By: Dilip Bhatia, vice president, Global Marketing, User & Customer Experience, PC & Smart Device, Lenovo
We like to think of our Yoga™ 910 convertible laptop as “thin and mighty.” Measuring an incredible 14.3mm in thinness, it delivers a level of performance and power with up to Intel’s® latest 7th Gen Core™ i7 processor that’s unexpected in the small form of a convertible laptop. It’s an impressive feat. At the same time it represents a huge technical challenge to shrink the thickness of a laptop while building in the improvements users demand. So how did we do it?
We know people want to be always connected on the go. According to a study of Millennials in 2014, Nielsen found that more than 74 percent feel that new technology makes their lives easier, and 54 percent feel new technology helps them be closer to their friends and family. And when it comes to productivity, there’s been a huge rise over the last decade in people working remotely; the New York Times reported a rise in the US between 2005 and 2012 of 79 percent. A 2015 global study by PGI found 79 percent of knowledge workers said they work from home. So whether it’s connecting with friends online or working in coffee shops, the trend is leading to a much more flexible and fluid blend between work and life. That means there has never been a greater need for a PC that’s super portable and lets users get stuff done anywhere on the go.
People also want something that looks and feels sleek – something that makes a statement when it’s out, and size plays a key part of that. There are trade-offs between the usability of a smartphone or tablet and portability of a laptop, making a strong desire to blend the two. That’s why our design team really pushed every boundary to drive down the Yoga 910’s size.
But there’s only so far you can go: our engineers call it “ideal thinness” – the point to which innovative engineering can reduce the thickness of a laptop without impacting performance by losing ports, battery life, or comprising on ruggedness or processing power. Shrinking the thickness of the laptop by 0.6mm over previous generations required a redesign of internal components, layout, fans, venting, screen and casing, using premium and complex parts to reduce size and maintain strength and performance.
So let’s look at some of the areas that helped shave 0.6mm off its size:
The hinge – The Yoga 910’s flexible watchband hinge is based on 813 individual parts. Since some convertibles feel stiff to the point where you’re no longer sure if they are actually meant to move, we wanted to make the Yoga 910 more flexible, with a true 360-degree hinge that would stand up to the rigors of everyday use. The hinge rotation is torture tested tens of thousands of times in our labs and designed so that the Yoga 910 can be used in laptop mode for office work, flipped into stand mode when you’re giving a presentation, then into tent mode to watch a movie when travelling or at home, then into tablet mode to read an e-book or just browsing the web. More importantly, it means that the laptop design can stay slim without losing any of its integrity or strength.
Power – Lenovo™ invested heavily into pioneering new battery technologies to ensure that it could reach the ideal thinness that customers demanded without compromising on battery life. Our R&D focused on the development and implementation of higher density batteries – finding a way to increase the power density (Watt-hours per liter) of the battery, which enables it to squeeze more power into the same sized battery, and thus get more battery life out of it. The Yoga 910 uses a 700 Wh/l battery technology, a 16 percent increase in power density over the last generation.
Cooling – Waste heat from a working laptop is difficult to remove from the compact internal space. The Yoga 910 uses a completely redesigned fan, which is larger dimensionally and more efficient than in previous models, but lighter and still thinner.
Our engineering team also paid attention to the venting by placing these in the hinge where they maximize cooling without needing to take precious real estate on the laptop.
Finally, switching to a new material allows the body of the laptop itself to be used as a heat sink, supplementing cooling by dissipating heat out of the device.
Body design – We used an all-metal unibody design, and the material lends itself to an extremely thin, yet durable, shell. A unibody design further increases its overall strength, reducing any single point of failure, while providing maximum space for internal components.
Screen – The rise of the visual culture reflects how millennials are consuming content differently – watching and viewing content more than reading and writing. Visual content dominates social and traditional media alike, from Instagram® and YouTube™ to HD becoming the norm. Enabling a superior visual experience on the Yoga 910 was key in its engineering and design. Not only did we integrate a touchscreen with an ultra-thin bezel, but our team pushed the limits to incorporate a 4K panel with a near edgeless display to ensure the viewing experience would be unlike other laptops. As a result, the screen has a 5mm bezel (given the highest premium rating in our consumer tests), which provides vital space for us to route the internal cabling.
Components – Our engineers worked with major component manufacturers to select the slimmest form factors possible in each component, including one of the smallest Core i motherboards available with high density components. The Yoga 910 has an ultra-slim metal fan that’s just 3.8mm thin. Its high-density battery also helps keep its battery size compact. This uncompromising attention to detail for the latest and best components, combined with a redesigned layout on the motherboard, has enabled the team to shrink the overall thickness of the Yoga 910.
So, can we go thinner? Our engineers are already working on it, but we won’t sacrifice thinness for usability. Stay tuned for the next innovation that breaks barriers on thinness.