Review

Lenovo Yoga C940 14 review: The best you can get, from a Dolby Atmos to a Core i7-1065G7

Lenovo's Yoga C940 14 is a PC that you'll have a hard time finding any fault with. I reviewed the 15-inch model a couple of weeks ago, and while that has many of the same features, it's a different kind of machine. The larger one has a 45W H-series processor and dedicated graphics.

This one is thinner and lighter, using Intel's 10th-generation 'Ice Lake' processors with Iris Plus graphics. And Ice Lake is a solid product, offering meaningful performance improvements over the last generation's Whiskey Lake and even this generation's 14nm Comet Lake.

The Yoga C940 takes the best of last year's C930 and this year's S940 and puts it into one product. It keeps the Dolby Atmos rotating soundbar in the hinge, the pen garage, and it adds the reverse notch design with narrow bezels.

Specs

CPU Intel Core i7-1065G7 (1.30GHz, up to 3.90GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
GPU Intel Iris Plus
Memory 16GB LPDDR4X 3733MHz
Storage 512GB w/ 32GB Optane
Display 14" UHD (3840x2160) IPS, touchscreen, glossy, HDR 400, 500nits
WLAN and Bluetooth Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
Ports (2) USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3, Power Delivery, DisplayPort)
(1) USB 3.1 Type–A Gen 2
Headphone/Mic Combo
Camera 720p HD Fixed-Focus CMOS Camera
Audio Four speakers with Dolby Atmos certification, 2W x 4 / dual-array microphone
Battery 60Wh
Body 320.3x215.6x14.2-15.7mm (12.61x8.49x0.56-0.62in), 1.35kg (2.98lbs)
Material Aluminum
Color Mica
OS Windows 10 Home
Price $1,784.99


Day one

Design

Once again, the Lenovo Yoga C940 is made out of all aluminum. The direct predecessor to this product is the Yoga C930, the 'C' being for convertible. On a side note about branding, the 'C' and 'S' prefixes for convertibles and slim laptops were new for last year's models, but there are more branding changes on the way.

The color for the unit that Lenovo sent me is called Mica, which feels strange for something that could have just been called silver. But companies like to use fancy names for colors, and who am I to argue? It also comes in Iron Gray, which is the only color that's available in the 15-inch model.

I do like Mica better than Iron Gray, as the gray one just felt dull. This one feels less dull, and I do feel like Lenovo could do more to add some sexy to its consumer laptops. Just look at what HP is doing with the Spectre x360.

All of the ports are on the left side of the C940 14. There's a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, providing 5Gbps data transfer speed rather than the 10Gbps you'd get from USB 3.1 Gen 2. There are also two Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with a 3.5mm combo audio jack, and of course, you can use a single Thunderbolt 3 port for plugging in two 4K monitors.

I'd say that this is the most common selection of ports in consumer laptops of this size these days, although many have cut out USB Type-A entirely. But more often than not, you'll see two USB Type-C ports and one Type-A.

On the right side, there's just a power button. You'll notice that the pen garage isn't in the same place as it is on the 15-inch model, or on other Lenovo PCs that have a pen garage.

The pen is located in the back of the device. It does seem a bit weird, since on every other one of Lenovo's PCs, it's on the side. It also feels a bit awkward to remove in this position.

Either way though, I'm a big fan of the pen garage. Magnets and pen loops all of their various drawbacks. With a pen garage, the pen is always with you when you need it, it's always charged, it won't fall off, and it doesn't get in the way.

Display and audio

The Lenovo Yoga C940 14-inch has, you guessed it, a 14-inch screen. It comes in FHD and UHD flavors with a 16:9 aspect ratio. I'm actually surprised that Lenovo hasn't went the 16:10 or even the 3:2 route in its convertibles. Taller screens like that are better for use as a tablet.

The model that Lenovo sent me is the UHD one, which supports Dolby Vision HDR400 at 500-nit brightness. It's quite lovely; however, it would be really nice if there was an OLED model. OLED offers true blacks and more vibrant colors, and while I don't always complain about the lack of an OLED option, I'm holding the C940 to a higher standard because it's just so good.

At 500 nits, I didn't have any problems with outdoor use. It's worth noting that the FHD panel is only 400 nits, but with the lower brightness and lower resolution, you'll definitely get much better battery life. That's a trade-off that you should always be aware of. 4K always uses a lot more battery life, but it's prettier, not that 1080p is particularly bad at 14 inches.

The audio on the Yoga C940 is legit. It has a rotating soundbar in the hinge with four 2W Dolby Atmos speakers, and it's fantastic. It's loud and its clear, with deep bass and a full range of sound. If you care about the speakers on your laptop, this is the one to get.

Combining the Dolby Vision display with the Dolby Atmos adds up to a fantastic media consumption experience. Whether it's watching movies, or playing games, this is almost as good as it gets (OLED would make it as good as it gets).

The Yoga C940 includes the reverse notch that was found on the Yoga S940. Unlike the S940 though, it doesn't actually serve a purpose. The design originally debuted packed with a webcam, an IR camera, and other sensors that added functionality to the laptop. On the C940, it just has a webcam and a privacy guard, so there isn't even an IR camera here.

It seems like now, the reverse notch only serves to make it easier to lift the lid. If I had to take a guess though, Lenovo is looking to unify the design of its premium laptops.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on the C940 14 is pretty standard for a 14-inch laptop, at least as far as depth and noise goes. It's a shallow keyboard, which is what you'll see pretty much everywhere except on ThinkPads. It's also a bit noisier than I expected from Lenovo.

That being said, it's an excellent keyboard, as all Lenovo keyboards tend to be. It's accurate with the proper resistance on a key-press. The keyboard is backlit, as any premium keyboard should be, and it uses Lenovo's rounded keys, which are fine.

The glass trackpad uses Microsoft Precision drivers, as it should. In fact, now that HP is using Precision in its Spectre lineup, it's safe to say that all mainstream laptops are. That means that it's fast and responsive, and that's really all that you need to know.

The trackpad is also large enough, making use of most of the available space on the keyboard deck.

Finally, there's a fingerprint sensor to the bottom-right of the keyboard. This is the only method of biometric authentication available on the C940, which is a real shame. All premium PCs should have IR cameras for facial recognition.

Performance and battery life

The Lenovo Yoga C940 14 includes Intel's 10th-generation 'Ice Lake' processors. In the world of 10th-gen U-series CPUs, this is the one that you want. Ice Lake is built on Intel's new 10nm process, as compared to Comet Lake, which is still 14nm. To make matters super-confusing, both Ice Lake and Comet Lake are called 10th-gen U-series.

U-series is the 15W TDP lineup that you'll find in most ultrabooks and convertibles. They're quad-core with eight threads, except for the next hexa-core Core i7 from the Comet Lake family. Aside from 10nm though, one thing that's new with Ice Lake is that it includes Iris Plus graphics. That's a big boost in GPU power from the UHD Graphics found in previous U-series generations.

Lenovo offers the Yoga C940 14 with either a Core i5-1035G4 or Core i7-1065G7. The 'G' number is the power behind the Iris Plus graphics included, so there's a very real difference between the Core i5 and the i7 that's offered. There would be less of a difference if the i5 was the Core i5-1035G7, but it's not.

Between the new 10nm architecture and the Iris Plus graphics, Ice Lake represents a meaningful improvement over the eighth-generation 'Whiskey Lake' family. This all adds up to being able to get more done.

Note that the 15-inch model has a 45W H-series processor (the kind you'd find in gaming and prosumer laptops) and dedicated graphics in the form of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. If you really want the power, you go for that one.

Battery life is fine, considering what this device is. As I mentioned earlier, the 4K display absolutely eats up battery life more than the 1080p display, so you have to decide what kind of balance you want there. The 4K model that Lenovo sent me will get about six hours of life with everyday usage, and that can go up or down depending on how you use it. If you're streaming video, it can go up to about eight hours, but if you're editing video, it goes down.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 8 and PCMark 10.

PCMark 8: Home PCMark 8: Creative

PCMark 8: Work PCMark 10


The only other Ice Lake PC that I've reviewed so far is the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. Comparing the benchmarks is a mixed bag. The XPS did much better on the Home and Work tests, but the C940 did better on the Creative and PCMark 10 tests.

Conclusion

There's very little I can say about the Yoga C940 that isn't good. It's almost the perfect PC. The Dolby Vision screen and Dolby Atmos soundbar make the media consumption experience one of the best around, the the Ice Lake CPUs and convertible form factor mean that you can do more with your PC.

The biggest issue is that there's no IR camera for facial recognition. After all, you're going to be paying over a thousand dollars for this, so it seems like an odd thing to omit. The other issue I have is that there's no OLED option, something that would just take an already amazing PC to the next level.

Both of those things are somewhat trivial complaints. The key experience boosters are there. I do believe that the audio on this PC is better than any other laptop out there, and it's refreshing, given how many PCs I've used with poor audio. And the display is a brilliant 4K UHD HDR panel.

And let's not forget about the trackpad and the keyboard, which are both fantastic. All-around, the Lenovo Yoga C940 is an amazing machine. When deciding between the 14- and the 15-inch, you'll have to look at your use case. If you're looking more for productivity on the go, the 14-inch is for you. If you're looking for power, get the 15-inch.

You can check out the Lenovo Yoga C940 14 on Lenovo.com here.

 

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