Even if you’re not convinced yet, 2-in-1 laptops are pretty awesome. Lenovo’s first 2-in-1 convertible laptop, the IdeaPad Yoga 13, was first unveiled in 2012. And since then, Lenovo has built on an excellent idea and turned it into a functional, fun notebook with the Yoga C930.
We might go even further and say that this is one of our favourite laptops of the year so far — featuring more-than-stellar components, a versatile design, and great battery-life for its size. The C930 sports utilitarian, elegant industrial design, with a soundbar/hinge (gone is the beautiful, but less functional, watch strap-like hinge of previous Yogas) and a slot for the included stylus, as well as a webcam cover. Because privacy is important.
With a market now crowded with convertible devices from the likes of HP, Dell, and Microsoft (even if we only get two out of three here, ahem), Lenovo really wants the C930 to be the notebook/tablet configuration that suits everyone’s needs. And they might have hit on something here.
That’s because the deeper we delve, the more obvious it becomes that everyone needs a little Yoga in their life.
Design: I like it when you move it like that
The Yoga C930 has a display size of 13.9in, and the body isn’t much bigger, with slim bezels along the sides and top. It weighs a mere 1.38kg, and is slim enough to lose under a pile of irrelevant documents.
We got our hands on the Iron Grey model, which looks sleek and professional, without looking like a business laptop. Even if it is (kinda). The top doesn’t pick up many fingerprints and has a cool unibody look. No interruptions occur on the top of the notebook, except for the model name in the corner. There’s a slot around back on the top right corner that houses a stylus, which pops out when you push down on it.
As we’ve seen in previous Yoga models, Lenovo tends to update the hinge design to make it as interesting and appealing as possible. This time around, the hinge is a sleek aluminium soundbar and two large rectangular sides, one of which sports the Lenovo logo.
The two USB-C ports can both do charging duty, but thankfully they’re not the only ports on offer. The Yoga C930 also has a USB-A 3.0 port and a headphone jack. We would’ve liked at least one more USB-A port… even if only a 2.0 one, but then, we don’t want to sound ungrateful. All of the ports are located on the left side of the notebook, with only the single power button on the right-hand side.
As you’d expect from something with Yoga in the title, transformation from notebook to tablet-orientation is smooth and effortless. You can also put it into the A-frame position (Lenovo calls this ‘tent mode’) for ultimate Netflixing. We used the Yoga C930 to watch offline Netflix movies during load shedding. It makes for a great mini-cinema in the dark. #ThanksEskom
Performance: Zippy, nippy and… trippy?
Okay, not quite trippy. But it is quite a compact package, one that might leave you wondering about innards.
But don’t let its size deceive you. The Lenovo Yoga C930 is fitted with an 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor — yes, the latest Kaby Lake model. Our test unit also had 8GB of RAM (which can be increased to 16GB).
Since it uses integrated graphics from Intel, gaming can be hit or miss. This is by no means a gaming machine (despite the stellar specs elsewhere), and even only slightly demanding games like Paladins or Fortnite result in some stuttering and dropped frames.
Sadly, a standalone graphics card is not an option. Those looking for a computer that can handle tasks like light photo editing should be satisfied, but hardcore gamers and creatives should look elsewhere.
Normal, daily productivity (depending what you consider to be ‘normal’), such as basic browsing (which, granted, isn’t always that ‘productive’) and running a handful of apps doesn’t tax the Yoga C390 much. We ground through hundreds of Chrome tabs with Spotify and Tweetdeck running in the background and never had any hiccups. That’s the Core i7 doing its job…
If you’re not a hardcore gamer, and like nippy performance in a notebook that weighs less than a tiny dog? The Yoga really impressed us in this highly-specific category. Anyone looking to encroach on the C930’s space is looking at some teeth in their legs.
Display: Great, but still meh
In the visual department, Lenovo offers two options — a Full High Definition (FHD) display, and an Ultra High Definition (UHD) display. We used the FHD (1080p) model, which is an IPS display — basically a fancy LCD with a touch-sensitive layer — and Dolby Vision (one of the leading HDR standards).
The main problem we had with the display is that there’s no anti-glare protection in place, which makes for a pretty blinding experience come midday when the sun creeps through the office window at just the right/wrong spot.
On the other hand, touch-sensitivity is superb. We encountered no problems with the display registering our fingertips or the stylus. Drawing in Paint or in a notepad felt very natural and the tracking was pretty spot-on. We’re not pro designers, though, so we can’t speak to how it handles Illustrator or the like, but the responsiveness has us believing it would be a pretty decent choice, even if it is a little ungainly in tablet mode.
Display brightness is decent for indoor use, but at only 273 nits, you might struggle out in direct sunlight. Especially the glaring South African sun in the summer. Best use this little guy inside… or under an umbrella.
Everything considered, the display is great — it offers punchy colours, great contrast and deep blacks. If you’re upgrading from a circa-2014 machine, you’ll be impressed. If you’re upgrading from something more recent, you’ll still be impressed. Just a little less so.
Features: Sound, battery, keyboard & stylus
Although Lenovo hasn’t reinvented sliced bread, they’ve definitely made a few welcome (and awesome) updates to their flagship consumer 2-in-1 laptop.
Firstly, the omnidirectional speaker in the hinge is a really smart move. The previous Yoga model had a definite lack of decent sound, and with one fell swoop, Lenovo has made the Yoga C930 look elegant while adding above-average laptop sound quality.
The soundbar hinge is no gimmick — this thing sounds great. The dual-firing speakers easily fill a medium-sized room with quality audio. We didn’t notice the slightest hint of distortion from the soundbar, even at max volume.
Battery life is decent, and pretty impressive considering the size. We got around 7-10 hours out of the Yoga C930, split between office use and hard-on-the-battery video playback. Mostly video. Overall it’s a hard-working device that will last for ages. This lets you take advantage of its small size and bring it on the road with you.
While not up to the standard of mechanical keyboards, the keyboard on the Yoga C930 is decent for a laptop this thin.
Key travel is pretty shallow at 1.3mm, but to be honest, it still felt gratifying. This is one of the most comfortable keyboards we’ve used in a while, without having to resort to those Cherry MX switches everyone seems so mad about. The comfort is mostly thanks to Lenovo’s ergonomic design.
Lenovo Yoga C930 Verdict
The Yoga C930 2-in-1 convertible has sleek, premium design and loads of useful features, like the built-in webcam cover for security, a fingerprint sensor for rapid unlocking, and a built-in stylus. Of course, the main attraction is the C930’s unique soundbar hinge, which puts out great sound to go with the excellent display.
This is a powerful little notebook that has decent battery life and can function well under pressure (like 100-Chrome-tabs-running-at-once pressure).
If you’ve stuck with it to this point of the review, brace yourself — because the Yoga C930 comes at… quite a price. This little machine costs anywhere between R28,500 and R33,500 depending on the retailer and specifications. That’s a big ask… but then, if you’re comparing it to an Apple, the ask doesn’t seem quite so big any more. Plus, you’re not going to get this sort of flexibility from a MacBook any time soon (or, you know, ever).