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Hands on: Lenovo Yoga 910

The Lenovo Yoga 910 is a powerhouse laptop posing as a 2-in-1

Though it remains unclear if the 2-in-1 will catch on with the mainstream, the devices have become something of a halo product (not to be confused with the Halo keyboard Lenovo just announced). I say that because building one – or more specifically, a good one – is proof of a company’s engineering clout.

But it’s not easy. Ideally, a 2-in-1 should be a great laptop and a great tablet. In reality, that’s not yet possible. So designers must choose, and most seem to give preference to portability. That’s certainly the case with Acer’s newly introduced Spin 7, as well as category champions like the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

The Lenovo Yoga 910 takes an alternative route, though. Less than 15 millimeters thick and equipped with the company’s trademark watchband hinge, it’s no heavyweight. But a closer look makes it clear this 2-in-1 is built for superusers rather than Netflix binges on the couch.

A watchband not built for your wrist

The look of the Yoga 910 is probably its least remarkable element, though only because Lenovo has already forged a strong identity – and the 910 follows the script.

Available in either granite-like black or chameleonic silver (it looked gold under Lenovo’s booth lighting), the 910 is formal, stately, and a bit boxy. Though not part of Lenovo’s business-oriented ThinkPad line, it has a distinctly professional vibe.

That’s enhanced by the watchband hinge. This design, unique to Lenovo, provides firm support in whichever position the hinge is angled, and it helps keep thickness to a minimum. But it also just looks nice. The glittering, intricate watchband turns the humble laptop hinge into a fashion statement.

Lenovo focused on the Yoga 910’s thin design, and at just under 15 millimeters thick it is indeed thin for a 2-in-1. Having just previously handled Acer’s 10-millimeter Spin 7, I didn’t find the 910 overtly svelte, nor did it seem light (relatively speaking). Still, it won’t slow you down if you have a proper laptop bag.

The keyboard and touchpad aren’t the 910’s most notable traits, but they are important, and Lenovo says it focused on key feel in particular. There’s plenty of travel, and key activation is obvious. We did feel there was a hollow quality to the activation, though, which took away from the laptop’s otherwise premium feel.

As for the touchpad … well, it’s a touchpad. We didn’t notice anything special about it, but it worked as well as any.

Connectivity is a high point, at least when compared to other PCs of similar size. The 910 has two USB Type-C ports, but also one standard USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, and a 4-in-1 card reader. This covers both forward-looking and legacy connections.

For your eyes

Aside from its size, Lenovo has put a priority on the display. That’s in response to user feedback. Dilip Bhaita, Lenovo’s VP of Product Marketing, told me that display quality is the single trait users talk about most on internet forums, so the company wants users to like what they see.

To that end, Lenovo has made 1080p and 4K panels, powered by IPS technology, available. While an optional 4K display is hardly a first, it’s still relatively rare in systems as small as the Yoga 910, and many competing 2-in-1s don’t offer it.

The 910’s design also thins the display bezels on three sides (the flanks, and top) to maximum display size within a 13-inch footprint. Though the 910 is similar in size to many 13-inch competitors, it offers a 13.9-inch display, giving a few extra square inches of space to work with. Like all thin-bezel displays, it looks beautiful.

The real story is inside

You could be forgiven for thinking the Yoga 910 is all show, but that’s far from true. This 2-in-1 poses as a simple, portable system, but underneath that mask you’ll find a hardware superhero.

That starts with Intel’s Core i7-7500U. An Intel dual-core processor isn’t shocking, but it’s unusual to see a full-fat version of the hardware in a system so thin. Acer’s Spin 7 opts for the “7Y75” which is also a Core i7 but has less wattage to work with.

Lenovo’s Yoga 910 is a superhero laptop disguised as a lightweight 2-in-1.

Lenovo picked the Core i7-7500U with purpose. Two years ago, the company’s Yoga 3 Pro served as the launch platform for Intel’s Core M, a new line of super-low-voltage chips. As we’ve written in the past, Core M hasn’t proven a hit: Its reduced performance doesn’t always lead to a gain in portability.

That said, Lenovo wanted both performance and portability in the Yoga 910. The solution? A 66 watt-hour battery. That’s massive by 2-in-1 standards. Most systems have 40 to 50 watt-hour batteries. Lenovo quotes up to 15.5 hours of endurance as a result (with the 1080p screen – 10.5 hours with 4K). That’s optimistic, no doubt, but the numbers indicate the 910 should be a winner in battery tests.

There’s more. The Yoga 910 can be equipped with up to 16GB of memory and up to 1TB of solid state storage, connected over speedy PCI Express. Lenovo has ticked off every performance checkbox.

Conclusion

There’s a lot to like about the Yoga 910, and a lot of what we like isn’t what we expected. Despite its size and unique watchband hinge, this laptop is really a performance powerhouse that targets demanding users. It’s great that the 910 can occasionally be flipped for tablet use, or to watch a movie – but the real story here is that Lenovo has built a beautiful, high-performance laptop. It just so happens to also have a touchscreen.

The Yoga 910 starts at $1,300, comes in three colors — Champagne Gold, Platinum Silver, or Gunmetal Grey — and will go on sale in October.

Highs:

  • Thin, professional design
  • Intuitive watchband hinge
  • Thin-bezel display, with optional 4K
  • Cutting-edge internals
  • Huge battery

Lows:

  • Doesn’t feel as slim as it is
  • Adequate keyboard and touchpad