of minimal bezels, which shrink chassis size. Dell introduced the idea of ultra-thin bezels with the XPS 13, a 2-in-1 that leveraged the resulting reduction in lid size to squeeze a 13.3-inch notebook into an 11-inch chassis. HP and Lenovo have both jumped on that bandwagon, equipping their 2-in-1s with reduced bezels and thus shrinking the overall size of each machine while retaining a roomy display.

However, HP and Lenovo don’t take the exact same approach. the former used a 13.3-inch display with small bezels on each side, and splits the difference on the top and bottom. Lenovo, on the other hand, squeezed in a 13.9-inch display and kept the bezel thin on all sides except the bottom. Both machines saved overall chassis size — though, HP’s smaller screen saves it about half an inch in both directions — but there’s nevertheless a significant difference in how the designs impact usability.

Simply put, while HP was able to put its webcam in the top bezel for a more natural angle that looks across at a user’s face, Lenovo’s webcam is relegated to the bottom of the display. Like the Dell XPS 13, therefore, the Yoga 910’s webcam shoots up at the user’s face, potentially providing an up-nostril view that might irritate some users, and those they’re video conferencing with. If you use the integrated webcam often, then that design decision is something to keep in mind.

The Yoga 910 does benefit from Lenovo’s “watchband” hinge, a design aspect that looks great and offers smooth functionality. The Spectre X360, on the other hand, relies on a more traditional hinge design and a larger trackpad. There’s only a 0.19-pound difference between the two, and so weight won’t be a serious edge.

Overall, picking a design winner comes down to whether you’re a big user of your notebook’s webcam. If you are, then the HP Spectre X360 might be the better choice.

Winner: HP Spectre X360

HP just barely wins when it comes to flexibility and price

Both HP and Lenovo offer high-end versions of their machines, but they’re not identical in terms of their configurations. Both notebooks can be configured with Intel Core i7 processors and 16GB of RAM, but the similarities end there.

First, the Spectre X360 is limited to a 512GB SSD, while the Yoga 910 can be equipped with a 1TB SSD. HP, on the other hand, offers a Core i5-7200U option for a lower base price, more modest performance, and potentially enhanced battery life. The Spectre X360’s USB Type-C port also supports Thunderbolt 3, while the Yoga 910’s does not. Finally, as we’ll discuss in greater detail below, the HP is limited to a 1080P display. The Lenovo can be equipped with high-resolution, 4K screen.

lenovo-announced-lenovo-yoga-910-yogabook-ahead-of-ifa-2016-4

Where HP provides the most flexibility relative to Lenovo is in terms of low-end pricing. Thanks to the Core i5 option, the Spectre X360 starts out at $1,050 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Because it only offers a higher-end Core i7-7500U, the Yoga 910’s base price is $1,180 for 8GB and a 256GB SSD.

A lower price tag and greater configuration flexibility give HP the nod in terms of price. The Lenovo Yoga 910, on the other hand, offers a 1TB SSD and 4K display options, and so is more suitable for anyone who’s willing to spend a little more in exchange for a higher-end configuration.

Winner: HP Spectre X360 for budget buyers, Lenovo Yoga 910 for the less price-conscious

Full HD is nice, but 4K is better

Both the HP Spectre X360 and Lenovo Yoga 910 offer excellent displays. They’re bright, showcase great color, and would suit all but the most discerning of professional users. If you’re looking for a nice HD screen, then you can’t go wrong with either machine.

However, the Yoga 910 also offers a 4K display that runs at 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution. It ups the price a bit and reduces battery life, but nevertheless, it’s an option that the HP doesn’t offer.

More: How monitor makers are pixelating the truth to fake you out

Based only on the 4K display option, we have to award Lenovo with a win. If you’re okay with an HD display that offers excellent quality and will maximize battery life, then either the Spectre X360 or the Lenovo Yoga 910 is a good choice.

Winner: Lenovo Yoga 910

Longevity on the road

No matter how well it’s designed or how awesome its specifications, a notebook is only as good as its battery. Once the juice runs out, all notebooks offer the same value.

Both the HP Spectre X360 and the Lenovo Yoga 910 offer good battery life that should last close to, or just a little more than, a full day’s work. The HP offers a 45-watt battery compared to the Lenovo’s 66-watt option. All things being equal, that is with the same processor and display resolution, then you can expect more battery life from the Yoga 910.

However, with an HD display and a Core i5 processor, the the Spectre X360 should be able to match a fully-spec’d Yoga 910 with a Core i7 and a 4K display. In our tests, when the processors were the same and only the display was different, we achieved around nine hours of battery life with the Spectre X360 compared to around seven hours with the Yoga 910.

If battery life is your concern, then you’ll likely want to opt for the Yoga 910 with the HD display. A larger battery will likely result in the longest battery life of all of the various options we’ve discussed here, although the Spectre X360 still offers competitive battery life that should meet most users’ needs.

Winner: Tie

Which is more connected and plugged-in?

The HP Spectre X360 is equipped with a plethora of ports, including two USB Type-C connections, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A connector for legacy devices, and a headphone-microphone jack. It also has an HD, IR-enabled webcam that supports Windows 10’s Hello feature , which allows you to login with a quick facial scan. Additionally, the machine’s USB Type-C connections support HP Sleep and Charge technology — which powers external devices while the Spectre X360 is sleeping — as well as Thunderbolt 3.

The Lenovo Yoga 910 also has two USB Type-C connections, one that supports video-out and one that supports always-on charging. Neither of the Lenovo’s USB Type-C ports support Thunderbolt 3, however. There’s also a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port that supports charging, though not of the always-on variety. The Yoga 910 uses as more pedestrial 720p webcam, too, and procides Windows 10 Hello support via a fingerprint scanner instead of facial recognition.

While both machines offer decent connectivity for a 2-in-1, the HP Spectre X360 deserves the nod for its Thunderbolt 3 support. If you prefer a fingerprint scanner over facial recognition, however, you’ll appreciate the Yoga 910 a bit more.

Winner: HP Spectre X360

Overall winner

Both the HP Specter X360 and the Lenovo Yoga 910 are excellent 2-in-1 devices. As we mentioned at the beginning of this comparison, the two machines are more similar than they are different. For the price, which is substantially less than that of a Surface Book and Apple’s new MacBook Pro, you can’t go wrong with either the HP or the Lenovo.

Overall, however, we have to give the win to the HP Spectre X360 by just a hair. It’s the smaller of the two machines and thus a bit more deserving of the 2-in-1 designation. It also offers better battery life, more configuration options, and starts out at a lower price point. You’ll want to take a hard look at the Lenovo Yoga 910 if you want a 4K display and 1TB SSD, but otherwise, you can opt for the Spectre X360 without any qualms.

Winner: HP Spectre X360 by a hair