Category Archives: Tech Stuff
Yoga 900 Review and First Thoughts
I was privileged to receive a Yoga 900 for testing and review. This is the newest addition to Lenovo’s line of convertible laptops and based on what I have observed after some use of it, Lenovo has listened to and incorporated changes based on user feedback concerning the previous versions of this line.
All in – the Yoga 900 is a tiny bit thicker and a bit heavier then its predecessor, the Yoga 3 Pro, but there are reasons for this.
The first reason is that there is a new keyboard – the keys have a bit more travel to them and it also inludes a 6th row of keys. It now has a dedicated Function (F) row. By default, the hotkey functions are accessible by pressing the appropriate hotkey. However, you can disable the hotkey mode in the BIOS setup utility. There is slightly more travel to the keys and they seem easier to type on than previous versions.
It also has Intel’s latest line of processors, the 2-Core Skylake i7-6500U @ 2.40 GHz which has resulted in a definite increase in performance over the M Processor which was in the Yoga 3 Pro. This is coupled with 8 GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 520.
The display is a 3200 x 1800 resolution 13 inch capacitive screen and has excellent vciewing angles, as well as a full 10-finger touch. The response to touch is flawless: at no time did the display ever register any ghost touches or act any way that it wasn’t supposed to. The display is viewable in sunlight but there is some reflection. However, at no time was I unable to view the screen.
The hard drive in this machine is the Samsung MANLN512HCJHOOOOL2 aand is at 512 GB (SATA-600) and runs very fast.
This also comes with a great selection of ports. On the left side of the laptop are the power port, a USB 3.0 port, a memory card slot, and it now has a Type-C port which supports USB 3.0, Native display port 1.2 video output and VGA/HDMI adapter which is sold separately. On the right side is a Battery and Power status indicator, the power button, the Novo button, the rotation lock button, the combo audio jack and another USB 3.0 port.
There are a variety of modes that this machine can be used in, laptop mode, tent mode Both shown above and tablet mode shown below. The screen rotates 360 degrees and in tablet mode the keyboard is disabled.
The battery is now a 67000 mWh and it should give at least six hours watching movies or using power intensive programs. I got 7 hours just surfing the internet and that is without having any power saving enabled.
The machine comes with Windows 10 Pro preloaded and it runs fast and smooth. I haven’t found any issues yet with the preload. The number of preloaded apps has been reduced significantly, again possibly as a result of user feedback. There aren’t many third party programs loaded and the ones that are, are useful.
Yoga 3 Pro and Yoga 900
Here you can see the slight thickness difference.
Above is the Yoga 900 with the new 6 row keyboard.
And that beautiful watchband hinge.
All in all, Lenovo certainly has listened to the feedback and changed some things that needed changed but kept the features that made the convertible laptops great. One of these was the watchband hinge, which I really like a lot. Power management handles the fan pretty well, under high load the fan speeds up like it is supposed to and powers back down under light load just like it is supposed to.
Lenovo has put together a well rounded convertible laptop that is powerful and smooth running. I like the silver gray color also.
Lenovo Z500 Touch
At first glance, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z500 Touch doesn’t look like anything out of the ordinary. It has a large form factor and it has a little weight to it. But, this laptop has a few things up its sleeve that lets it get the job done whether it is gaming, coding, video editing, or just about whatever you throw at it, plus it has the added benefit of having a full 10 point touch screen.
It should be said up front that this machine doesn’t have Intel’s just released new processor. It has a third generation processor, the Core i7-3632QN Ivy Bridge, and it has some very nice features.
It also has another trick to it, discrete switchable graphics. So, it’s up against other machines with the same specs. except that the Z500 won’t break your pocketbook. The price tag isn’t big like you would think with a laptop with these kinds of features. The i7 model will set you back about $1099.00 US.
True to form, the styling is a bit sober, no shiny chrome edges and no shiny surfaces. Anybody who has had to clean fingerprints and smudges off of the lid and palmrest area will appreciate the styling. This comes with the Accutype Keyboard. Key placement is good and the keys that I use a lot are a bit bigger than the rest. This machine didn’t come with a backlit keyboard and I would have liked to see the numbers a bit brighter white than they are.
Just looking at this, you wouldn’t think that there would be anything special under the hood. The surprises are that it has a quad-core chip with a frequency of 2.2Ghz and only has a thermal envelope of 35W. It also packs an Nvidia GeForce GT 740M which is from the most recent Nvidia chips. The GPU has 2GB of DDR3 RAM and it has a core operating frequency of 980Mhz, so it’s no slouch in the graphics department.
All this is coupled with a 1366 x 768 screen, which doesn’t seem very great considering the prevalence of 1080p screens around, but there’s a good reason for it. You won’t be playing all the latest games at the highest settings, but lower those settings down just a bit and you can get very good frame rates. So, the graphics system is paired fairly well with the lower resolution screen.
Left to right viewing angles are fine, vertical angles are fine when viewing normally. Outside viewing on the glossy screen is fine in the shade and in low light, it’s a little hard to see in bright sunlight, but still viewable.
Lenovo includes a nice variety of ports with this machine, Ethernet and wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 USB 3.0, HDMI, a card reader. a combo headphone and mic port and a DVD dual-layer burner. The sizeable 1TB 5,400 rpm hard drive provides plenty of storage. The speed of the machine covers the slower hard drive fairly well.
The four core processor supports multi-threading, so it offers 8 threads. More and more software makers are making software that supports multi-threading, so this machine should stay right up there on top of the heap.
There’s a nice selection of software that goes along with this package, Cyberlink YouCam, Lenovo Energy Management with a dedusting button, OneKey Theater, Power2Go, PowerDVD, OneKey Recovery and more.
Three hours battery life for a machine of this size and power viewing 720p videos isn’t too bad in my opinion. The machine at just shy of 6 lbs. isn’t totally portable, but I’ve been taking it back and forth to work and the weight is just a slight inconvenience.
You can game with this machine and go slogging through Windows along with doing your daily mundane tasks without missing a beat. And do it with a touchscreen. This is a well-built sturdy laptop with very good specs.