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Lenovo pioneered the 360-degree rotating-screen laptop, and earlier this year we judged the 13.9-inch Yoga 910 to be an excellent example of this convertible form factor -- although it was not without its flaws. So does the Yoga 920, which sports a battery-stretching 8th generation Intel processor, address the issues?
The Lenovo Yoga 920 is a top-end laptop with a premium price tag. There are two models available in the UK, and the starting price is £1,999.99 (inc. VAT; £1,666.66 ex. VAT).
Lenovo has a number of 360-degree convertible laptops in its portfolio, but the Yoga 920 sits at the top of the scale in terms of sheer style. This is not least because it retains the smart 'watchband hinge' design, with its multiple rotating parts and integrated heat dissipation function. It has to be the most attractive 360-degree hinge around -- but style isn't the only thing the watchband hinge has going for it. Importantly it's also strong, holding the screen firmly at whatever angle it was set.
The Yoga 920 comes in three colours -- copper, bronze and platinum. My platinum review unit, with its silver metal chassis, looked perfectly suitable for a professional environment. The all-round metal provides a solid shell, and I struggled to get more than a slight bow in the lid. Although this well-built 1.37kg unit is no featherweight to tote regularly, you could dispense with a protective sleeve to keep the weight down -- at the risk of the odd unsightly scratch.
Lenovo has repeated what it managed with the Yoga 910, cramming a 13.9-inch display into compact chassis. In fact, a fraction has been shaved off the dimensions this time round: the Yoga 920's dimensions are 323mm wide by 223.5mm deep by 13.95mm compared to the Yoga 910's 323mm x 224.5mm x 14.3mm. The 1.37kg Yoga 920 has also shaved 30g of weight from its 1.4kg predecessor.
As with the Yoga 910, the left and right screen bezels are just 4mm. The 8mm top bezel is a bit deeper here than it was on the Yoga 910, which is very welcome because it provides room for the 720p webcam.
Working with the 910's below-screen webcam proved to be a complete pain: either the laptop had to be lifted to get the camera to eye height, or it delivered an unflattering 'up-the-nose' view. It's good that Lenovo has heeded criticism of the 910's arrangement, although I don't understand how market testing let it through in the first place.
The touchscreen is reflective, and whichever of the two UK models you opt for, the resolution is full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) -- even though Lenovo highlights the Yoga 920 as "a 2-in-1 Laptop with a 4K Display" at its UK website.
The absence of a 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixel) screen is probably not a bad thing, as it would likely be a battery drain and would push the top price up even further. It's notable that the UK website also specifies options including a 1TB SSD, and 12GB, and 16GB RAM, which also aren't currently available.
Lenovo ships its Active Pen 2 with the Lenovo Yoga 920. Now that Windows 10 supports Windows Ink, this seems like a sensible move, although some may feel they don't need a stylus and would prefer a lower price. Still, if you do want to work with the Active Pen 2, which supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, you'll find it satisfying to use.
Unfortunately, Lenovo has failed to find an acceptable way to stow the Active Pen 2 on the laptop chassis. I'm not a fan of the magnetic solution used in Microsoft's Surface products -- which doesn't help in transit, or stop people forgetting to take the pen with them -- but Lenovo's solution is decidedly low-grade.
It's a plastic widget that fits into the laptop's only full-size USB port and provides a circular slot into which to drop or slide the Active Pen. Losing the USB port is irritating, and the widget's design just doesn't stand up to the rest of the laptop. Maybe I am being picky here -- the Yoga 920 is only 13.95mm thick, so it's not easy to find an onboard solution -- but please think harder, Lenovo.
The keyboard is a pleasure to use: I couldn't get it to flex even when typing very heavily, and the action is light under the fingers. There's not a huge amount of travel, and this won't appeal to everyone, but I found it very smooth to work with. I have just two quibbles: a premium-priced laptop should have an ambient light sensor that can optionally turn the keyboard light on; and, when you're working in tablet mode the keys are disabled but don't lock out -- I'd prefer them to lock in the down position, for better protection.
There are two versions of the Yoga 920 currently available in the UK, differing in CPU model and SSD storage capacity:
My review unit was the top-end model running on an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U, and it positively flew through the mainstream productivity workloads I tested with. The fan kicks in occasionally and is pretty noisy, although it seems quieter than the Yoga 910's.
The Yoga 920 has two Thunderbolt 3.0 USB-C connectors and a single USB 3.0 port. There's also a 3.5mm headset slot, but that's it. I'd like to see an SD card reader in the mix, although at least there's a fingerprint reader in the wrist rest. Dolby Audio Premium delivers plenty of volume and reasonably good quality audio through a pair of speakers, although as ever I'd like more bass.
According to Lenovo, Yoga 920's battery will last up to 12 hours with the full HD display (or nine hours with the higher 4K resolution that's not yet available in the UK). Getting a full 12 hours might be possible, too: one four-hour computing session with some video streaming, web browsing and writing, and the screen at 'suggested' brightness (which was fine for indoor working), saw the battery deplete from 100 percent to 72 percent.
This review points up some niggles with the Yoga 920, but they are minor rather than deal-breakers. It's particularly good to see the webcam in its rightful position above the screen this time around. The 8th Generation Intel processor looks like a battery-life extender, and I would expect all-day computing from this laptop when running mainstream productivity workloads.
The two most significant absences are an SD card reader and an ambient light sensor for the keyboard's backlight. Even so, the Lenovo Yoga 920 is a very good convertible laptop indeed.