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Lenovo 2019 Yoga C930 (14) – innovation and design
4.6Overall Score
Name: Lenovo 2019 Yoga C930 (14)
Price (RRP): $2200+
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Lenovo Yoga series is a 360° hinge design, high-end, prosumer notebook. The new 2019 Yoga C930 (14) takes innovation to the next level.

I love Lenovo’s Yoga 360° design. The 2018 14-inch, 4K, i7-8550U, 16GB, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Yoga 920 (review here) and now $2499 was GadgetGuy’s reference machine, and we measure all comers by it. This year’s 2019 Yoga C930 (14) takes that up a notch or three.

It is not just the fully-garaged, 4096-pressure level Pen (a first and it slips nicely into the rear pen garage under the hinge), nor the new rotating Dolby Atmos ‘soundbar’ or its thin/light size. It is a feeling of ‘you have arrived’ with one of the best prosumer laptops you can buy in 2019, and you did not pay too much as it starts from $2267.

It is all about choice!

Review 2019 Lenovo Yoga C930 (14) Model C930-131KB

Website here – as tested

  • Intel i7-8550U (option i5-8250U)
  • 8/256GB (option 16GB/1TB)
  • 13.9-inch FHD Dolby Vision (option 4K, 3840×2160, Dolby Vision) and glass outer cover
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Windows 10 Home (option Pro)

There is also a 10.89-inch 4K version that weights 775g!

Out of the box

  • Lenovo C930
  • 65W USB-C PD 3.0 20V/3.25A, 15V/3A, 9V/2A, 5V/2A charger
  • A Lenovo Pen (4096-pressure levels with dock rechargeable battery)

I would have liked a USB-C-to-whatever dongle but alas not. It supports all USB-C dongles as well as Thunderbolt 3 docks.

First impression

Lenovo calls it iron-grey – a halfway between Apple’s space grey and silver grey. It is quite attractive.

Yoga C930

The most noticeable thing is that the speakers are part of the hinge allowing them to face the right way regardless of the style – tent, tablet, laptop etc.

And the pen docks and charges in its own ‘garage’ – no more lost pens that need to be replaced at exorbitant prices or trying to get AAAA and coin batteries.

There is a small top bezel just large enough to hold a camera, minimal side bezels and a largish chin bezel. Two full-width rubber runners provide desktop grip and Torx screws to take off the bottom plate.

It is a very attractive, premium finished and built device.

Setup

It comes with Windows pre-installed and for most, all you need to do it run Shutup10 to lock down Windows privacy features. Lenovo has a System update to keep firmware updated. As most of the firmware is Intel standard, it comes down via Windows update.

Thunderbolt 3

The prime advantage of this breed of notebooks is Thunderbolt 3. Forgive the image – my office is not deep enough to take it all in but here is the Yoga C930 (14) in tent mode with an HPz38C (4K)  and HPz34c (discontinued – almost 4K) monitor using a Kensington SD5200DT dock. It supplies ample power and runs the z34C off DisplayPort and the z38C off USB-C.

Yoga C930

It has two USB-C 3.1 gen 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and one USB-A 3.1 (Always on) as well as a 3.5mm audio combo jack.

Yoga C930
Yoga C930

Processor, RAM, Storage

The i7-8550U 1.8/4Ghz has a TDP from 10-25W. The embedded Intel UHD Graphics supports up to three 4K displays. It also has four cores/eight threads and 12 PCI Express lanes allowing for a full 40GHbps Thunderbolt 3 implementation. About the only thing it does not have is Intel vPro for enterprise use. Passmark is 8299.

Its i5-8250U 1.6/3.4GHz has a Passmark of 7,682 so that it is not a major compromise. Both sit above the AMD Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U.

The CPU runs at about 52° Celsius under most use and goes up to 70° under load when the two internal fans run at around 40dB – reasonably quiet. During stress tests, the maximum external temperature is 40° – all good.

Throttling is an issue on battery power. In PC Bench 100% load tests it barely let the i7 processor jump above 1.8Ghz occasionally getting to 2.5Ghz for short periods. That is not unusual, and you would seldom want to do that. Throttling is not an issue on mains power.

RAM is DDR4-2400, and the SSD is an SK Hynix that performed well at 2603/539Mbps sequential read/write, but it is not a patch on the Samsung SSD in the 2019 Lenovo 920 at 3394/1975Mbps.

Screen

While I lust after 4K screens, the review unit has 1K – 1920 x 1080. It is supposed to be Dolby Vision compatible and supports Windows HD colour settings to stream HDR video. The 4K version is also Dolby Vision compatible for suitable content.

The 1K panel measures 310nits at the centre and being bottom edge-lit there is a little more brightness there. Brightness is a tad uneven but its not a major issue.

It claims 100% sRGB and our measurements confirm very close to this – good for real-life colours but not for professionals – that is about 60% Adobe RGB.

Delta E (colour accuracy) out of the box was too high (over 8), and it needed some tweaking to get it under 2. That is disappointing, and Lenovo could fix this so easily.

There is no flicker and G-T-G response time is 35ms.

Overall, it’s a good screen verging on cool rather than vibrant colours. A glossy finish makes it a little hard to read outdoors. But I really wanted to see the 4K in action!

Speakers – Dolby Atmos

Lenovo has taken a unique position on speaker placement – four are in the hinge. That works very well in all orientations, and two are down-firing under the palm rest (works well as a desktop).

Yoga C930

The result is this device can produce a 2.0.2 soundscape with strong front left/right and some upwards separation.

High bass crept in at 125Hz (almost no laptop achieves this), and there was a very flat (good) frequency response from 160Hz to 16kHz – superb.

This almost defies laptop sound. It is a mix of ‘warm and sweet’ meets ‘bright vocal’ – bass recessed but evident, mids and treble strong. OK let’s call it mid-centric, but it is flexible enough to play movies/music or to have clear voice.

Volume was adequate for personal use at 75dB.

We did not test Cortana or Alexa – both work as voice assistants.

Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 4.1

It uses the Intel 9260 combo chipset. Wi-Fi AC 2×2 MU-MIMO dual-band is capable of up to 1.73Gbps with the right router VHT80/160 router like our reference D-Link AC5300 router or the new AX router NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6. We achieved 1.2Gbps. It is one of the fastest combo chipsets.

Battery

It is a 60W battery and a 65W USB-C PD 3.0 65W charger.

Under normal office use – Wi-Fi, Screen at 75% brightness and browsing or productivity software we manage to get 9 hours use. That is amazing!

On a 1080p video loop, 50% 150nits brightness and aeroplane mode we achieved just under 10 hours. Ditto.

In PC Bench battery exhaustion tests (full load) it was 2 hours.

Charging was remarkably quick at about 1.5 hours, and it supports quick charge 50% in 30 minutes and 70% in an hour — very strong points for this laptop.

Keyboard, trackpad and pen

The key throw is 1.3mm and a very heavy 75g actuation. Its OK but heavy keys are not as fast. I achieved 72% speed and 81% accuracy. The two-stage backlight is welcome. It is not as good as the Yoga 920.

Yoga C930

The trackpad is 10.5 x 7cm, and the oversized glass surface is a dream to use. It was a tad unresponsive at the middle edges.

The pen charges 80% in 15 seconds and 100% in five minutes in its garage. In a day of use, we could not exhaust the battery. You can enable a battery status metre in the taskbar. It is fully Windows Ink compatible and has 4096-pressure levels although we found the nib slightly thick.

Yoga C930

Camera and mics/security

It is a Skype-grade 720p camera with dual mics. The fingerprint sensor supports Windows Hello. The sliding security shutter is a nice touch.

Build/Maintenance

Solid, well made and a great hinge with no flex (rigid). Apart from the SSD and Wi-Fi module, everything else is non-user replaceable. The dual fans and battery – maybe if you can get them.

It is 322 x 227 x 14.5-14.9 mm x 1.4kg.

The user guide is here.

I really miss the lack of access to field service manuals that I have become so accustomed to from Dell!

Some issues

International reviews have praised the 2018 Lenovo Yoga 920 (as we have) but are not so generous to the Yoga C930.

It does have a few issues – none are deal breakers.

  • Poorly calibrated 1920×1080 screen when its capable of much more. If retail sales are down it because out-of-the-box it will not look as good as similar ASUS, Dell and HP screens
  • While the soundbar is great and most are going to use Bluetooth soundbars or headphones, and the Realtek audio codec does not deliver as well as the speaker.
  • Smaller 60W battery than the Yoga 920 (65W)

GadgetGuy’s take: The Yoga C930 is good but could be even better

Had I not had the Lenovo 4K Yoga 920 as a reference device I would possibly have rated this a little higher. But now I see the compromises for achieving less weight and thinner chassis.

There is nothing wrong with this device and we will use it as a reference device too. I just think that Lenovo has shaved the specs to meet a price point and that was not necessary.

Lenovo 2019 Yoga C930 (14) – innovation and design
Name: Lenovo 2019 Yoga C930 (14) Price (RRP): $2200+ Manufacturer: Lenovo
Great speaker design and soundLove the pen garageFantastic battery life and quick charge and USB-C recharge optionsEverything works – Lenovo design and quality
Screen needs tweaking to achieve maximum capabilityThe pen/garage is innovative but it is a little small in diameter for long useKeyboard throw is a little shallow and heavy
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
4.6Overall Score
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