(Pocket-lint) - The Yoga 920 is Lenovo's latest take on a hybrid laptop for people with plenty of money who want something worth showing off. At £1,399 with no extra gaming hardware, this is a laptop that asks you to you pay for its design.
There's a difference between design and empty "style", though, and the Yoga 920 is an investment that pays off. It delivers awesome build quality, fantastic battery life, a tablet hybrid side and slightly less restrictive connectivity than some rivals.
We like the Lenovo Yoga 920, we like it a lot.
- High-quality aluminium shell
- Watch-inspired hybrid hinge
- Bronze, copper and silver colour options
If you go down to your local computer shop - assuming Amazon hasn't already squeezed it into non-existence - it can be hard to tell the build benefits between the best £700 slim and light laptops and the £1300 ones.
The Lenovo Yoga 920 is a good laptop to learn from, as its build is excellent. The anodised aluminium used throughout is beautifully smooth and matte, while the screen barely budges if you try to bend it with a thumb. And no, we don't recommend trying this yourself.
It's the steel link hinge that stands out immediately, of course. Shiny where the rest is deliberately subdued, Lenovo wants to show it off. The hinge would probably look better if it were colour-matched with the rest of the Yoga 920's body, but it is striking and lets the hinge open at any angle you like.
Tent? Fat graphics tablet? Bog-standard laptop? All are no problem.
One interesting aspect of the Yoga 920 is that it's not actually as slim and light as you might assume. At 1.39kg and 14mm thick, this is more MacBook Pro 13 than HP Spectre 13 (which is 1.1kg and just over 10mm thick), but it's still easily light enough to carry around all day.
In part this size and weight is because the Yoga 920 has a large battery for scene-stealing battery life. Not to ruin the suspense.
- 1920 x 1080 resolution panel
- Active stylus is included
There's a surprising amount of moderation in elements of the Yoga 920's design. You see this in the screen too. While there's a 4K resolution option, our review model, and the one you'll find sold more regularly, is the Full HD model.
This has a classic IPS LCD touchscreen, with the tablet-like glossy finish you'll find on just about all touch laptops.
The screen isn't one with an ultra-wide colour gamut, which provides the ability to make some shades look almost toxic-grade oversaturated. However, colour appears deep and vibrant.
Contrast is fantastic for an LCD panel too, with blacks merging into the screen surround when the brightness isn't up too high. As you'd expect for well over a grand, the Yoga 920 has a narrow-bezel display, although Dell's XPS 13's is even skinnier.
The Yoga 920 has something many other laptops don't: an active pen stylus. This lets you use the laptop like a graphics tablet, providing another use for the flexi hinge. It's a battery-powered stylus and offers 4096 pressure levels, on-par with some pro-grade graphics tablets.
Of course, the feel of the pen isn't quite at that level. While small movements with it feel smooth, long streaks across the screen cause the rubberised tip to "trip" over the Yoga 920's glass top layer at points. Still, if you're a pro, buy a pro tool. We're very happy with the stylus, particularly as you get one in the box (for which many manufacturers would otherwise charge an extra £50-100)
Keyboard and trackpad
- Shallow action but deep "tone" keyboard
- Backlit keys
- Textured glass trackpad
Then there's the question of the keyboard. It almost goes without saying: if you've been raised on mechanical keyboards and classic ThinkPad laptops you'll probably find the Yoga 920 keyboard too shallow. But if that's your bag you may just be here to sneer at the silly new hybrid anyway.
However, while we're also often fans of a deeper keyboard, the Yoga 920 actually makes for fairly satisfying typing. Key action is substantially deeper than the latest wave of MacBooks, for example, and while a shallower style often also comes with a light "clicky" vibe, there's a deeper, more resonant feel to key taps here. We've typed thousands of the words on the Yoga 920 perfectly happily.
Below it sits a fingerprint scanner, used with the Windows Hello feature to let you login to Windows 10 by using one of your digits. It's not the fastest we've used, with often a second or so of delay before you are let in. But it does usually work on the first attempt.
There's very little to complain about regarding the trackpad too. It has a smooth textured glass surface, is almost exactly the same colour as the rest of the shell, and doesn't misbehave. The click's not too loud either. Maybe we spend too much time thinking about laptops, but it always seems a shame when a quiet keyboard is matched with a noisy trackpad click.
- 8th Generation Core-series processors
- No special gaming skills
- 512GB SSD
If that's too nerdy, fair enough. However there's one bit of tech nerdery you have to appreciate in the Yoga 920. This is one of the early laptops to adopt an 8th Generation Intel Core processor.
Our Yoga 920 has the Intel Core i7-8550U, and it's completely different from last year's 7th Gen Core i7. For one, it has four cores rather than two. These can therefore afford to run at a much lower clock speed, but when more power is needed a 4GHz Turbo mode seems to get you grunt not too far off the kind of 7th Gen desktop processor found in a 3kg laptop.
There's also 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. That storage size is a big part of justifying the laptop's price. Apple charges £200 just to jump from a 256GB to a 512GB one. It gives you a lot more room for games and storage-hungry apps.
The Yoga 920 may look a bit like a preened style laptop, but in short bursts it has power that just wasn't possible in laptops this thin before.
It's impressive stuff, but it doesn't translate to radically better gaming due to Intel HD 620 graphics. You can play old games playably fast, but newer AAA games will be dismally slow unless you radically scale down the resolution and turn off most of the graphics effects. And some won't really be enjoyable even then. If you're a gamer, check out the HP Envy x360 instead, as you can get it with GeForce 150MX discrete graphics.
Try a game or start stressing the CPU and you will hear the fan fire up. However, it's never been particularly loud during our testing - unlike some earlier Lenovo laptops. And most of the time, when using the Yoga 920 to write and check emails, it's silent.
- Two high-speed Thunderbolt USB-Cs
- One classic USB port
- No HDMI or SD
The Yoga 920 is not meant to be great at everything. And while its connections don't cut ties with the past the way some rivals do, they do show this is primarily a portable laptop. Not one that wants to be plugged into a monitor, mouse and keyboard all day, every day.
There's no SD card slot, no HDMI, no DisplayPort. The ultra-fast dual Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports let you add these with the right adapter, but if you want a laptop that can skip between desktop and laptop roles every day, you probably want an HDMI port on the size. Or a proper dock, but they tend to cost a packet.
Some laptops these days make do with just USB-C connections, but the Yoga 920 - and we're very happy about this - still has a normal USB 3.0 too. You can plug in all your old peripherals without having to head to eBay to buy a new cable, despite having several carrier bags of the things you've put in a cupboard and tried to forget about.
Battery life and audio
- Excellent battery life
- Fair, but not amazing, stereo speakers
To keep the Yoga 920 at home is to miss the point, though. Its 70Wh battery lasts for a fantastic 14.5 hours when just writing documents or watching locally stored video.
This is even longer than Lenovo's own claim of 12 hours, which is probably what you'll achieve if you start skipping between apps a bit more, leaving some open. It's way beyond a "full day's work" of the average job, into a full day's work for someone completely miserable, with no sense of work-life balance.
Or, from a less depressing angle it lets you relax with a bit of Netflix after work is done. And there's even a mode that uses the webcam to assess the colour temperature of ambient light, then altering the display tone to suit.
Without wanting to end on a bum note, you might want to take your headphones or some speakers if you're planning on a Yoga 920 movie session, though. While the integrated speakers are perfectly fine, they aren't as bold as those of a MacBook, lacking any real bass. They sound full and clear until the bass kick comes in, though, so they'll do the job for dialogue, just not action movie explosions.
It's hard to image a hybrid much better than the Lenovo Yoga 920.
Ok, so we'd ideally like an SD card slot. And an HDMI wouldn't hurt. There are always ways you can make a design better in your head. But we're simply swimming against the current with our nostalgia for connections.
If you're after a laptop to use while on the go, you can't do much better than a Lenovo Yoga 920. It lasts for an age per charge, offers decent performance power and looks great too.
Alternatives to consider
Microsoft Surface Book 2
The Surface Book 2 was a real headline-grabber when it came out, particularly as you can get a version with quite powerful Nvidia GTX 1050 graphics hardware. However, it's far more expensive, currently uses last-gen CPUs and weighs a bit more too. Wait for the 8th Gen version or a mega discount.
Read the full article: Surface Book 2 review