Lenovo Yoga C930 – literally a razor-sharp laptop

Lenovo Yoga C930 – literally a razor-sharp laptop

Kevin Hofer
Zurich, le 06.11.2018
The C930 is a worthy successor of the popular Yoga 920. What makes this convertible? Find out in this test report.

Yoga C930? Yes, you read right. Yoga 920’s successor comes with the prefix C. As all premium consumer notebooks by Lenovo now carry the name Yoga, the Chinese manufacturer needed to come up with a new name-giving strategy. Classic Yoga notebooks, convertibles, in other words, all have the prefix C. But enough of these pointless naming theories. Let’s get down to the hard facts of this hot piece of equipment.

  • Intel Core i7-8550U with 1.8 GHz
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • 16 GB DDR4 2400 RAM
  • 512 GB SSD
  • 13.90" IPS 4K glossy touchscreen
  • 4-Cell Li-Polymer battery with 60 Wh
  • Windows 10 Home
Notebook
1849.–
Lenovo Yoga C930-13IKB (13.90", UHD, Intel Core i7-8550U, 16GB, 512GB, SSD)

Innovative design

Design and connectivity

Should this sharp-edged Yoga C930 give up the ghost, you could always use it as a foot rasp.
Should this sharp-edged Yoga C930 give up the ghost, you could always use it as a foot rasp.

The C930 is quite literally cutting-edge. It’s a miracle my workmates didn’t find me slumped over my desk with slit wrists. The edges at the bottom of the Yoga are razor-sharp. And that’s my main cricism I have of the design.

The design highlight are the speakers built into the hinge.
The design highlight are the speakers built into the hinge.

I really like the look of the convertible when it’s closed. My test device is iron grey. The first thing that catches my eye are the speakers tucked away in the hinge. The holes make the device look racy even though they don’t make it faster. Holes don’t make things faster. A fact that Ned Flanders had to painfully learn firsthand.

Looking at the Yoga from the side, it has the shape of a rhomboid. The display is positioned a little off-centre of the lower half of the device. A further nice detail is that the C930 has nicely rounded edges at the back, unlike those razor-sharp ones in the front. The device weighs in at 1.38 kilogrammes and measures 22.7 × 32.2 × 1.49 centimetres.

Two Thunderbolt 3, one USB A 3.1 and one jack
Two Thunderbolt 3, one USB A 3.1 and one jack

Once it’s opened up, you’ll see a nice display, a no-frills keyboard and the trackpad. But more on that later on. In terms of design, I’m a bit put off by an approximately 2.5-centimetre black bar below the display. And that’s all I’ve got to say about my first impressions of the devices look. All in all, I’m really impressed with the design. It’s both sober and playful.

The black bar at the bottom of the screen is not very pretty.
The black bar at the bottom of the screen is not very pretty.

When it comes to physical connections, Lenovo has equipped this device with two USB type C connections. They both support USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt 3. What’s more, there’s a 3.1 USB type A connection as well as a headphone jack. On the downside, you have to go without a built-in display port and there’s no HDMI connection. Bluetooth 4.1 and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) complete the range of connectivity options.

Display

The 13.90 multi-touch IPS display boasts a 2160p resolution and 8-bit colour depth. According to the manufacturer, the display is certified for Dolby Vision. I’m astonished. Doesn’t Dolby Vision require a 12-bit display? The Windows 10 DirectX diagnosis tool states that the panel isn’t even capable of playing back HDR content.

I put it to the test and watch some Dolby Vision stuff on Netflix. First up is «Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle». Compared to my work notebook, the Yoga definitely delivers better colour contrast. But it’s not as extreme as on a TV. Next up is «Altered Carbon». And I’m left with the same impression.

An EIZO monitor test did not reveal anything negative. The display showed not pixel errors, gradients are clearly presented, the greyscales are homogenous, the field of vision is stable and texts are sharp.

Even though the Yoga has a glossy display, it doesn’t mirror too badly at all. I was even able to work outdoors in the sunlight.

Working in the sunshine isn’t a problem with the Yoga.
Working in the sunshine isn’t a problem with the Yoga.

The C930’s touchscreen is very reliable. For even more precision, try using the built-in pen for the touchscreen. Lenovo has tucked it away in the chassis at the back right.

The pen for the C930 is easily garaged.

Colour space coverage is a little low. For sRGB it’s at around 94 per cent and for Adobe RGB at a mere 60 per cent. Although the display is great for watching movies, it’s less suited for graphic designers.

Speakers

The speakers are built into the hinge. Lenovo has been advertising its Dolby Atmos speaker system. You heard right. Invest in a Yoga C930 and you get the Dolby Atmos app with it. Personally, I’m always sceptical when devices equipped with just two front loudspeakers are advertised with Dolby Atmos. However, with the C930 I was proven wrong.

I used the same movies to test Dolby Vision and the speakers. I also brought in my workmate Martin Jud, who has already had intense dealings with surround sound (in German).

Der Surround-Dschungel: *THX, DTS und Dolby**
KnowhowAudio

Der Surround-Dschungel: THX, DTS und Dolby

We’re both wowed. Never before have either of us experienced this kind of sound coming from a notebook when watching a movie. In other words, the speaker system really does create a sound that is more room-filling than regular stereo. When watching «Lost in Space», it’s as if the sound is not only frontal but also coming at us from the sides. There’s no comparison to a 5.1 or a 7.1 system, but it’s still fascinating. We both enjoy the rich sound.

What’s more, even content that doesn’t officially support Dolby Atmos sounds great. Godzilla’s roars shake the plywood walls of the meeting box we’re carrying out the test in. When the mother of all monsters unleashes its lasers, it sounds as if they’re whizzing past us to the left and right. It goes without saying that two built-in loudspeakers aren’t capable of creating sound that appears to be coming from behind. But there’s definitely a better sound distribution in the room.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard is clearly structured. The keys are well arranged and I always hit the one I intended to hit. I find the key stroke a little short at just 1.3 millimetres, particularly because the keys are quite hard to press. The hand rest isn’t big enough for my taste. I keep running my wrists over those razor-sharp edges. Not a great feeling when you’re typing.

Keyboard and trackpad are well organised.
Keyboard and trackpad are well organised.

Personally, I find the trackpad a little on the small side. But it reacts reliably. And I’m a fan of the surface finish.

In addition, Lenovo has incorporated a fingerprint scanner just below the keyboard on the right-hand side. Throughout my test, it was reliable and unlocked Windows within a few milliseconds.

Battery

The C930 is equipped with a 4-cell li-polymer battery with 60 Wh. This puts the Yoga in the lower midrange for battery size. Like my workmate Martin Jud, I tested the device by streaming YouTube nonstop. Unlike him, I cranked up the brightness to two thirds of its capacity. That’s because I find half of the maximum brightness too dark in daylight. The Yoga manages this for five-and-a-half hours. When using the device for regular office work, the battery died after a little over nine hours.

Naturally, I also put the Yoga C930 to the Heavy Load stress test. Under that kind of pressure, the battery ran out after two hours and fifteen minutes. The laptop generated a lot of heat during the stress test. Not quite enough to burn my fingers on but I didn’t feel like putting the Yoga on my lap.

Fully charging the Yoga takes relatively long. In my case, it took 2 hours and 20 minutes to fully charge the battery.

The Yoga has a sober yet playful look.
The Yoga has a sober yet playful look.

Performance

The built-in Intel Core i7-8550U is a quad-core processor with up to eight threads. It works with 1.8 GHz clock speed and has a maximum TDP of 25 W. This means power consumption is 10 W higher than with the Acer Swift 5 I recently tested. The increased power consumption has a negative effect on the device’s performance. This gives the C930 a score of 630 in the CPU benchmark of Cinebench R15. That’s almost twice as much as the Swift 5.

In terms of performance, the C930 is not particularly flexible.
In terms of performance, the C930 is not particularly flexible.

The chip has integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. Yoga features a dedicated graphics solution; something that is mirrored in the OpenGL Benchmark by Cinebench R15. In this case, it renders at a mere 53 fps. In comparison: In Martin Jud’s ultrabook comparative test, both devices reached a score of around 100. Granted, the devices have a dedicated graphics solution. Having said that, the Yoga C930 is in the same price range as the two tested ultrabooks but delivers less performance.

So forget about using the C930 for gaming. Like the Swift 5, the Yoga is suitable for everyday things including streaming, office tasks and browsing. Applications are started and photos are easy to edit. Even video editing up to Full HD is possible. However, larger rendering tasks do take a lot of time to carry out.

I won’t go into gaming benchmarks for the Yoga, as they are not helpful due to the built-in components. But I do run the Geekbench 4 CPU and Compute benchmarks.

For the CPU benchmark, Yoga C930 reaches a single-core score of 4736 and a multi-core score of 14,793. I compare the scores on Geekbench. To do so, I search for the processor, sort it by descending score and operating system. The best single-core score is 5124; the best multi-core score is 16,932. This puts Yoga in the upper midrange.

Things are different for the Compute benchmark. Reaching a score of 18,559, the C930 trails far behind the best score of 39,279.

Just a brief remark on my approach. I ran the benchmarks several times and took the best results for the comparison.

Verdict

The Yoga C930 is an outstanding recreational notebook. It’s perfect for watching movies, surfing the net and listening to music. The beautiful display and absolutely brilliant speakers are so much fun. This convertible will be a great companion in all situations.

Whether it's on art,
Whether it's on art,
or at the park,
or at the park,

With the exception of its wrist-slashing edges, the device impresses with a beautiful finish. It’s lovely to touch or just gaze at. Even Apple can’t keep up with this.

When it comes to photo and video editing, this device is suitable to a limited extent. It has absolutely not difficulties with simple photo and video editing. However, if things get a little complex, the C930 reaches its limits. You can forget playing more complex video games, for example. At this price, I would have appreciated a dedicated graphics solution with a bit more oomph.

by the lake or
by the lake or
during calisthenics training – the Yoga C930 shows maximum flexibility in life.
during calisthenics training – the Yoga C930 shows maximum flexibility in life.

What is questionable, is its Dolby Vision certification for an 8-bit panel. Even though the colour contrasts look good, I don’t get the impression that the panel can compete with Dolby Vision TVs.

The device’s main lowlight is its sharp edges. I had to give up on using the Yoga C930 for long office tasks because my wrists started to hurt.

Should you get yourself a Yoga C930? It depends. If you’re looking for a nice-looking convertible for your free time and are prepared to spend just under 2000 francs for it, I would recommend this device. You could also come and try it out for yourself. The Yoga C930 is on display at our stores. Maybe those sharp don’t bother you as much.

But for me, they were a total killjoy. It’s a real pity. The Yoga C930 is like a pair of shoes I want really badly but just don’t fit me.

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Kevin Hofer
Kevin Hofer
Editor, Zurich
From big data to big brother, Cyborgs to Sci-Fi. All aspects of technology and society fascinate me.

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