The Lenovo Yoga product line started shipping back in 2012, but 9 years on, the convertible device has come a very long way. The latest C940 model, now features a powerful 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, while the thin and light body means you’ll be able to take that performance anywhere. While we’re not travelling a lot right now, there is a light at the end of that tunnel that should see us regain our portability over the coming weeks and month.
It’s important to remember that a laptop purchase should consider your needs for the next few years and as such, requires you to think past the immediate, short term and think about what you need form a device in the medium and long term.
Convertibles are great, I really love them and the flexibility they offer in device use cases and modern hinge design means we don’t really pay a thickness penalty anymore, so I believe the days of the legacy laptop that doesn’t fold back on itself, numbers.
Thin and light
Designing a form factor that not only looks great, but is also asthetically pleasing and enables the necessary runway for the processor to avoid thermal throttling is a significant challenge. The body is sleak and sexy in it’s matte grey finish and provides a real confident, professional look you’d feel very comfortable showing up to the next business meeting with.
As you’d expect with every new generation, there’s a lot of attention paid to shrinking the bezels of the device, providing a higher screen to body ratio and just being visually pleasing to look at. The top bezel is just slightly larger than the sides of the display, to accommodate the now essential webcam.
The device comes in two sizes a 14″ screen (reviewed) or 15.6″. Personally I’m all about 14″ devices, I’ve loved what HP have offered for years in their Elitebook series at that size and this 14″ from lenovo is also a great balance between size for readability and productivity, while also respecting the ultra-portable catgory it lives in.
Weight is something that doesn’t happen without careful consideration of every component. Lenovo have clearly focused on portability with the C940 tipping the scales at just 1.35kg which actually feels lighter than some 13″ models I’ve reviewed recently. It’s the combination of materials and choice of design (slim, angled body) that helps you feel like you want to take this everywhere with you, esecially because despite that lightness, it still performance remarkably well.
How does it perform ?
Our review unit is the top model performance-wise, without the top 4K display. Given the battery life ramifications of stepping up to 4K, I think this could be Lenovo’s most popular model. Having the capacity to spec it with a 4K display, provides great flexibility to meet your specific needs and wants, which is great to see.
Included in this model, is the latest 10th Gen CPU from Intel, which includes the new Intel UHD 960 Iris Plus Graphics. These actually do an impressive job and will make you rethink what on-board graphics are capable of. Sure, mobile graphics will never threaten the latest Geforce RTX card for PCs, but Iris really impressed me.
You get to chose between 8 or 16GB of RAM and I feel like 2020 is the year we’ll move to buying laptops with 16GB of RAM (included in review). Our model came with a 512GB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe which is a premium size of storage and offers some impressive read/write speeds.
Despite the great performance of this device, you’ll get close to the rated battery life of 9 hours (usually 7-8hrs with moderate usage and mid-level brightness on the display). Personally I think this is great, it’ll get you through most work days on a single charge, but in reality, you’ll most likely still cary a charger with you. With the Yoga using USB-C charging, it’s likely you’ll be able to find a friend or co-worker with a compatible laptop charger or dock. When you do need to charge, fast-charging is included, which means you can rapidly get an extra 2 hours of battery with just 15 minutes on a 65W charger. Alternatively, you could get an 80% boost to your battery life in just 1 hour.
When it comes to the performance of networking, the C940 is forward leaning with the new Wi-Fi 6 connectivity which uses the latest AI technology to optimise your connection. Maybe the only disappointment is that there’s no 4G or 5G option, so the appetite for this device in business may be limited by that.
Regarding benchmark scores for performance, the Yoga C940 achieved a score of 4,512. This is a fairly impressive score for an ultraportable lapotp and by way of comparison, I have a couple of examples that really shows how much of a performer the C940 really is:
- Dell XPS 13″ – 3,996.
- HP Spectre X360 – 3,256.
What makes this product great
The Lenovo Yoga C940 is full of features, including a backlit keyboard (activated with Shift+Space), the Lenovo Active Pen and a Fingerprint reader. This fingerprint reader is supported by Windows Hello which means you’ve got quick and easy access to log in and out of the device rapidly.
Easily the biggest feature is the convertible design of the laptop that enables you to use it as a regular laptop, fold it over to be a great portable tablet, or use it in tent mode for watching Netflix or YouTube. A very throughtful consideration is the hinge that spans most of the width of the device, also includes the speaker. When you fold back the display, this speaker rotates in such a way that the speakers will be facing outwards to produce the best possible sound.
Further to the audio discussion, the Yoga C940 includes far-feild microphones, which mean you can leverage Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant, but most people will get more excited about the option to use Alexa to get and set reminders, order dinner, turn on your favourite playlist and more.
When it comes to Software, Lenovo have included Windows 10 Home, which I wish was Windows 10 Pro, but they’re certainly not the only manufacturer I’ve criticised for this move. Pre-loaded is Microsoft Office 2019, which you’ll need to sign into to use. Something I’m growing tired of, is the inclusion of 3rd party AV, not because it’s better than Windows Defender, but because of a commercial deal between the AV provider and the OEM. This isn’t benefiting consumers, it just creates a job to uninstall it to avoid the nags to buy when the free trial ends.
Another feature included in most laptop is the webcam. Recent events has placed an increased focus on the webcam in your device, as many users are participating in multiple video conferences per day. Lenovo understands some people have concerns are privacy, providing a TrueBlock Privacy Shutter to ensure that when you think your webcam is off, that it really is off.
Not everything’s perfect
While the keyboard on this device is certainly usable, I came from easily the best keyboard I’ve used on a laptop/convertible device, the Dell XPS 13″ and by comparison, this keyboard is just not as good, not even close really. The big difference is the response in the key. I’m not talking about any lag in the time you press the key and when it shows on the screen, but reather than physical response when you reach the end of travell on the key depress. There’s something very rewarding about every keystroke on the XPS and combined with the sound it makes, it’s a fantastic typing experience.
Asthetically, I really love the Yoga, but the key design takes a strange move away from the standard square keys, to round them on the bottom. This isn’t just on the A-Z keys, this on everything, including Ctl, Alt, Shft and Enter. For me it just doesn’t work, it looks like they tried to get creative on an area of the device that just didn’t call for it, squares are well known and loved and symetrical, don’t srew with that Lenovo, it does nothing to add to the experience and just looks weird.
When booting the device, you are immediately presented with a Lenovo banner, which I understand is their opportunity for branding, but it’s pretty offensive to see a rectangular grid spanning most of the screen, rather than a simple OEM logo in the center of the display. I think Levono needs to learn some subtlety here.
While I appreciate the Yoga features 2x USB-C ports, it’s a little strange to have these both on the left side of the device, rather than one on each, even better would be two on each side. This won’t impact everyone, but I have a desk setup where I want the laptop on the left on my monitor and that leaves the dock connector on the wrong side of the laptop. That’s awkward when it doesn’t have to be. It’s clear this decision was made to accommodate the built-in stylus that hides inside the body, along the right edge of the device. That’s a neat trick, but I’d prefer right-hand USB-C ports instead and I’d love to see that as an option.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
How much and when can you get one ?
The Lenovo Yoga C940 14″ convertible is available now from Lenovo’s website directly, or from one of their retailers like Office Works and Harvey Norman.
The device is customisable to have 8 or 16GB of RAM and a choice of 512GB to 2TB M.2 2280 SSD for storage. When configured as our review unit was, it’ll cost you A$2,784.60 (Lenovo is currently offering a discount of A$309.40).
I really like this Yoga a lot. The understatated design means you could absolutely rock up to a business meeting with it, or fire it up in an airport lounge (eventually) and look professional, like you’re getting some really important work done. Whether you’re looking to be productive or be entertained, this transformer really has the internals to meet your needs. I found it ate through batch image processing in Photoshop and even editing and exporting 4K GoPro footage worked a treat.
With the extra RAM and the latest processor and graphics from Intel, this is the closest I’ve felt to having a capable, portable PC, short of carrying a gaming laptop that has 2hours of battery. The battery life will certainly get you through most of the day, but that never really concerns me, usually long enough to get through a flight, bus trip, a daily commute is usually the number you need to hit, 4-5 hours of high-performance multitasking.
It really is a shame about the keyboard, it’s ok, but certainly don’t love it. For the money, I’d definitely want to love all aspect of it, but I hope Lenovo can refresh this in the next generation.
Overall the Lenovo Yoga is a great device, I’d happily recommend to friends, family and colleagues who are after productivity, portability and a stealthy design.
- Light and Portable
- Key design
- Keyboard feel