Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 Review - A Surprisingly Great First Attempt

The Yoga Chromebook C630 is Lenovo's first premium Chrome OS device and one that brings stately aesthetics right at the apex of the performance-to-value ratio.

Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook C630 may not be the most expensive Chrome OS device or have the highest-ranked specs. Regardless, it did manage to top our rankings as the best Chromebook for the overall year. That’s because it is priced properly for a device that sits at the apex of the curve where Chromebooks simply start to slow in terms of performance gains made as the hardware improves. Although there are more powerful Chromebooks out there -- for much more money -- this is really the very pinnacle of value for the time being. Loaded with a number of optional inclusions and featuring powerful hardware standard in an understated, all-business all-metal frame, Lenovo’s entry into the Chrome OS premium market is a testament to computer building done right.

Specs

There are several configurations available for this series of Chromebook starting at $539.99 and of the two current models, that one comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U Processor clocked at 2.2GHz. That can be turbo boosted up to 3.4GHz and has 64GB of storage on board. The specs remain the same for each model from there. Although displays are available up to a 4K resolution, the test unit shipped to Android Headlines comes with a FullHD 1920 x 1080 LED IPS panel measuring 15.6-inches. That's packed into an all-aluminum body measuring 14.23 x 9.80 x 0.70-inches and weighing 4.19lbs. 360-degree hinges ensure that clamshell, tent, stand, and tablet modes are all easy to use.

The entire design is a deep nearly-matte midnight blue color that diminishes the appearance of fingerprints and is almost black in color depending on the lighting. In the exterior edges, users have access to two Ports USB 3.1 Type-C ports, one of which is 'always-on', as well as a single USB 3.1 standard USB port, Kensington lock slot, micro SD card reader, and 3.5mm headphone jack. Two HD-tuned two-watt stereo speakers are embedded under the keyboard -- which is available in a backlit variant and features the standard Chrome OS keys plus multimedia 'fn' keys. Just above the screen is a 720p, 1.0MP resolution, fixed focus webcam.

Inside, Chrome OS is driven by an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor coupled with an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 and backed up by 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM with 128GB flash storage. An integrated 56Wh battery with a claimed 10-hour battery life drives the hardware. That also powers an Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7265 with 2x2 MIMO in combination with Bluetooth 4.2 via an integrated combo adapter. Aside from the abovementioned ports, that should be more than enough to deliver the connectivity options just about any user is looking for. The one option that appears to be missing from this package in terms of specs is the ability to use an EMR or other types of pressure-sensitive active stylus.

Hardware

Lenovo’s Yoga Chromebook C630 may not be the most expensive Chrome OS device or have the highest-ranked specs. Regardless, it did manage to top our rankings as the best Chromebook for the overall year. That’s because it is priced properly for a device that sits at the apex of the curve where Chromebooks simply start to slow in terms of performance gains made as the hardware improves. Although there are better Chromebooks out there -- for more money -- this is really the pinnacle of value for the time being. Loaded with a number of optional inclusions and featuring powerful hardware standard in an understated, all-business all-metal frame, Lenovo’s entry into the Chrome OS premium market is a testament to computer building done right.

The keyboard on this device is genuinely quiet and even pounding away at the keys to finish up an article, review, or other writing in a timely fashion doesn’t produce any loud clicks or clacks. Any sounds at all from those is dulled and diminished almost to the point of nonexistence. The keys are also very nicely balanced in terms of pressure and travel distance. Problems that are often seen with accidentally missing a letter or character, usually when typing a password or some other content quickly, were missing from our experience here too. With the probable exception for those with a deep-seated affection for mechanical input devices, most will find that this is simply a phenomenal keyboard. While backlighting wasn’t included in our test variant, that’s also available to make typing things up even easier in dim or dark environments. Mouse inputs and touch actions are equally responsive, although the former of those does keep intact the usually noisy click seen with all touchpad-based mouse hardware.

The coloration and finish on this device is another area Lenovo has excelled. It’s sold in an almost matte blue that’s so dark it nearly shifts to a deep gray or black depending on the lighting. In fact, getting that blue to really shine through requires we fairly well-lit environment and the hue is just enough to suggest that this isn’t the usual black or gray found on laptops. The finish seems to be scratch resistant too, with no marks appearing in spite of the number of times the included USB-C or USB ports were missed while plugging in or unplugging. Each of those ports is snug and feels solidly engineered.

Display

As mentioned above, we didn't get the opportunity to test out the UHD 4K resolution version of this particular Chromebook. Based on our experience with this 1920 x 1080 display, however, that is going to be a spectacular screen as well. Images are crystal clear and brightness is good enough for well-lit rooms or use outside on a sunny, bright day with settings at right around 50-percent to 60-percent brightness. Viewing angles seem high too but fall well short of anything like 180-degrees without losing detail and becoming reflective -- with fading beginning at right around 140-degrees. Touches on the included panel were responsive and accurate throughout with no lag at all and long-presses registering consistently and quickly. The only real caveat here is that we would have loved to have seen the stylus from the company's 500e Chromebook make its way over. The inability to use a stylus takes away from what is otherwise a brilliant experience and design.

Software

As is the case with every Chrome OS device, the software included with the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 is pretty run-of-the-mill. It includes the usual Google productivity and entertainment services -- everything from Google Play Store to the search giant’s office products and Google Keep. Google-owned YouTube is part of the package as well as a calculator and camera application. Thanks to the comparatively powerful hardware packed into the Yoga Chromebook C630, all of that is as buttery as might be expected from a brand new Android flagship device. Users can choose to install other apps from the Play Store too or to turn on Linux (beta) apps in the settings menu to access desktop software -- running in containers as applets -- from that open-source full desktop OS. That opens a world of possibility with developer-focused apps on the way too such as Android Studio and Linux tools for creativity or development running more cleanly once local file support arrives for that feature. That's expected with an update to Chrome OS from Google over the next several months.

We didn’t experience any lag in spite of how intense the apps or cloud software used and regardless of the number of tabs we had opened. At one point, during our research, we had as many as 47 tabs open and did notice that Chrome OS’s tab isolation caused reloading on a few of those. In particular, that would happen whenever we left a page for several minutes and navigated through a dozen or so others before returning. That’s not really an issue since that’s going to happen in Chrome anywhere but it’s worth pointing out as a quirk that shows up in any Chromebook.

Battery Life and Performance

In terms of battery life, charging Lenovo’s new premium Chromebook from completely drained only takes around an hour and a half. That’s a stark contrast to its ability to last for well over five hours at more than 90-percent CPU workload based on our benchmark test. That test was run with the brightness turned up and screen dimming deactivated and is a testament to the level of Chrome OS optimization for this hardware. It did show up as less than a OnePlus 5 in comparisons but that isn’t necessarily the case in real-world use. The performance was shown to be spectacular in that same benchmark and that did translate to actual usage -- as outlined in the software section of this review. Single-core scores from Geekbench 4 were all the way up in the 4470 range while multi-core marks shot way up to over 11000.

Performance has already been touched on in the software section but it’s worth repeating that this computer will handle just about anything almost any user can throw at it. The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 is not by any means a gaming laptop but some lighter titles should still perform well on both the Linux and Android side too. It’s often claimed that Chromebooks aren’t able to keep up with Windows or macOS on many fronts and in many ways that’s true. If full photoshop or heavy gaming is the goal, the OS just isn’t there yet -- although no Android games made for tablets are going to pose any threat to performance. But differences in hardware do still make a massive difference and it shows on this Chrome OS 2-in-1. Devices like the Samsung Chromebook Pro or Acer Chromebook C423 are simply not going to keep up with this device in almost any way and there are few that will actually top it in performance.

On battery life, with some quite substantial usage, we actually saw around 7.75-hours of constant use from a single charge. That’s going to stretch much further with screen brightness turned down and other factors accounted for. Returning to comparative statements, similar use with some top-end Chromebooks can be as low as 4 hours in spite of having smaller, lower-resolution displays. That’s another place this Chrome OS gadget really sets itself apart.

The Good

High-performance hardware balances the OS perfectly

No lag in touch or keyboard inputs

A backlit keyboard is an option

Up to 4K display available

Speakers are surprisingly good for a laptop

Whisper-quiet keys with good depth and comfort-focused design

Solid design is refined rather than flashy and fingerprint resistant

Build quality is exceptional

The Bad

No stylus support takes away an otherwise great experience

Somewhat heavy to hold over long periods

The 15.6-inch format is not great for every tablet use case

Conclusion

The caveats present for the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 are not the kinds of problems one might expect to see at the budget end of the market for these devices and are not at all severe enough to be dealbreakers. At most, they represent minor annoyances that most users will just not ever notice. Meanwhile, its large screen and solid design mean that it can be used in just about any scenario its needed for. Android games, Linux apps, and web-based software are going to run as smoothly here as any other Chromebook on the market or close enough to make no difference for the vast majority of users. All of that, Lenovo's latest and first premium Chromebook is going to accomplish while looking spectacular but not so over-the-top that it could be out of place at either the most important business meetings or the least mainstream coffee shop.

Should you buy the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630?

Whether as much hardware as is present in the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 is really required by a user will depend heavily on what the use case actually is. For somebody who is just going to plug in some headphones or connect to a listening device via Bluetooth to watch a few YouTube videos or browse a few websites, it really is probably overpowered. The same is likely true for the majority of Android gamers. This particular device is also not at all a fit for those who need a stylus for art or taking notes. A standard capacitive stylus would still be usable but those aren't necessarily accurate and there's a reason many companies of even budget-friendly devices include them. Bearing that in mind, for those who want something that looks amazing in a very understated but still somehow 'stately' manner, Lenovo's first premium Chromebook fits the bill to a 'T'. It would be almost reckless unless the very best of the best is required, on the other hand, not to recommend this Chromebook. It is very nearly perfect for just about anything Chrome OS can do.

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About the Author
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Daniel Golightly

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]
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