The 2-in-1 form factor has evolved a lot over the past few years. Gone are the days when using a 2-in-1 meant a buggy touch-screen and gimmick form-factor. These days, 2-in-1 computers are well-built, versatile, and very reliable.Like, for example, the relatively new Lenovo Yoga 920.
The Yoga 920 is arguably the pinnacle of development that has gone into 2-in-1 devices over the past few years. It’s beautifully built, and while there’s plenty of bloatware to around, in general using it is a great experience. But it’s also a kind of expensive experience. Is it worth the cash? We put the computer to the test.
The first thing you’ll notice about the computer is its design, and its a very good-looking device. The Yoga 920 has gotten a lot of press over the past few months for its watch-band-style hinge, and while not everyone loves it, we found that it looks a lot better in person than it does in the photos.
When closed, the Lenovo Yoga 920 looks premium, sleek, and simple. On the lid, there’s really only the Yoga logo, which is subtle and stylish. The laptop in general is pretty thin. It comes in at around 14mm thick, at least for the 14-inch version, and in general it feels very light and easy to carry around.
On the left side of the device, you’ll find two USB-C ports and a headphone jack. On the right, you’ll find a USB-A port and a power button. In general, we think the port selection is decent, though an extra USB-A port and an SD card slot would go a long way.
Unlike some 2-in-1 devices, the display is not detachable. Instead, the 2-in-1 form-factor comes from the ability to bend the display back around the device, to use it in laptop mode. The display in question has a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, though you can opt for a 4K display instead. It’s a pretty vibrant display. It gets nice and bright for when you need the extra brightness, and while there is some glare thanks to the glossy surface, in most situations it’s very suitable.
Inside, you’ll find a pretty decent keyboard. It felt pretty good in most typing situations. It was generally pretty sturdy, and while it didn’t feel as nice to type on as devices like the Google Pixelbook, it still felt great. The touchpad felt good too. It offered decent palm rejection, though there were a few times when the touchpad seemed to get a little buggy in some situations.
The overall design of the device is very well-done. It’s stylish and sleek, but not overly flashy — which we think is a good thing. It’s also light and thin, and the 14-inch version of the device, which is the version we’re reviewing, doesn’t feel too large or unwieldy at all. The best thing about it, however, may well be its build-quality — we never felt like any part of the device would bend or break.
Under the hood
Perhaps the design isn’t as important as what’s under the hood — and what’s under the hood has a lot to offer. The base model of the device comes with an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. You can, however, configure the laptop to offer up to a an Intel Core i7-8550U chip with a 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM. We’re reviewing a device somewhere in the middle — which offers the i7 chip with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It is possible to open up the laptop to upgrade the amount of RAM you want, though that process isn’t made super easy, so we recommend simply getting the amount of RAM you want when you buy the device.
The computer is very fast. This is the first time I personally have tested a device with an 8th-gen i7 chip, and it breezed through most things we could throw at it. Basic tasks, like word processing and web browsing, were handled without any issue whatsoever, and more complex tasks, like encoding video through Handbrake, also went very smoothly.
Now, benchmark tests are by no means as important as real-world use, and we think the computer was more than capable during that real-world use for high-level multitasking and complex tasks. Still, we ran PCMark 10 anyway, and were pleasantly surprised with the results. The computer scored 3,767, which is an excellent score for a laptop of this format.
In general, this device is among the best-performing laptops out there. There are better options for those that need a dedicated graphics card, like the Microsoft Surface Book, but unless you’re doing heavy gaming or video editing, integrated graphics should be fine for most.
The battery life on this computer is excellent too. Because of the high-performing chip, the computer is pretty efficient — and Lenovo claims a hefty 15.5 hours of use with the full HD display, though a 4K display comes at the cost of five of those hours. Coming from a laptop with far less battery than that, the Lenovo Yoga 920’s offering was stellar. On a work trip out of town, I didn’t once feel worried about running out of battery during the day with medium use, and under light use at home, the device lasted for days on end. Some reviews note that the computer can reach up to a hefty 22 hours — and while we didn’t quite hit that mark, the computer did exceed our expectations in the battery department.
The Lenovo Yoga 920 offers a few extra features that you don’t have to buy, but some might appreciate. The most notable of these is the pen, which you can use to sketch artwork or write out notes. We actually really liked how the pen worked. It was generally accurate and well-tracked — and while we used it more for fun than in any professional capacity, it seemed to work decently enough for most uses. The only downside to the pen is the included pen holder, which plugs into the only USB-A port hence limiting the laptop a little.
The computer also has a fingerprint sensor, which you can use to log in to Windows, and which also worked very well. It’s not quite on par with the fingerprint sensor included in the new MacBook Pro computers, but that has more to do with the integration of Apple’s hardware and software than anything else.
The Lenovo Yoga 920 is an absolute powerhouse. If you’re looking for a great 2-in-1 and have the money to spend, we think this is the one to beat in early 2018. Of course, it may well be beaten sometime soon — the competition in the 2-in-1 space is heating up, but for now, the Yoga 920 offers the best intersection of performance, style, and portability.
You can get the Lenovo Yoga 920 for yourself over at Amazon.