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Review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga 900S

Review: Updated: Lenovo Yoga 900S

Introduction and design

Last year, Apple pulled off a revolution in engineering to make the MacBook the world’s thinnest and lightest laptop, leaving many Windows 10 machines looking considerably flabby. Since then, notebook manufacturers have struck back with even thinner and faster systems, like the HP Spectre 13 and Asus ZenBook 3.

Lenovo itself has come out with the Yoga 900S, a 12.5-inch 2-in-1 laptop that’s even thinner than the MacBook but doesn’t sacrifice full-sized USB 3.0 ports. Beyond being thinner, this capable hybrid laptop comes with a faster processor, sharper screen and amazing battery life to boot. However, with a $1,099 or £999 (about AU$1,481) starting price, Lenovo’s thinnest 2-in-1 comes at a demanding premium.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review


You would be right if you guessed the 12.5-inch Yoga 900S is essentially a slimmed down version of the 13.3-inch Lenovo Yoga 900. The laptop’s overall design bears a striking resemblance to Lenovo’s flagship hybrid from the magnesium shell, leatherette interior and the watchband-inspired hinge.

Completely lifting the Yoga 900’s design isn’t a bad thing, though. Lenovo practically doesn’t have to make any major changes because it has already mastered the 2-in-1 format.

Lenovo’s high-end hybrid is among the few notebooks that are luxurious without having to resort to obnoxious rhinestones or a tacky gold finish. Although this is the third Yoga notebook to feature the company’s exquisite watchband hinge, it’s still an amazing feat of design that this mechanism seemingly defies gravity, holding the screen up despite of how thin it is.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Measuring in at just 0.5-inches (12.8mm) and weighing 2.2 pounds (0.99kg), the Yoga 900S a tenth of an inch thinner and lighter than its predecessor. That’s a hair thinner than the new MacBook, though a tad heftier.

And keep in mind, those are the 900S measurements with a touchscreen, which Apple continues to argue would add unnecessary thickness to the MacBook.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Sacrificing nothing

The Lenovo Yoga 900S has quite a few other things over the MacBook, including full-sized USB 3.0 ports in addition to USB-C connectivity. What’s more, the touchpad actually clicks when pressed, and the laptop houses a keyboard with slightly deeper key travel.

That said, the Yoga 900S’ touchpad is a bit on the small side – at least it offers a smooth, glass-lined surface. Similarly, the keys on the keyboard are a bit on the small side, but they’re spaced far apart and offer a decent amount of travel given the laptop’s thin frame.

Personally, the typing experience on this 2-in-1 is only slightly more tolerable than Apple’s low-pile keyboard. However, you would be better served with plugging in or connecting a dedicated keyboard if you’re trying to do serious work with either machine.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

The hybrid you want as a tablet

I’ve honestly never been a fan of the Lenovo Yoga 900; its 13.3-inch screen is simply too big to use as a tablet. By comparison, the 12.5-inch Lenovo Yoga 900S is a few notches thinner and narrower while being almost an inch shallower.

These might sound like small reductions, but they add up and help make the 900S a much smaller pseudo-slate. It doesn’t feel as much of a giant sheet of glass and magnesium as it predecessor does. And, it’s noticeably less unwieldy given its smaller size, which allows me to hold it up for longer stretches.

All the while, it’s still large enough to use as a notebook without feeling like it’s about to slip out of your lap or being quite as cramped as smaller 10 to 12-inch laptops.

Specifications, performance and features

With a starting price of $1,099 (about AU$1,481) the Lenovo Yoga 900S comes at a surprisingly high standard considering the base configuration includes a Core m5 processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB of RAM and a 1080p screen – or a QHD+ screen in the UK for £999.

For the fifty fewer clams, you could get an Intel Core i5-powered Dell XPS 13 with double the memory and storage. Alternatively, the HP Spectre x360 starts at an even more affordable rate, with the same specs as Dell’s Ultrabook and an all-metal, transformable shell.

That said, the higher-end version of the Yoga 900S is more tantalizing and better justifies its $1,149 (about £810, AU$1,549) price. It comes with a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution display, a faster Core m7 processor as well as twice the memory and storage compared to the starting configuration.

And, considering the upgraded model is a mere $50 more, I would highly suggest picking it up unless you’re trying to maximize battery life.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Spec Sheet

Here is the Lenovo Yoga 900S configuration sent to techradar for review:

  • CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core m5-6Y54 (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515
  • RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 (1600 MHz)
  • Screen: 12.5-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS LED glossy multi-touch display
  • Storage: 128GB PCIe SSD
  • Ports: USB 3.0, USB 2.0, USB Type-C, headset jack
  • Connectivity: Lenovo AC Wireless (2×2) + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Camera: 720p webcam
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds (9.99g)
  • Size: 12.01 x 8.19 x 0.5 inches (W x D x H) (3.05 x 2.08 x 1.28 cm)

Lenovo Yoga 900S review


More and more thin laptops are abandoning Intel’s Core M platform due to the bad reputation the chip developed in its early days. The Yoga 900S missed out this revolution when it was announced at CES 2016. However, even with only a Core m5 processor, I never feel like the Lenovo Yoga 900S is struggling to keep up.

In fact, I’m able to play Hearthstone with the graphical settings on high. And, I can Photoshop a few images without major hitching despite running five other programs at the same time.

Again, this is with the Core m5 model. I can only imagine the Core m7 version would run even faster.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review


Here’s how the Lenovo Yoga 900S performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 3,609; Sky Diver: 1,909; Fire Strike: 479
  • Cinebench CPU: 160 points; Graphics: 23.32 fps
  • GeekBench: GeekBench: 2,248 (single-core); 4,532 (multi-core)
  • PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,203 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 6 hours and 29 minutes
  • Battery Life (techradar movie test): 7 hours and 21 minutes

Sadly, on paper, it seems the Lenovo Yoga 900S runs a little slower than other contemporary Intel Core m5 machines. The Dell XPS 12 and Apple MacBook both returned higher Geekbench scores bubbling over the 6,000 mark, whereas the Lenovo’s 2-in-1 only scored 4,532 points.

The Lenovo Yoga 900S also looks to be deficient on the graphics end. In the Cloud Gate 3DMark test – which stresses the integrated graphics components – the hybrid scored 3,609 points, while the XPS 12 scored 300 points higher and the ZenBook UX305 finished with 4,228 points.

Keep in mind the machines compared above were running with the same processor when tested. However, this Yoga 900S model is outfitted with half as much RAM as the others – this could be the root cause of the lower numbers.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Battery to last

Most 13-inch laptops get an average of six hours of battery life, the Lenovo Yoga 900S smashes that average with nearly seven and a half hours of screen-on time. The notebook ran for 7 hours and 21 minutes while playing TechRadar’s standard movie battery test on loop. Even against the grueling PCMark 8 benchmark, the 12.5-inch hybrid kept chugging along for 6 hours and 29 minutes.

On an average workday full of chatting on Slack, editing documents in Microsoft Word and Google Drive, listening to Google Music and the occasional YouTube video diversion, the Yoga 900 lasted for 7 hours and 16 minutes. Throwing in some more serious Photoshop image editing cut the astounding run time to 5 hours and 57 minutes.

This is an impressive showing for a laptop that only weighs a little over two pounds, and it only takes the machine 2 hours and 45 minutes to fill back up from empty.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Screen and speakers

With a long battery life and gorgeous screen, the Lenovo Yoga 900S is an excellent streaming video companion. The display renders vibrant colors with blacks deep enough to make you forget about the thick bezels around the edge of the machine.

However, I wished Lenovo went with a brighter panel, as glare is apparent even if you’re sitting far away from a window on sunny day. I also have to regularly max out the screen brightness while working with documents or just reading up on webpages.

The speakers are a little less noteworthy, as they lack power and are merely serviceable. Due to being located on the bottom of the laptop and downward firing, the audio quality can vary between passable on a desk to muffled on your lap. Switching the machine into tablet mode makes the listening experience slightly better, but only slightly.

If you’re looking for the best aural experience, plug in a pair of headphones.


With the Yoga 900, we saw Lenovo master the 2-in-1 laptop and now, with the Yoga 900S, we’re getting a refined version that’s thinner and lighter. I’m personally not crazy about the short keyboard travel or the undersized trackpad, but a stunning screen and stellar battery life make this 12.5-inch hybrid a solid choice.

We liked

The Lenovo Yoga 900S is easily one of the lightest, and thereby most comfortable, 2-in-1 laptops I’ve ever used. It’s lighter than a MacBook while featuring stronger specs for a lower price – that includes a sharper screen and faster processor.

More than seven hours of battery life on a laptop this thin is baffling. The Yoga 900S will never leave you in a lurch, and it performs well even with some strenuous tasks, like gaming and Photoshop. Plus, the inclusion of full-sized USB 3.0 ports means you can leave that USB-C adapter at home – unlike all the other ultrathin laptops in fashion these days.

We disliked

If you’re looking for the best performing machine, this probably isn’t it. The 2-in-1 scored worse in every benchmark test save for battery life in its category. While I didn’t feel like the Yoga 900S was ever power-deficient, you’ll likely run into bottlenecks sooner with this machine than other Core m5-powered systems.

The keyboard and touchpad also aren’t the most comfortable inputs ever seen on a notebook. Whether you want larger keys or a larger pointing device, there’s definitely some room – and available space – for Lenovo to work with here.

Lenovo Yoga 900S review

Final verdict

The Lenovo Yoga 900S isn’t anywhere near perfect, but the sum of its strengths outweigh its flaws. It’s a genuinely beautiful laptop that’s been assembled with the closest attention to detail. Weighing in at just over 2 pounds, it’s also one of the lightest hybrid laptops – and it’s actually usable as a tablet.

Despite not putting out the best scores on our benchmark tests, this laptop performs well with everyday tasks and even some of the most demanding applications. What’s more, this 2-in-1 machine is easily one of the longest-lasting Windows 10 systems I’ve seen. With all of that mind, it’s easy to appreciate the Yoga 900S despite its blemishes.

Source: Tech Radar

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Thinking outside the security space

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Hands-on review: PC Specialist Octane II Pro (Quadro M3000M)

Hands-on review: PC Specialist Octane II Pro (Quadro M3000M)

We have had our fair share of mobile workstations over the past few months, the HP ZBook Studio G3, the Lenovo ThinkPad P70 and the Dell Precision 7710 being the ones that spring to mind, all coming from top-tier PC manufacturers.

But there are plenty of challengers in the shadows, almost all of them forged from the foundries of a little known, multi-billion dollar Taiwanese company called Clevo. Eurocom, Overclockers, Scan, Schenker, Cyberpower, Chillblast, Novatech and PC Specialist are some of the better known resellers of the brand, either shipping to or based in the UK.

As with other PC Specialist laptops, this one doesn’t carry any branding and is identified by a sticker as the Clevo P771DM Style.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro ports

This PC Specialist Octane II (our test model retails at £1,749, around $2,480 – this is the machine carrying the Quadro M3000M GPU, and we’ve previously covered the Octane II with GTX 980 in a full review here) shows the extent to which so-called small brands have managed to catch up with the bigger names out there, managing to pull some fine components together in a chassis that offers plenty of upgradability.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro front

Given that it packs a 17.3-inch display, it’s not surprising that this is a rather big product. Weighing in at 3.9kg, it is more of a desktop replacement than a truly portable laptop – it has a thickness that approaches 40mm and a footprint that almost equals an A3 sheet of paper.

Opening the lid reveals what could be mistaken for a gaming laptop. A power button that turns fluorescent green, status lights of the same colour, an electric blue backlit keyboard and gamer-inspired lettering on keys are some of the indications that this is effectively a gaming laptop transformed into a workstation (basically swapping the aforementioned GTX 980 for the Quadro card).

PC Specialist Octane II Pro power button

The 17.3-inch full HD matte display – brightness, contrast and colour reproduction can best be described as good – is hooked up to the base unit via two massive hinges, and between the two is an 11-inch long grille. It hides two speakers powered by technology from Japanese audiophile Onkyo (flip the laptop over and you will see a subwoofer as well).

Four stickers adorn the palm rest, one – Sound Blaster X-Fi 5 – indicating the audio credentials of the workstation which also supports ANSP 3D technology; the latter is described as a pure analogue IC version of professional sound effect systems, bringing a "more natural listening experience". The Octane II Pro does have four audio I/O ports including an SPDIF one, and it supports 7.1 audio channels.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro ports 2

Speaking of connectors, other than the aforementioned, there’s an HDMI port (presumably HDMI 2.0, capable of supporting 4K at 60Hz), two DisplayPorts, one eSATA/USB 3.0 combo, three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 port (which doubles as a Thunderbolt port), a Kensington lock, and finally a Qualcomm Killer Gigabit LAN port.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro keyboard

The keys are slightly concave and although we’re dealing with a desktop replacement laptop, the keyboard itself is just slightly bigger than the one on the XPS 13. It’s also worth noting that there’s hardly any space between the keys (1mm at most compared to 4mm for the aforementioned Dell laptop).

As expected, the keys themselves have just about the right level of return. They’re not too sharp or noisy and not too mushy or soft. They do, subjectively speaking, seem to need a decent level of pressure to actuate them.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro touchpad

The two keys of the touchpad are excellent and a real treat to operate. A fingerprint reader is located between the two – the touchpad is soft and offers a lower friction level compared to the other rubber surfaces on the Octane II Pro (the palm rest, the area surrounding the keyboard and the top part of the laptop lid).

The choice of components highlights PC Specialist’s expertise. Its engineers chose the fastest Core i7 processor available on the market – the Intel Core i7-6700K – to power its workstation, one which is a far more powerful option than the E3-1505M CPU used in the Studio G3 for example.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro angle

It does not support ECC memory, vPro, trusted execution technology and, being a desktop CPU, has a far higher TDP than its Xeon cousin (91W vs 45W). But it boasts a base frequency that’s a staggering 40% higher than the Xeon and actually costs less.

Note that Xeon processors are not offered as an option should you want to choose them instead.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro profile

You can configure the Octane II Pro with up to 64GB RAM using four memory modules. PC Specialist uses Kingston’s HyperX Impact 2133MHz modules and this adds £219 (around $310) to the base price, which is reasonable.

Our sample machine came with 32GB of RAM, a 500GB Samsung Evo SSD with a rated read/write speed of 540MBps and 520MBps respectively. A 2TB Toshiba hard disk drive spinning at 5400rpm acts as the secondary storage device. You can also add two M2.SSD drives pushing the maximum storage capacity to a whopping 5TB.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro close-up

The bundled graphics card is an Nvidia Quadro M3000M with 4GB GDDR5 memory. This is not the top of the range model for professional GPUs and PC Specialist doesn’t have any plans to introduce the more powerful members of the family (M4000M, M5000M and M5500). As we already mentioned, the gamer-focused GTX980 and GTX970 are also available for less.

The rest of the configuration of the Octane II Pro consists of a 2-megapixel webcam, an array microphone, wireless, Bluetooth 4.0, a card reader, and TPM (Trusted Platform Module). Surprisingly, there are no optical drives.

We didn’t put the battery life to the test, but the 8-cell, 82Whr battery is likely to last around 130 minutes in typical use mode according to the vendor. Expect around half that under load.

PC Specialist Octane II Pro lid

Early verdict

This variant of the Octane II Pro is essentially a gaming laptop that has had a brain swap. Bar the Windows 10 Pro OS and the Quadro GPU, this is a high-end desktop replacement powerhouse aimed at playing resource-hungry games at full resolutions.

How does it compare with the competition? On paper, it offers some quality components and a very competitive value for money ratio. However, there’s more to a professional workstation than just an amalgamation of parts.

On one hand, there is no support for ECC, no 4K option and no upgrade path to a Xeon processor, and the notebook doesn’t offer softer features like support for MIL-STD standard, onsite warranties (or next business day support or accidental damage protection), ISV certification and colour calibration technology.

On the other hand, compared to the Lenovo ThinkPad P70 range – which offers all of the above – the Octane II Pro has a faster processor and is roughly £900 (around $1,270) cheaper with a similar configuration.

It really boils down to what your priorities are – the likes of Lenovo and HP win when it comes to support, especially if you travel abroad a great deal.

Source: Tech Radar

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Microsoft takes another step toward speeding, tailoring Visual Studio installations

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