Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS full review

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is near-perfect up to a point, and near useless after it. Find out if it’s right for you in our full review.

This laptop has two major benefits. It is highly portable and battery life is excellent. This isn't some Lenovo-conjured magic. It's thanks to Qualcomm, which makes the processor inside this laptop.

This processor is closer to a phone CPU than a traditional laptop one. There's enough power to make Windows run well, and do the basics that make up most people's laptop use. Just don't expect it to run games or challenging apps. It's not meant for that job, and isn't good at trying to fill in as a substitute. Consider how you’ll want to use your laptop carefully before buying.

Note that this isn’t the Yoga C630 with an Intel Core i5 and running Chrome OS. This is the Windows on Snapdragon (WOS) version.

Price & Availability

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS costs £929 from Lenovo. This is pricier than the current crop of Snapdragon laptops, such as the Asus NovaGo and Lenovo Miix 630. They tend to cost £700-800.

Lenovo says it makes versions of the C630 with both 128GB and 256GB SSDs, but in the UK only the lower storage option seems to be available at present.

In the US, there’s a choice of three models with prices starting at $859 and going up to $999 if you want top specs. At the time of writing, they all have $100 off the list price.

It’s fairly expensive then, however, it is also less expensive than any rival MacBook, bar the ancient and difficult-to-recommend old-style MacBook Air. One key thing to note is the Dell XPS 13 for 2019 is cheaper than previously thanks to the addition of a Core i3 model so the C630 has some tough competition. 

Check out our chart of the best laptops you can buy and the best 2-in-1 convertibles.

Design & Build

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is a slim and light laptop. It weighs 1.2kg and is 12.5mm thick. You can find thinner. You can find lighter laptops. But not much so this is still very much portable enough to comfortably carry around all the time, every single day, in a rucksack without much bother at all.

It's made using a mix of aluminium and magnesium-rich alloys. The lid seems to be the most aluminium heavy. Aluminium offers the very obvious cool and hard feel of metal, often taken as a signpost of a higher-end laptop.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS design

However, the inside and underside have a soft touch finish. This does not show off the hardness of whatever metal alloy lies underneath, but feels good, and quite different to the plastics used in much cheaper laptops.

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS has charms, but they are all resolutely low-key. There's no showiness to its design at all. This is a hybrid laptop with a 360-degree hinge, but that hinge does not have the watch strap-like links of some previous Yoga models.

Its lid has no eye-catching finish and every part of the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS's shell, bar the black of the screen and the chrome Yoga logo on the lid, is grey. A slim frame, Lenovo's soft-looking key shape and the narrow screen borders make sure it seems modern rather than dull, though.

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is a little like the Dell XPS 13 in this respect. It’s high-end, but not showy.
There are a couple of niggles you won't find in the Dell, though. Use the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS on your knees and you may notice a slight screen wobble, and the keyboard surround flexes slightly under pressure.

This flex is so shallow it doesn't ruin the typing feel, but MacBook Pro-grade build is the aim for premium portables like this. The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is close, but not quite there.

After a couple of weeks' use we have also managed to take off a tiny scrap of the soft touch finish, by one of the connectors. Bare metal will be more forgiving of bumps and scrapes.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS

Keyboard & Trackpad

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS's keyboard is a little shallow, but not as shallow as a MacBook's, and the keys have solid, well-defined resistance.

There's also a two-stage backlight. You cycle through intensity levels using the space bar and Fn key.

The trackpad below is a high-quality pane of textured glass, with the smooth, non-tacky feel of a top-end pad. Press down reasonably hard on it and you can make the entire keyboard plate flex slightly, but in normal use this is a satisfying pad.

There's also a fingerprint scanner, just below the keyboard's right side. We had a few issues with this, of it half-failing to learn a fingerprint than refusing to delete the stored scan. However, a reset solved that problem and the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS's is roughly on par with the better Windows scanners.

It demands more careful finger placement than a phone’s finger ID, but usually works on the second attempt if not the first.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS trackpad

Screen

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS has a 13in 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS LCD screen. It is solid in all respects, but not truly remarkable in any, which seems a fine enough result given the laptop's price.

Resolution is the most obvious minor compromise. Full HD at this size does not look anywhere near as sharp as, for example, a MacBook Pro. Pixellation in icon fonts and Word documents is fairly clear.

However, the pixel density revolution that came to phones years ago never really happened for laptops. Most sub-£1000 laptops have Full HD screens, and the real difference is fairly superficial. You would not want to try to run 4K games on the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS anyway.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS screen

Colour performance is solid, although not close to that of a wide-gamut screen. The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS covers 78.8% of sRGB, enough to avoid obvious undersaturation, if not that close to the desirable full 100% coverage. 64% of the DCI P3 cinema standard and 57.5% of AdobeRGB are covered.

Top brightness is decent enough too. The backlight maxes-out at 303cd/m. It is not truly searing. However, we find it easily bright enough to comfortably use the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS when out and about.

Contrast is perhaps the strongest aspect, at 1231:1. In a room with office-style lighting, blacks look black until you set the backlight to maximum.

This is also a touchscreen and, thanks to the 360-degree hinge, you can use it in a "tent" position if you like or other modes. It's handy if you want to use the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS on a work surface more casually.

There’s also Active Pen support, but our Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS did not come with such a stylus. It’ll let you sketch away with the added fidelity of pressure sensitivity. Check your retailer’s listing carefully to see if one is included, as it costs £60-75 on its own.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS convertible

Performance

This laptop excels in two main situations, at home as a computer for fairly fluffy jobs, and as a long-lasting portable laptop. The latter is the main reason to choose the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS, though.

It has 4G as standard. A little pop-out tray sits on the left side, just like the one in most phones. Pair the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS with a generous data contract and you'll have one of the best laptops around for work in unlikely places, Wi-Fi-less cafes and airports.

However, it also has a Snapdragon 850 CPU. This particular model is made just for laptops like this, but the Snapdragon range is found almost exclusively in phones and tablets. In the UK there’s 8GB of RAM but the US the device starts at 4GB.

The Snapdragon 850 is an octa-core chipset. Four cores clock at up to 2.96GHz, another four at 1.7GHz, and the GPU is an Adreno 630. This processor is similar to the Snapdragon 845, used in several top 2018 Android phones.

Almost all laptops have processors based on the x86 system architecture, but the Snapdragon 850 is an ARM CPU. Windows apps simply aren't made for this kind of processor. In response, the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS runs a version of Windows called "S".

This restricts you to apps from the Windows store, rather than those downloaded from websites, so you’re less exposed to non-supported software. Even then, you can't install all apps on the store. Many don't support ARM.

You can easily turn the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS into a "normal" Windows laptop with a few clicks, but it only further reveals the issues with both app compatibility and performance.

It attempts to emulate the processor architecture it lacks. However, many apps still recognise the laptop as an ARM system, and then refuse to work fully, or at all.

For example, it won't run our usual PC Mark 10 and 3D Mark benchmarking tools, even after fiddling with the emulation parameters. Geekbench 4 does run, but shows the performance trade-off involved in this layer of emulation.

The Snapdragon 845 CPU scores around 8400, but the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS only manages 6931 points. That dips to 3373 if you run it in 32-bit mode.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS performance

Performance degradation is actually more severe in normal apps and games. You can play Skyrim, but even at 720p and low detail settings there are regular dips into single figure frame rates and graphical glitches. This is closer to the performance of an Intel Pentium system than a Core i5/i7 one you would get at this price.

If you're likely to be ambitious with the kind of apps you want to run, don't buy a Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS. You'll be much better off with a laptop with a 8th Generation Intel Core i5 or Core i7 - or even a Core i3 which the latest Dell XPS 13 offers at a very similar price.

However, the basics perform just fine. You can browse the web, write documents and use Microsoft Office apps happily.

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is also silent all the time, as there is no fan. Its mobile phone-like CPU just doesn't produce enough heat to need one. Storage is another sign this isn't made for app-heavy use. It has just a 128GB SSD, low capacity for the price. Intel-powered rivals tend to have 256GB.

At the time of writing, only US buyers have the option of a 256GB option if spending $999 sounds reasonable.

Battery Life

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS seems mixed so far. Build quality is good but not flex-free like a MacBook. It has the right core features, but app compatibility makes it far less useful to some than an Intel-powered laptop.

Battery life is easily the top draw, though. The US site reveals the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS has a 60Wh battery which should last up to 25 hours, a huge boast.

As usual, the reality doesn't quite stack up to that claim but the Qualcomm processor lets it last far longer than any Intel Core i5/i7 laptop with a comparable design. With mixed use, including some browsing, some writing and a small amount of 4G YouTube video streaming, the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS lasts around 12 hours.

Playing back a locally stored video with brightness set to 120cd/m, this stretches out to 13 hours 42 minutes. That’s good but the HP Envy x2 (also Snapdragon) went for over 20 and Lenovo’s own Miix 630 (if a tablet is an option) lasted nearly 17 and a half hours.

The real-world difference between a Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS and a Windows laptop that might realistically last 6-8 hours with mixed use is huge. That difference is all the more important given Dell has actually reduced the battery capacity of its XPS 13 in recent generations to make it slimmer. Even if the Yoga has 35% charge left, you know you have several hours to play with before the battery runs dry.

Charge speed is nowhere near as impressive, though. The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS comes with a relatively slow 45W charger. A full recharge seems to take around three hours, a little disappointing when in other ways this laptop seems quite phone-like, and some phones charge in little more than an hour.

Connectivity

After all the talk about the Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS's narrow, but appealing, remit, that it has very limited connections should surprise no-one. There are two USB-C ports, the SIM tray and a headphone jack.

There's no dedicated video output, no full-size USB, no memory card slot. The USBs are also plain 3.0 ports, lacking the extra bandwidth of 3.1 Gen 1 or Thunderbolt 3. One does support the DisplayPort standard, though, meaning you can plug in a monitor with the right cable.

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS ports

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS may be "enough computer" for many people's needs, but is miles away from a desktop replacement. Or even a conventional laptop replacer for some.

Its speakers are consistent with those of a higher end but very slim laptop too. They are not hugely loud or powerful, but there is some attempt to give them at least a hint of lower-frequency presence.

Verdict

The Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS is a very long-lasting laptop that lets you get connected wherever you are, as long as you pay for a 4G data plan, at any rate. It’s also very thin and light making it a great travel companion.

An ARM CPU working within Windows has severe restrictions that everyone should consider, though. The Windows 10 S software limits the apps you can install.

These reins can be removed, but even then app compatibility and performance is poor compared to a more conventional laptop with an Intel or AMD processor.

It’s perfect for the basics, but only buy if you’re happy with its narrow capabilities. With Dell offering the XPS 13 with a Core i3 at this price, it's hard to recommend the Lenovo.

Specs

Lenovo Yoga C630 WOS: Specs

  • Windows 10 Home S
  • 13.3in (1920 x 1080) Full HD, 165ppi, IPS LCD, glossy
  • 2.8GHz Snapdragon 850 8-cores
  • Adreno 630 GPU
  • 4/8GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • 128/256GB SSD
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac single-band 2x2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 2x USB-C 3.0
  • 4G
  • Stereo speakers
  • HD webcam
  • Single mic
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • UK tiled keyboard with numberpad
  • Two-button trackpad
  • 57Wh lithium-ion battery, removable
  • 306.8 x 216.4 x 12.5mm
  • 1.2kg
  • 1-year onsite warranty