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Lenovo Yoga C940 (14-inch) review: A sleek convertible, ideal for work or leisure

sandra-vogel.jpg
Written by Sandra Vogel on
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9.1/10

Lenovo Yoga C940

Spectacular
Pros
  • Solid, lightweight design
  • Best-in-class speakers
  • Long battery life
  • On-device stylus housing
Cons
  • Short on ports and connectors
  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

Lenovo positions its 14-inch convertible Yoga C940 as a 'powerhouse' laptop, highlighting 'epic' battery life, 'dazzling' display options, 10th generation Intel processors, and sleek and stylish design. Last year's Yoga C930 earned plenty of plaudits from ZDNet, and this year's model is similarly impressive. Starting at £1,099.99 (inc. VAT) this is an expensive laptop, but the mix of features make it eminently suitable for both work and play.

lenovo-yoga-c940-modes.jpg

The Yoga C940, which comes in mica and grey colour schemes, has a sturdy 360-degree hinge enabling laptop, tablet, tent and presentation modes.

Images: Lenovo

The Lenovo Yoga C940 is a well-built and feature-rich laptop that should sit as well in an office as a living room. Some aspects may divide user opinion, but this flexible device makes a very good all-rounder.

The Yoga C940 is designed for a mobile existence. Just like its predecessors, it has an incredibly rigid chassis. There is absolutely no flex in the lid at all, and I would be happy carrying this laptop around without a protective sleeve. It's reasonably light too, with a starting weight of 1.35kg. 

Importantly, this laptop should fit in the smallest of backpacks, messenger bags or totes. Despite its 14-inch screen the Yoga C940 has a footprint of just 320.3mm by 215.6mm and is 15.7mm thick at the back, tapering to 14.5mm at the front. While the overall design of the 2019 model is very similar to last year's, it shaves a little off the 2018 footprint and weight (322mm x 227mm, 1.38kg). The primary reason for this is reduced screen bezels (see below). 

The 360-degree hinge mechanism is smooth, and holds the Yoga C940 firmly in its full range of orientations. Last year's design feature of the hinge-based Dolby Atmos soundbar is retained here. There is a difference in styling with the Lenovo-branded block incorporated in the bar, whereas it was separate last year. This is merely cosmetic, and the speaker grilles themselves extend for the same 240mm as in last year's model. 

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The soundbar is incorporated into the 360-degree screen hinge, and delivers excellent audio in all modes.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

As you rotate the laptop the speaker rotates too, so that its grilles point outwards and project sound in the right direction. The sound quality itself is superb: alongside two speakers, the sound bar houses woofers and tweeters as well as a noise-reduction system. Sound is bassy and rich, there's no distortion at top volume, and the speaker goes loud enough to reach across an average-sized meeting room table with ease. It's easily the best speaker system I've heard in a laptop.

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The 14-inch display sits in bezels that are reduced in size all around when compared to last year. The side and upper bezels are slightly shallower than last year, while the lower bezel has shrunk significantly. A key result of the narrower upper bezel is that in order to fit the camera in there has had to be a slight buildout around it. Lenovo has used this as a design opportunity, both providing a small lip that makes lifting the lid a little easier and inserting some branding onto the outer shell at this point. The camera, incidentally, has a sliding privacy cover.

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The Active Pen stylus has an on-board housing, where it recharges when not in use.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Some models of the Yoga C940 have a touch screen, in which case the laptop comes with a stylus that sits in a housing on the back of the chassis, accessible in any of the laptop's various orientations. The stylus charges while housed, is relatively small but comfortable to hold and responsive in use. An on-device housing makes the stylus less likely to be mislaid, and more likely to be on hand when needed.

There are two screen resolutions available off the page in the UK: UHD (3,840 x 2,160) and FHD (1,920 x 1,080). I was sent a model with an FHD touch screen. The display is very reflective, which won't be to all tastes, but image quality is sharp and clear, and video looks great. A maximum brightness of 500nits means I was able to work with it at 50% most of the time, although the automatic 'better performance' power setting dials it up a little higher. 

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)    

High-resolution displays can be bad news for battery life, but with the FHD option in my review sample it was impressive. After five hours of variously working into a web-based writing tool, listening to audio and streaming video, with some web browsing thrown in, the battery depleted by 35 percent. Lenovo claims up to 10.5 hours for the UHD model and up to 18 hours for the FHD version. I'm not sure about reaching such dizzying heights with my typical workload pattern, but I am confident of getting through an average working day on a full battery. 

If you should run short of charge and are carrying the power brick, Rapid Charge will replenish the battery to 80% in just an hour -- if the laptop is switched off. 

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It should come as no surprise that the Yoga C940 offers an excellent keyboard -- especially for relatively light-touch typists.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

The backlit keyboard is excellent. The keys 'thunk' gently when depressed, spring back nicely, and are well spaced and easy to hit at speed. Arguably they suit typists with a lighter touch better, which is maybe why I find the design so easy to work with. It's a shame the keys don't lock down when the screen is rotated out of standard laptop orientation, but this is a feature very few laptops offer. The touchpad is large and responsive, and to its right there is a small fingerprint scanner designed for Windows Hello.

Lenovo offered four preconfigured Yoga C940 models in the UK at the time of writing, with the most expensive coming in at £1,399.99 (inc. VAT). There is a fifth model whose specifications purchasers can configure. My review unit's model number matches the £1,299.99 specification, but it had a touch screen.

  • Intel Core i5-1035G4, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, grey chassis
    £1,099.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i5-1035G4, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, mica chassis
    £1,099.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non touch screen, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, grey chassis
    £1,299.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-1065G7, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 3,840 x 2,160 non touch screen, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, mica chassis
    £1,399.99 (inc. VAT)
lenovo-yoga-c940-ports.jpg

The otherwise excellent Yoga C940 is not overburdened with ports and connectors.

Image: Sandra Vogel/ZDNet

Lenovo is sparing with ports and connectors, offering a minimal specification of two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, one of which is the charge connector, a single USB 3 port and a 3.5mm headset jack. It's a bare minimum, and arguably this laptop's key failing. 

Conclusions

The Lenovo Yoga C940 builds on a successful lineage, and this model is very much an evolution of last year's Yoga C930, improving the innovative soundbar speaker and packing everything into a slightly smaller case. It effortlessly straddles the worlds of work and leisure -- provided you can live with Windows 10 Home and a minimal set of ports.

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