ASUS ExpertBook B9

We’ve seen  ultrabooks in the past. We’ve also reviewed many of them before too – but none of them are as impressive as the Yoga 900. This is a really thin device with a really amazing hardware. Lenovo took a really daring design challenge to a different material throughout the entire device too.

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Acer Nitro 5

The box itself is quite plain. It has a white/orange colour design throughout the entire box. Lenovo used these two colours in a really nice balance too. The packaging design itself is really neat, as it lifts the entire box itself when the two flaps are opened.

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It’s beautiful. However, the contents inside the box itself is nothing spectacular. Just the Yoga 900, a charger, USB cable for charging, and some documentations.

Before we move further on the review, let’s take another look of the box. You know, for the sake of appreciation. I really love the box design here.

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[nextpage title=”Design”]By just looking at the Yoga 900, I was blown away by how thin it is. Have you really looked at it? It’s light too. By just touching at the Yoga 900, I was blown away by how thin yet strong it is. To be completely honest, it’s really beautiful.

I can say that Lenovo nailed the Yoga 900’s design here. It’s made out of some material that I think is magnificent. Based on what Lenovo claimed, the Yoga 900 is made mostly out of a magnesium alloy – presumably the same material used on my camera.

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This magnesium alloy is just fantastic. I tried to flex it as much as I could, and I just can’t do it. The Yoga 900 is very tough, and it’s just really difficult to flex.

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Even the screen itself is very difficult to flex, unlike the ASUS UX501 that we’ve reviewed. The Yoga 900’s lid is just impossibly thin, but it’s just way too strong to be flexed. The entire Yoga 900 is just way too nice to hold.

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Let’s not forget about the one most important thing here – the hinge design. According to Lenovo, it’s a wrist watch-inspired design. Surprise, surprise, the hinge design looks amazing, and functions even better. It’s beyond my expectation. The Yoga 900’s hinge is sturdy and surprisingly very tough.

However, the hinge design still suffers from one single major flaw. When the touch screen is used, the lid will jump around. That’s quite unavoidable, given that the hinge will need to have extremely high friction to prevent that from happening. Maybe Lenovo has another hinge design in their minds, and they’re polishing it now.

Let’s take another moment to appreciate the hinge design here. It shines really bright when light is shone in the right angle. Absolutely stunning.

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[nextpage title=”Connectivity and ports”]Let’s talk about the ports. The Yoga 900 just wrecked the latest MacBook Air straight away by the number of ports available. On the left side, there’s a power/USB3.0 combo jack, a USB 3.0 port, a USB Type-C port, and a full sized SD card slot.

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On the right side, there’s a disk drive indicator, a power button with indicator light, the Novo button (for recovery and to access BIOS settings), rotation lock button, headphone/microphone combo jack, and another USB 3.0 port.

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There’s a total of 2 dedicated USB 3.0 ports. If I am to include the power jack that doubles as another USB 3.0 port, there’s already three ports. Get another splitter to split the USB Type-C port to more UBS 3.0 port, you’ll be golden. Not like you need all of these though – just throwing out there as a possibility.

Also, it comes with AC WiFi too, for all that your high-speed WiFi. By the way, there’s no LAN-to-USB converter included. I think it’s quite crucial in some places around the world, and would be a great addition in the box.

[nextpage title=”Screen and touchscreen”]I can tell you – the screen is excessively beautiful. I normally wouldn’t say this, but in this case, it’s just way too beautiful. The Yoga 900 has a 3200×1800 pixel IPS display. It’s just way too sharp. There’s also minimal backlight bleeding too, but the blacks aren’t really dark enough. I guess that’s the only gripe I have with the Yoga 900’s display – its contrast.

The Yoga 900 under 100% display. No zooming/scaling. It's just insane.
The Yoga 900 under 100% display. No zooming/scaling. It’s just insanely small.

Using the touch screen is great – but it’s a little jumpy is not propped against anything. However, it’s really smooth and just glides my finger around when I use it. It’s just a real pleasure to use the touchscreen. However, there is one problem here too.

That Windows at the center of the bottom bezel on the touchscreen. It’s awkward. I know Lenovo is trying to make the Yoga 900 to look extremely sleek here. I mean, just look at the Lenovo logo on the screen itself. I can barely see it myself.

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That said, that Windows button is just way too well-blended with the bezel. I couldn’t see it properly either, until I took some pictures under special condition. That said, the capacitive Windows button isn’t that easy to trigger either. For one, you can’t see. Secondly, it’s not easy to trigger. Maybe it’s best to use the tablet mode sparingly.

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In another side note, there’s a full textured rubber lining around the entire screen. It’s for grip when it’s on tent mode, of course.

[nextpage title=”Trackpad and keyboard”]

Yoga 900 has a neat keyboard. The review sample I have here is a UK unit, so I apologize for the different keyboard layout. The retail unit has the usual keyboard layout that we all know and love. That said, let’s get right into the keyboard first.

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Because of the thinness of the Yoga 900, tis keyboard has to be extremely thin. With that said, the thin keyboard doesn’t offer much travel distance – but that’s okay. Its tactility is way much better than the MacBook Air’s “Butterfly” keyboard. I felt great typing on the keyboard too actually.

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There’s one big problem that I did realize with the Yoga 900. The material around its keyboard is made out of a grippy material. Lenovo expects you to use it as the main gripping mechanism if you’re using it as a propped-up tablet mode. That means the Yoga 900’s keyboard is nearly touching the table. Same goes to the trackpad too.

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However, the trackpad is a beautiful one in the Yoga 900. Of course, since it’s a tiny tenkeyless keyboard right here, the trackpad is placed in the middle. Smack dab in the middle. Aesthetically, the trackpad looks amazing with the chromed lining around it.

Yoga 900’s trackpad is the two click buttons is great. It clicks great, it feels great, but I still wish that trackpads will have two dedicated clicker buttons instead of having it integrated into the trackpad itself. I have nothing much to say actually. It’s just fun to use.

[nextpage title=”Performance”]Performance wise, it’s definitely not a gamer laptop. You can’t even play games like Dota 2 on higher settings, and you’ll definitely have to play at resolutions lower than its native one. 3200×1800 pixels is just way too much for an integrated graphics processor to power up.

On a side note, take a look at how bad Speccy looks when it's scaled up 250%.
On a side note, take a look at how bad Speccy looks when it’s scaled up 250%.

The full list of specs is pretty great for an ultrabook. It’s using an Intel Core i7-6500U, and thank you Lenovo for not using a freaking Core-M for this beautiful. General browsing and music-listening works pretty well of course. And there’s absolutely no lag or stutter of any kind.

That’s because Lenovo included 16GB of RAM on the Yoga 900. Talk about overkill!

However, the motherboard that Lenovo used in this specific model, uses DDR3 RAM instead of DDR4. No idea why Lenovo chose to do so though, as DDR4 does consume less power than DDR3 while offering better performance at the same time.

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Unfortunately, temperature however isn’t the greatest for the Yoga 900. As reported by HW Monitor, it can go about 80℃ hottest on the processor itself, but the motherboard can somehow maintain at 32℃. I personally think that Lenovo did great while managing to maintain this temperature with such little space to play around too.

Amazingly, there’s zero thermal throttling. Just that it’s way too uncomfortably hot to type on, and to put on my lap. It burns.

[nextpage title=”Battery”]Battery life is very neat here. For my heavy use on the web through 2.4GHz WiFi, it did last for about 5 hours no problem. However, if I am to trim off some of my unnecessary usage (background YouTube streaming for example) can extend the battery life to about 6 hours, and potentially more.

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The charger however is a funny one for the Yoga 900. Remember that I’ve said the charger port is actually a USB port combo? The charger itself is actually a mobile charger too.

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It’s a tiny charger that can output 5V at 2A – which is used by our smartphones and tablets. The other output it can provide is 20V at 3.2A. That’s a little shy of 65 watts – and what’s the power required to charge the Yoga 900. I find it really great double-kill by Lenovo actually. You can bring one single tiny charger while you travel, and you can charge your Yoga 900. Then, charge your device at the same time too.

Proprietary charging cable for the Yoga 900.
Proprietary charging cable for the Yoga 900.

[nextpage title=”Wrap up”]The Lenovo Yoga 900 it’s a piece of art. It’s way too beautiful – from the physical design to the screen, to the keyboard, and even the hinge itself. It’s just sometimes a little too warm to put on my lap to use. Then again, it’s just way too impossibly thin and light to pack that much of power in it. It’s just way too fun to use – even though it has its own flaws.

If you’re thinking about picking up a Yoga 900 for yourself, you’ll have to consider this – you’re sacrificing performance for the looks and form factor. It’s never going to gave a dedicated GPU in this shape and size in this generation of devices. With these information in mind, the Yoga 900 is just excellent as an ultraportable laptop.

Then comes the price – at RM5,999, I understand that Lenovo spent a lot for R&D to create this device. That said, it’s much better than getting something like the ASUS UX501.

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