Notebookcheck

Lenovo Yoga 900 13ISK Convertible Review

Classy convertible. This is the flagship Yoga and Lenovo's consumer crown jewel for the next year. Can this super-thin Skylake convertible replace your one-trick Ultrabook?

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Lenovo has streamlined its growing consumer product families with a new naming scheme that should hopefully be easier for buyers to understand. We recently checked out the Lenovo 100 and 500 with the 700 on its way.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 is the capstone of the refreshed lineup and with it brings about important changes over the previous Yoga 3 Pro. This is Lenovo's fourth generation convertible donning the Yoga moniker that has become synonymous with 360-degree hinges on notebooks. For more information on the series, see our previous reviews on the older models to get an idea on how the series has changed with each iteration.

For this review, let's find out if Lenovo can maintain its lead in the convertible segment for the all-important Holiday time frame.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro

Lenovo Yoga 3 14

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK (Yoga 900 Series)
Processor
Graphics adapter
Intel HD Graphics 520 - 1024 MB, Core: 400 MHz, Memory: 797 MHz, 10.18.15.4248
Memory
16290 MB 
, Dual-Channel, 1066.7 MHz, 12-15-15-34
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 3200x1800 pixel, 10-point capacitive, IPS, ID: Samsung SDC454A, Name: LFYLLTN133YL05L02, glossy: yes
Mainboard
Intel Skylake-U Premium PCH
Storage
Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH, 512 GB 
Soundcard
Intel Skylake-U/Y PCH - High Definition Audio
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo, Card Reader: SD, MMC, SDXC, SDHC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Type-C USB 3.1 mit Videoausgabe
Networking
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8260 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14.9 x 324 x 225 ( = 0.59 x 12.76 x 8.86 in)
Battery
66 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4-cell
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1 MP, 720p
Additional features
Speakers: JBL Stereo with Dolby DS 1.0 , Keyboard: Chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.27 kg ( = 44.8 oz / 2.8 pounds), Power Supply: 225 g ( = 7.94 oz / 0.5 pounds)
Price
1799 Euro

 

Case

A quick glance at the Yoga 900 reveals a nearly identical chassis to the Yoga 3 Pro with some notable differences. First, the steel Watchband hinge has returned unscathed and works as great as ever. Its tautness is really no better or worse than the "standard-style" 360-degree hinges, but its design is arguably more attractive and luxurious. The palm rests use a rubberized surface without the dimples as found on the Yoga 3 Pro for a cleaner and leather-like look. The edges and front corners are protected against small bumps by a similar rubberized bumper and the display has been made more rigid with edge-to-edge Gorilla Glass compared to its predecessor. The bumpers also serve to make the notebook more comfortable to handle when in tablet mode.

Aside from the metal hinge and rubber palm rests, the base and outer lid are smooth matte surfaces. Lenovo, however, has not specified whether the materials are plastic or aluminum, but the lid and base are rigid nonetheless with very good resistance to twists and depressions. Pushing down on the keyboard produces no visible warping while pushing down on the center of the outer lid produces only minimal warping. Similarly, the base is resistant to twisting and the lid only slightly less so.

The dimensions of the Yoga 900 are slightly different than the Yoga 3 Pro at 324 x 225 x 14.9 mm vs. 330 x 228 x 12.8 mm. Yes, the notebook is now just over 2 mm thicker than its predecessor as the extra space is required to properly cram in a ULV Core i7 CPU instead of the slower Core M solution. Lenovo still claims it to be the "world's thinnest Intel Core i convertible" weighing just 1.27 kg or roughly 70 grams heavier than our Yoga 3 Pro test model. Despite the marginal increase in size and weight, we still find the Yoga 900 to be very light and easy to handle in both notebook and tablet modes.

True to Lenovo's word, the Yoga 900 is thinner than its 13-inch competitors while providing a more versatile 360-degree hinge. The Asus UX305 comes closest at just one-tenth of a millimeter thicker. In return, the footprint of the Yoga 900 is noticeably larger than the Toshiba Kirabook and Dell XPS 13 while weighing about the same as the XPS 13 (1.27 kg vs. 1.23 kg).

Connectivity

Available ports remain largely unchanged from the Yoga 3 Pro with one notable exception - The mini-HDMI port is now a USB 3.1 Type-C port. There are no indications that this is a Gen. 2 Type-C port (10 Gbps) with Thunderbolt capability, though Lenovo explicitly states that the port is capable of video-out. This is a good way of future-proofing the notebook, but at the cost of more standard mDP or mini-HDMI ports where users are more likely to already have cables for.

We especially like the rotation lock button next to the Lenovo OneKey button on the edge of the notebook. This is much more convenient than disabling rotation through the Windows software as on most other tablets or convertibles. Thus, using the Yoga 900 in tablet mode for presentations or when sharing the display with others is made easier.

Front: No connectivity
Front: No connectivity
Right: Power button, Lenovo OneKey, Rotation lock, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.0
Right: Power button, Lenovo OneKey, Rotation lock, 3.5 mm headphones, USB 3.0
Rear: No connectivity
Rear: No connectivity
Left: USB 2.0 + AC charger, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, SD reader
Left: USB 2.0 + AC charger, USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type-C, SD reader

Communication

WLAN and Bluetooth 4.2 are provided by a removable Intel 8260 M.2 2230 module with dual-band (2x2) connectivity for theoretical speeds of up to 867 Mbps on 802.11ac. The module supports WiDi, which users may want to consider since the notebook lacks direct HDMI, VGA, or DisplayPort options. There are no other WLAN or GPS/WWAN options on the Yoga 900.

Accessories

There is no dedicated docking port for specialized accessories. Users may want to invest in USB Type-C video adapters since it is the only option for cabled video-out.

Maintenance

The bottom panel is relatively easy to remove with a sharp edge and a T4 Hex screwdriver. The internal battery takes up less space than the one in the Yoga 3 Pro in order to make room for a larger motherboard and cooling system. Only the half-mini PCIe WLAN card and M.2 SSD are removable as the CPU and RAM are on the underside of the motherboard.

Warranty

The standard one-year warranty applies when purchased directly from Lenovo. Unsurprisingly, the manufacturer offers extensive coverage options of up to three years with accidental damage protection and in-home repairs.

Input Devices

Keyboard

We found the keyboard on the Yoga 3 Pro to be a little stingy because of its complete lack of Function keys. Thankfully, Lenovo has heard the complaints and has outfitted the Yoga 900 with a proper six-row keyboard for much easier accessibility.

The actual typing experience remains largely the same. While feedback is solid, travel is very shallow. The keys feel much too light as a result and can take some time to get used to.

The backlight offers two levels of brightness and automatically turns off when the display is flipped at least 190 degrees. The keys and touchpad are both disabled when in this mode, but the keys do not depress.

Touchpad

Surface area is on the small side at just 9 x 6 cm. The touchpad on the Kirabook, for example, is wider at 10.5 x 6 cm. The smooth texture is slightly rubberized to avoid that plastic feel on most cheaper notebooks, so there is a bit of resistance when gliding.

We experienced no major issues when using the touchpad for single or multi-touch inputs. The Synaptics control panel recognizes up to four-finger inputs, but we find that even two-finger inputs can be difficult due to the small surface area available.

The integrated mouse keys are shallow in travel with excellent feedback and auditory response. The pressure required to register a click is just right so that double-clicking does not feel tedious at all.

Extra row of keys compared to Yoga 3 Pro
Extra row of keys compared to Yoga 3 Pro
Travel is still quite shallow
Travel is still quite shallow

Display

The QHD (3200 x 1800) glossy touchscreen with Gorilla Glass 4 looks fantastic on the Yoga 900. Its Samsung SDC454A panel name is the first in our database. The subpixel structure includes a dedicated White pixel in addition to the standard RGB that promises deeper colors. Average brightness is closer to 300 nits compared to the Yoga 3 Pro and our own color measurements show excellent accuracy. We can find no hints of the screen-door effect due to the high pixel count, though there is some very slight backlight bleeding near the top corner on the display.

Unfortunately, Lenovo has not improved upon the low contrast on this latest revision. Despite the good colors, dark and gray areas in videos appear slightly muddier than they ought to be with some lost details as a result. Most if not all competing models offer much lower black levels than what the Yoga 900 is capable of.

Subpixel array with dedicated White pixel (WRGB)
Subpixel array with dedicated White pixel (WRGB)
Very slight backlight bleeding on top left
Very slight backlight bleeding on top left
312.3
cd/m²
317.6
cd/m²
305.9
cd/m²
284.7
cd/m²
319.8
cd/m²
290.8
cd/m²
282.7
cd/m²
311.6
cd/m²
292.9
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro Basic 2
Maximum: 319.8 cd/m² Average: 302 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 319.8 cd/m²
Contrast: 383:1 (Black: 0.835 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.68 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 2.35 | - Ø
88% sRGB (Argyll) 57% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll)
Gamma: 2.09
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
3200x1800
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
1440x900
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
1920x1080
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
3000x2000
Dell XPS 13-9350
1920x1080
Toshiba KIRA-10D
1920x1080
HP Spectre 13-4001ng x360
2560x1440
Response Times
-36%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
38.8
48.4
-25%
Response Time Black / White *
22.4
32.8
-46%
PWM Frequency
1316
Screen
-0%
15%
63%
17%
43%
-35%
Brightness
302
310
3%
338
12%
410
36%
276
-9%
316
5%
315
4%
Brightness Distribution
88
82
-7%
87
-1%
93
6%
88
0%
92
5%
80
-9%
Black Level *
0.835
0.405
51%
0.25
70%
0.254
70%
0.191
77%
0.29
65%
0.59
29%
Contrast
383
812
112%
1396
264%
1696
343%
1453
279%
1152
201%
549
43%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.68
3.96
-48%
5.49
-105%
2.06
23%
4.88
-82%
2.27
15%
5.69
-112%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.35
3.51
-49%
5.43
-131%
2.22
6%
4.26
-81%
2.47
-5%
8.02
-241%
Gamma
2.09 115%
3.83 63%
2.17 111%
2.13 113%
2.59 93%
2.36 102%
2.3 104%
CCT
6975 93%
6711 97%
7055 92%
6520 100%
6562 99%
6872 95%
6398 102%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
57
38.4
-33%
60
5%
64
12%
41.6
-27%
64
12%
59
4%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
88
59.8
-32%
92
5%
96
9%
65.79
-25%
91
3%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
0% / -0%
15% / 15%
14% / 43%
17% / 17%
43% / 43%
-35% / -35%

* ... smaller is better

Color space coverage is very good at 88 percent and 57 percent of the sRGB and AdobeRGB standards, respectively. This is higher than the 1080p XPS 13 InfinityEdge, yet lower than the Toshiba Kira-10D and Microsoft Surface Book. This means that the Yoga 900 is able to provide deeper and more accurate colors that are a step above most cheaper Ultrabooks, yet a few steps below costlier mobile workstations. For most users, however, this will have little significance during day-to-day use.

vs. AdobeRGB
vs. AdobeRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. sRGB
vs. Asus Zenbook UX305LA
vs. Asus Zenbook UX305LA
vs. Dell XPS 13 InfinityEdge
vs. Dell XPS 13 InfinityEdge

Further analyses with an X-Rite spectrophotometer reveal very accurate colors and grayscale out-of-the-box. Colors are even more accurate than on the MacBook Air 13 2015 and Dell XPS 13 InfinityEdge before any calibration attempts. Note that colors become less accurate the higher the saturation level, which suggests imperfect sRGB coverage. Orange and Yellow colors are represented less accurately than others on the Yoga 900.

Grayscale pre-calibration
Grayscale pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
Saturation Sweeps pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
ColorChecker pre-calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Grayscale post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
Saturation Sweeps post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration
ColorChecker post calibration

Photosensor measurements reveal no use of pulse-width modulation until the brightness setting is reduced to 50 percent or lower. Even so, the frequency is far above the 250 Hz threshold that is considered the maximum for sensitive eyes and nearly all users will not notice any flickering if on lower brightness settings.

Response times are roughly 9 ms and 19 ms from black-to-white and gray-to-gray, respectively.

100% display brightness. No PWM detected
100% display brightness. No PWM detected
50% display brightness. Very minor (1.3 kHz) PWM detected
50% display brightness. Very minor (1.3 kHz) PWM detected
Black-White rise
Black-White rise
Black-White fall
Black-White fall
Gray-Gray rise
Gray-Gray rise
Gray-Gray fall
Gray-Gray fall

Outdoor usability is not bad as the convertible is lightweight, but visibility is only average at best. The backlight is not powerful enough to overcome glare on an overcast day and doesn't fare any better when under direct sunlight. Luckily, the wide viewing angles help somewhat in reducing glare as much as possible if working under shade is not an option.

Viewing angles are excellent due the underlying IPS panel. Colors do not shift dramatically if viewing from extreme angles, though contrast changes slightly with black areas appearing more gray than they should be.

Glare becomes an issue outdoors
Glare becomes an issue outdoors
Wide IPS viewing angles
Wide IPS viewing angles

Performance

Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz for a single core
Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz for a single core

Our Yoga 900 test unit is equipped with a dual-core i7-6500U and integrated HD 520 graphics. The only other CPU configuration thus far is the lower-end Core i5-6200U. The ULV 2.5 GHz i7-6500U is rated for a Turbo Boost of up to 3.0 GHz to 3.1 GHz depending on the number of threads. If idling on Power Saver mode, the CPU and GPU can run as low as 500 MHz and 300/800 MHz core/memory, respectively. The system carries no dedicated GPU options.

RAM can be configured with 8 GB up to 16 GB in dual-channel mode. LatencyMon reveals buffer underruns even with WLAN disabled. The source is likely from at least one of the many pre-installed services and tools from Lenovo.

 

Processor

CineBench benchmarks rank the Yoga 900 slightly below other systems sporting the same i7-6500U CPU. The similarly equipped Acer Aspire VN7-572G, for example, is over 10 percent faster in multi-threaded tasks. This suggests performance throttling when under demanding loads, which we are able to replicate in our Stress Test section.

Despite the lower-than-expected CPU performance, the i7-6500U in the Lenovo is still at least 10 to 20 percent ahead of the Core i5-4300U and i5-4200U that were so common on earlier Ultrabooks.

Note that our single-core performance score for CineBench R15 is very low at just 87 points. This is due to the throttling CPU from running benchmarks sequentially with little rest in between.

More technical information and benchmarks on the i7-6500U can be found on our dedicated CPU page here.

CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R10 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R11.5 64-bit
CineBench R15
CineBench R15
Cinebench R10 Shading 64Bit
8408 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 64Bit
13402 Points
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single CPUs 64Bit
6362 Points
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
8373
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
9348
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4920
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
28.92 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
3.23 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.45 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
97.9 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
35.73 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
287 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
87 Points
Help
Cinebench R11.5
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
1.45 Points ∼66%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
1.49 Points ∼68% +3%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
1.6 Points ∼73% +10%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
1.42 Points ∼65% -2%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
1.23 Points ∼56% -15%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
1.14 Points ∼52% -21%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
1.03 Points ∼47% -29%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
3.23 Points ∼16%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
3.63 Points ∼18% +12%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
7.32 Points ∼37% +127%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
3.19 Points ∼16% -1%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
2.78 Points ∼14% -14%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
2.49 Points ∼12% -23%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
2.83 Points ∼14% -12%
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
87 Points ∼39%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
132 Points ∼59% +52%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
117 Points ∼52% +34%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
124 Points ∼56% +43%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
108 Points ∼48% +24%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
99 Points ∼44% +14%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
91 Points ∼41% +5%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
287 Points ∼15%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
329 Points ∼18% +15%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
676 Points ∼36% +136%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
290 Points ∼16% +1%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
252 Points ∼14% -12%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
223 Points ∼12% -22%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
257 Points ∼14% -10%
wPrime 2.0x - 1024m (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
518.29 s * ∼6%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
476 s * ∼6% +8%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
229.38 s * ∼3% +56%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
497.145 s * ∼6% +4%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
590.2 s * ∼7% -14%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
790 s * ∼9% -52%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
567.765 s * ∼7% -10%
Super Pi Mod 1.5 XS 32M - --- (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
689.667 Seconds * ∼3%
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0
615 Seconds * ∼3% +11%
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT
543 Seconds * ∼2% +21%
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB
666.808 Seconds * ∼3% +3%
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme
665 Seconds * ∼3% +4%
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614
849 Seconds * ∼4% -23%
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10
818.369 Seconds * ∼4% -19%

Legend

 
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
 
Acer Aspire VN7-572G-72L0 Intel Core i7-6500U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M, Lite-On CV1-8B128
 
Acer Aspire VN7-791G-79GT Intel Core i7-4720HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3256GD
 
Lenovo E50-80 80JD973CPB Intel Core i7-5500U, AMD Radeon R5 M330, Samsung SSD 850 EVO 250GB
 
Dell Latitude 14 7414 Rugged Extreme Intel Core i5-4300U, Intel HD Graphics 4400, Liteon IT LCS-256L9S-11
 
Lenovo IdeaPad Z40-59422614 Intel Core i5-4200U, NVIDIA GeForce 820M, Seagate ST500LM000 Solid State Hybrid Drive
 
Toshiba Tecra A50-C1510W10 Intel Core i5-5200U, Intel HD Graphics 5500, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630

* ... smaller is better

System Performance

PCMark 7 ranks our Lenovo very highly (5478 points) next to powerful systems like the older Alienware 17 (5464 points) and the newer 2015 MacBook Pro Retina 15 (5480 points). This is mostly due to the fast M.2 SSD in our equipped test unit. Otherwise, PCMark 8 scores are right where the majority of our test models lie.

Subjectively, the system OS responds fluidly and without major delays. We experienced no noticeable software-related issues during our time with the unit.

PCMark 7
PCMark 7
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Creative
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Home
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 8 Work
PCMark 7 Score
5478 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
2837 points
PCMark 8 Creative Score Accelerated v2
3709 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3863 points
Help

Storage Devices

Single M.2 slot
Single M.2 slot

There is only one storage bay available in the form of an M.2 slot. Our test model is equipped with a 512 GB Samsung MZNLN512HCJH-000L2 SSD. Sequential read and write rates are very consistent and rival other high-end SSDs such as the Samsung SSD 850 EVO. NVMe drives can provide at least twice the performance such as on the Surface Book.

The lowest Yoga 900 configuration carries a sizable 256 GB SSD, so storage space is less of a concern especially since the drive can be easily upgraded.

See our growing benchmark list of SSDs and HDDs for more comparisons.

AS SSD
AS SSD
CDM
CDM
HD Tune
HD Tune
PCMark 8 Storage
PCMark 8 Storage
Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
Transfer Rate Minimum: 219.7 MB/s
Transfer Rate Maximum: 438.1 MB/s
Transfer Rate Average: 414.6 MB/s
Access Time: 0 ms
Burst Rate: 163.3 MB/s
CPU Usage: 4.6 %

GPU Performance

Raw graphics performance is 20 to 30 percent ahead of the older HD 4000 and HD 4600 according to 3DMark 2013. The gap is wider when running 3DMark 11 at 50 to 60 percent. Nonetheless, Intel's Iris Pro Graphics 5200 and low-end Nvidia GPUs like the GeForce 930M hold a clear advantage over the Yoga 900 by 40 to 60 percent.

More technical information and benchmarks on the HD Graphics 520 can be found on our dedicated GPU page here.

3DMark 11
3DMark 11
Cloud Gate
Cloud Gate
Fire Strike
Fire Strike
Fire Strike Extreme
Fire Strike Extreme
Ice Storm
Ice Storm
Ice Storm Extreme
Ice Storm Extreme
3DMark 11 Performance
1535 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
44755 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
5333 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
814 points
3DMark Fire Strike Extreme Score
372 points
Help
3DMark
Fire Strike Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
384 Points ∼3%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
290 Points ∼2% -24%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
876 Points ∼2%
MSI GS30 Shadow
1361 Points ∼3% +55%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
1435 Points ∼4% +64%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
565 Points ∼1% -36%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
628 Points ∼2% -28%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
6808 Points ∼4%
MSI GS30 Shadow
11930 Points ∼7% +75%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
8538 Points ∼5% +25%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
5165 Points ∼3% -24%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
4908 Points ∼3% -28%
3DMark 11
1280x720 Performance Combined (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
1420 Points ∼9%
MSI GS30 Shadow
1865 Points ∼12% +31%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
1759 Points ∼11% +24%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
709 Points ∼4% -50%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
692 Points ∼4% -51%
1280x720 Performance Physics (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
3943 Points ∼24%
MSI GS30 Shadow
7485 Points ∼46% +90%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
3783 Points ∼23% -4%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
3054 Points ∼19% -23%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
3147 Points ∼19% -20%
1280x720 Performance GPU (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
1382 Points ∼3%
MSI GS30 Shadow
1923 Points ∼4% +39%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
2153 Points ∼4% +56%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
738 Points ∼1% -47%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
590 Points ∼1% -57%
1280x720 Performance (sort by value)
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
1535 Points ∼5%
MSI GS30 Shadow
2156 Points ∼8% +40%
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G
2247 Points ∼8% +46%
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041
828 Points ∼3% -46%
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101
683 Points ∼2% -56%

Legend

 
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK Intel Core i7-6500U, Intel HD Graphics 520, Samsung SSD PM871 MZNLN512HCJH
 
MSI GS30 Shadow Intel Core i7-4870HQ, Intel Iris Pro Graphics 5200, 2x Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ256G8NU (RAID 0)
 
Asus Asuspro Essential P751JF-T2007G Intel Core i5-4210M, NVIDIA GeForce 930M, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E540 20C60041 Intel Core i3-4000M, Intel HD Graphics 4600, Hitachi Travelstar Z7K500 HTS725050A7E630
 
Toshiba Satellite U840T-101 Intel Core i5-3337U, Intel HD Graphics 4000, Toshiba MQ01ABF050

Gaming Performance

Less demanding titles like Starcraft 2 or LoL will play well on Medium-High settings albeit at much lower resolutions than the native 3200 x 1800. 1080p is pushing it unless if on lower graphical settings, so we recommend gaming on 720p for the smoothest experience. More modern titles like MGS V play decently on low settings.

low med. high ultra
StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (2013) 175.658.533.718.1fps
Metal Gear Solid V (2015) 43.329.711.3fps

Stress Test

We stress the system with synthetic benchmarks to test for potential stability and throttling issues. With Prime95 active to stress the CPU, its Turbo Boost can be seen slowly dropping and stabilizing at 2.7 GHz, or just 200 MHz above the base clock rate or 300 MHz below the 3.0 GHz maximum rated for the i7-6500U. FurMark stress shows the integrated GPU stabilizing in the 900 MHz range. The GPU maintains a clock rate in the 800 MHz range when both Prime95 and FurMark are running, but the CPU will throttle to just 1.4 GHz under such loads.

When running Unigine Heaven, the GPU is able to maintain higher Boost rates at up to 1000 MHz. The CPU, however, throttles to just 1.6 GHz. It's clear that the Yoga 900 has a bias towards the integrated GPU when power or temperature demands become high. Lenovo appears to have also capped the core temperature to not go above 70 C under normal circumstances.

Running on battery power will have no effect on GPU performance, but will impact CPU performance even further. A 3DMark 11 run on battery power returns Physics and Graphics scores of 3493 and 1354 points, respectively, compared to 3943 and 1382 points when connected to mains.

Prime95 stress
Prime95 stress
FurMark stress
FurMark stress
Maximum stress
Maximum stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Unigine Heaven stress
Stable Clock Rates and Temperatures Under Stress

CPU Clock (GHz) GPU Clock (MHz) Maximum Core Temperature (C)

Prime95 Stress

2.7 -- ~70

FurMark Stress

-- 850 - 900 ~65

Prime95 + FurMark Stress

1.4 800 - 850 ~70

Unigine Heaven Stress

1.6 950 - 1000 ~60

Emissions

System Noise

Unlike the Yoga 3 Pro, the Yoga 900 utilizes twin 35 mm metal alloy fans and two heat sinks instead of just a single fan and heat sink. The ventilation grilles are cleverly hidden on the rear edge of the notebook underneath the watchband hinge. The changes were necessitated by the move from a 1.1 GHz Core M-5Y70 to the much more powerful 2.5 GHz Core i7-6500U. Many Ultrabooks with integrated graphics like the Yoga 900 will typically have one internal fan only as there is no dedicated GPU, so Lenovo has doubled down on the cooling system this time around to promise 20 percent better cooling over the previous generation.

Has fan noise suffered as a result? The Yoga 900 indeed runs louder than the Yoga 3 Pro, though infrequently and only when the processing loads demand it. The fans are essentially silent if word processing or browsing at around 30 dB(A). If on the High Performance profile, however, the fans begin to pulsate more frequently in the 31 to 32 dB(A) range. Gaming will cause fan noise to settle in the 33 to 34 dB(A) range, so the system is almost always below 35 dB(A) even during higher loads. Unrealistic maximum load from Prime95 or FurMark can bump noise up to the 38 dB(A) range.

Compared to notebooks like the Spectre 13 x360, Apple MacBook Air 13, or Zenbook UX305LA, the Yoga 900 is generally quieter as the fans never reach 40 dB(A) or higher even under the most extreme of processing loads. The system is quiet enough where users can get away with playing games in a library without bothering others nearby.

Noise Level

Idle
29.7 / 29.8 / 30 dB(A)
Load
32 / 38.5 dB(A)
 
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   BK Precision 732A (15 cm distance)

Temperature

While fan noise is louder than its immediate predecessor, surface temperatures have noticeably improved. A hot spot is almost indiscernable when the system is idling with cool temperatures all around. This puts the Lenovo in the same ballpark as competing 13-inch notebooks like the MacBook Air 13, Zenbook UX305LA, and the new XPS 13 InfinityEdge.

When under maximum load, much of the waste heat is concentrated towards the rear where it can be as warm as 37 C. The aforementioned 13-inch notebooks above all reach well over 40 C under similar conditions. The keyboard warms up noticeably as well, though fortunately not to uncomfortable levels on the Lenovo. In short, the temperature gradient is not as steep on the Yoga 900 and should never be bothersome during use on the desk or on the lap.

Max. Load
 34.4 °C37 °C37.4 °C 
 27.4 °C29.4 °C31.4 °C 
 23.6 °C23.4 °C26.6 °C 
Maximum: 37.4 °C
Average: 30.1 °C
33.8 °C36.4 °C29.4 °C
25.8 °C27.2 °C25.6 °C
23.8 °C24.4 °C23.6 °C
Maximum: 36.4 °C
Average: 27.8 °C
Power Supply (max.)  38 °C | Room Temperature 18 °C | Fluke 62 Mini IR Thermometer

Speakers

Small stereo speakers
Small stereo speakers

Sound quality from the stereo speakers is good and clear no matter the volume setting. We can notice no static during music playback. Bass is severely lacking, so sounds have a narrow range with a "tin can" quality to them. The internal speakers suffice for the occasional music and video. Otherwise, we recommend earphones for movies and longer sessions.

Battery Life

The non-removable 66 Wh battery pack is larger in capacity compared to many of its 13-inch competitors. Nonetheless, battery life is not any better at under 7 hours of constant WLAN use at 150 nit brightness (setting 75/100). At worst, users will get 2 hours of use on maximum display brightness and CPU usage. Compared to the Yoga 3 Pro, battery life is roughly an hour longer under our WLAN conditions. Lenovo promises up to 9 hours of video playback on a brightness setting of 200 nits and with WiFi disabled. 

Recharging the battery from empty to full can take up to 5 hours. The charging port doubles as a USB 2.0 port, which may explain the slow charging time. It's unfortunate that the Yoga 900 cannot be charged via the USB Type-C port.

Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Maximum runtime (Reader's Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
Minimum runtime (Classic Test)
WLAN runtime
WLAN runtime
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
14h 04min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
6h 43min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 08min
Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK
66 Wh
Apple MacBook Air 13 inch 2015-03
54 Wh
Asus Zenbook UX305LA-FC012H
56 Wh
Microsoft Surface Book Core i5
69 Wh
Dell XPS 13-9350
56 Wh
Toshiba KIRA-10D
52 Wh
HP Spectre 13-4001ng x360
56 Wh
Battery Runtime
39%
33%
16%
7%
33%
33%
Reader / Idle
844
1572
86%
1469
74%
1070
27%
782
-7%
1399
66%
1223
45%
Load
128
97
-24%
108
-16%
153
20%
150
17%
135
5%
154
20%
WiFi v1.3
403
620
54%
569
41%
402
0%
451
12%
518
29%
542
34%

Pros

+ thin and lightweight
+ low fan noise
+ generally accessible internals
+ accurate colors and grayscale
+ USB Type-C with video-out
+ low surface temperatures
+ strong build quality; no creaking

Cons

- average contrast
- CPU throttling
- small touchpad
- no WWAN options
- key travel could have been deeper
- no HDMI or mDP
- slow charging

Verdict

In review: Lenovo Yoga 900 13ISK-80MK. Test model provided by Lenovo US.
In review: Lenovo Yoga 900 13ISK-80MK. Test model provided by Lenovo US.

Is the new Yoga 900 better than the Yoga 3 Pro? The answer is a resounding yes, though not quite the home run the manufacturer would want you to believe. The convertible is slightly thicker and heavier and display contrast has not been improved. Battery life is nothing special for its size class and both the shallow keys and small touchpad will take some time to become accustomed to. The lack of a common dedicated video-out port will certainly irk users who rely on external monitors on-the-go. Finally, the CPU throttling that was present on the Yoga 3 Pro has found its way onto the Yoga 900 seemingly unaddressed despite the larger cooling solution.

Even with the drawbacks in mind, the Yoga 900 is still an outstanding notebook that cements Lenovo's position at the top of the convertible - not detachable - category. Comparatively, competing models with 360-degree hinges like the Spectre 13 x360 offer more connectivity features for the same screen size, but is so much heavier to the point where tablet mode is comparatively uncomfortable.

If you find the notebook mode and tablet mode of equal interest, then the Yoga 900 is a recommended buy. Otherwise, dedicated Ultrabooks like the Kirabook or Zenbook UX305 can offer longer battery life and higher display contrast. If the tablet mode is more appealing instead, then the Surface Pro 4 with Type Cover is the more comfortable alternative.

The Yoga 900 is a small step in the right direction from the Yoga 3 Pro. Its lightweight and thin design makes it one of the better convertibles available. Otherwise, the system feels barebones and offers less connectivity features than a dedicated Ultrabook.

Lenovo Yoga 900-13ISK 80MK - 03/15/2016 v5
Allen Ngo

Chassis
90 / 98 → 92%
Keyboard
77%
Pointing Device
75%
Connectivity
37 / 80 → 46%
Weight
72 / 78 → 86%
Battery
89%
Display
82%
Games Performance
59 / 68 → 86%
Application Performance
81 / 87 → 93%
Temperature
94%
Noise
94%
Audio
56 / 91 → 62%
Average
76%
83%
Convertible - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Lenovo Yoga 900 13ISK Convertible Review
Allen Ngo, 2015-11-22 (Update: 2015-11-24)
Allen Ngo
Allen Ngo - US Editor in Chief
After graduating with a B.S. in environmental hydrodynamics from the University of California, I studied reactor physics to become licensed by the U.S. NRC to operate nuclear reactors. There's a striking level of appreciation you gain for everyday consumer electronics after working with modern nuclear reactivity systems astonishingly powered by computers from the 80s. When I'm not managing day-to-day activities and US review articles on Notebookcheck, you can catch me following the eSports scene and the latest gaming news.