Lenovo Yoga 900 vs HP Specter X360

If you are in the market for a 13-inch flexible premium with Skylake hardware and you do not have an unlimited budget to use, the Lenovo Yoga 900 and HP Specter x360 are the only viable options you can consider right now. If not, there is also the Microsoft Surface Book, but since this one costs $ 500 to $ 700 more than Yoga or Specter with the same dots, it cannot be placed in the same bowl as the other two.

The HP Specter x360 has been around for a long time and is a great tool, as you can see in our review of the Broadwell model. The Skylake update is almost identical to the unit we tested in every way, except for two: HP added the Ash Silver color option, and made a small tweak to the keyboard. Previously, the key to turning on or off the light was always on, and now it can be turned off. In other words, the main difference between Broadwell and the Skylake update is the Ash Silver color scheme and Skylake hardware, which translates to faster performance and longer battery life.

The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a brand new device and at least on paper, it has a few aces under its sleeve over the Specter. Thin and light, available in many colors (Silver, Gold and Orange) and packed with a massive 66Wh battery. You will find more about this in this dedicated post.

This small difference is best seen on the specs pages below.

But how do these compare to everyday use? User Ash More (Ace01), one of our readers, bought a Broadwell Core i7 version of the HP Specter x360 in the past, and replaced it with the Skylake model when it was released, but also got a Lenovo Yoga 900 to try. Other posts include both his views and the reasons why he decided to choose one of them over the other (he won’t tell you which one, skip the post to find out). Thanks Ash for sharing this with us!

This should be helpful to those of you who have not yet decided between the two options, and if you have any questions, contact the comment section at the end of the article and you will get your answers from me or Ash.

“I bought an HP Specter x360 Broadwell i7, QHD, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, here in the US, for $ 1400. I had problems with WiFi by staying connected so I kept coming back / changing the unit. It turned out that my model, which came pre-installed Windows 10, had a new wireless card driver that did not work properly. HP fixed the problem quietly by updating it to the older driver.

When the Skylake / 6th gen Specter came out two weeks ago, I was able to swap my Broadwell model with the same configuration above, but with the Skylake and the beautiful (really nice person, though $ 70 more in this color) new Ash. Silver and Copper color. Then this past weekend, I decided to try out the new Lenovo Yoga 900 for Best Buy which was also sold earlier in their stores. The Yoga 900 costs $ 100 less than the Skylake Specter. Yoga I now have QHD + screen, Skylake i7, 16GB RAM (twice as much as Specter) and 512GB SSD.

So far I really like Yoga and I plan to keep it and restore Specter.

The Specter in Ash Silver and Copper is truly the most beautiful laptop I have ever seen. You have to see it for yourself to understand how amazing it looks. Photos online do not do justice. The color really changes, depending on the light. It ranges from a champagne-like color to a metallic brown. And then the brass rings and the areas around the sides just really set it up and make anything else sitting next to it look boring. I joined Starbucks last week and had a total of about 6 people (men and women) ask me what it was and say: Wow, that’s really cool!

The clip below shows what the Ash Silver model looks like in real life.

So why discard Spectre?

First, it is very hot in the palm rest area to my left when the system is heavily taxed. When charging, the upper left corner and side are even hotter, but it’s not that big because my fingers don’t go up there. But the rest of the palm tree bothers me. And this is the third HP that has given me hot palm rest problems.

Specter is also too heavy for tablet mode to sound right / wrong. Yoga 900 tablet mode is a very different experience. That small weight difference is very important in tablet mode and this comes from a tall 6’1 athlete boy.

Then, with the Specter I have to turn the light down to zero (yes, zero) to get about 45 minutes of battery life in every 10% of the battery. In Yoga, I get 1 hour for every 10% of battery life and that is a light set at 20%. In both units I use a Bluetooth mouse, turn on WiFi and Chrome open with 5 to 6 tabs.

I haven’t run Yoga yet, as I did with Specter, so I don’t know if it does the same thing or maybe the Windows 10 feature, but in Specter, I can only go down. 7% battery and the system goes into hibernation. I tried a few times to change the settings in power management, but when I select anything below 7%, it automatically returns to 7% when I log out.

Specter looks so good that I always worry about scratching the paint. The keys are painted and I have read at least one case where a user states that his keys start to wear out after 3 months of hard typing. And having gone through more than half a dozen specimens now, I can confidently say that HP has a problem with quality control. I refer to my previous models in Broadwell, but the two units I had had sleeping pixels. Four of them had a loose panel at the bottom, in the back. Three of them had small scars on their bodies. Two of them had blisters on the Chromed hinges.

With the Yoga 900, my first unit became my only unit, because it is flawless. There are no errors and all software and drivers work out of the box. In Specter, most of the apps I’ve installed (Kaspersky, Revo Uninstaller, CCleaner, etc.) look awkward on the QHD screen. Mysterious icons, windows and text. To fix this, you have to change the entire system rating from its default 200% down to 150% or less. Things are starting to look good, but they are getting smaller. In Yoga, measuring was almost right for most of the apps I installed.

Yoga is not as good as the Specter, but it looks good too.

Screens

Specter’s QHD display has a low resolution of 2560 x 1440 vs the Yoga 900’s 3200 x 1800. However, after 2 months ½ on the Specter QHD screen and now 2 weeks on Yoga screen, I really do not see the difference and I use programs of the same apps and I even tried exactly the same wallpaper files. In fact, I feel that in general these indicators are very similar in my eyes.

Both are glossy screens and look great on the inside. The only time I remember having trouble viewing one of them was Starbucks with a Skylake x360. I sat with my back to the large glass window and the incoming sunlight made it very difficult to see the screen, so I held the light too high.

To the best of my knowledge, the colors and everything else look the same on both devices. I read about previous Lenovo Yoga screens that have problems with certain colors such as yellow. I did not realize such problems.

Keyboard

As for the keyboard in Yoga, I personally like the Specter keyboard better, but I used it again every day for 2 months and now I am trying to get used to Yoga. What I love about the Yoga keyboard is that the arrow keys are larger and more distinct. Specter arrow keys, even after 2 months, still cause mistakes and I have to look them up, because the up and down arrows are very small and close together.

Some people have complained that the keys to the Yoga 900 are not as advanced as the older models of Yoga. The movement of the keys seems good to me. And the keys appear to be solid black, unlike the Specter painted keys. And I can see Yoga keys well in any type of lighting. In the silver Specter, the keys look very hard in bright light, especially the sunlight that comes through the back window of the laptop. The black keys of the Ash Silver model are also, strangely difficult, difficult to see in some angles with certain types of lighting (unless I turn on the back light; with only one level). Yoga lighting is not as bright as the Specter, but it has 2 levels of backlight to choose from by pressing the Fn and Spacebar buttons.

Updates: A few days later with the Yoga 900, I’m still getting used to the keyboard and for now, I feel like it’s not as good as the one in the Specter x360. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it’s possible that the keys are a little moving and that they are small.

The good thing though is that the palm rest area is VERY better than the solid Specter palm rest, which I always worry about not scratching the top.

Touch Pad

As for the touch pad in Yoga, I have given it a limited use so far. One left-click tap works well in my opinion and I think I remember doing 2 quick right clicks to catch something that would be dragged. Somehow I got used to the large Specter touchpad that looked strange at first, but after a while it became useful because of its large size. The Yoga touch pad seems a little daunting to me and I think this has to do with the fact that since mid-August, I’ve been on Specter, all day so much every day.

BTW, I use Logitech MX Revolution. Long ago, since 2008 but I have not found anything better. The mouse at the time was its $ 100 and a nice keyboard. Even the new MX Master does not have as many options for adjustable buttons as this old mouse. I feel paralysed without it since I can Copy, Cut, Paste, Enter, reduce any window, expand any window, shut any window or application, or display the desktop and so on. just scroll up and down at a set speed with each application, all from buttons. I have become accustomed to doing all those things in an instant, so touch pads don’t appeal to me.

Daily Use

What I noticed was that for me in my office, when the weather was hot and our A / C was not working properly, the Broadwell 7 Specter was still hot. Then I got a Skylake i7 Specter and the weather started to get cold here in Southern California. I have noticed that all of these machines seem to work very well when I am in a cold room.

BTW, after about two months with the Broadwell i7 Specter and 2 weeks with the Skylake i7 Specter, I can say without hesitation that I am careful between zero and no performance gains and almost no battery benefit. If it weren’t for the Ash Silver color that comes with Skylake Spectres only, I would have thought it was a waste to upgrade to a new version.

In Yoga 900, I used 4 tabs in Chrome while downloading a lot of data to an external drive. At that moment, I re-entered Youtube and we all know how that goes (one video leads to another). It was about an hour or so on Youtube and I believe the fan did not start at that time, but it was also very cold in the room I was in at the time.

I took the unit and there was just one warm place, right in the middle of the area below, an area the size of a silver or less. All keys are not hot. At the top right, above the center of the keyboard, is a warm area but not the same as the hot left corner of the Specter.

Chrome is a great battery drain. After years of not using Firefox, I attempted to reintroduce it. I ended up going back to Chrome because of the way Chrome syncs history with everything else, between my laptops, iPhone and iPad. FireFox is about to uninstall the iOS app so I’ll probably try again soon or the Edge browser works well, if they get extensions next year.

More on the fan. It first came in after 15 minutes of my first Yoga practice. It was not very loud, but what bothered me at first was that the fan changed the speed twice or more per minute or 30 seconds. I’m not used to that, as a Specter fan when turned on, it basically has two speeds, and thus two sound levels (for I hear it): low and high. A Yoga follower, once started, walks at different speeds, constantly changing. It’s not very loud and I already feel familiar with it, but it was something that bothered me when I first got a portable computer.

I would say it tends to get in the way when I do a few things at once: iTunes, moving 100GB files to Yoga from external drive, Outlook 2013 active and Chrome browsing that opens 5 or 6 tabs led to a temporary startup, switching speed and close back.

I love the fact that the vents are all attached to the watchband hinge. In the Specter there are vents in the backyard, so I always put a board under the unit when I use it on my bed, sofa, pillow etc. Yoga has no vents anywhere other than the back, directly the hinge.

Update: Since I last posted about fans, I have used the Lenovo update app (better than the HP Support Assistant app; better designed UI and additional features). The BIOS has been updated, along with a few other system updates (did not read individual details). Since then, the Yoga fan does not open often.

Today, it is 82 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I do not have AC on my home. I’ve been on Chrome for about 4 hours now and during that time, I installed Office 2016 and a few other apps. And in the meantime, while Chrome was open with 4 tabs, I watched about 20 minutes of the movie, using VLC. The fan only arrived once, at very low speeds varying, about 2 minutes.

One day I was a little worried because the fan was still running (although the unit was not too warm to touch it). Updates seem to pay attention to that. 10min in a YouTube video in Chrome today and the fan did not start at all. BTW, too, is so cool in my home right now, that I have a jersey today. And yet the Yoga 900 does not get even the slightest warmth, anywhere in the palm areas or keys (except for the upper middle F keys that get a little warmer).

Yoga floor, still warm and even hot, in the middle back. I have never put a portable computer directly into my lap (sitting on a pillow, laptop sleeve, laptop bag, etc.), so this does not bother me. However, for people who like to put their laptops directly on their lap; Yoga can produce enough heat in the lower back, so you don’t feel uncomfortable.

The fan seems to come often to Specter and is very noisy. However, for me, the main concern is not the sound of the fans on any of these units. My concern is the heat on the deck (palm rest) and overall, I have no doubt that Yoga design is better than Specter.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Specter data says it uses “eSATA” (in both Broadwell and Skylake models). Yoga says “SATA.” I transferred 330GB of data to Yoga. This data is exactly the same data I transferred to both Broadwell and Skylake Specter, with the Seagate UBS 3.0 drive. Yoga has taken longer to download those files than Specter.

All Specter’s (Skylake too), come with an old Intel Wireless Adapter 7260. Yoga, comes with a new Intel 8260 Wireless Adapter card.

Specter, comes with a small brick charger. Connecting to a laptop, as small as it does not go very far. In Yoga, the power connection is USB which means to connect to a laptop, it comes out slowly which is something I don’t like very much. I always feel like things are going on, there is a good chance that something will break the laptop connector.

In Specter, a separate power button, is almost struck by a frame. Some review sites complain that the button is too hard to press. I’ve seen that that’s a good thing. You see, in Yoga, the power button is also next to the unit. However, in Yoga, it comes out slower and responds more easily to stress than Specter. I was copying files to my USB drive, going to Yoga. I wanted to practice Yoga so I picked it up with one hand (which is very easy to do with this lightweight machine). When I take it with my right hand, while my left hand takes the USB drive; I accidentally pressed the power button (which I had set to shut down the system). After this happened 2 more times, since then I have set the power button to do nothing, without turning on the unit for sure.

Last night, for the first time, I decided to try tent mode in Yoga while watching a full movie with VLC player. I have not yet noticed that the rubber that covers the edges of the screen, works on purpose. You see, the rubber around the edge of the screen, comes out slowly. When in tent mode, that line of rubber line, the only part that touches the table and gives a strong feeling that it will not slip / slip.

The Windows 10 Broadwell Specter had Wi-Fi problems (always interrupting) that drove many of us crazy. The problem was due to the drivers used by HP. It took them a few months to fix the problem by updating the old driver version. Then in Skylake Specter, out of the box, there is a problem with time / date. Date continues to change randomly for 4 or 5 days. You can restore it to the correct date, but it will eventually skip further. It turned out that this is a BIOS problem and HP, since 2 days ago, has not given any updates.

And for Specter (all) I have always had a problem when my Bluetooth mouse connection stopped for a while, at least 1 to 2 times every day. I can fix the problem by removing the tag and allowing Bluetooth to be turned off when not in use for power saving. That created a new problem which was that Specter, in sleep mode, was waking itself up after 1 minute of sleep. In Yoga, I have no such problems. My Logitech MX mouse, never stops and my Yoga never wakes up without my permission. It ‘s something like this and many other things that I do not remember yet, which led me to believe that Lenovo, did a much better job of integrating software and drivers ”.

Bottom Point

“As I said before, I bought Yoga at Best Buy. They provide a refund / exchange period of 14 days non-return. The good thing is that every time you do an exchange, your 14-day period starts at the bottom. That way I ended up passing more than half of the Broadwell x360’s, resulting in two Skylake x360’s. I thought I would try Yoga and speak for myself and stick to the beautiful Ash Silver Specter. I wanted to dislike Yoga, but it overcame me. After making sure I wanted to keep the Yoga 900, I returned the Ash Silver Skylake x360 on the 14th day (two days ago) of what was my 2nd Skylake.

There is something about the heat generated by a laptop computer for me. Even though it is not very hot, after a while, my body (any part that touches the warm / hot part of the laptop) starts to feel uncomfortable. Maybe I feel very sorry for him. ”

So at the end of the day, Mr. Ash says Specter gets a better look and a better keyboard, while Yoga is simpler, cooler, lasts longer and charges for about $ 100 less than HP. At first she decided to keep Yoga, but there was more to her experience. Read the reviews below.

Updates

Our student Vong reveals why he decided to return to Specter, after practicing Yoga 900:

Cons of the Yoga: No digitizer pen support, No volume rocker, only 2 USB ports (3rd for charging), limited use / USB-C selection (from 11th / 09/2015), SD card is not compatible with chassis, build quality is not as good as Specter, no hdmi / mini display, glitchy drivers Windows 10 Pro (video for me), and last straw . charging running time.

Gripes with the Specter: The sound is not as loud and clear as the Yoga 900, Limited to a small 8gb ram (can run up to 3 VMs for that) ”

Also, a review from Ash, who was initially very excited about the Yoga 900:

“Review 1: Andrei, he (student Vong) is right about the quality of construction. I have now passed 3 Yoga 900’s. For me the lint under the last coat of paint on the lid. This has happened twice now when I run the palm of my hand over the lid and feel the bumps as if sand grains are trapped under the top layer of paint. Someone on the Lenovo board, said it happened to them in 2 units again.

And because the unit was mostly made of plastic, you can bend the screen when you put your hands on both top corners of the screen and just push a little; the screen will bend / rotate in the center between your hands. I wonder now if the lounge, like the rubber and the edges, will wear out quickly.

I also had a display doing BSOD once. After using the Lenovo update program, I never saw that display problem again. Then there is the automatic brightness of the screen, which always changes when you wake up. That drove me crazy but the solution was very simple; shut down the dynamic display in my power themes and within the Intel display control panel. There are no other real problems for me but I do remember the beauty and strong feeling of Specter.

Update2: I finally found out what was quietly bothering me about the Yoga 900. In 3 words; Sounds cheap! It looks good (better than the uplifting pictures). And since it is not very heavy, it makes tablet mode sound good. The problem is that it is very simple, but it is made of plastic, and the two of them are combined, making it feel cheaper.

Then there was the keyboard I thought I needed to get used to after exiting Specter. After a few weeks, it turns out that the keyboard also feels cheaper. I’ve never used Surface Pro, but when I look at the slender Surface Pro keyboard images, I think it sounds like this Yoga keyboard sounds (small and cheap). I write every day and I still don’t like how the keys feel when I touch and press.

I was trying to find out if the Yoga 900 had a glass screen or a plastic screen as I read someone’s comment on the Lenovo board. I still don’t know but for now, I don’t care as I feel cheated in some way. However, it makes sense if the screen is not a solid glass, because, as I posted above, the whole lid can bend / bend with minimal effort. And then, if the whole door frame is bent, then I think that would not be a good thing with a thick glass screen.

BTW, both floor and lid, can be pushed inside with minimal effort (plastic with space between frame and interior parts). I refer back to what I said in my post above; plastic is wrong!

If the Specter was a bit slimmer and lighter (less than 3 pounds like the Yoga and Samsung ATIV Book Spin) and didn’t have a heated palm rest, it would be a better laptop. on the left, I would go back to it and stop looking for something else. . I will try Samsung and I really hope it will be my last stop for a long time. If it has too many problems for me, then I’ll just admit it and go back to Specter, an ultrabook that compares me to everything else now, in terms of appearance (that could be the Ash Silver Specter).

 

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