The Lenovo Yoga C930 Review: It’s Nearly Perfect

The Lenovo Yoga C930 updates last year’s Yoga 920. By building upon everything that I liked about the Yoga 920 while adding even better features, the Lenovo Yoga C930 is light enough for everyday carry, powerful and fast enough for computing without compromise, and it features a long-lasting battery and a 14″ screen. Basically, it’s nearly perfect.

My usual travel laptop is a 12″ MacBook. One of the things I most appreciate about it is that it weighs 2 pounds 8 ounces, and so it’s easy to leave in my backpack and tote around. What I’m starting to be bothered by, though, are the limitations posed by a 12″ screen; it feels a bit cramped. In contrast, the Lenovo Yoga C930 weighs 3 pounds 1.1 ounces, and it features a 13.9″ touchscreen (which we’ll call 14″ because it’s close enough). Most importantly, those extra 2″ of screen real estate really do make a difference. Add in the fact that the Yoga C930 is much more customizable than the 12″ MacBook when ordering and yet it still winds up costing less than a “loaded” MacBook, and you’ll start to understand why I’m enamored with the Yoga C930. Let’s take a look…

Included in the bento-style box are the Yoga C930, the Type-C wall charger, and a couple of pamphlets on safety and the warranty.

You can order the exact laptop I received from either Best Buy or Amazon for a little bit less than what it costs to customize your own on the Lenovo C930 microsite; these are the options shown on the Lenovo site with the what came on “mine” highlighted.

Lenovo Yoga C930 ( i7-8550U Processor) Specifications [starting price $1,199.99]

Processor 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Processor (1.80GHz)
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home
  • Windows 10 Pro [adds $50]
Graphics Integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory
Up to 16 GB DDR4 2400 MHz (Onboard) [8GB included, 12GB adds $75, and 16GB adds $100]
Storage
Up to 2 TB PCIe SSD [256GB included, 512GB SSD adds $200, 1TB SSD adds $400]
Display
  • 13.9” UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS Glossy Multi-touch with Dolby Vision [included]
  • 13.9” FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Glossy Multi-touch with Dolby Vision [adds $200]
Camera 720p HD Camera
Audio Rotating Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos Speaker System
Battery
  • Up to 14.5 hours of battery life (FHD)*
  • Up to 9 hours of battery life (UHD)*
*Based on testing with MobileMark 2014.
Dimensions(W x D x H) 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.57” (at its thinnest) / 322 x 227 x 14.5 (mm) (at its thinnest)
Weight Starting at 3.0 lbs (1.36 kg)
Colors
  • Iron Grey
  • Mica
Active Pen
Lenovo Active Pen
Security Fingerprint Reader
Connectivity 802.11 AC (2 x 2) + Bluetooth® 4.1
Ports
  • 2 x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, PowerDelivery, DisplayPort, USB 3.1 full function)
  • USB-3.1
  • Audio combo jack
Preloaded Software
  • Lenovo Vantage
  • McAfee LiveSafe (30-day free trial)
  • Microsoft Office 365 (30-day free trial)

Measuring 12.6″ long by 8.9″ wide by 0.55″ thick, and weighing (as I mentioned above) 3 pounds 1.1 ounces, the Yoga C930 is clad in an iron-gray aluminum CNC unibody design.  The overall effect is strong and sturdy without being thick and heavy. The Yoga 920 that I reviewed last year had the signature Yoga laptop “watchband” hinge, which while lovely to look at meant that the laptop’s speakers were located on the bottom. The Yoga 920’a sound was fine, but it was somewhat typical for a laptop. The Yoga C930, on the other hand, has a new feature that will solidify the Yoga C930’s place as a multi-media laptop. The hinge has lost its “watchband” appearance because it has been replaced with a “never-before-seen” (Lenovo’s words) rotating soundbar with a Dolby Atmos Speaker System.

Because this is a 2-in-1, the Lenovo Yoga C930 can work well in any one of these four positions, and the soundbar will always be facing out for its best sound. It’s a super clever design, actually, and it can’t be overstated that listening to Spotify or watching Netflix on the Yoga C930 is very enjoyable because the sound is so excellent.

[click a photo to enlarge and enable slideshow]

So, right out of the gate, the C930 has something most other laptops can only dream of: it has an excellent sound system without the need for hooking it to any external speakers. That’s worth exchanging the signature watchband hinge for, in my opinion.

Also on the hinge side, there is a built-in stylus silo, which I’ll cover more about in just a little bit.

There are also two speakers located on the bottom, toward the front of the laptop.

On the left side of the C930, there is a Type-A USB 3.1 port followed by two Type-C USB ports; either can be used for charging the laptop, and they also function as DisplayPort connections. Next, there is a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Notice how the side view shows the staggered design which makes lifting the top of the laptop more easy to do one-handed. The front edge is clean.

On the left side, there is a power button. Noticeably absent is an SD or microSD card reader, and while I know it’s currently in vogue to not include them and to buy a dongle that does everything, it’s just so much simpler (and more convenient) when you don’t have to.

Let’s return to the back hinge and the included digital pen and its silo, or “garage” as Lenovo is calling it.

If you have a 2-in-1 laptop, it only makes sense that when using it as a tablet you will want the benefit of a digital pen for drawing and note-taking. The Yoga C930 includes a digital pen, and you won’t have to worry about losing it because when not in use it’s safely housed in the locking silo.

At 4.5″ long, the digital pen is great for quick notes but a bit short and uncomfortable for long-term use.

Opening the laptop, you’ll be greeted with a full-size keyboard and an oversized touchpad. The keys have a slight depression in their center which makes them comfortable to type on; they aren’t clicky, they don’t have a lot of travel — yet they have good tectile feedback, and I enjoy using them.

The 4.9″ (measured diagonally) touchpad is responsive and smooth; it makes a satisfying click when you engage it.

The fingerprint reader is located on the bottom right of the keyboard. Here’s what I like about this particular reader: it’s not in some awkward location that’s hard to remember, and it seems to work 99% of the time. The one time I couldn’t get it to work may have been a fluke as I couldn’t repeat the bad reading.

I really like the narrower vertical bezels on either side of the display; they measure a slim 5mm on the right and the left, with 8mm at the top and 1″ the bottom. The slimmer side and top bezels are awesome, but the bottom bezel still seems a bit thicker than ideal. 

I appreciate the new privacy shutter over the webcam in the top bezel; when you see the red dot, you know it’s closed. If you see the black lens eye winking at you, you can slide the little lever to the right and close it for privacy. Although the camera is shooting at 720p; it seems fine for a webcam. I’m mainly happy that the camera is at the top of the screen, hidden in the (somewhat) narrow top bezel rather than being in the thicker bottom bezel shooting unflattering double chin and-up-the nose shots.

Closed webcam shutter

Open webcam shutter; when the camera is active, there will be a white LED glowing to the right of the lens.

The Yoga C930 has far-field microphones, so it can hear and understand voice commands from across the room. Because it’s a Windows 10 laptop, it has Cortana baked in; you can also enable Amazon Alexa, which is great for those of us who have their smarthome features running through that particular AI assistant.

Battery life is rated as being 12 hours; I managed to get about 10.5 consistently, which I am quite happy with. The Yoga C930 has thus far been able to handle all of my computing needs; I’ve had no slowdowns or other issues, but I have noticed that the fan can get a little noisy when it kicks on — it’s not a “plane taking off” loud by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a gentle whirring noise that will come and go in intensity as the processor works. I should mention that the laptop gets warm when it’s working hard, but it is not hot to the touch; you won’t have to worry about burning your lap while editing video or anything.

One thing that perplexed me, though, was that when I set the Yoga C930 next to my 12″ MacBook, I can’t help but notice that the screens (both on max brightness) have such different colors. The Lenovo screen seems a bit dimmer and yellower. Although it’s not obnoxious or that noticeable when the Yoga C930 is on its own, it immediately evident when the two laptops are next to each other.

Even with its few caveats, I can’t help but be enamored with the Lenovo Yoga C930. The larger screen, sturdy yet lightweight body, the excellent sound, the more than adequate processing speeds, and the touchscreen with the included pen make it a supremely versatile 2-in-1 that is a pleasure to use. If I had to do it all over again, I would have bought this laptop versus the 12″ MacBook. The 14″ Lenovo Yoga C930 has better specs than the 12″ MacBook, and it costs less … which isn’t aggravating at all. 😛

The Lenovo Yoga C930 sells for $1299.99 at Best Buy and $1279.99 at Amazon [affiliate link].

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Excellent Dolby Atmos Speaker System included in the clever rotating soundbar hinge; The included digital pen has a built-in storage silo; Fast and accurate fingerprint reader; A dedicated cover for the webcam; A decent selection of ports on the side; Solid yet thin build; Lightweight; Long battery life; Cortana and Alexa enabled; Thin vertical bezels for a more modern looking screen; Can be used as a tablet or laptop or in 2 other viewing modes

What Needs Improvement: No built-in SD card reader; Screen is a bit dimmer and yellower than the one on my 12″ MacBook — even on its brightest setting; Fan can get a bit loud at times; Digital pen is a bit short and uncomfortable for long-term use


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.