Laptops

Lenovo Yoga C930 Review: It could have been the best

It’s just missing one thing…

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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.

SEE ALSO: Lenovo IdeaPad 530S, 330S, 330: Which is right for you?

Computers

Lenovo expands ThinkBook, ThinkVision lineup

Lenovo expands ThinkBook, ThinkVision lineup

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Lenovo has been rather busy recently updating their entire product portfolio. So this ThinkBook and ThinkVision refresh was absolutely inevitable and most definitely welcome.

We’re going to go through all the ThinkBooks and ThinkVisions real quick. Ready? Take a breath. Let’s go!

ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i

This was co-engineered with Intel and meets the requirements of the Intel Evo platform. That’s true across hardware specifications and key experience targets for device responsiveness, instant wake, battery life and fast charge.

It has a high resolution 13.3-inch display with a new 16:10 aspect ratio that offers 90% screen-to-body ratio with ultra-narrow bezels and is available with optional touch.

You’re also getting Thunderbolt 4 port and optional PCIe Gen 4 storage.

We’ll be going on virtual meetings for the foreseeable future. Taking that into account, the ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i features microphones that has three audio modes: private, shared, and environmental.

  • ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $829
  • ThinkBook 13s Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $729.

ThinkBook 14s Yoga i

Need something flexible? Well, here you go. The popular Yoga form factor means this thing can bend and a different number of ways.

For performance, it’s powered by 11th Gen Intel Core processors. It also comes with the Lenovo Smart Pen to really help you let your creativity run wild.

It’s available in Mineral Grey with an Abyss Blue version added to the mix.

  • ThinkBook 14s Yoga is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $879.

ThinkBook 14/15 Gen 2 i

If working smart is your think then it doesn’t get any smarter than this. It’s powered by 11th Gen Intel Core Processors (will also come in AMD variants) with flexible storage options: HDD + SSD or dual SSD.

Working remotely and need support? The service hot key helps users reach Lenovo support at the press of a button, automatically including device details such as serial number for a fast track support experience.

But here’s the kicker. It comes with ThinkBook wireless earbuds that can be stored within the laptop. The earbuds charge automatically when stored and connect to the laptop audio instantly when taken out. Double tapping toggles the mute function, and it has dual mics and environmental noise cancellation.

  • ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $569.
  • ThinkBook 15p i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $939.
  • ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 i is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $569.
  • ThinkPad E14 Gen 2 is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $699.
  • ThinkPad E15 Gen 2 is expected to be available from November 2020, starting at $699.
  • ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $549.
  • ThinkBook 14 Gen 2 AMD is expected to be available from October 2020, starting at $549.

ThinkVision T27hv-20

This single cable USB-C Hub monitor is designed to to meet the collaboration requirements of a hybrid working model. The 27-inch display features a 1080p IR/RGB webcam, noise cancelling microphones and integrated speakers that help users conference with confidence

It has Smart Guard that blurs the screen the moment you look or move away or detects someone peeking over your shoulder. Meanwhile, Smart Energy will turn off the screen when it senses that you have moved away from your desk, saving power and protecting data.

  • ThinkVision T27hv-20 is expected to be available from December 2020, starting at $549.
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Laptops

Lenovo launches ThinkPad X1 Nano, pre-order for ThinkPad X1 Fold

Two ThinkPads that deserve your attention

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If the Yoga lineup is any indication, it’s that Lenovo has never been shy about experimenting with form factors. They doubled up on that when they unveiled the ThinkPad X1 Fold at CES 2020. Now, they’re following it up with the ThinkPad X1 Nano.

Here’s a refresher on the ThinkPad X1 Fold in case you forgot what it was.

So yeah, it’s a PC but not exactly. Lenovo is calling it a new device category. It starts at US$ 2,499 and is now available for pre-order.

ThinkPad X1 Nano

The ThinkPad X1 Nano is being billed as the lightest ThinkPad ever. At less than 1kg, it’s hard to argue against that claim. It promises a complete laptop package all while being ultra freaking light.

It comes with up to 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processors and Intel Iris X graphics. That combo promises 20% faster office productivity and over 2x faster gaming plus streaming.

It has Thunderbolt 4 for fast, single cable connection to power, monitors, storage, as well as other external devices.

It’s the first ThinkPad to feature an updated suite of AI and biometric ThinkShield security features. These include new voice recognition and human presence detection.

It has a 13-inch Dolby Vision 2K display with a 16:10 aspect ratio. It has 100% sRGB for clarity and color accuracy. It also comes in touch display options.

This notebook also has four speakers with Dolby Atmos support for immersive sound. It also has four 360-degree microphones to ensure you are loud and clear during virtual meetings.

The ThinkPad X1 Nano starts at US$ 1,399. It is expected to be available Q4 of 2020.

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Laptops

Samsung is working on a 65W charger

But with a twist

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Who doesn’t want fast charging? With charging technologies finally making some headway, tech makers are engaged in a free-for-all sprint on who can charge devices the fastest. The current leaders, OPPO and vivo, can already go up to 125 watts, charging a phone in no time at all. Brandishing their own devices, Samsung obviously wants to catch up. Spotted in Korea, Samsung is working on a 65W charger.

Dutch Samsung outlet GalaxyClub spotted the device passing through a South Korean certification agency. Though the filing does not state the charging rating, the model number holds clues to the device’s capabilities. The explicitly stated “Travel Adapter” carries the model number EP-TA865. Samsung’s standard 45W adapter has the model number EP-TA845.

Other than that, the filing does not reveal much about the upcoming device. If anything, a wall charger indicates a persistent focus to bring the best of wired charging, instead of going all-out on wireless charging.

If you’re hoping to grab one for your smartphone, you might be out of luck. Commenting on their own platform, renowned Samsung leaker Ice Universe confirms that the device will mainly power notebooks. The leaker cannot confirm if the charger will make its way to smartphones — specifically, the Galaxy S21 series — at this point.

Currently, Samsung has a full slate of devices lined up for the next six months. Recently, the company launched the Galaxy S20 FE, a lighter version of this year’s flagships. They are also gearing to release the Galaxy S21 series early next year.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Philippines Smartphone Price List

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