Review: Lenovo Yoga 500

If the tablet craze still hasn’t won you over and you prefer a laptop with plenty of space, Lenovo is taking the best of both worlds and cramming them together in the Yoga 500.

Specs

Two-in-one computers are becoming the new norm, and Lenovo’s Yoga 500 keeps it up with a 360 degree hinge, one of the more obvious ways to make a hybrid machine.

There’s more than a special hinge in this computer, though, and Lenovo has spec’d it up to be quite modern, because you need that to sell a computer these days.

As such, you’ll find one of Intel’s sixth-generation Core processors in the Yoga 500, one from the most recent generation of chips also known as “Skylake”.

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Depending on the unit you go for, you’ll either find an Intel Core i5 6200U (2.3GHz) or a Core i7 6500U (2.5GHz) with 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive, with Microsoft’s Windows 10 installed to the computer out of the box ready to go. Our review unit featured the Core i5 variant, but that’s the main difference found in the Yoga 500, with processor model making up the changes.

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Connections are otherwise quite standard for a 2016 computer, with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac access for WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 for your other wireless connections, while wired ports are handled through one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, a lone HDMI port, an SD card slot, and interestingly an Ethernet jack for those who still like wired networks.

All of this sits in a body made for a 14 inch screen, and that’s exactly what you get, with a 14 inch HD screen supporting touch, complete with a high definition camera built into the frame above the display.

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Design

For a while now, computer bodies have been pushing back against the basic black boxes that for a long time were seen as the only way you could buy a computer.

There’s something about black that makes it professional, and for as long as we can remember, if it was black, there was a good chance Lenovo or IBM before it had made the computer you were using.

Building on that heritage, the Lenovo Yoga 500 is black, plastic, and relatively professional with a simple matt finish.

Fingerprints are a bit of a problem with the simple plastic finish, but only really on the inside where wipe downs tend to still leave fingerprints behind. Fortunately the outside can look schmick, though this never helps with the machine feeling thick and weighty, sitting at 21.5mm of thickness and sitting on the scales at a little under 2 kilograms.

Essentially, Lenovo’s Yoga 500 is a standard computer, the same sort you’re used to seeing for ages with very little to it from an individual point of view.

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Performance

Switching the laptop on, it’s pretty easy to get right into using the machine, with a large 14 inch screen staring back at you, reflective and all, and a keyboard and mouse sitting perpendicular underneath.

This is a computer, and the modern specs make it capable enough to handle writing, web surfing, emails, and the like, though not quite powerful enough for games or anything remarkably creative, a fact that is shared by the lowly HD resolution in the spec sheet.

But while the Intel processor can certainly handle its own, the inclusion of only 4GB RAM hasn’t helped things, and as we typed our review on the Yoga 500, we found ourselves wanting desperately to switch to another computer just to the lag and slowdowns typing would often create.

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Perhaps it’s the program we’re writing with — Evernote — and perhaps it’s the lack of memory, but we think the latter as we saw some slowdowns switching applications and trying to get instances of others started up.

It’s not a serious issue that will affect everything you do. Rather, it’s more one that gets stuck in when you’re trying to run multiple applications, as the specification just doesn’t lend itself to serious productivity, and more just for file storage.

Listening to a lot of music? This will have the space. Surfing the web a few tabs at a time? Lenovo’s Yoga 500 has you covered.

Working on a lot of documents at once and want the system to perform as smoothly as whipped butter? That’s just not this computer.

360 degree hinge? Check.

360 degree hinge? Check.

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