Many of you would know of Lenovo’s Yoga Pro line of laptops; it was one of the first laptops that introduced the world to the whole “turn your laptop screen 360-degrees to make it into a tablet” feature. While the Yoga Pro’s concept was a hit, its price point isn’t exactly budget friendly. Seeking a way to market this feature to the more budget conscious, Lenovo decided to create the Yoga line, which features the 360-degree screen of the Yoga Pro, without having the pay too much for it. The Yoga 500, is one such entry.
When it comes to the design of the Yoga 500, words like “premium” and “classy” don’t exactly come to mind. If I were to describe the looks of the Yoga 500, I would say that it is utilitarian. The general design of the laptop – from the hard plastic cover to the metal hinges – gives the Yoga 500 the impression that it is somewhat durable and tough. It isn’t eye-catching, but it looks like a laptop that can get things done. The size and weight of the Yoga 500 is not too shabby, but nothing particularly standout either. With a thickness of around 21.5cm and weighing in at 1.8kg, it is a decently portable laptop.
On the sides of the laptop are all the ports you expect a laptop to have. It has two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0 port, a HDMI-out, a 4-in-1 card reader, audio outputs and an ethernet port. As for the screen, the Yoga 500 comes with a 14″ Full HD IPS touchscreen with a rather sizable bezel.
The Yoga 500 comes in two different configuations. For this review, we’ll be looking at the lower end configuration as that is the unit we were given for this review. For starters, the Yoga 500 comes with an Intel Core i3 processor, which is a step up from the Core M that I was expecting. It has 4GB of RAM by default, although you can upgrade it further to have a maximum of 8GB. Surprisngly enough, the Yoga 500 comes with an Nvidia GeForce 920M in it which, again, is a step up from Intel’s integrated graphics solution. Storage on the Yoga 500 is pretty basic as it houses a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive underneath the plastic shell.
One of the things that surprised me about the Lenovo Yoga 500 when I first started using it, was that the laptop is still running Windows 8.1. Seeing as most new laptops coming out today would already have Windows 10 pre-installed, the presence of Windows 8.1 on the Yoga 500 was surprising to me. Lenovo’s decision to continue using Windows 8.1 would probably sit well with those who prefer the older Windows version, but for the rest of us, you’re going to have to manually upgrade to Windows 10 should you prefer Microsoft’s newer OS.
Another thing worth noting is that the Yoga 500 is a laptop made by Lenovo, and as such, it comes preinstalled with Lenovo’s library of software. If you’re not a big fan of custom software (or bloatware), Lenovo’s addition would not amuse you. I’m not sure as to whether or not you could remove them as a quick Google search shows that Lenovo have made it so you can’t uninstall them, so do keep that in mind when it comes to getting a Lenovo laptop.
As a laptop, the Yoga 500 is a capable workstation. If all you’re looking for in a laptop is something that can open documents and handle office work without difficulty, the Yoga 500 would suit your needs perfectly. The presence of the GeForce 920M does give the Yoga 500 some entry-level gaming potential, but don’t expect anything more than that.
While the Yoga 500 works well as a laptop, tablet mode is a hit or miss depending on your personal taste. To me, I find that the Yoga 500 is just a bit too big for me to comfortably use it as a tablet, but your mileage will vary on that.
Two other things that are somewhat disappointing on the Yoga 500 is the battery life and the screen quality. Under normal usage, the Yoga 500 lasts around 4 hours, which is surprisingly short. I fully expected the Yoga 500 to last for at least 5 hours, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The screen on the Yoga 500 isn’t exactly top of the line either as it isn’t bright enough and the viewing angles are subpar.
Here are more photos of the Lenovo Yoga 500 you might want to check out: