The Yoga C940’s Media Chops Can’t Justify Its High Price

Rating: 4/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $1200-1785
Yoga C940
Michael Crider

The Yoga C940 is at the top of the heap of Lenovo’s consumer-focused 2-in-1 category. It’s certainly got the specs to prove it, with a 10th-gen Intel processor, a 4K convertible touchscreen, and a sleek all-aluminum body. But in actual use the design falls short, with battery life and value being too poor to recommend.

Here's What We Like

  • Excellent speakers
  • Aluminum body
  • Good keyboard layout

And What We Don't

  • Way too expensive
  • Poor battery life
  • Loud cooling fan
  • Annoying software

 

There’s no nice way to say it: the C940 just doesn’t measure up to the competition. Aside from one standout feature—the best laptop speakers I’ve ever heard—there isn’t a lot going for this model to justify its high price. Look elsewhere in Lenovo’s lineup (or beyond) for a premium laptop.

Design is Fine

The C940 is…fine. It’s fine. The body design doesn’t stand out much, aside from its appealing all-aluminum shell. It is a Toyota Camry SE in laptop form.

Yoga lid logo
Michael Crider

I’ve looked at this thing for weeks trying to form a stronger opinion than that. It’s thin and light, a hair under half an inch and three pounds on my kitchen scale. But in a field that includes laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo’s own ThinkPad X1, it isn’t particularly remarkable for its dimensions.

There are a couple of small distinctive design choices. The front edge juts forward like a tanto blade, the lid hanging over the palmrest, with a small “YOGA SERIES” jut so you can open the forgiving hinge with just one finger. And the speaker grille is embedded in the one-piece hinge, which is visually distinctive.

Yoga series lid logo.
Michael Crider

One thing I’ve seen Lenovo doing for a few different models, and which I don’t appreciate, is loading all of the ports on one side of the machine. For the C940, that means two USB-C ports (doubling as power input), one USB-A, and a headphone jack to the left of the keyboard, with nothing but the power button on the right.

Please, if you’re going to have more than one USB-C port (a good thing!), then put one on each side. It’s so much better in terms of usability to be able to plug it in on both sides, especially for an ultraportable design. I’d have liked to have seen an HDMI port, too, since its absence means you need an adapter for most TVs and monitors.

C940 side ports
All of the C940’s ports are on the left side. Michael Crider

The only other notable feature for the C940 is the included stylus, which stows away into the body. There’s nothing outstanding about the stylus itself—it’s better than something for a phone, like the Galaxy Note, but not as meaty or comfy as the dedicated pens for the Surface or iPad Pro line. But getting to it is a pain: it’s right next to the back hinge. Pretty much any time you want the stylus, you have to turn the computer entirely around, if only to get enough purchase with your finger to actually pull it out.

C940 stylus and power button
The stylus ejects from the rear, next to the power button. It’s not great. Michael Crider

Balancing out the poor placement of the stylus is the keyboard. It’s serviceable—certainly better than Apple’s infamous ultra-thin designs—though not as comfy as the scissor switches on the ThinkPad line. But I do want to point out that, unlike the ThinkPads, this one has the function left Control key in the corner by default. That means you don’t have to dive into the BIOS settings to make it work like it should, which is something I’ve seen on every ThinkPad for years.

Lights and Sounds

Holy CRAP this laptop sounds good. The Yoga C940 is the best-sounding laptop I’ve ever tried, by a wide margin. The speakers integrated into the hinge are loud, clear, and subtle enough to pick out the details in music and sound effects.

C940 speakers.
Here is a picture of a speaker sounding great. Michael Crider

Don’t misunderstand, they won’t beat even a midrange set of dedicated speakers or headphones. But if you often find yourself listening to music on your laptop and don’t need either privacy or wall-shaking power, the C940 has you covered.

C940 from the side
Michael Crider

I wish I could say the same for the screen. Though Lenovo packed in a 4K touchscreen to our review unit (1080p is standard) and it’s plenty bright, the colors are dull and lifeless. That’s compared to other laptops and my own, admittedly cheap, VA and IPS monitors. The 1080p screen might be more vibrant—and at 14 inches, you’re not getting much of a productivity or performance boost for the extra resolution, anyway. But I can only review what I’ve been given, and what I’ve been given is middling at best.

High Specs, High Price

As you’d expect from the top-of-the-line model, the C940 can be equipped with some of the best ultraportable hardware available, at least without jumping up to something much bulkier. The (quad) Core i7-1065G7 in our review unit is a $125 upgrade over the standard i5, with a boosted speed of up to 3.9GHz.

8 GB of RAM is standard, with the 16 GB in our review unit a very reasonable $70 upgrade.

Storage starts at 256GB, with up to a 2TB SSD upgrade available for a less-than-generous $300. In comparison, the 4K screen upgrade is more reasonable at $200. Other features like the touchscreen, stylus, fingerprint reader, and backlit keyboard are included.

The standard C940 costs $1200 directly from Lenovo, with our upgraded testing model costing $1605. The maximum price with all available upgrades is just under $1800. Street prices, and those available during Lenovo’s frequent sales, should be quite a bit lower.

Who the Hell Puts Anti-Virus on the Taskbar?

Transitioning from a review of the ThinkPad X1 Extreme to the Yoga C940 was jarring, if only for the inclusion of lots and lots of unnecessary software on the latter.

While the ThinkPad had only Microsoft software and a Lenovo driver manager, the Yoga is slathered with distasteful McAffee software that insists, almost demands, that you pay for it. It’s even sitting on the taskbar when you first boot up! Who keeps an anti-virus program on the taskbar?! Probably not even John McAffee, hiding in his Fortress of Solitude somewhere in the jungles of Belize.

GO AWAY NO ONE WANTS YOU EVER

It’s workable. You can uninstall the annoying stuff. But you shouldn’t have to at this price point.

High Performance, Low Battery

The rest of the software is less offensive, and once you get the unnecessary scareware off, you can continue to use Windows 10 as you’re used to. I found the laptop more than capable of handling my usual workload, and even playing a few basic games with its included Iris Plus integrated GPU. It’s beefy enough to handle 4K video easily, though you’ll need to turn down the settings or lower the resolution on those games.

Oh, and bring a pair of headphones. The speakers may sound great, but once the C940 gets up and going, you won’t be able to hear them over the tiny buzz saw that is its cooling fan. It doesn’t take much to get that thing up to its maximum whine, either—a few Chrome tabs are enough. It’s one of the biggest downsides to actually using the otherwise very capable machine.

C940 keyboard
Michael Crider

The other big downside in terms of utility is the battery life. I averaged five to seven hours of portable use, depending on how hard I was hitting my Chrome and Photoshop. That’s…not great for a laptop that claims to be an ultraportable. It’ll definitely get you through a plane ride on a full charge, but you can’t expect to get through a workday on the C940 without bringing along the charger.

It doesn’t help that said charger, while being a decent USB-C 65-watt brick, is, well, a brick. Why are companies still including these old-fashioned, gigantic power adapters when Anker and similar are making elegant little travel chargers that can pump out just as many watts?

C940 with power adapter
Why are USB-C power adapters still gigantic? Michael Crider

Lenovo says that the battery lasts up to 15 hours, which seems wildly optimistic. I can’t count the battery as anything but a failure.

Value Isn’t There

If this version of the C940 started at around $1200, I’d consider it a decent if flawed laptop. But at over $1600 for our review unit, it just doesn’t measure up in terms of value. There are far better choices out there, even if you need a convertible with a built-in stylus.

C940 from above
Michael Crider

I’d say that the C940 is worth considering if you absolutely must have a laptop with great speakers, but honestly, I can’t imagine how many users that covers. Certainly none that wouldn’t be better served getting a cheaper and more well-rounded laptop, plus a good pair of headphones. And those users will be put off by the noisy fan, anyway.

In short: too expensive, too forgettable. Move along to another choice.

Rating: 4/10
Price: $1200-1785

Here’s What We Like

  • Excellent speakers
  • Aluminum body
  • Good keyboard layout

And What We Don't

  • Way too expensive
  • Poor battery life
  • Loud cooling fan
  • Annoying software

 

Michael Crider Michael Crider
Michael Crider has been writing about computers, phones, video games, and general nerdy things on the internet for ten years. He’s never happier than when he’s tinkering with his home-built desktop or soldering a new keyboard. Read Full Bio »

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