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Long battery life the star feature of this thin hybrid

The Yoga 900S is smaller and lighter but feels awkward to use as a tablet.
The Yoga 900S is smaller and lighter but feels awkward to use as a tablet.PHOTO: LENOVO

The new Yoga 900S switches easily from one mode to another

Lenovo has taken the shrink ray to its flagship Yoga 900 hybrid computer and zapped 300g off.

The result is the new Yoga 900S - a portable workhorse that is as slim as a laptop can get and still has a full-sized USB 3.0 port. It is 12.8mm thick and weighs just under 1kg.

It has an identical design as the Yoga 900, notably with the unique watchband-like hinge that rotates the screen by 360 degrees. This flexibility lets the 900S switch easily between four usage modes - laptop, tablet, stand and tent.

But despite the reduction in size and weight, I find the Yoga 900S awkward to use as a tablet. It feels too wide in landscape mode and too tall in portrait, thanks to its 16:9 aspect ratio.

My review set comes in gold, though the 900S is also available in silver. The keyboard is gold-coloured too, and stands out against the black, leather-like finish of the palm rest. Overall, the 900S feels like a luxurious, premium device.

Unlike the Intel Core i7-powered, 13-inch Yoga 900, the 900S has a smaller 12.5-inch display and uses a low-power Core m7 chip. In other words, the Yoga 900S sacrifices performance for portability. It will probably compete in the ultra-portable space with devices such as the 12-inch Apple MacBook.

Because of these differences, the Yoga 900S does not replace the 900. Lenovo continues to sell both models in stores.

With a 2,560 x 1,440 pixel screen resolution, the display looks crisp. This screen has excellent viewing angles, though its glossy finish is fairly reflective.

The slim chassis has its downsides. The backlit keyboard feels shallow enough that I sometimes feel as if I am typing on a touchscreen. However, the keys are well spaced and as large as the ones you will find on a 13-inch laptop.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $2,299

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core m7-6Y75 (1.2GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 515

    RAM: 8GB

    SCREEN Size: 12.5 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.0 Type-C, 1 x USB 3.0, Power input with USB 2.0 functionality, audio jack

    BATTERY: 53 watt-hour 

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The Yoga 900S comes with a handful of ports.

On the right side is a full-sized USB 3.0 port while on the left is the charging port that also doubles up as a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 Type-C port.

The Type-C port is used for video output, though an adapter is required to connect the device to a standard monitor or projector.

Although the 900S has a smaller 53 watt-hour battery than the 66 on the 900, it has much better battery stamina than the latter.

In our video-loop test, the 900S lasted 6hr 45min compared with 4.5hr on the 900. This difference is likely due to the Core m7 chip on the 900S.

Of the three Yoga 900S models sold by Lenovo, the $2,299 review set tested here is the middle option. The $1,999 model has a slower m5 processor with 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. The highest-end $2,499 version has identical specifications as the review set, except for its 512GB SSD.

•Verdict: The Yoga 900S will turn heads with its stunning looks. But its best feature is its outstanding battery stamina.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 29, 2016, with the headline 'Long battery life the star feature of this thin hybrid'. Print Edition | Subscribe