The Lenovo Yoga C930 says goodbye to the watchband hinge design.
There is now a rotating speaker. Yes, a rotating speaker.
Lenovo is offering the Yoga C930 as a blend of performance with an extremely portable design.
Lenovo has come to IFA 2018 firing on all cylinders. At the ongoing event in Berlin, the company launched eight consumer laptops and three gaming laptops. While the ThinkPad X1 Extreme seems to go for extremes in terms of engineering and specifications, the Yoga C930 shows the kind of engineering possible with a convertible device.
At IFA last year, Lenovo launched the Yoga 920 as the most premium experience in terms of convertible notebooks. In my review of the Yoga 920 Vibes early this year, I wrote that this sets new benchmarks for convertible devices, both in terms of performance and design. With the Yoga C930, Lenovo is challenging itself to push for even extreme design goals this year. Ahead of its official launch, Lenovo showed the Yoga C930 to select journalists and here are my quick impressions.
Design and Display
One of the major design changes this year is that Lenovo is doing away with the watchband hinge design seen on its premium convertible devices. The watchband design, while continuing to be available on other models, forced companies like Microsoft to innovate with the idea of the convertible form factor. With the launch of the Yoga C930, Lenovo is bidding adieu to that much loved design and instead offering a rotating soundbar.
I’ll talk about that rotating soundbar in a bit but let’s talk design. The Yoga C930 still bears an aluminum unibody chassis and has machined edges that can seem sharp at times. The aluminum has the same feel and texture we last saw on the Yoga 920. It now has a metal clasp on the left-hand-side corner to support the rotating display and a metallic hinge that also houses a speaker. It has two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3.0 support alongside a full-size USB 3.0 port. The power button is on the side while the Yoga C930 also includes storage cavity built into the chassis so you can stow away the stylus.
It has a 13.3-inch display like it’s predecessor but comes with a 4K panel. The panel supports Dolby Vision for a more responsive and immersive video experience. The bezels surrounding the display are also thinner and they include optional support for Windows Hello IR camera.
One of the most interesting technologies to have hit the audio world in recent times is Dolby Atmos. With Atmos, Dolby envisions a spacial sound that not only plays horizontally but also vertically. For example, if you are watching The Martian, then you will not only see the spacecraft launching to Mars but also hear it flying right above your head. With Yoga C930, Lenovo is trying to bring that surreal experience to computers.
Since the Yoga design leaves Lenovo engineers to work with little space, they decided to cram the speakers into the hinge. The hinge rotates and carries the speakers to other side. The speakers uses two drivers built right into the hinge and two drivers placed on the lower side of the device. In my brief time listening to sample audio offered by Dolby, I could feel immediate change in the sound stage but the experience was not as startling as the one I had listening to a Yamaha soundbar powered by Dolby Atmos.
Hardware and Software
Lenovo will be offering the Yoga C930 with six-core Intel 8th generation processors. It can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. It is meant to be a portable machine offering up to 14.5 hours of battery life that can be added additional graphics power using external GPU.
The Yoga C930 runs Windows 10 and it also features far-field microphones so Cortana and Alexa can listen to you from the farthest of distances in a room. There is an optional fingerprint sensor and Think Shutter to block the webcam physically for enhanced user privacy.
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While Intel and Microsoft are the most vocal advocates of convertible design, it is Lenovo which is offering the most meaningful contribution in terms of innovative hardware. The new Yoga C930 is thin, light and switches to different modes with ease. It is also fast and powerful enough for most consumers.
It’s integration of a rotating speaker seems unique and thoughtful. Lenovo has not revealed the price but if they price it in line with what last year’s Yoga 920 went for, then we are already looking at one of the best-in-class convertible notebooks of this year.