If you’re in the market for a premium 13-inch convertible with Skylake hardware and don’t have an unlimited budget to spend, the Lenovo Yoga 900 and the HP Spectre x360 are pretty much the only viable option to consider right now. Otherwise, there’s also the Microsoft Surface Book, but since this one costs $500 to $700 more than a similarly specked Yoga or Spectre, it can’t be included in the same bowl as these other two.
The HP Spectre x360 has been around for a while now and is a great device, as you can tell from our review of the Broadwell model. The Skylake update is nearly identical to that unit we tested in every way, with two exceptions: HP added an Ash Silver color option, and made a slight tweak to the keyboard. Previously the key that turned the illumination on or off was always lit, and now it can be switched off. In other words, the major difference between the Broadwell and the Skylake update is the Ash Silver color scheme and the Skylake hardware, which translates into slightly faster performance and longer battery life.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 is a brand new device and at least on paper, has a few aces down its sleeve over the Spectre. It’s slimmer and lighter, it’s available in more colors (Silver, Gold and Orange) and packs a larger 66Wh battery. You’ll find more about this one in this dedicated post.
These tiny differences are better observed from the specs sheets below.
|Lenovo Yoga 900||HP Spectre x360
|Screen||13.3-inch 3200 x 1800 px touchscreen||13.3-inch 3200 x 1800 px touchscreen|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-6500U||Intel Core i7-6500U|
|Video||Intel HD 520||Intel HD 520|
|Memory||16 GB DDR3L||8 GB DDR3L|
|Storage||512 GB SSD (M.2 SATA)||512 GB SSD (M.2 SATA)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth||Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth|
|Ports||2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, 1x DC-IN with USB 2.0 function, mic/earphone combo, SD card reader||3x USB 3.0, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, mic/earphone combo, SD card reader|
|Battery||66 Wh||55 Wh|
|Size||324 mm or 12.75” (w) x 225 mm or 8.86” (d) x 14.9 mm or .59” (h)||324.9mm or 12.8” (w) x 218.4mm or 8.60” (d) x 16.0mm or .63” (h)|
|Weight||1.29 kg (2.85 lbs)||1.47 kg (3.25 lbs)|
|Price||$1299 as configured||$1399 as configured|
But how do these actually compare in daily use? The user Ash More(Ace01), one of our readers, bought a Broadwell Core i7 version of the HP Spectre x360 a while ago, then exchanged it for the Skylake model when was released, but also got a Lenovo Yoga 900 to try on. The rest of the post includes his opinions on the two and the reasons why he decided to choose one of them over the other (not going to tell you which one, go through the post to find out ) . Thanks Ash for sharing these with us!
This should be useful to those of you undecided between the two options, and if you have any questions, get in touch in the comments section at the end of the article and you will get your answers from myself or Ash.
“I bought the HP Spectre x360 Broadwell i7, QHD, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, here in the US, for $1400. I was having WiFi issues staying connected and so I kept returning/exchanging the unit. It turns out that my model, that came pre-installed with Windows 10, had a new wireless card driver that wasn’t working well. HP quietly fixed the problem by updating it to an older driver.
Then when the Skylake/6th gen Spectre came out 2 weeks ago, I was able to exchange my Broadwell model for the same configuration above, but with Skylake and the beautiful (really beautiful in-person, though $70 more for this color) new Ash Silver and Copper color. Then this past weekend, I decided to try the new Lenovo Yoga 900 that Best Buy also had for sale a bit early in their stores. The Yoga 900 costs $100 less than the Skylake Spectre. The Yoga I have now is the QHD+ screen, Skylake i7, 16GB RAM (twice as much as the Spectre) and 512GB SSD.
So far I am really liking the Yoga and plan to keep it and return the Spectre.
The Spectre in Ash Silver and Copper is truly the most beautiful looking laptop I have ever seen. You must see it in-person to understand how amazing it looks. Pictures online do not do it justice. The color actually changes, depending on what lighting you’re in. It goes from a champagne-like color to a metallic-looking dark brown. And then the copper hinges and the areas around the sides just truly set it off and makes anything else sitting next to it look boring. I went into StarBucks with it last week and I had a total of about 6 people (men and women) ask me what it was and say: Wow, that is really nice!
The clip below shows how the Ash Silver model looks like in real life.
So why get rid of the Spectre?
Well for starters, it gets too hot around the left palm rest for me when the system is taxed hard. When charging, the top left corner and side get even hotter, but that’s not such a big deal because my fingers don’t travel up there. But the palm rest getting hot bugs me. And this is the third HP that has given me too hot palm-rest problems.
The Spectre is also just a bit too heavy for tablet mode to feel right/good. Tablet mode for the Yoga 900 is such a different experience. That little bit of weight difference matters a lot in tablet mode and this is coming from a 6’1 tall athletic guy.
Then, with the Spectre I have to turn the brightness down to zero (yes, zero) to get about 45 min of battery life for every 10% of battery. On the Yoga, I am getting 1 hour for every 10% of battery life and that’s with the brightness set to 20%. On both units I’m using a Bluetooth mouse, have WiFi on and Chrome open with 5 to 6 tabs.
I have not ran the Yoga all the way down yet, as I did with the Spectre, so I don’t know if it does the same thing or perhaps it’s a Windows 10 feature, but on the Spectre, I could only get down to 7% battery and then the system goes into hibernation. I tried several times to change the settings in power management, but when I select anything below 7%, it automatically goes back to 7% upon exit.
The Spectre is so nice looking that I’m always concerned with scratching up the paint. The keys are painted and I have read about at least one case where a user stated that his keys began to wear after 3 months of heavy typing. Also having been through over half a dozen Spectres now, I can confidently state that HP has a quality control issue. I’m referring to my past Broadwell models, but two of the units I had had sleeping pixels. Four of them had a loose panel on the bottom, in the rear. Three of them had minor scratch marks on the body. Two of them had bubbles in the Chromed hinges.
With the Yoga 900, my first unit has been my only unit, because it is flawless. No defects and all of the software and drivers work right out of the box. On the Spectre, many apps I’ve installed (Kaspersky, Revo Uninstaller, CCleaner, etc.) looked fuzzy on the QHD screen. Fuzzy icons, windows and texts. To fix this, you have to change the system-wide scaling from it’s default 200% down to 150% or lower. Things start looking right, but smaller. On the Yoga, the scaling was almost just right in most of the apps I installed.
The Yoga is not as pretty as the Spectre, but it does look pretty nice too.
The Spectre’s QHD display has a lower resolution at 2560 x 1440 vs the Yoga 900’s 3200 x 1800. However, after 2 ½ months on the Spectre QHD screen and now going on 2 weeks for the Yoga screen, I honestly do not see a difference and I am using the same exact apps and even tried the exact same wallpaper image files. In fact, I feel that overall these displays are very much alike in my eyes.
They are both glossy screens and look good indoors. The only time I recall having trouble viewing either of them was at a Starbucks with the Skylake x360. I was sitting with my back to a huge glass window and the incoming sunlight made it very difficult to see the screen, so I had turn the brightness up substantially.
As far as I can tell, the colors and everything else pretty much look the same on both devices. I have read about prior Lenovo Yoga screens having problems with some colors such as yellow. I have not noticed any such problems.
As far as the keyboard on the Yoga, I personally liked the Spectre keyboard better, but then again I used it daily for 2 months and am now trying to get used to the Yoga. What I love about the Yoga keyboard is that the arrow keys are larger and spaced out. The Spectre arrow keys, even after 2 months, still cause me errors and having to look them up, because the up and down arrows are so small and close together.
Other people have complained that the Yoga 900 keys do not travel as much as the older Yoga models. The travel of the keys seems fine to me. And the keys seem to be solid black, unlike the painted Spectre keys. Also I can see the Yoga keys very well in any kind of lighting. On the Spectre in silver, the keys are harder to see in brighter lighting, especially with sunlight coming through a window behind the laptop. The dark keys of Ash Silver model are also, strangely, hard to see in some angles with some types of lighting (unless I turn on the backlighting; which has only one level). The Yoga backlighting is not as bright as the Spectre’s, but it does have 2 levels of backlighting to choose from by pressing the Fn and Spacebar keys.
Update: After a few more days with the Yoga 900, I still have yet to get used to the keyboard and as of right now, I am feeling as if it is not as good as the one on the Spectre x360. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it may be that the keys have less travel and that they are a bit smaller.
What is great though is that the palm rest feels MUCH better than the hard Spectre palm rest, which I always worry not to scratch up.
As far as the touchpad on the Yoga, I have given it only very limited use so far. One tap for left clicking works flawlessly in my opinion and I think I recall doing 2 quick right taps to hold an item to be dragged. I got somewhat used to the large Spectre touchpad that looked strange at start, but after a while became useful due to its larger size. The Yoga touchpad seems really small to me and again I think this has to do with the fact that since mid August, I have been on a Spectre, all day pretty much everyday.
BTW, I use the Logitech MX Revolution. It’s old, from 2008 but I have not found anything better. The mouse back then was $100 for it and a nice keyboard. Even the new MX Master does not have as many programmable button options as this old mouse. I feel crippled without it, as I can Copy, Cut, Paste, press Enter, minimize any window, maximize any window, close any window or program or show the desktop and of course scroll up and down at pre-programmed speeds per app, all from the buttons. I’ve gotten so used to doing all of those things in the blink of an eye, so touch pads just don’t interest me.
What I’ve noticed is that for me in my office, when the weather was still hot and our A/C wasn’t working too well, the Broadwell i7 Spectre kept running hot. Then I got the Skylake i7 Spectre and the weather started to get cold here in Southern California. I’ve noticed that all of these machines seem to runner much cooler if I’m in a freezing cold room.
BTW, after almost two months with the Broadwell i7 Spectre and 2 weeks with the Skylake i7 Spectre, I can seriously say that I noticed between zero and no performance gains and almost no battery gain. Had it not been for the color Ash Silver that only comes with the Skylake Spectres, I would have thought it to be a waste to upgrade to the new model.
On the Yoga 900, I ran 4 tabs in Chrome while I was downloading a lot of data from an external drive. At the same time, I also went onto Youtube and we all know how that goes (one video leads to another and another). It was probably an hour or more on Youtube and I believe the fan did not start up in that time, but it was also very cold in the room I was in at the time.
I picked up the unit and there was just one warm spot, right in the center of the bottom, the area about the size of a silver dollar or smaller. All of the keys never get hot. At the top right, above the center of the keyboard, there is a warm spot but nothing like the super hot left corner of the Spectre.
Chrome is a huge battery drain. I tried to start using FireFox again after years of being away from it. I ended up back on Chrome because of the way Chrome syncs history and everything else, between my laptops, iPhone and iPad. FireFox is about to release an iOS app so maybe I’ll try it again then or the smooth running fast Edge browser, once they get extensions next year.
More on the fan. At first it kicked in after about 15 min of my first use of the Yoga. It was not too loud, but what bothered me at first was that the fan would change speed twice or more per minute or per 30 seconds. I am not used to that, as the Spectre fan when on, basically has two speeds, and thus two noise levels (as far as I can hear): low and high. The Yoga’s fan, once it kicks in, goes at various speeds, constantly changing. It’s not too loud and I am already feeling used to it, but it’s something that bothered me when I first got the laptop.
I would say it tends to kick in when I do several things at once: iTunes, moving 100GB files to the Yoga from external drive, Outlook 2013 running and Chrome browsing with 5 or 6 tabs open led to the fan starting up for a while, changing speeds and then shutting back down.
I love the fact that the vents are all integrated into the watchband hinge. On the Spectre there are intake vents in the rear bottom area, so I am always putting a board under the unit when using it on my bed, sofa, pillow etc. The Yoga has no vents anywhere other than in the rear, right through the hinge.
Update: Since last posting about the fans, I have used the Lenovo update app (which is better than the HP Support Assistant app; better designed UI and more features). The BIOS was updated, along with a few other system updates (did not read the details of each). Since then, the Yoga fan does not turn on very often.
Today, it is 82 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I do not have the AC on in my home. I’ve been on Chrome for about 4 hours now and within that time, I installed Office 2016 and a few other apps. Also within that time, while Chrome was open with 4 tabs, I watched about 20 min of a movie, using VLC. The fan only came on once, at a very low varying speed, for about 2 minutes.
The other day I was getting a little worried because the fan kept running (even though the unit did not feel too warm to the touch). The updates seem to have taken care of that. 10min on a YouTube video in Chrome today and the fan did not start up at all. BTW, again, it is pretty cool in my home right now, so much so that I have a sweater on today. And still the Yoga 900 does not get even a bit warm, anywhere on the palm rests or keys (excluding the top center F keys that do get just a bit warm).
The bottom of the Yoga, still gets warm and or hot, on the center rear area. I never put a laptop directly on my lap (always on a pillow, laptop sleeve, laptop bag, etc.), so this does not bother me. However, for people who do like to place their laptops directly on their laps; the Yoga can generate enough heat in the bottom rear center, to become pretty uncomfortable.
The fan appears to come on more often on the Spectre and is a bit louder. However, for me, the big concern is not the fan noise on either of these units. My concern is heat on the deck (palm rests) and overall, I have little doubt that the Yoga design is better than that of the Spectre.
A few more things to note:
The Spectre data sheet states that it uses “eSATA” (on both the Broadwell and Skylake models). The Yoga states “SATA.” I moved 330GB of data to the Yoga. This data is the exact same data that I moved to both the Broadwell and Skylake Spectre’s, via a Seagate UBS 3.0 drive. The Yoga took longer to download those files than the Spectre.
All of the Spectre’s (Skylake too), come with the older Intel Wireless Adapter 7260 card. The Yoga, comes with the new Intel 8260 Wireless Adaptor card.
The Spectre, comes with a small brick charger. The connection to the laptop, is small as in it does not stick out too far. On the Yoga, the power connection is USB which means that the connection to the laptop, sticks out a bit further which is something I do not like much. I always feel as if the further things protrude, the greater the chance to have something break the laptop’s connector.
On the Spectre, the power button which is on the side, is almost flush with the frame. Some review sites complained about the button being too difficult to press. I have since realized that that is a good thing. You see, on the Yoga, the power button is also on the side of the unit. However, on the Yoga, it protrudes a bit more and responds to lighter pressure than the Spectre. I was copying files from my USB drive, to the Yoga. I wanted to move the Yoga and so I picked it up with one hand (which is so easy to do with this lightweight machine). When I picked it up with my right hand, while my left hand picked up the USB drive; I accidentally pressed the power button (which I had set to shut down the system). After this happening 2 more times, I have since set the power button to do nothing, other than turn on the unit of course.
Last night, for the first time, I decided to try tent mode on the Yoga while watching a full movie with VLC player. I had not realized that the rubber that frames the edges of the screen, serves a purpose. You see, the rubber around the top of the screen edge, sticks out just a bit. When in tent mode, that rubber lined edge, is the only part the touches the table and provides a solid feeling as if it will not slip/slide.
The Windows 10 Broadwell Spectre had Wi-Fi issues (constantly disconnecting) that drove many of us crazy. The problem was due to the drivers HP was using. It took them several months to fix the problem by updating to an older driver version. Then on the Skylake Spectre, right out of the box, there is an issue with the time/date. The date continues to randomly change ahead by 4 or 5 days. You can set it back to the correct date, but it will eventually skip ahead. It turns out that this is a BIOS issue and HP, as of 2 day ago, has yet to offer an update.
Also on the Spectres (all of them) I kept having an issue with my Bluetooth mouse connection pausing, at least 1 to 2 times every hour of every day. I could fix the problem by unchecking allow Bluetooth to be turned off when not in use to conserve power. That created a new problem which was that the Spectre, in sleep mode, would wake itself up after about 1 minute of sleep. On the Yoga, I have no such problems. My Logitech MX mouse, never pauses and my Yoga never wakes up from sleep without my permission. It’s things like this and several more that I’m not remembering at the moment, that have led me to believe that Lenovo, has done a much better job of putting things together with regards to software and drivers”.
“Like I said before, I bought the Yoga at Best Buy. They offer a 14-day no restocking fee return/exchange period. What’s great is that every time you make an exchange, your 14-day period starts over. That is how I ended up going through over half a dozen Broadwell x360’s, leading up to two Skylake x360’s. I thought I was going to try the Yoga and talk myself out of wanting it and sticking with the beautiful Ash Silver Spectre. I wanted to not like the Yoga, but it has won me over. After becoming sure of wanting to keep the Yoga 900, I returned the Ash Silver Skylake x360 on exactly day 14 (two days ago) for what was my 2nd Skylake.
There is something about the heat generated by a laptop for me. Even if it’s not too hot, after a while, my body (whatever part is touching the warm/hot area of the laptop) starts to feel a bit uncomfortable. Perhaps I’m too sensitive to it.”
So at the end of the day, Mr. Ash is saying that the Spectre gets the superior looks and the better keyboard, while the Yoga is lighter, runs cooler, lasts longer on a charge and sells for around $100 less than the HP. He initially decided to keep the Yoga, but there’s more to his experience. Read the Updates below.
Our reader Vong mentions why he decided to switch back to the Spectre, after using the Yoga 900:
“Cons of the Yoga: No pen digitizer support, No volume rocker, only 2 USB ports (3rd is for charging), limited uses/selection for USB-C (as of 11/09/2015), SD card does not fit flush into chassis, build quality is not as good as the Spectre, no hdmi/mini display port, glitchy drivers in Windows 10 Pro (video in my case), and the last straw.. the Spectre with its FHD display has a much longer per charge run time.
Gripes with the Spectre: Sound is not as full nor clear as the Yoga 900, Limited to a scant 8gb ram (can run maybe 3 VM’s with that)”
Also, an update from Ash, who was initially so happy with the Yoga 900:
“Update1: Andrei, he (the reader Vong) is correct about the build quality. I have now been through 3 Yoga 900’s. For me it has been lint under the final coat of paint on the lid. This has happened twice now where I run my palm over the lid and feel bumps as if grains of sand are trapped under the top layer of paint. Someone else on the Lenovo board, has stated that it happened to them on 2 units as well.
Also because the unit it made of mostly plastic, you can actually bend the screen if you put your hands on both corners of the top of the screen and just push a bit; the screen will bend/flex along the center between your hands. I also question now if the rubber-like palm rest and edges, will wear quickly.
I also had the display do the BSOD once. After using the Lenovo update app, I have not seen that display issue again. Then there was the screen auto brightness, constantly changing upon waking up. That was driving me crazy but the solution was very easy; turned off adaptive display in my power themes and within the Intel display control panel. No other real problems for me but I do miss the beauty and the solid feel of the Spectre.
Update2: I finally figured out what was silently bugging me about the Yoga 900. In 3 words; It feels cheap! It looks good (better than photos suggest). And it being so lightweight, makes tablet mode feel great. The problem is it’s so light, but made out of plastic, and those two together, make it feel cheap.
Then there is the keyboard that I thought I just needed to get used to after coming from the Spectre. After a few weeks, what it comes down to is that the keyboard also feels cheap. I have never used a Surface Pro, but when I see pictures of the Surface Pro thin flat keyboard, I imagine it feels like this Yoga keyboard feels (thin and cheap). I type everyday and I still do not like the way the keys feel to touch and press.
I was trying to figure out whether or not the Yoga 900 has a glass screen or a plastic screen as I had read someone comment on the Lenovo board. I still don’t know but at this point, I no longer care as I feel somewhat cheated. Anyhow, it makes sense if the screen is not thick strong glass, because, as I postedabove, the entire lid can flex/bend with little effort. And so, if the entire lid housing can bend, then I imagine that would not be a good thing for a thick glass screen.
BTW, both the bottom and the lid, can be pushed inward with little effort (plastic with space between the frame and the internal parts). I take back what I said in my above posts; plastic is no good!
If the Spectre were just a little bit thinner and lighter (under 3 pounds like the Yoga and Samsung ATIV Book Spin) and if it didn’t have the hot left palm rest, I’d go back to it and stop searching for something else. I’m going to give the Samsung a try and really hope it will be my last stop for a long while. If it has issues that are too big for me, then I’ll probably just give-in and go back to the Spectre, the ultrabook that I compare everything else to now, with regards to looks (that would be the Ash Silver Spectre).”
October 30, 2015 at 5:15 pm
Great article! Can’t wait for your advice on the xps 13 9350 though, Thunderbolt 3 and smaller footprint are very appealing to me…
Wish I could get an i7 16gb 256g fhd config though…
February 8, 2016 at 6:28 pm
I have the 900, my 2nd. Trackpad was bad on first one and screen had yellow lines at the top. Totally agree with you on screen flex. The colours seem off….I don’t trust editing photos on this thing. Thinking about getting the NEW Dell gold xps with Iris graphics and new cpu…OR, the NEW 15″ Spectre with Iris graphics and 16gig RAM with new i7. Hmmmm…which one?
February 8, 2016 at 9:34 pm
I Have no experience with the XPS 13. The Spectre x360 15 sounds interesting but I fear it will have the same issues the 13″ model had for me; a left palm rest that gets too hot. Also after getting used to the XPS 15, the x360 bezels look really big to me now as if they are very dated though in reality almost all laptops have such bezels.
October 31, 2015 at 7:23 am
I have to say that the battery life section was a little ambiguous. I haven’t tried the Yoga 900 yet but I do have the skylake spectre. It seems to last for quite a long time on a charge. I bring it in to the office without the charger and use it regularly throughout the 9 hour day. Some days I am left with 50% and some days about 20%. It’s certainly no slouch when it comes to battery life.
If the Yoga 900 can do that then I may convert as I just bought this a few days ago. Main reason is support for 16gb ram.
November 3, 2015 at 9:45 pm
Hello Vong, can you please give more information about your Spectre battery life? I recently had the Skylake Ash Silver HP Spectre x360 13-4195dx from Best Buy. I used it everyday for about 2 weeks and prior to it I had another one exactly the same, for about 10 days and also used it daily, for many hours. With the brightness set to zero and the power plan on the “HP Recommended” I was only able to get about 45 minutes of use per every 10% of battery (Wi-Fi and bluetooth on, running Chrome with several tabs). When you reach 7% battery left, the Spectre will go into hibernation automatically ( I was not able to find a way to change that).
I have been through nearly a dozen Spectre’s in the past few months and I finally gave up and am now very happy with the Yoga 900 though it is not as pretty as the Ash Silver Spectre.
November 5, 2015 at 5:38 am
Hi Ash, now that you mention it I am forgetting one very important variable about battery life. I only had the spectre i7 256gb with a 1080p display. Not the qhd+ that you were comparing. QHD+ screens of course use more power which explains why I managed such high run times on my spectre (observe the dell xps 13’s fhd vs 4k+touch).
Anyway, since then I have exchanged the spectre for the spec’d out 512gb i7 qhd+ yoga and am very impressed with it. I was shockingly surprised at the sound coming out off this thin as hell convertible.
The only thing that really (really) disappointed me is why such a high end device comes with Windows 10 HOME edition. Pro is a must with a device as capable as this, and not to mention it is a great machine for the workplace.. Professional edition is a must.
November 6, 2015 at 12:01 am
Glad you are enjoying your Yoga, Vong. I too am loving this machine. I’ve never used Windows 10 Pro but I will give it consideration. I am not liking the automatic Windows Updates in the Home edition. Several times now, I’ve been in the middle of installing apps and had no idea that Windows was also installing updates at the exact same time.
November 10, 2015 at 5:24 pm
I have since switched back to the Spectre x360. I had many gripes with the Yoga 900 with the exception of the sound quality and 16gb of ram.
Cons: No pen digitizer support, No volume rocker, only 2 USB ports (3rd is for charging), limited uses/selection for usb-c (as of 11/09/2015), SD card does not fit flush into chassis, build quality is not as good as the spectre, no hdmi/mini display port, glitchy drivers in Windows 10 Pro (video in my case), and the last straw.. the Spectre with its FHD display has a much longer per charge run time.
Gripes with the Spectre:
Sound is not as full nor clear as the Yoga 900, Limited to a scant 8gb ram (can run maybe 3 VM’s with that)
November 10, 2015 at 5:57 pm
Can you please elaborate on the build quality? What is it that you didn’t like about it?
And can you tell us more on the battery life figures you got with the Yoga, compared to the Spectre?
November 10, 2015 at 7:45 pm
I am on the fence as of yesterday. Some of the things you have mentioned, are not an issue for me. I never keep an SD card in a laptop as I only use SD Cards to download images from my DSLR. USB ports for me are something I use and remove as quickly as possible. I like to have as few cables as possible, attached to my laptop.
Andrei, he is correct about the build quality. I have now been through 3 Yoga 900’s. For me it has been lint under the final coat of paint on the lid. This has happened twice now where I run my palm over the lid and feel bumps as if grains of sand are trapped under the top layer of paint. Someone else on the Lenovo board, has stated that it happened to them on 2 units as well.
Also because the unit it made of mostly plastic, you can actually bend the screen if you put your hands on both corners of the top of the screen and just push a bit; the screen will bend/flex along the center between your hands. I also question now if the rubber-like palm rest and edges, will wear quickly.
For me, I had the display do the BSOD once. after using the Lenovo update app, I have not seen that display issue again. Then there was the screen auto brightness, constantly changing upon waking up. That was driving me crazy but the solution was very easy; turned off adaptive display in my power themes and within the Intel display control panel. No other real problems for me but I do miss the beauty and the solid feel of the Spectre.
Last night I noticed that both of the new Samsung ATIV Book 9 PC’s are on Best Buy’s site and in some stores already. One is a 13″ 2-in-1 called the Spin and then they have a powerhouse 15.6″ model. They both only come with 256GB SSD max and they both cost more but I will give them both a try. Ordering one today and then after I’ll try the other model. As of right now, I am considering keeping the Yoga, going back to the QHD Ash Silver Spectre or going with one of the 2 Samsungs.
November 10, 2015 at 10:21 pm
I’m curious about that Samsung Spin too. Unfortunately the ATIV Books haven’t been available in my part of the world in the last few years and that’s not goign to change. If you have anything to share about the Samsungs, I’d love to gather things into a new post. This has proven useful to many so far, that one should as well.
November 11, 2015 at 6:09 am
I’ll email you pics and a review of the Spin, this weekend. I should have it on Friday.
So….I finally figured out what was silently bugging me about the Yoga 900. In 3 words; It feels cheap! It looks good (better than photos suggest). And it being so lightweight, makes tablet mode, feel great. The problem is it’s so light but made out of plastic and those two together, make it feel cheap. Then there is the keyboard that I thought I just needed to get used to after coming from the Spectre. After a few weeks, what it comes down to is that the keyboard also feels cheap. I have never used a Surface Pro, but when I see pictures of the Surface Pro thin flat keyboard, I imagine it feels like this Yoga keyboard feels (thin and cheap). I type everyday and I still do not like the way the keys feel to touch and press. Other brands make thin devices but thin and plastic simply do not got well together.
I was trying to figure out whether or not the Yoga 900 has a glass screen or a plastic screen as I had read someone comment on the Lenovo board. I still don’t know but at this point, I no longer care as I feel somewhat cheated. Anyhow, it makes sense if the screen is not thick strong glass because as I posted in another post above, the entire lid, can flex/bend with little effort. And so if the entire lid housing can bend then I imagine that would not be a good thing for a thick glass screen. BTW’ both the bottom and the lid, can be pushed inward with little effort (plastic with space between the frame and the internal parts). I take back what I said in my above posts; plastic is no good!
I’ve read all I could find so far on the Samsung Spin and it looks like the vents are in the rear, just like the Yoga and so I can only hope it will not give me the hot/warm palm rests issue I had with the Spectre but don’t have with the Yoga.
If the Spectre were just a little bit thinner and lighter (under 3 pounds like the Yoga and Spin), and if it didn’t have the hot left palm rest; I’d go back to it and stop searching for something else. I really hope the Spin will be my last stop for a long while. If it has issues that are too big for me, then I’ll probably just give-in and go back to the Spectre, the ultrabook that I compare everything else to now, with regards to looks (that would be the Ash Silver Spectre).
November 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm
As Ash covered most of my feelings towards the Yoga 900’s build I’ll be brief and add that the rubber feels great at first, but quickly becomes a nuisance.
My experience with the run time per charge for the Yoga 900 has been very disappointing. I was getting on average only 6 hours per charge. It just could not last the whole day. In contrast the spectre with the FHD display gets me close to 9 hours. I do not like to carry the charger with me and I like the freedom to just pick up and go.
The spectre seems to be the only 2 in 1 that has the minimum requirements I ask. Said requirements are at least a FHD display, does not require me to carry the charger and plug into a socket during the day, port selection I use regularly (the Yoga 900’s USB-C wouldn’t be bad if there was more support/accessories for it), and not required but definitely a big deal over time is a build that inspires confidence when I use it.
November 15, 2015 at 3:44 am
Vong, if it’s not too late, you might want to consider the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin (terrible name but an awesome unit). I’ve only had it for 1 day now, but as soon as I opened the box, I knew it was something really good. The Yoga 900 will be returned tomorrow (because it was my 3rd one; I still have a few more days to return it).
Any questions, please feel free to ask. BTW’ I have not done any battery testing as of yet but after I try running it down to it’s 5% shutdown limit; I will post those results. So far, just going an hour on batter at 25% brightness, I do believe I will only get between 6 and 7 hours with the Spin, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on, Chrome browsing. I was able to do better on the Spectre and much better on the Yoga, but for me; all of the things I really like about the spin, make the trade-off worth it to me. I do plan on buying a small external battery pack, so that I can always be sure to get 10 to 12 hour of use, while traveling.
Update by Andrei: I’ve gathered all the opinions about the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin in this post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-impressions/ . Let’s move the conversation about it there please.
November 20, 2015 at 5:01 am
Update on the Samsung Spin: Still very much loving this laptop. My search for the right laptop, is officially over!!!!
Update by Andrei: I’ve gathered all the opinions about the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin in this post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-impressions/ . Let’s move the conversation about it there please.
November 20, 2015 at 8:28 pm
Thanks Ace, will get you comments into a new post as I promised, but I’ve been incredibly busy lately and haven’t yet got to it. I’m glad you found what you were looking for!
November 21, 2015 at 12:53 am
Glad to hear you’ve found the right device for you Ash. The Spin does seem like a nice 2-in-1 on paper. I do not doubt your glowing review of it at all. It however does not seem to meet my needs. I enjoy the over 9 hours of battery life I get on the Spectre (FHD) during regular usage (includes running at least 1 vm up to 3 during parts of the day). Another bonus is that I get to keep using my Dell active stylus. I have had only three big issues with the spectre. Said issues are that it is limited to only 8gb of ram (Hyper-V eats up a lot of my ram), a unnecessarily large touch pad, and a Video driver issue that was fixed with a driver update from HP (Wake from sleep would 90% of the time make the screen go black/glitch and was unusable until a hard restart/shutdown).
More on the Yoga 900. While it is certainly a nice 2-in-1 it falls exceedingly short of my expectations. During my brief time with it I had many issues, some of which may have already been brought up. To rehash; After the honeymoon period, it felt CHEAP. The Yoga 900 did not respond well to my 2 finger scrolling, and again felt cheap. Opening the lid felt like spreading peanut butter on a soft untoasted thin piece of bread. The Display; scaling was terrible, screen did not have very good viewing angles (in comparison to the spectre), and was not as vibrant as the spectre. The battery life fell far too short of my expectations. Sometimes lasting only 4 hours on a charge with the same workload as the Spectre.
I am no longer interested in another small 2-in-1 unless it can realistcally offer over 8 hours of run time per charge and be configurable up to 16gb of ram. On the other hand there’s the Surface Book with its tablet mode and discrete graphics PLUS a long run time. It would certinaly be in consideration were it not for the god-awful hinge leaving a unsightly and impracticle gap between the keyboard and tablet.
November 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm
Vong, It’s nice to know that someone else saw all of the same issues in the Yoga. Though I did manage to get far more battery life in my Yoga experience than you did. But we can both agree; CHEAP is the best word to describe the Yoga 900 experience.
On my last Spectre (Ash Silver Skylake i7, QHD 512SSD), I only had the display driver crash a few times and then restart automatically without disrupting my work. The exact same thing happened to me a few times on the Yoga and twice so far on the Spin. Not a problem for me as it all happens and restarts (driver restarts, not the PC) within 2 seconds. It amazes me that I had left palm rest heat issues on the Spectre and so did some people but not everyone. maybe I just have very sensitive hands.
The touch pad of the Spin is so good that I am actually trying to force myself to use it more often. Am still loving everything about the Spin, other than the 6 to 7 hours of battery life. I like the design and feel of the Spin so much that I considered upgrading to the 15.6″ version but then I figured I’d maybe not like the extra 2 pounds and that perhaps I’d have heat issues with the dedicated graphics card and Quad i7 of the 15.6″. I also figure if I were willing to move up to 15.6″, then I might as well go with the XPS 15 which has far better specs than the 15.6″ Samsung (16GB RAM vs 8GB, 1TB SSD vs 256GB SSD and more). I did look into it and even read the XPS 15 forums. It seems that people are only getting 5 to 6 hours of battery on the new 4K XPS 15. So after rethinking it all, I’m going to stick with the Spin and just purchase a high res external display for when I’m in my home office and want a bigger screen.
After all of this, I would say that the Spin and x360, are the overall, 2 best 2-in-1’s currently on the market.
Update by Andrei: I’ve gathered all the opinions about the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin in this post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-impressions/ . Let’s move the conversation about it there please.
November 27, 2015 at 12:50 pm
I’ve gathered all the opinions about the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin in this post: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-impressions/ . Let’s move the conversation about it there please.
November 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm
Andrei, no problem and let me know if you have any questions. Also, could you share with us, your thoughts (here or anywhere) about 13″ vs 15″ laptops and why you prefer 13″? I love the Spin and for now, if anything could get me to change my mind, it I would be a larger screen device.
November 23, 2015 at 10:28 am
I mostly use a laptop for text editing, browsing on other casual stuff when I’m not at home or at the office, where I have desktop computers for the more demanding tasks. That’s why I don’t need something very powerful and that’s why I want something light and compact, hence I went for the XPS 13. Prior to that i used a ThinkPad X Series as my daily driver and I also have a a few 11-inchers around.
15-inchers are too heavy and large for my taste. They are also more powerful than I need and those on the lighter end are usually very expensive.
November 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm
No stylus, no buy.
November 3, 2015 at 9:50 pm
Andrei, I forgot to mention that the Yoga 900, hands down; has much better speakers than the Spectre. On all of the x360’s I had, they all had low sound that was also somewhat distorted through the speakers. I was told that the Skylake Ash Silver model that I purchased last, had upgraded speakers. All I can say is that the speakers sounded exactly the same to me as the other x360 models I had before. Now on the Yoga, the sound is not only more clear but also much louder. With the Spectre, I had struggled one day to show someone a video because they could not hear well enough to understand everything the person speaking in the video was saying.
November 4, 2015 at 9:29 am
Is there an option for a stylus on the yoga 900? How about the spectre?
November 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm
The Spectre works with HP Active Pens. The Yoga 900 lacks a digitizer, so it’s not a proper solution for inking and taking notes.
November 6, 2015 at 12:06 am
No active digitizer on the Yoga. I do use a stylus to avoid greasy finger marks when I’m in tablet mode. It works very well for me to highlight text in ebooks and other documents. I prefer to type when I need to write and only use tablet mode for reading and watching video. For those that need to take notes in tablet mode, I would look elsewhere. Strange though, the Yoga is much nicer than the Spectre to hold in tablet mode but the Spectre is the one that has the active digitizer.
January 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm
HP refused to confirm if the x360 I was going to buy from them would support a pen, so I refused to take a chance. I’ll wait for a product with integrated pen.
November 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm
Does the SD card stick out of the Yoga 900? Or is it flush with the laptop?
November 7, 2015 at 7:15 pm
Yes more than half of an SD card sticks out. Not good for folks who want to add storage. For me, it’s not a problem because I only use it to dump DSLR photos onto my PC.
November 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm
It is such a shame that Yoga 900 doesn’t have a digitizer. I’d go for the Skylake Spectre x360 if it weren’t for its weight. I know you stated in the intro that the Spectre and Yoga 900 are pretty much the only options today, but by any chance do any of you know of a device like this: a Spectre-like device that weighs under 3 lb, or a Yoga 900-like device with active stylus support?
November 12, 2015 at 10:33 am
There’s also the Samsung ATIV Book Spin, which was just recently announced. Ash is getting one and hopefully he’ll share his opinions with us.
November 17, 2015 at 11:02 am
Samsung lappies are not really an option in Europe anymore, unless they are planning a return?
November 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm
Haven’t heard anything about them selling their laptops over here again
November 17, 2015 at 11:37 pm
You’re probably still reviewing the ATIV Book Spin so I’m holding my breath about that. In the meantime, just glossing over the release press, I don’t see any mention of an active digitizer and pressure-sensitive stylus on the Spin. If it doesn’t have such stylus, there doesn’t seem to be any advantage over the Yoga 900 which has pretty much the same specs and weight at a price that’s $200 cheaper. What do you think so far?
November 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm
Here in California, the Spin and top-end Yoga 900, are the exact same price at Best Buy. Though you do get 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD with the Yoga vs 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD with the Spin. For me the price was worth it as the Yoga really does feel cheap. And the Spin really does feel Apple-like in terms of build quality and design. I can not say enough just how good the Spin touch pad is. There are youtube video reviews saying the same thing; the touch pad is the best Windows touch pad I have ever used.
November 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm
Wow, impressed by the things guys here complain about and all the amount of returns to the store you make with your products. I wonder where all those perfectly working machines go back to. Hope you never have to buy a computer in a third world country fellas…
December 10, 2015 at 11:49 pm
Martin, yes things are very different here. I’ve been to 22 countries and I understand life is very different around the world. Therefore, it would not be right for me to judge the ways of your country, anymore than it would be for you to judge the ways of my country.
April 11, 2016 at 11:02 am
I certainly wish I was in your country. I bought the Yoga 900 from Lenovo’s education website. Came dead. A gorgeous orange lemon that never powered on even once. After nightmarish calls and emails (with video capture) to tech support, their outsourced service center, sales and customer service, I finally managed to convince them it was a lemon. Despite that, returning for a replacement required special approval from their top management. Then, after approval was given, guess what? The customer service said there was no stock – when it was still available for order on their website! Go figure. Only logical answer is that they were waiting for another return so that they could swap refurbs. Again, refund required special management approval – busy busy management! Weeks, and no news. Another call revealed that the customer service handling my case had quit, and no one had gotten around to taking over my case. Took more than three months from the order to getting my money back.
November 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm
Just out of curiosity. How did you get a hold of the Ash silver version of the spectre? I’ve been to several best buys and they don’t seem to even have received initial units. It’s not available on the website either. One Best Buy employee told me that they usually get it after it’s been available on the HP website.
December 10, 2015 at 11:44 pm
Nipuna, Sorry I did not see this message from you sooner. The Ash Silver Spectre I purchased from Best Buy, here in the Los Angeles area, is Model: 13-4195dx SKU: 4503000. I called the local store and gave them that SKU#. They told me they had only one in-stock. What you were told at the store you contacted, was not true for the stores I’ve gone to. Also, you can not go by what the site tells you. When a store has only 2 or 3 units left in-stock, the site will say out of stock. I have now become somewhat of a Best Buy pro. Best Buy is a great store and they laptops often before they go on sale at the manufacture site. This has been true for me for the Ash Silver Spectre (I had it before HP released it on their site), the Yoga 900 (I picked up my first one, before Lenovo had it for sale) and now my current PC, the Samsung Spin, I got it from a Best Buy store who said they only had one in stock and the site said it was not out yet. When you see something new that you want right away; get the SKU# from the site and then call all of the local stores. Doing this is how I got my hands on all 3 of these 2-in-1’s before they were widely available.
December 10, 2015 at 11:46 pm
* My Samsung Spin, came in the mail, not from the store.
November 19, 2015 at 4:59 am
interested in the latest skylake laptops
December 5, 2015 at 7:36 pm
Great to read your thoughts after a few months f owning the HP. I was encountering the exact same issues and dilemmas, it’s my fifth one so far and thinking about returning it again, and this time try something else, I keep on being disappointing with the Spectre’s issues.
What are your thoughts about Surface pro 4 as a Spectre replacement, can it be a laptop replacement?
December 10, 2015 at 11:57 pm
Elijah, I have never given the Surface Pro a chance because I always assumed it was more of a tablet that can act like a laptop. I really didn’t like the Surface Pro keyboard when I tried it for a few minutes in a Best Buy store. So I can’t speak really speak about it.
I strongly recommend that you try the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin. It has the same strong aluminum body of the x360 but even better built and no quality control issues (between mine and the 2 my friends purchased). You can read more about it right here on this site: https://www.ultrabookreview.com/9207-samsung-ativ-book-9-spin-review/
Right now, both Samsung.com and Best Buy, have the Spin at $100.00 off @ $1,299,00. You get a smaller SSD @ 256GB but you could upgrade it yourself to 512GB as I did (very easy to do).
December 11, 2015 at 12:09 pm
There are some points which are clear such as Vong getting great battery life because he using FHD unit while Ash didnt get that much juice out of Specter because he has QHD unit.
But there are some areas which are still in grey. Like Ash mentioned in his review and comments that he is facing hot back and front issue while Vong is not facing any issue like that or he didnt mentioned anything like that so does Specter getting really hot while performing heavy task or as Ash said he only has sensitive skin.
Another issue is both Ash and Vong agreed on that Yoga has cheap build but then why Ash always worried about scratching his Specter. Scratch resistance is part of solid build quality am I right or I am missing something here.
Also havnt get any detail about performance which one is faster? Yoga has 16gb ram does it performing well or you didnt noticed any performance gain.
It would be great if Ash or Vong reply on these issue. Thanks in advance :)
December 13, 2015 at 10:49 pm
Thanks for the comparisons and analysis.
I was considering a Yoga 900. However, I was comparing it to the Spectre x2. I know size-wise, the Spectre 360 is a better comparison. But I am willing to give up some screen size for the portability. Anyone tryout the Spectre x2 yet and have any thoughts?
December 17, 2015 at 9:00 am
Brett, there’s a review of the X2 here on the site. Check the homepage
December 23, 2015 at 3:42 pm
Ace01, you mentioned at one point that after a while even low heat tends to become unbearable when in constant contact, and seemed to wonder if you were just over sensitive to it. You’re not. That’s a simple biological response. Although some are more sensitive to such a thing than others, everyone eventually finds even a small heat differential to be near unbearable.
I’d like to ask a general question to the public: I’m looking to upgrade to a new computer next week, and it’s a tossup between these two, with the the spectre 360 option I’m considering being the FHD and 256g drive. In that beautiful ash silver! (I’d think it’d be more aptly called “ash copper” though, as it seems based more on the copper finish)
I tend to keep techie gadgets as long as possible. I’d still have my iPhone 3s if my dear son hadn’t broken it beyond repair (he was 3), and I’d still have my motorola milstone that I rep/aced it with if I could have gotten carrier service after I moved here to Louisiana. I’ll be coming from a Toshiba Satellite circa 2011. Not even sure which model number any more, but it was a Walmart bargain bin special for $300 in the first week of January 2012. It has the full num pad to the right if that helps, and I believe a 15″ screen. So far it’s kept going, but has become so outdated it’s insufficient for my needs.
I tend to not use more than 3 tabs at once while browsing, and rarely more than one. I don’t go wild on youtube. I do watch movies, do some very minimal gaming (and almost never do FPS anymore, usually adventure). The most taxing need I have of a computer seems to be video conferencing, as my divorce ruling requires that my son skypes with his mom at least once a week (he lives with me full time). I’m rarely doing more than one thing at once, as I simply can’t split my attention that way and rarely have need to run anything in the background such as downloads and file transfers.
I’ve had awesome experience in the past with HP, having a desktop last nearly ten years, and have also had some not so awesome experience having to exchange a laptop more than once for glitchy video, albeit that was when I WAS still running fps shooter games All. The. Time. I’ve since changed tastes, as I mentioned, partly due to my experiences in the USMC as a rifleman in Iraq and Afghanistan. FPS shooters are simply not as fun to me anymore as adventure and RPGs are.
Battery life: both of these perform better than I really need
Fit and Finish: both are better than I really need, I’m not picky over minor flaws.
By biggest concerns are
Durability: it WILL be dropped at least once by myself or my now ten year old son, I’m sure. (Also why I don’t get overly picky on fit and finish)
Longevity: I only upgrade when it becomes almost absolutely necessary. Such as; service and support personnel tell me, “Dude… you need a new computer. I can’t make this thing any better…”
tl;dr: Any final suggestion on which to get? Have read the reviews and still undecided. Leaning towards the Spectre.
December 25, 2015 at 8:30 am
Trip, Happy Holidays to you and your son. Very rare to hear that the children end up with the father.
If you are able to, I would strongly suggest walking into a Best Buy store when you have an hour to spare. You can test the Yoga and the Spectre and look out fo the things we’ve mentioned here in this thread. The Yoga, is not built to last unless you use it with a lot of care. Then again perhaps the fact that is all plastic and rubber and very light, might help it survive a fall. Really though, no notebook should ever be dropped (unless it’s one of those Panasonic tough books).
At this point, unless you need more than 5 to 6 hours of battery, I would say go for the Samsung Spin over the Yoga and Spectre. The HP appears to be built very well but they do have quality control issues and so if you’re unlucky, you may end up with one that has issues. I’ve opened up all 3 (removed the bottom covers) and I do believe Samsung when they say they made their new Book 9’s to last. And also, if you love good sound, the Spin beats both the HP and Lenovo. I currently have an XPS 15 along with my Spin and even more so now, I appreciate just how amazing the speakers are in the Spin (the XPS speakers are not very good).
With the Spin, you cant get a lower res screen but you do get a much better touchpad than the ones on the other two devices and a much nicer keyboard than the one on the Yoga. The Yoga is not good for anyone who needs to do a lot of writing. I now think of the Yoga as more of a web browsing and media machine (even though it has the worst screen of the 3).
If you don’t like the Spin, then go for the Spectre. Comparing the other two to the Yoga, hands on, will let you know that it’s a good idea to skip the Yoga.
December 26, 2015 at 1:53 pm
Thanks for the reply, I will definitely look into the Samsung. Interestingly, the phone that I replaced my Motorola Milestone with was a Galaxy s2. Loved it, so I already have a high opinion of the brand.
December 27, 2015 at 12:03 am
Being a Samsung phone user, you will be able to take advantage of the pre-installed Samsung apps. I’m an iPhone user so I haven’t used the apps but what the info says is that you’ll be able to sync data and media between your Galaxy and Spin, just by having them sit side-by-side.
A couple of months with the HP Spectre and though I thought I would miss the beautiful ash Silver; now, you could not pay me to go back to the Spectre. Longer battery life and it does have an active digitizer for pen input but in just about every other category, the Spin is just better.
I like the Spin so much, that I’m seriously sitting here each day, trying to decide whether or not I want to keep it over the XPS 15 9550. I just can’t bget over just how smooth the Spin is. The touchpad and keyboard not only look really nice, they feel really nice and both work very well (best windows keyboard and touchpad I have ever used). I may end up keeping both because the 4K screen of the Dell and it’s powerhouse hardware, are a lot to love too.
December 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm
I’m not actually a Samsung phone user anymore :(
That phone took a serious beating (Galaxy S2) and held up admirably. Water damage, drops from heights up to about 10 feet onto pavement, was stolen at one point and who knows what may have happened during that time? I got it back (and the thief paid, just not in cash), and it was further abused. I work hard! And my phones, pocket knives, clothing, boots, and tools all show the evidence of it, not to mention the numerous scars on my body.
Anyway, when I did have it, I took advantage of the apps you’re speaking of, or the versions that existed back in 2012-2013, and yes, they are very useful. What finally did my S2 in, I have no idea really what the straw that broke the camel’s back was, one day it finally just said, “That’s it, I give up, I quit. I’m tired of this abusive relationship, I’m just gonna roll over and die now.”
Went through a Moto X 1st Gen, loved it even more, and it took the same abuse as admirably well. In fact, it still works just fine! But I dropped it perfectly face down from a height of about 8″, and it shattered the screen. I don’t blame the quality of the screen, I blame the angle at which it hit. Made a perfect “SMACK” sound and didn’t bounce roll or move. I’m going to get the screen replaced and give it to my son as a toy/iPod type of device, as I got a Nexus 6 as a gift. I also bought a cheap prepaid phone that takes the same SIM card. I leave the Nexus at home and carry the prepaid phone (with the SIM that came with the Nexus), at work.
January 2, 2016 at 11:52 pm
Out of all of the Android phones I’ve tried, I do like the Galaxy phones the best. I played around with a Galaxy s6 Edge Plus for a few hours. I would have considered buying one but here, they only have it in 64GB memory, which is the same price as my iPhone 6s Plus which has 128GB. I hate streaming music services and so I require lots of space to hold all of my audiobooks and music. Everyone I know who has an s6 Edge, loves it and I have to say it is much nicer looking, smaller and lighter than my iPhone. But I just couldn’t bring myself to cut my memory space in half. And with 4K video and higher res pictures; it only makes sense to have as much memory as I can get my hands on. 4K video, uses about 350MB per minute. What most people don’t realize about all of the video and pics they take on their phones today, is that someday those old memories, will look very bad on the displays of tomorrow. It will be like watching an old VHS video on your new 4K or even 1080P LED TV today. So I always try to capture important moments in as high res video or still image as available to me at that given moment.
One thing that I was not able to find on Android, was the ability to auto sync my phone contacts with Office 2016 on my laptop. I gave serious consideration to trying Android again but Outlook is very important to my business needs. I can create, edit or delete a contact on my iPhone, iPad or laptop and instantly have those changes synced thru iCloud and updated on the other 2 devices. I googled it and found that there was no clean flawless solution for Outlook with Android devices yet. But still, that Galaxy Edge, is one really beautiful and sexy device (as I’m sure anyone can guess; I give a lot of points to tech that looks really good) as I think all tech should look beautiful).
December 30, 2015 at 6:49 pm
I would be very hesitant to purchase another Samsung product. I have had nothing but hard drive problems with my current laptop, and I just returned TWO Samsung televisions that had identical problems. I think Samsung used to make a good product, but I believe their quality control has gone down the tubes.
January 3, 2016 at 12:03 am
Chess, I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience with Samsung. I’ve not owned a Samsung phone but I have friends and a family member who all love their Galaxy devices. I have to admit that the Galaxy s6 models, are built very well and holding one next to my iPhone 6s plus, makes the iPhone look dated and the Samsung screen is far superior looking than that of my 6s Plus. It’s pretty amazing that the Galaxy s6 Edge Plus, has not only a better-looking screen but a bigger screen than my iPhone, yet the Galaxy is smaller and lighter.
I’ve had several Samsung TV’s and monitors. All of them have served me very well and gave me no problems for many years.
Now as for the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Spin. I can’t stop saying just how good a laptop it is. Aside from its rather short battery life (5 to 6 hours), it continues to prove itself to be a solid machine just like a MacBook. I’m loving the XPS 15 as well and so it looks like I am going to end up keeping both. I check the Best Buy website, every week or so, just to read what other Spin and XPS 9550 owners are saying and one by one, I keep finding Samsung Spin reviews that sound much like my own experience. As for the XPS reviews, it seems that people have to get lucky as I did and get a unit that has no quality control issues. But then again, I feel as if I earned the XPS after a dozen HP Spectres that all had issues. Hahaha
December 27, 2015 at 5:07 pm
FYI – the Spectre BIOS issue was resolved during December. I bought one, returned it, had the same issue, then luckily in December, they released a new driver. These updates DO NOT show up in the list of available updates in the Support Assistant software, you have to go to their website.
I’ve also had the video driver crash often as others mention above, and I have to say it doesn’t run as smoothly as I’d like. However, it seems as though all of my annoyances are software related, not hardware.
While an impressive looking and feeling piece of hardware, especially the keyboard for me, this whole experience including Windows 10 has hardly been an enjoyable experience compared to my last purchase of a low end Windows 7 laptop 5 years ago, which I took out of the box and zero issues.
December 28, 2015 at 9:00 am
Do you know by any chance whether you can add an extra 8GB RAM if you buy the 8GB version? I know the initial RAM comes soldered to the MB, but is there an available slot to add extra RAM?
December 28, 2015 at 9:02 am
The above 8GB + 8GB question refer to Yoga 900.
January 2, 2016 at 11:09 pm
No, the RAM is non-upgradeable on any of these
January 3, 2016 at 3:54 am
Other than XPS 15, most of the ultrabooks, have their RAM soldered on so it can’t be removed/upgraded. If you’re looking at the Yoga 900; Best Buy has the 8GB RAM with 256GB SSD @ $1,200 and the 16GB RAM 512GB SSD at $1,500.00. Which based on specs alone, is a pretty good deal. If you’d like, they have open-box 16GB RAM models at $1,275.00. Open-box units are returned items that they have tested and you do get the full manufacturer warranty as well as the full Best Buy return policy (full money back 14 days for most customers and 30 to 45 days for Elite customer members).
January 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm
Ace01 – Thanks for posting up this information but I have to say, you seem to switch your opinion a bit which damages your credibility somewhat.
You seem to be taking a laptop back to bestbuy every 2 weeks and exploiting a loophole there – good for you.
You raved on about the Yoga 500, saying it was the best thing, how brilliant the quality was, etc. . . . Vong comes along and makes some very sensible points, which basically point out the Yoga’s issues then within a few days, you are saying it is not great, build not great, etc.
A few days before, it was the best thing and a keeper.
I have had to read down for miles and now it seems you are saying that the HP is the better machine again when compared to the Yoga. . . although now you are onto a Samsung.
Why not wait a while and make a constructive review which then makes a single conclusion?
January 7, 2016 at 12:16 am
John, thank you for sharing your opinions. Well, firstly, it is not a loophole within Best Buy. They have a policy that allows the customer to not only be sure of their choice but to also make a purchase that is without manufacturer defects. One can only discover some issues, after a week or so of use at home. Best Buy is an awesome retailer as far as I’m concerned and they have a great policy, much the same as many retailers. Most people don’t realize that it’s normal course for your return period to begin over at an exchange. It actually does the retailer and credit card company some good. You see, if it were not that way, the customer would then have to return the first item, causing a charge-back to the credit card account and then make a new charge/purchase.
If you’ll recall, I had been searching for the perfect machine for myself, since mid-August 2015. YES!!! I am a VERY picky consumer. I stated that I gave up on the x360 after going thru about a dozen of them. I also stated that my top complaint was the left palm rest getting too hot for me. Keep in-mind that many people did not run into the palm rest issue that I did. But after a dozen units (Broadwell and Skylake), I figured my hands just don’t like the heat.
So I then tried the Yoga 900. The Yoga had none of the heat issues that drove me crazy with the x360. That was an exciting relief for me. And as I stated here, and on the Lenovo Yoga 900 forum, and on Amazon and a few other places; there was something bugging me in the back of my mind, about the Yoga. I didn’t know what it was, but it was there. Other users such as Vong, helped me figure out exactly what it was that bugged me (the Yoga 900 feels very cheap compared to the x360 and Spin). Please try to keep things in proper perspective. I always attempt to make it clear that what I am writing, are my initial thoughts. I gave my initial thoughts of the Yoga 900 which was wow, this thing feels much lighter than the x360. It’s also thinner and I didn’t have the driver and scaling issues that I had with the x360. But then upon further usage, hey you know what; this thing is so light because it’s made out of plastic and rubber. I got the Yoga and liked it at first. My first thought was not to see if the screen could bend. But the screen does bend with very little effort. That took a while to figure that out. What I’ve done here, is give an account of my experiences from day-1 and beyond. Your suggestion is to wait and then post. I preferred to post as I went along. Had I not done things my way, I would have perhaps not had the feedback from users such as Vong. My posts are not only an account of my journey with a new device but also a request for feedback from other owners. I’m not a blog writer. I am a consumer. I’m here to share my thoughts and to seek out the thoughts of other owners. In other words, I am engaging in a conversation.
Now to be clear, after much usage:
Yoga 900: Made out of all plastic and rubber exterior. The screen itself, feels as if it is plastic rather than glass (I never confirmed whether it is glass, gorilla glass or plastic). The keyboard for me, does not feel very good at all (something I stated since day one). The keys just feel too shallow and cheap (as if they will actually pop out after a short while of hard use). The quality control for the Yoga 900, is VERY poor. On several different units, if you rub your palm across the lid, you can feel lint and or sand, trapped under the paint. I confirmed that several other people across the country, also found the same (see the Lenovo Yoga 900 forum). That was something that I didn’t notice right away. You have to look at the device lid in bright light and or swipe your palm across the entire lid. On all the Yoga 900’s, the screen flexes/bends with little effort if you hold the right and left top corner and apply a little pressure. On my last Yoga, I noticed after a few days, that on one side, the top (lid) section was not properly lined up with the bottom section. I’m talking about the size of a grain of cooked rice size space. The screen is a higher res than that of the x360 but for some reason that I never figured out; actual viewing on the Yoga 900, does not look as good as the x360. There is something slightly poor quality about the Yoga 900 screen other than the cheap feel of it. This is one of those things that you will only notice if you compare it to the x360, Spin, etc. (use both for a period of time). Also, the bezel on the Yoga 900 (mostly the bottom) is just way too big. Not very pleasing to the eye. At the end of the day, the Yoga is one of those devices that you either love the look or hate it. I tried to love it. it even grew on me after a week or so. But in the end, I missed the beauty of the Ash Silver x360. The Yoga has an industrial look that just didn’t do it for me in the end. Some folks even call it downright ugly. I spend all day, almost every day, in front of a PC. The way things look, matters to me. I’m an iPhone 6s Plus user and I love it but the Samsung Galaxy s6 Edge Plus, is the most beautiful phone I’ve ever seen. Had it had a 128GB memory option, I would have jumped ship for it.
Spectre x360: Much better build materials and qaulity than the Yoga 900. Heavier so that in tablet mode, it feels clunky and odd to hold compared to the thinner lighter feel of the Yoga in tablet mode. For me, the left palm rest, at times, gets very warm (too warm for my comfort). I had a few units with dead/sleeping pixels but most had perfect screens. A few x360s out of the box, had scratches on various areas. This really bugged me because I’m the type of person that takes very good care of everything I own. I often gift old tech to friends and they question whether or not I ever actually used the item because it looks like new. The x360, is a beautiful looking laptop. The Ash Silver edition, is just insanely beautiful to look at. I’ve never pulled out a laptop and had so many people (both men and women) comment on how good it looks. From Starbucks to LAX, people asked questions about that Ash Silver x360. And as I’ve stated before, don’t let the photos online fool you. The Ash Silver x360, is NOT black. It is a dark brown/champagne-like color that changes in various lighting. The copper lining only adds to the drama/exciting look. Truly a work of art! Maybe not a big issue but he x360 had much more out of the box scaling issues than the Yoga and the Spin. I had to try many things, to get all of my apps looking right and readable.
Ativ Book 9 Spin: In-person, it looks MUCH better than photos online suggest (to me, online it looked as if it were made of plastic. In-person, one look and I knew it was not only aluminum but aluminum done right). Not as pretty as the Ash Silver x360, but still a very good-looking device. No hot palm rest, gave it a lot of points for me. It feels thinner and lighter than the x360 but not as thin and light as the Yoga 900. The build materials are as good as the x360, if not even better. I’ve only had one Spin as the first had NO issues. I’ve since setup several Spin units for friends who bought one after trying mine. They all have had no issues just like mine. All 3 of these Ultrabook’s, perform the same in terms of Chrome browsing, iTunes, MS Office, etc. The only real difference I noticed is that the x360 was the fastest in moving my 350GB or so of data from a 3.0 USB drive to the laptop. Things moved much slower on the Yoga that I thought something was wrong. It took hours longer to move all of the exact same files to the Yoga. I still can’t make sense of that experience. The Spin (which I installed the exact same model 512GB SSD as the Yoga), seems to move slower than the x360 as well as far as data transfer so I’m going to assume it’s the SSD model and or interface type compared to that which is in the x360. The Spin has the best screen out of the 3 units, hands-down. As I’ve stated before, the Yoga has a higher res screen than the x360 but the x360 screen looks better in actual use than that of the Yoga. The Spin screen tops them both and in outdoor mode, is brighter than both and even brighter than the 4K XPS 9550 display. The Spin keyboard and touchpad, are also the best I have ever used on ANY Windows device. They really are that good. Samsung, built a machine that in some ways, feels like a MacBook.
The Spin feels and looks very smooth. I love the fact that unlike the x360, there are no vents on the bottom just like the Yoga. The vent on the bottom of the x360, always bugged me because with a device that small and light, you want to use it around the house (bed, carpet, pillow, etc.). I was always reaching for a board to put under the x360. So much so it became as if the board I used, was a part of the x360. With the Spin (and Yoga 900) you can sit the device right on your pillow, carpet, blanket, etc., without any worry of blocking that cool-air intake on the bottom. I’ve had and used the Spin daily for over a month now and I still love it and have found no major issues. The only thing that I feel limits the Spin, is that the battery life it not as good as it should be. With low brightness, I can only get between 5 to 6 hours of use browsing with Chrome. I keep saying that I will try a battery run all on Firefox only, but I haven’t got around to it yet. Other than the battery, I do wish the Spin came with 16GB RAM rather than 8GB. However, the 16GB of RAM that came with the Yoga 900, proved no difference in all of the same tasks and software usage compared with the x360 and Spin.
Along with the Spin I now own (can’t return it even if I wanted to), I purchased a Dell XPS 15 (9550). I’ve now had it for 3 weeks (45-day return period). I also use it daily, side-by-side with the Spin. My main reason for trying the XPS is that one thing that bugged me was the fact that I come from a history of 17″ Sony Vaios and various other 17” models. I have a Dell 24″ 1080P monitor but with QHD Ultrabook’s, I need to purchase a QHD or 4K monitor, which I have yet to do. Using my 1080P monitor while having my eyes trained with QHD displays since the first x360 back in August; just looks bad to me now. Therefore, for now, I’ve been using these Ultrabook’s with no external display. 13″ is fine for on the go but at my office or home office, 13″ feels a bit too small for me. So I thought maybe I would be best served with a 15″ laptop. I decided to skip the 15″ Samsung Book 9 Pro because I figured if I’m going to jump into 4+ pounds of laptop in a 15″, then I might as well get one that packs the best specs. Sadly, the new Book 9 Pro 15″, only comes with 8GB of RAM whereas the XPS 9550, comes with 16GB and will be able to upgrade to 32GB in the future. Also the XPS is a bit lighter, and smaller in every dimension to the Book 9 Pro. And of course there is the thin bezel display of the XPS which is truly the best screen on the planet right now. Also many users have reported that the Book 9 Pro, is only giving them 4 to 5 hours of power. The Spin has a bigger battery than the Book 9 Pro, so I know there is no way the battery on the Book 9 Pro could do me better than 5 hours. The XPS I was told would give me 6, 7 or more hours at a low brightness. Sadly, I have yet to find that to be true.
Not being able to decide to stick with the XPS 9550 or to stick with just the Samsung Spin and buy a 4K external display for it; should give you some indication as to how much I really like the Samsung Spin. The XPS has the superior specs and screen and larger screen size but the sleek, nearly perfect Spin, is a small charmer in so many ways. Again, side-by-side in person, I can imagine that most folks would agree that the spin just looks better. I’m really not liking the boring deck of the XPS. I don’t know what it is exactly but the deck of the XPS, just doesn’t wow me the way the Spin does. Even the actual keys on the Spin and the way they light up, just looks much more premium than that of the XPS. One of several small examples is the fact that you have only white lights on the XPS. On the XPS you have no way of seeing if the XPS is asleep, on or off, when the lid is closed. You only have a white light in the front, that turns on, only when the unit is charging. And When the lid is open you have a white light on the power button that turns on when the unit is on. This is kind of pointless because you can only see it when the lid is open and when the lid is open, you can see the screen. On the Spin, you have on the side, a light that turns orange when charging, green when fully charged and still plugged in but the system is off or asleep. And blue when the system is on/awake. Why this matters is because there are some users out there who have stated that they thought their XPS was off and then put it into their laptop case/bag, only to have the unit overheat because it was still actually on.
Something else about the Spin (which worked almost as well on the Yoga and x360), is that it can wakeup, startup, restart and shutdown, much faster than the XPS. I do not understand why but this bothers me about the XPS. I can start both units at the same time and the Spin, upon opening the lid (which powers it on if you wish to not use the actual power button), will start up and be ready to use, within less than 10 seconds (I don’t use a Windows password). Meanwhile, the XPS will still be loading. The XPS is also very slow so resume from sleep. I have read others complain about this and we are all hoping that a BIOS/update will fix this.
2 more reasons why I love the Spin is that it’s two front bottom mounted speakers, are superior to those of the x360, Yoga 900 and XPS 9550. They are VERY loud and VERY clear!!!! Again, the best on a Windows (non-gaming) laptop I have ever heard. All week, I’ve for an hour or two per day, put the Spin into tent-mode while streaming Stargate SG-1 on Amazon Video and I was just blown-away by how the sound filled the room I was in. I would get up and walk around the large room I was in and the sound was loud and clear as if it came from a TV’s speakers. Sadly, the XPS 15, cannot come close to matching this, nor can the x360 or Yoga. And 2, out of the box, I have never changed display settings on the Spin. Samsung, really got scaling right! Nearly every app, looks right on the Spin. The XPS 15, has also done well with Scaling, with the Yoga 900 coming in 3rd and the x360 coming in dead last! Keep in-mind that I judging this by using all of the same apps (about 25 of them) on all 4 of these devices.
If you are shopping for a new Ultrabook, you might want to wait until February if you can as many new models are on their way, late this month and next, according to CES 2016 reviews. If you check the HP site, they are already listing a new 15” x360 (4K) as well as an updated 13” x360 which now has the option of 16GB of RAM and an option for a OLED display. Also, there is a Yoga 900S on the way. I didn’t read all about it but I noticed that it had a keyboard that was a different color or the same color as the exterior, rather than the normal flat black.
If you have any specific questions that I may be able to answer, feel free to ask. If any of my past posts, lead to more cause for concern, please feel free to ask more questions.
January 7, 2016 at 2:55 pm
Firstly I did not mean to come across in any way aggressive. I am grateful for people like you taking the time to write your opinions to help people like me about to make a purchase.
I was just a bit miffed and wanted to give a bit of feedback because I read this page from top to bottom. If you re-read it, you will see that it kind of “flip-flops” a little bit. Quite near the top, it concludes that the Yoga is the way to go.
Luckily for me, I carried on reading down to the bottom, if “skimming” a little over the comments down here. If I had not, I may have gone off and ordered a Yoga 900, which I cannot blame anyone for except myself of course. ;)
Anyway, I have this morning ordered a 512GB 8GB QHD Spectre x360 in the limited edition colours (ash grey/copper).
My story is that I did a load of research and eventually ordered a Dell XPS13 2015 mid December. I have had Dell products before, so am aware of the support and quality issues that can appear. . .I could also see many people had issues with overheating, dodgy trackpads and other issues. I thought after some considerable time, I would give it a go though.
My shiny XPS13 CNX9305 arrived two days ago and as soon as I unboxed it, within 30 seconds of having it out the selophane bag I could feel the left track pad button was “sticky” when clicking it.
If I looked at the track pad from above, it was clearly not located straight within the palm rest, or the palm rest cutout is wonky.
After having a feel around the machine, including the carbon fibre palm rest and the hinged flap underneath, which felt like it could be ripped off within a few days, I decided that I would not give them another chance and arranged to return it.
The XPS13 is a brilliant machine and an excellent concept but in my opinion is let down by poor attention to detail and general execution, as I would have suspected from Dell. It is an expensive machine also which I am buying with my own money so I don’t have the confidence in it.
Its size and the fact they have managed to get such a decent sized screen into it is really it’s party piece and a talking point. I think after this novelty wears off, it would not be all that to live with though, hence me opting to return it and go for the HP.
Thanks again to you, Vong and the others who have helped.
January 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm
Hi John, I’m to blame for that, I put up together this post from Ash’s impressions and haven’t updated it properly with his later findings. I’ll go over it in a day or two and update it so it won’t be as confusing.
As a side note, I’ve been using an XPS 13 for nearly 12 months now and it has hold up really well. In fact, the build quality is one of the things Dell aced on this unit, imo. Unfortunately, there are a couple of other aspects where they fell short. The clickpad on my unit is not stiff and the service flap on the back is still there after one year :)
January 7, 2016 at 11:52 pm
John, no worries at all. I’m a grown man but I behave much like a child when I receive new tech toys. I still get excited when I know FedEx/UPS is coming to drop something off for me. So I have no doubt there are times when that child-like initial excitement, finds its way into my first thoughts on any given product.
Congratulations on your order. Have you been able to walk into a retailer like Best Buy, to test out the x360 and the Samsung Spin? I’m sure like many others, you will be happy with your x360. However, I would say that since your budget allows for the premium model, then I would wait just a bit longer for the upgraded x360 that is on its way late this month if not next month. You will have the option of getting 16GB of RAM in the 13” x360 as well as the option for an OLED screen (which also reduces the weight by 50 grams). Also they may perhaps have updated other parts such as the wireless card that so many of us had issues with. They were using the older Intel wireless card whereas the Yoga has the newer model.
Okay now things you will want to check for right away when you get your x360:
First of all, you are going to love the Ash Silver. Take it into a bright room like your bathroom and watch how the color changes. Truly beautiful! However, look closely at those copper hinges. Make sure yours are not all scratched up as was the case for 2 Ash Silver x360s I had. More importantly, google for a dead pixel checking app and make sure you have no dead or sleeping pixels. I had 3 or 4 x360s that had dead and sleeping pixels (all around the center bottom area). On the bottom of the unit, right were the serial number and other info is printed, on half of the units I had (between 12 and 14) the panel right there, was loose. What I mean is that when you close the x360 and hold it from the bottom, with your fingers gripping right where the printed text is; the panel pushes inward right there. It should not do so. You can place it upside down on a table (on top of a towel, etc., of course) and apply just a little pressure to the printed text area and if it doesn’t push inward then congratulations, you got one of the good ones.
Something that many people have complained about on the HP forums, is that the touchpad for many people, makes a clicking sound even when doing a non-click left soft tap. It appeared to be that the touchpad was loose. There were people opening up the touchpad and adding tape or something else in there to fix the problem. Most of the units I had, all had this issue but at the time I was only using a Bluetooth mouse, so it did not bother me as much as it did others. Only 2 or 3 of the units I had, would not make a click sound on left soft taps. Oh and I almost forgot, the problem that drove me away which I’m starting to think could just be my super sensitive skin. As I mentioned before, for me the left palm rest, would often become too warm for my comfort. But it seems not many people had that problem. Also please keep in mind that the bottom does get pretty hot and the top left side corner area (around the vent and right above it in the corner) gets VERY hot. Both are normal for the x360 as every unit I had, did this as well as reported by many on the HP forum.
Out of the box, you will most likely have to adjust the scaling settings to get things the way you want them. Once done, you will enjoy the very beautiful display. Regardless of any issues, you have chosen a machine that is built much better than the Yoga 900.
I recently noticed that the Yoga 900 has a lot of positive reviews on Best Buys site. I read some of the reviews to try and figure out how on earth could it be doing so well. What I concluded is that the Yoga 900 is popular with people who have not tried other premium Ultrabook’s made out of aluminum. Furthermore, on paper, just looking at the specs, it appears to be that the Yoga 900 is a very good deal but the hidden cost is in the cheap materials they use. I honestly believe that for most people, if they had the chance and time to try a Yoga 900 for a week and then a x360 or Spin for a week, they would not choose the Yoga. It’s like driving a really nice fully loaded Kia. A nice looking car that when fully loaded, seems to have it all. Then driving the same type of car from BMW and Mercedes. The feel is very different. The sounds and feel of closing the German doors and many other parts, are different from that of the Kia. But the thing is with the laptops, unlike the cars, the costs are all around the same for the different units.
January 9, 2016 at 7:25 am
John, no worries at all. I’m a grown man but I behave much like a child when I receive new ‘tech toys.’ I still get excited when I know FedEx/UPS is coming to drop something off for me. lol! So I have no doubt there are times when that child-like initial excitement, finds its way into my first thoughts on any given product.
Congratulations on your order. Have you been able to walk into a retailer like Best Buy, to test out the x360 and the Samsung Spin? I’m sure like many others, you will be happy with your x360. However, I would say that if your budget allows for the premium model, then I would wait just a bit longer for the upgraded x360 that is on its way late this month if not next month. You will have the option of getting 16GB of RAM in the 13” x360 as well as the option for an OLED screen. They may perhaps have updated other parts such as the wireless card that so many of us had issues with. They were using the older Intel wireless card whereas the Yoga has the newer model.
Okay now things you will want to check for right away when you get your x360: First of all, you are going to love the Ash Silver. Take it into a bright room like your bathroom and watch how the color changes. Truly beautiful! However, look closely at those copper hinges. Make sure yours are not all scratched up as was the case for 2 Ash Silver x360s I had. More importantly, google for a dead pixel checking app and make sure you have no dead or sleeping pixels. I had 3 or 4 x360s that had dead and sleeping pixels (all around the center bottom area). On the bottom of the unit, right where the serial number and other info is printed, on half of the units I had (between 12 and 14) the panel right there, was loose. What I mean is that when you close the x360 and hold it from the bottom, with your fingers gripping right where the printed text is; the panel pushes inward right there. It should not do so. You can place it upside down on a table (on top of a towel, etc., of course) and apply just a little pressure to the printed text area and if it doesn’t push inward then congratulations, you got one of the good ones.
Something that many people have complained about on the HP forums is that the touchpad for many people, makes a clicking sound even when doing a non-click soft tap. It appeared to be that the touchpad was loose. There were people opening up the touchpad and adding tape or something else in there to fix the problem. Most of the units I had, all had this issue but at the time I was only using a Bluetooth mouse, so it did not bother me as much as it did others. Only 2 or 3 of the units I had, would not make a click sound on soft taps. Oh and I almost forgot, the problem that drove me away which I’m starting to think could just be my super sensitive skin. As I mentioned before, for me the left palm rest, would often become too warm for my comfort. But it seems not many people had that problem. Also please keep in mind that the bottom does get pretty hot and the top left side corner area (around the vent and right above it in the corner) gets VERY hot. Both are normal for the x360 as every unit I had did this as well as reported by many on the HP forum.
Out of the box, you will most likely have to adjust the scaling settings to get things the way you want them. Once done, you will enjoy the very beautiful display. Regardless of any issues, you have chosen a machine that is built much better than the Yoga 900. I recently noticed that the Yoga 900 has a lot of positive reviews on Best Buys site. I read some of the reviews to try and figure out how on earth could it be doing so well. What I concluded is that the Yoga 900 is popular with people who have not tried other premium Ultrabook’s made out of aluminum. Furthermore, on paper, just looking at the specs, it appears to be that the Yoga 900 is a very good deal but the hidden cost is in the cheap materials they use. I honestly believe that for most people, if they had the chance and time to try a Yoga 900 for a week and then a x360 or Spin for a week, they would not choose the Yoga. It’s like driving a really nice fully loaded Kia. A nice looking car that when fully loaded, seems to have it all. Then driving the same type of car from BMW and Mercedes. The feel is very different. The sounds and feel of closing the German doors and many other parts, are different from that of the Kia. But the thing is with the laptops, unlike the cars, the costs are all around the same for the different units.
January 8, 2016 at 12:05 pm
I am sitting here now waiting for the Dell to be collected and my HP to be dropped off.
I will post back after a few days or a week with my findings.
As I said, I did my research before ordering the Dell but I did have a nagging doubt about spending such a large amount of cash on a machine from a company who have a reputation for not being the best in terms of support. As previously said, there are many people who are complaining of having issues which Dell repeatedly do not fix.
I excitedly waited 12 days for the machine to come and when it did, it has a defect which, to be honest, is shocking that it has been allowed to leave the factory with. This defect is something which can be seen immediately and felt immediately if you click the touchpad. . . .if they have allowed the machine to leave like this, what other defects or build issues may be lurking elsewhere.
Also, it was a painful experience to try and return the machine. Trying to speak with people who do not speak the best English and also do not seem to actually listen, sending photos, chasing people again and again who did not perform, etc. New machine will take another 10 to 15 days to arrive. I was then told they do not have my spec of machine so will be sending me an upgrade which should also help to counter some “inconvenience”. They sent through a spec for me to approve, which I did. I assume this is now put to bed and have to wait. 24 hours later I get an email to tell me that the upgraded machine will not ship and I will receive the same machine once again.
Also, this machine is from their “technical stock” which immediately makes me suspicious as to what it actually is – -possibly a refurb or something else.
Warranty from original machine will be transferred over. I say this is nonsense as therefore my warranty days are ticking down whilst I sit without a machine.
They dont care. I therefore tell them to give me a refund.
Thus far, dealing with HP has been a much nicer experience.
January 9, 2016 at 9:16 pm
That sounds like a crappy experience. I’ve bought mine from Microsoft Store, but I never had to deal with support, so can’t comment on that.
January 9, 2016 at 10:15 pm
I haven’t used the Microsoft store yet but I hear nothing but good about the way they do business. I’ve read a lot of stories about people buying XPS 13 and 15’s from them and having to exchange them for various reasons and having no problems in doing so. I would never buy a Dell directly from Dell because I have no interest in waiting weeks to get something that retailers will send to me within 1 or 2 days.
January 10, 2016 at 12:06 am
Waited in all day yesterday for Dell to be collected as arranged. . . . no show. Not even the courtesy or forethought to notify me. Now being collected in 10 days. Then refund will be processed up to 10 days after they receive the machine. . .shocking really . . .working capital management to the extreme methinks.
Anyway, ash grey and copper Spectre x360 arrived yesterday. WOW. Delighted thus far. A quality experience from start to finish. . .. placing the order, tracking it’s progress through to unboxing it (very nice indeed, they have made a lot of effort, well done, cleaning cloth and sleeve cover in box as a bonus) and setting it up – not too much bloatware at all.
See how it goes but thus far it really does feel like a very upmarket piece of hardware indeed. Well done HP!
January 13, 2016 at 2:33 pm
HP now going back. Nice machine but in the last two days the touchscreen has developed a mind of its own. It is opening windows, selecting text and generally mucking about when nobody is actually touching the screen.
Not sure what to do now. Tried the XPS13 and the Spectre X360 but both have had issues.
Anyone suggest anything else?
Want something small, reliable, well built and powerful. I didnt think it would be this difficult.
January 13, 2016 at 3:22 pm
Perhaps you can ask HP for a replacement and give it another chance? Ghost touches seem to be an isolated issue with the Spectre x360 and it looks like you drew a short straw. Googling for “Spectre x360 ghost touches” returns only a few results, so yes, some buyers encountered this issue, but most of them haven’t.
January 13, 2016 at 3:23 pm
Ok. I still have the Dell XPS13 here because they have still not collected it. I just got it out the box and have a play around.
I think that perhaps I prefer it to use, if not the aesthetics and “feel” or it.
I spend a LOT of time using a laptop quite literally as a lap top device. The HP has quite a long palm rest area, which makes it a bit difficult to rest your palm on and type comfortably. The metal edges rub a little on my wrists as I type.
The smaller footprint of the XPS feels more nimble. The trackpad of the XPS is smaller but less cumbersome. The HP trackpad is very large indeed. This makes it a bit difficult to right click as you have to move your hand a long way to the right of the machine.
If I quickly pick up the HP, the weight of the screen makes it fall backwards so it goes horizontal.
So, I am thinking of going back to the Dell.
The question I would really appreciate some help with is should I bother with a touchscreen?
I have been using Windows 7 for ages. I find Windows 10 a bit cumbersome on the HP. I have used the touch functionality, but not that much and I wonder if I really need it, especially if opting for the Dell, which does NOT have a tablet mode like the HP.
The two XPS machines I am considering are identical specs . . .256GB SSD, I7, 8GB ram.
One has the QHD screen 3200×1800, the other has anti glare 1920×1080
I have seen some people say the anti glare screen is more desirable. Can anyone help me please?
January 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm
I have the version with the FHD matte display. I see how touchscreens can be useful for scrolling and selecting stuff, but, on the XPS, the touchscreen is expensive and due to the higher resolution, has a significant impact on battery life. Hence, I went for the FHD version and I really don’t regret it. I might be somewhat biased though, I’ve always preferred matte screens on laptops and never actually used a 2-in-1 as my daily driver.
January 13, 2016 at 7:24 pm
I think I will go for a non touch if I go for another XPS.
January 13, 2016 at 3:28 pm
I found this article: techranker.net/dell-xps-13-review-pros-and-cons-best-ultrabook-available-video/2/
He seems to be saying that if you are not using metro apps, it makes sense to go for the non-touch machine?
Anyone agree with this? I am not sure really how much you will use touch screen on a laptop, even in 2 years but you guys will know much better than me.
It is an extra £140 in cost, which is close to 20% extra for the identical machine with QHD touch panel.
Thanks again guys,
January 14, 2016 at 12:22 am
Quick update. I have spent the evening using the Dell XPS13 9350 and Spectre x360 back to back.
I really like the way the Dell feels and it’s size, but it is all downhill from there and this machine is not the answer. :(
Issues I have found in using the machine for a couple of hours this evening compared to the x360 are:
Trackpad is absolutely awful. I know my machine has a sticking button and is the reason it is being returned, but the XPS13 trackpad is pretty AWFUL at Windows 10 gestures. Two finger scrolling, which is very useful is pretty annoying on the XPS where the page will bounce up and down and randomly do things you dont want it to. Often, the page will not scroll at all.
Compare this to the HP, which handles these gestures perfectly. I have updated the Dell to the Synaptics driver “fix” but it is still not ideal and nowhere near the HP.
I use the machine as a laptop, so on my lap a lot. The Dell seems to have the fan running a lot and get warm on the underside compared to the HP.
The wifi reception on the Dell is nowhere near as good as the HP which has the antenna built into the top of the screen.
The webcam is awful on the Dell because of it’s well documented location. I skyped for half an hour and it was not good at all. The other person sent me photos, where they are seeing keys on the keyboard, I look miles away and they are looking up my nose. Yuck!
January 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm
I can confirm about the trackpad, yes, it’s bad, especially when scrolling with two fingers. You can try to put your fingers in the middle of the surface, that helps somewhat.
However, the fan is OFF pretty much all the time on my unit, with everyday use. I have the Core i5 version and running an slightly older BIOS version (i think it’s A03 or something like that, need to double check).
I don’t have any major problems with the Wireless, but I can confirm that the range is about average.
The webcam… Well, yes, the position is odd, but that’s something I’m willing to live with for the form factor.
January 20, 2016 at 4:52 pm
First of all, thank you all for the valuable opinions and follow up on your experiences. I’m from Canada (Quebec area to be precise) and like most of you, I’m currently looking for THE laptop!
I first wanted to get a Yoga 900. Seeing the specs and all, it seemed great. But reading you guys, I now wonder about the build quality… I keep my laptop for a minimum of 4-5 years (my last one was from 2009!), but I take very good care of them.
My other criteria is the USB type-C, as I think it will be the port of the future and will pretty much guarantee my 4-5+ years without any issue on this part. That is why I overlooked the Spectre x360. Should I reconsider?
The next thing I wanted to see with you guys was the announcement of the Yoga 900S, which will be available in March 2016. It seems the build quality increased a lot because they used Carbon fiber this time around. It has a better battery, a USB type-C and native active pen support, but the downside is the processor, which is a Core M7, not an i7… I use my laptop for essentially the same things as Ash (lots of Chrome tabs, HD videos, lots of typing and word processing). Will it matter that much? I don’t know much about the performance of this processor… Do you thing I should wait for this device?
So to sum it up:
HP Spectre x360, Yoga 900, Yoga 900S? These seems to be my current options, all with their own upside and downside. Sadly, the Samsung ATIV Book 9 Spin isn’t available in Canada (at least from what I could see).
Thanks to everyone for their awesome support and insight! :)
January 22, 2016 at 7:50 am
The thing I’ve learned about the Yoga 900, is that if you haven’t tried the x360, Spin or other well-built metal body ultrabooks, then you may not realize just how cheap the Yoga 900 feels in hand and in-use. Had I never tried the x360, I think I would have liked the Yoga 900 more. It was just awful going from the x360 and it’s solid metal feel and build, to the plastic and rubber Yoga 900. At first, I thought Lenovo had decided to do the Yoga 900 right with the S model but it has an M CPU and that is a no go for me. Sometimes I had the x360 (i7) running with Chrome (a dozen tabs or so), iTunes open, icloud sync in the background, Dashlane in the background (uses a lot of memory but worth it), Outlook 2013 open and one or 2 other apps running and then if I tried something else like copying and moving large files, I could feel the system start to slow down just a little bit and the fans kick on. So What I’m thinking is that with an M-core, things would slow way down while doing all of the above.
To future proof any laptop, I’d guess that the best way is to get as high as specs as you can afford to get your hands on. I once used a 17″ Sony Vaio AR-790 for about 5 years. When I bought it, it was very expensive and had some very nice specs. 4GB RAM when many others still had 2GB RAM, Nvidia card, FHD screen, etc., and that thing still worked well up until last year when it died because of the Nvidia card getting too hot and melted the solder. I bought it 5 years ago but it was able to run Chrome with a dozen tabs with no problem, while running other apps too.
Anyhow, you might want to look into the new x360’s coming out at the end of this month or next month. The x360 had a max of 8GB RAM but the new updated models will be able to be purchased with up to 16GB RAM. They will also have an option for an OLED display, something that we may start seeing on more laptops in the future. If I were in your shoes, I’d pick the Yoga 900 over the Yoga 900S. And I would pick the x360 over the Yoga 900. And of course you already know I choose the Spin over the current x360. If you can wait, you may want to check out what comes out soon. And also, I did read that the XPS 13, has been updated with some internal parts and it may have the better touchpad now. I guess my main point is please skip the Yoga if you can get something else. I’m very picky about wear and tear and I had no doubt that the Yoga 900 would not hold up well over time even as careful as I am with everything I own.
March 4, 2016 at 7:24 pm
Can you confirm on the x360 with 16 gigs of ram? I’m only seeing a 15″ version with that much ram?
March 30, 2016 at 4:53 pm
From what I see, the 13.3 inch only has 8GB of ram soldered on. Well, in my part of the world though.
March 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm
Hey, I’m currently looking for a good ultrabook and kinda chanced upon this website. I really have my mind set on the HP Spectre x360 after looking at the Ash Silver variant. What I am wondering, (hope that others can help) is whether the battery life for the spectre is comparable to macbooks or the top of the line ultrabooks.
I’ve seen people posting mixed results, ranging from 5 hours to a stellar 11 hours.
Another question that I’d like to pose would be the performance of Skylake vs Broadwell. Granted, the Ash Silver variant is only unique to skylake but I am wondering if it is worth it to pay an additional $300 just for the colour scheme (if performance wise is roughly the same)
Heard that the battery on skylake versions aren’t as efficient as those on Broadwell. Kinda queer since Skylake was meant to be an improvement in battery life. Do you think that a BIOS update will solve this?
August 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm
What you write is way over my head as will be evidenced by my question. If I buy the Spectre, how do I know if it’s a Broadwell or a Skylake? I don’t see this information on any of the specs surrounding the Spectre.
August 2, 2016 at 9:36 am
Skylkake versions have either a Core i5-6200U or a Core i7-6500U processor (the number after the dash is a 6). The Broadwell versions get a Core i5-5200U or Core i7-5500U (5 after the dash). That’s because Skylake is the 6th generation of Core processors, Broadwell the 5th, Haswell the 4th and so on. The next one to come is Kabylake at the end of this year, the 7th. Hope this makes sense.
August 7, 2016 at 12:00 am
Hello, I saw that one of your last updates mentioned you switched from your lenovo yoga 900 partly due to the fact that it’s made of plastic. I wanted to correct you because it is made out of a magnesium alloy. That said, even expensive plastics can be very tough materials. Toughness is really the best measure of how “sturdy” something is. The magnesium alloy casing of the yoga 900 is strong and ductile (meaning it has flexibility ie you can easily bend it) making it a relatively tough laptop to break.
I enjoyed reading your article. I’ve owned a yoga 900 for a few weeks now, and I absolutely love it. The active pen support would be nice, but you can always buy an active stylus that creates a current to register on the screen if you need more precision. Otherwise, the screen is awesome and it seems to be particularly scratch resistance. I’ve used it extensively in tablet and tent mode, and I have yet to find a scratch anywhere on the screen despite treating it a little disrespectfully.
August 9, 2016 at 2:32 am
Hey, Rick! Yes, you are correct, the Yoga 900 shell is made out of magnalium (magnesium mixed with aluminum) as I later found out. That is a surprise to me as I do remember even opening up one Yoga 900 unit that I had purchased. After taking out the screws and removing the bottom panel, I was surprised at how light it felt and I would have bet the farm that it was plastic. It did not feel like what I would imagine magnalium should feel like.
As I had mentioned in my prior posts, I did not get confirmation as to what the display surface is made out of. However, my exprience with the Yoga 900, led me to believe that it was not gorilla glass and that perhaps it could be a type of plastic. I just didn’t like the feel of the screen and the flexability of the entire display housing when you place your fingers on the top right and left corner and press in just a bit; really put me off.
I see the Yoga 900 in pics online from time to time and I am reminded that yes they did come up with a nice design that is also very unique. The watchband grew on me and I began to really like it. But in the end, I still would choose the Yoga 900 last behind the HP x360 and Samsung Spin.
The Yoga 900 seems to have a lot of good reviews from tech blogs and from consumers so I know a lot of people are happy with it. However, for me, I guess I am just a bit (a lot) too picky. When it comes to my tech, looks and feel matter to me probably more so than the average consumer.
September 15, 2016 at 8:52 am
Hi ace01. Thanks once again. I just wanted to know your thoughts on the recently announced yoga910. It has the same bezel less display as xps 13 with a 4k screen which should be colour accurate and brighter. Also it has a aluminium frame instead of plastic ( no longer cheap looking) So i guess all your issues regarding the yoga 900 should be rectified (atleast on paper). Could you please your thoughts on this.
September 20, 2016 at 2:42 am
… That said, Ive used both, extensively. Two engineering degrees, 3D Cad software, photoshop, tons of audio and video soft, and others. With the same i7, I would go for the x360 13-4193 all day. I am also very rough on my gear and this is tough (to a certain extent). The one thing that made my mind up was the active stylus (which i rarely use) but im glad that made the decision for me. HP FTW over these 2.
Andrei: I edited the beginning of this comment.
September 20, 2016 at 2:48 am
I can run full massive assemblies in my 3d cad with the 10 point touch on x 360 on a network wifi drive with all files on server, without any hiccups. I wish our entire engineering team had them :)
September 20, 2016 at 3:18 am
You can disagree with our opinions all you want, but please refrain yourself from name calling, there’s no need for that. We’re trying to keep things civilized here! Thank you.
November 23, 2016 at 9:56 pm
All great reviews here…….Both the compliments and criticisms of the Yoga 900 have merit. However, I am sticking with the Yoga 900. Why you ask? Because I picked it up for $699 last week :)
January 22, 2017 at 10:31 pm
Hey, I realize this is an old post, but I wanted to add (to anyone who scrolls down this far) that you should be able to completely disable the power button via Windows 10's advanced power management settings. Not sure if they updated the design (I'm looking at the 910 right now), but that is a viable option to overcome that limitation. I have actually done the same thing with several of my laptops which had awkwardly placed power buttons (I'm looking at you Dell!).
Than ks muchly for the review, I was a bit on the fence!
February 23, 2017 at 3:52 am
Has anyone tried the Kaby Lake (Kabylake?) Spectre x360's yet? I've pretty much decided on the Ash Silver x360 16gb / 512gb i7, which has finally dropped down to reasonable pricing, particularly on the refurbed units (I learned the value of refurb electronics when I worked my first retail electronics sales job in 1981 – unit comes back with a defect that not only gets repaired but the entire system gets a going-over by 1 tech, who fixes anything else they find). I flirted with the thought of the 15.6" screen but the weight became an issue. I'm updating / upgrading from an HP TouchSmart tm2 1070, one of the most beautiful laptops ever made before the Spectre x360 Ash Silver units. It's also been a helluva convertible and while I don't use it in tablet mode as much as I intended to (too many cheap tablets with more than two touch points arrived within a year or so after purchase of the tm2 that I could use for that), it is easily the best computer I've ever owned, having started in the mobile / laptop / portable computing world in the 80's. Since purchase, I upgraded the RAM to the max, which only made it BETTER. If it had a backlit keyboard, all I'd be buying is a 1TB SSD for it. Yeah, it's really been THAT good over the years. When I finally made the decision to not try carving up my case to accommodate a backlit keyboard from another HP unit*, it made the HP x360 the first device I took a hard look at. Now it's just Silverlake or Kabylake?
I know we're always wanting the newer, better, faster thing on the market but there are people out there who just get the cheapest thing on the shelf at Walmart because they don't think they can afford something really GOOD. For around $150, you can get a nice example of the HP TouchSmart tm2. I fixed the backlit keyboard issue with a great little bluetooth / usb rechargeable folding keyboard that fits over the built in kb so well you'd think it was made for the HP. Just a thought. Might be kind of nice to see how the cool new tech wears over time.
*No joke – I have a backlit kb from another HP notebook here that I picked up for a few bucks and a 512gb SSD that I was going to try and install but just knew I'd screw something up in the process and suddenly be without my primary writing device; as writing is how I earn my living, I decided to err on the side of caution / sanity and just get a new unit that did what I wanted it to out of the box.Once I have it and it's configured though, this baby goes on the bench and we see what Dr. Frankenputer can do with it!
April 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm
You could've just summarised this review by saying I lurve the Yoga and hate the HP….