Review the Geek team at CES 2019.  For five days I used the C630 as my primary work tool, writing posts, examining specifications, interrupting Gmail replies, editing and uploading photos, and usually doing it usual mix on the net that takes up too much of my time. This is how it went.
Sayonara, S Mode
I checked out the C630 in a less strenuous environment at home for a couple of weeks first and hung on the hassles before the big show. And since Lenovo cites its almost incredible 22-hour battery life with the laptop running in Windows S mode, I tried to get the job done with those limitations in place.
Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn't install either Chrome or Photoshop, the two most crucial software tools written for Review Geek and How-To Geek. I tried muddling using Microsoft Edge and online photo tools, but eventually it became too much trouble just to use the WordPress interface running our sites.
I had to turn off the S mode and get my beloved Photoshop and Chrome (and all the extensions I trust) back. This can be problematic: Snapdragon-powered Windows machines can only run 32-bit Windows applications, yet memory-efficient 64-bit, and those not programmed for ARM chips must be run via software simulation. This is a surprisingly seamless process and with S mode turned off I saw no real difference in the familiar installation and running of both programs.
As someone who often has dozens of tabs and a handful of Photoshop objects opens on My massive desktop, I was surprised at how stable the little machine was. They were both slower than they could be on an Intel-powered machine, but that was something I expected. And to be honest, performance was no worse than it would have been on, say, a $ 300 Windows laptop purchased from Walmart. C630 is $$ 860-1000 depending on options. But the moment of value is not as running as it may seem, because it is slim, long lasting and comes with an LTE standard for smartphone.
The only part of my usual workflow that I could not use the laptop was Dropbox. The fast-synchronized Dropbox app doesn't work on ARM chips for love or money, and I had to rely on the Windows Store version instead: who doesn't make live synchronization and is basically a bad copy of the smartphone app.
I used the web interface when I had no other option. Be aware of this if you are constantly relying on Dropbox, as the company does not seem to be interested in supporting Windows on ARM. It's not a breach of contract for me, but it can be for you. It is unlikely but possible that a small but important tool may not be available to you at WOS.
Based on my fitness tracker, I went somewhere between forty and fifty miles under CES, the vast majority of that time with the Yoga C630 in my bag. It's a good travel companion: with a weight of just over two and a half kilos and a thickness of just 0.7 inches, it dragged my bag so smoothly that I often forgot that it was there.
It's not the smallest machine around, and the metallic and plastic shell doesn't use any of the exotic materials you see in super-premium design. But between the 13-inch construction and the "Yoga" convertible form factor, it's a good laptop that takes you almost anywhere.
Connection options are another point where the WOS platform really lights up. The device Lenovo sent me came with a Verizon data SIM preinstalled (although you can use any LTE compatible SIM card) and the freedom to jump on a relatively fast network was more or less incredibly liberating. No more hunting for Wi-Fi – a blessing in Vegas, where free connections can be hard to find – and no tethering or dongles to worry about. If you often work far from a reliable connection, this is a good machine for your needs.
Tell us that you work incredibly: the battery takes a long time. It is not the almost miraculous 22-hour animal that Lenovo says it is, at least not with the web and image loaded workload I used. I got 14-16 hours of it and hit processor and RAM hard through Chrome and Photoshop.
But it's more than enough for a day – maybe even two – where you don't have to think about bringing your charger with you. I'm sure if you stick to Windows S Mode, keep your tabs and brightness down, and stay on Wi-Fi, you can crack 20 hours of life. Whether the loss in flexibility is worth it is up to you.
The double bracket on the laptop is hard but not so stiff that it is difficult to open, and I appreciated the added stability when I used it bent back and paired to a mechanical keyboard. Another blessing for mobile work: the fingerprint reader. Thanks to smartphone interventions, this option comes as standard on the C630 – it is usually an expensive upgrade.
Unlocking for a more serious work session is surprisingly effective. I was shocked to discover that not only the computer's dual USB-C ports output video without the need for an adapter (if your monitor supports it), the WOS computer worked perfectly with my portable Asus USB-C portable display (which is dependent on sometimes -fiddly DisplayLink drivers).
Everything I connected worked well too, but I was sorry to note that with only two USB-C ports on the laptop there is no C-to-A adapter in the box. A USB One data port on the charging cable (which also uses USB-C) would have been well supplied. Maybe in the next model, Lenovo? I had also wanted to see a card reader of some sort, even though it only had MicroSD.
Hardware is a mixed bag
If you didn't know it had a relatively small system-on-one chip inside, you'd think it was another pretty ordinary Lenovo laptop. It's good, at least if you hope to use it as one. The keyboard is functional, but nowhere nearly as satisfying as the one on its ThinkPad cousins. The track plate, while humble plastic, is surprisingly responsive and smooth.
While the C630's touch screen is a rather humble 1080p resolution, it is light and crisp, unless you need a special color accuracy for the media. I would have preferred a more square aspect ratio a la Pixelbook, as it would have made the convertible more comfortable in tablet mode. The speakers that flank the keys are quite pathetic, with tinny responses and less volume than a larger phone, but it is a low point in an otherwise solid design.
The Snapdragon 850 processor is rated for almost 3GHz in speed, but don't put too much stock into it. The ARM architecture means that it will not even exceed a Core i3 in pure speech counting power – don't expect to play many PC games on this thing, emulated or not. The 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of flash storage on this review unit is more generous, and I both appreciated during my CES trek. Chrome tended to stomp a little, especially in processing-heavy places like YouTube, but the memory managed to stick to most things. Note that the base model comes with only 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space.
I will not say that the WOS hardware in the Yoga C630 never had a hiccup, for it did. Things can improve much about software vendors like Google and Adobe can get better management of Windows running on ARM. But you should not make a purchase decision based on what a billion dollar company could do.
In fact, this machine will make a very nice friend, but only for a special type of user. Beginners and those who do not need to call will not appreciate the limits of Windows S mode, or even odd block blocks that the Snapdragon chip looks up when disabled. It includes anyone looking for a media or gaming powerhouse: between limited compatibility, bad speakers and a screen that is just okay, this won't be your primary computer unless you're desperate.
But all As said, the C630 lights up on the road. With a lightweight, compact frame, solid convertible skill, good battery life (although not as amazing as the specification says it is) and an LTE radio standard, it's the laptop that wants to go wherever you go and don't think about it you leave the charging cable behind.
Prospective buyers should weigh the ultra-mobility toward the mid-level $ 860 price. You want to upgrade to the $ 940 model for at least 8 GB of RAM boost, and those who handle larger files want the $ 1000 model to double the storage to 256 GB. Thousands can buy you a pretty nice ultraportable from Dell or Acer, and they will pack more of a kind without putting much weight. But they do not last long, and you will hunt for Wi-Fi at almost everyone.
If you can justify the extra expense of this model and manage the single app incompatibility (look at you, Dropbox), the Yoga C630 will not let you down. Those who don't want to deal with problems with Windows on Snapdragon might want to wait a year or so for the kinks to be worked out … or just handle a heavier laptop that doesn't match battery life.
Note! There seems to be little hole in the supply chain, for the time being, for this laptop, which is probably related to the Snapdragon processor. It is listed as "temporarily unavailable" on the Lenovo site, but you can sign up to receive the message when it is in stock.
Here's what we like
- Light weight
- Good battery life
- LTE Radio and Fingerprint reader included
- You can turn off Windows S
And what we don't
- You have to close of Windows S
- No USB-A adapter in the box
- Some odd program compatibility problems
- Weak speakers