It was during IFA 2018 when Lenovo introduced their latest premium convertible for consumers — the Yoga C930. It doesn’t have a good name, but it does offer everything a Yoga should, especially in media consumption.
Notebooks with flipping displays, like the Yoga lineup, are not just designed for typing. Most manufacturers market their convertibles to be perfect for entertainment, yet they largely fail in one aspect where they should shine — audio.
When Lenovo introduced the Yoga C930 with the rotating soundbar and Dolby Atmos, I hoped that it was not just a marketing ploy. But, is it? Let me share my thoughts about Lenovo’s newest convertible.
No fuss design
The Yoga C930 has a metal shell with a familiar aesthetic from Lenovo. My unit has a dark finish that’s aptly named Iron Gray. If you want a lighter shade, Lenovo is also offering the notebook in Mica, which is close to white. Everything about the body of the Yoga C930 screams premium; nothing here looks cheap or ugly.
To make it more special, the sides and the hinge of the Yoga C930 have a brushed finish. It’s a minor touch, but it’s highly noticeable whenever you’re checking where you should plug your peripherals. I also think that it helps hide unsightly scratches and gives the notebook a bit of shine.
While we’re at it, the available ports on the Yoga C930 are generally okay. It’s got two Thunderbolt 3 ports that fully support PowerDelivery, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1 functions. Both Thunderbolt 3 ports employ 4x lanes for PCIe, so you can connect the Yoga C930 to an external GPU, which is good because this laptop doesn’t have a dedicated graphics unit.
Apart from a couple of versatile USB-C interfaces, there’s also a classic full-size USB that we all know and love. Thankfully, Lenovo knows that this is still a widely used port and bringing a dongle just to read a thumb drive is a hassle. The 3.5mm audio port is also available when you need to plug in a pair of wired headphones.
All of the ports on the Yoga C930 are on its left side, leaving the right with just the power button. There are no volume buttons, either.
While I appreciate that Lenovo provided both USB-A and USB-C ports, I was still hoping for more; another USB-C with PowerDelivery on the right and a full-size SD card reader would do. The Yoga C930 is slim, but it’s not ultra-slim like the fan-less MacBook which got away with having one port (or maybe two if you count the headphone jack).
The Yoga C930 has a fairly large 14-inch display (13.9 inches according to Lenovo), but with minimum side bezels. Since this is made for watching videos, the aspect ratio is still stuck at 16:9.
There are two resolutions available for the Lenovo C930: Full HD or Ultra HD. The one I have here is just the Full HD variant, but it still has the key feature: Dolby Vision. The best way to fully appreciate the display is to play an HDR or Dolby Vision-enabled title. You can find some on Netflix if you’re using the highest-tier plan.
The display gets bright enough to be used outdoors and really dim when you need it to. It’s vibrant and has deep blacks even if it’s only an LCD panel.
When watching a video, I prefer to use the Yoga C930 in Tent mode. It can also be used in Stand mode with the keyboard facing down, but for some reason, Lenovo didn’t put little rubber feet to protect the keyboard when placed on a surface. You have to be cautious where you place the notebook or you risk scratching it.
The integrated soundbar of the Yoga C930 is designed to always face the user. That’s another advantage of watching videos in Tent mode; the speaker is facing upwards. I get to hear the sound directly without any muffle. I must say, the Yoga C930 has one of the clearest speakers I’ve tried on a notebook. It gets really loud, too.
It even has Dolby Atmos to enhance it further, but it’s not as immersive as advertised. To be fair though, I get to hear the stereo effect better than on other notebooks.
The device is least useful (for me) when it’s in Tablet mode. The Yoga C930 is too heavy to be a tablet, plus the 16:9 aspect ratio makes it feel like I’m reading from a really tall magazine. But, this is where the built-in pen comes in handy. The integrated stylus makes it easy for doodlers to annotate on screen.
Fast but not incredible
Let’s talk about power. The Yoga C930 I have is powered by the latest 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor paired with 12GB DDR4 memory and a 256GB M.2 PCIe SSD. Configurations may vary in some regions, so the Yoga C930 in your stores might be more powerful or inferior.
There’s one thing that’s missing though, and it’s not an option anyone can get either: discrete graphics.
As mentioned, the Yoga C930 is not an ultraportable. It has nowhere near the portability of Dell’s XPS 13 or even Lenovo’s own Yoga Book. It’s big enough to house at least a modest NVIDIA GeForce MX150 — just like the latest ZenBook from ASUS.
My usage includes multiple tabs on Chrome, some slight editing on Photoshop, and hours of binge-watching on Netflix. I primarily used the notebook for typing and browsing, which are not heavy tasks.
So far, I had no major performance issues during my time with the Yoga C930. I didn’t bother to install games because it lacks discrete graphics.
Of course, the notebook runs Windows 10. I got the October 2018 update just last week, and it made the dark mode better. It matches the gray motif of the device.
It’s ideal for my own use
Putting all the technical specifications aside, the Yoga C930 has been a great companion.
Aside from the soundbar, I also fully appreciate the notebook’s keyboard. It’s not as great as the one on ThinkPads, but it’s good enough for me. It’s well-spaced and has a good amount of key travel.
The touchpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers and it fully supports all the gestures of Windows 10. It has a glass surface and picks up all the inputs. A responsive touchpad and a good keyboard is the combo I need for work.
There’s also something about the craftsmanship of the Yoga C930 that gives assurance that it’s a well-built device. Perhaps it’s the balance between weight and dimensions.
Lastly, the webcam has a physically cover — just like a ThinkPad’s. It’s nice to see nifty features of Lenovo’s business laptops on a consumer device. I don’t have to cover the webcam anymore with a piece of tape.
Great battery life
I am generally impressed with the longevity of the Yoga C930. Lenovo promises all-day battery life, but we all know that is somehow a stretch. Based on my usage, I get around eight to nine hours. I also experience about the same when watching Netflix non-stop.
It’ll not beat records, but I am always assured that even if I leave my charger at home, I know I can rely on the Yoga C930 to get me through a full day.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
You probably already think that this is my GadgetMatch, which I’ll not deny. I had a good time with the Yoga C930, despite its shortcomings. It’s a premium convertible that managed to meet my expectations. I’m hoping Lenovo will soon have an option with discrete graphics. For now, you can maximize the device by plugging in an external GPU.
The Yoga C930 has a starting price of US$ 1,399. It’s a bit pricier than I expected from its specs, but it’s a premium convertible that offers more versatility than regular laptops.
ASUS has new ROG Zephyrus laptops with GTX Turing, 9th-gen Core i7
More new gaming laptops from ASUS
Aside from the new Strix notebooks, ASUS‘ popular ROG line of gaming notebooks also has new Zephyrus models. Complete with the latest GTX Turing graphics and 9th-gen Intel Core processors, you have three powerful laptops to choose from.
First is the ROG Zephyrus G which is one of the subtle gaming laptops in the ROG family. How so? This ROG notebook lets go of the flashy RGB backlighting and only has a simple white backlit keyboard. Also, it’s overall design is more subdued than other gaming laptops in the market.
Don’t mistake it to be a run-of-the-mill gaming laptop though; the Zephyrus G sports the new AMD Ryzen 7-3750H processor and NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti graphics. It also has a 15-inch 120Hz IPS display with narrow bezels. The notebook can support up to 24GB DDR4 memory and up to 512GB SSD. ASUS promises seven hours of battery life; that is if you’re just browsing the web.
Next in line are the updated ROG Zephyrus S and ROG Zephyrus M models. Both ROG notebooks practically share the same chassis with 15-inch displays, but with minor differences in specs.
The top-of-the-line Zephyrus S comes with the latest 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics, plus it has ROG Boost for better performance. It even comes with a GPU switch to save battery life when G-Sync is not needed. Speaking of the display, it features a Pantone Validated panel with an insanely fast 240Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time.
The Zephyrus M, on the other hand, is a toned-down version with NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti graphics. Since this one doesn’t need much power to supply its internals, it can be charged through USB-C when needed. It’ll also come with a new 9th-gen Intel Core i7 processor with dual M.2 NVMe SSD slots.
Unfortunately, ASUS has yet to disclose the official prices of these notebooks. They’ll be available where ROG notebooks are distributed soon.
Dell XPS 13 (2019): Price and availability in the Philippines
Dell’s flagship laptop
Back at CES 2019, Dell‘s greatest laptop finally got the webcam position right. It took them quite some time to finally place it on top, but it’s better late than never. Those interested in getting one will be glad to know that Dell is making the new XPS 13 (2019) available in more markets.
The 2019 version of the Dell XPS 13 has officially landed in the Philippines. Compared to its predecessor, the new XPS 13 doesn’t differ much since it’s already a well-designed notebook sans the webcam position.
Dell’s laptop is still a contender as the smallest 13-inch laptop thanks to its 4K InfinityEdge display. It’s powered by an eight-gen Intel Core i7 processor with support for up to 16GB of memory and up to a 2TB SSD.
Ports-wise, there are two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a USB-C 3.1. Additionally, the power button doubles as a fingerprint reader.
The new XPS 13 is already available in stores starting at PhP 100,990. It’ll come in Black/Silver and Rose Gold/White colors, while the special Arctic White will be in stock by May.
ASUS unleashes new ROG Strix with GTX Turing, enhanced RGB lighting
RGB lighting is truly a thing
Two of the newest ROG laptops are the Strix Scar III and Strix Hero III. Like their predecessors, both flagship ROG Strix models are nearly identical in design and specs.
What’s new on the Strix Scar III and Strix Hero III are the faster 240Hz/3ms display for the 15-inch variant and 144Hz/3ms display for the 17-inch model. This easily meets the requirements for professional-grade esports gaming.
Not only that, the new 9th-gen Intel processors paired with NVIDIA GTX graphics will be able to give the power gamers need. The redesigned chassis also helps in the cooling system with increased airflow, plus they now have a wrap-around RGB light. Gamers will be able to display their AuraSync lights to the surrounding environment.
To make the Strix Scar III and Strix Hero III unique in the sea of gaming laptops, ASUS is introducing what they call the Keystone. The Keystone is pretty much like a USB key that saves your gaming profiles with preset light and audio effects. Also, it’s a key for unlocking another new feature called Shadow Drive, an encrypted hidden partition for personal file storage.
If the Strix Scar III and Strix Hero III models are too much, you could choose to have the newest member of the ROG family: the Strix G. ASUS is promoting the newest model in the Strix lineup to be streamlined design with a focus on performance and only the essentials.
That doesn’t mean the Strix G will be a boring gaming laptop though, as it also comes with the new wrap-around RGB bar that extends to the sides.
Of course, the Strix G is not just about RGB. It’s powered by the latest Intel 9th-gen processors with the new GTX Turing graphics from NVIDIA. Users can choose between a GTX 1650 or GTX 1660 Ti, and 15.6- or 17.3-inch panels with up to a 120Hz refresh rate.
Pricing and availability details of the new ROG Strix gaming laptops are yet to be disclosed by ASUS.
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