Lenovo Yoga 900 and Fedora Review
Just about 2 years ago now I picked up a Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, which I have been using happily since then. My full review was: Lenovo yoga 2 pro and Fedora review and then a followup a year later at yoga 2 pro: a year later. It’s been a great little laptop, but I decided it might be time to replace it soon. Mostly because the warentee on the yoga 2 pro was done, the cpu was showing a bit of age and I was hoping there would be some advancements in laptops over the last 2 years.
A few weeks ago, Lenovo came out with the Yoga 900, which was the successor to last years Yoga 3 pro and it in turn my Yoga 2 pro. The stats and early reviews looked pretty nice, so I ordered one.
I was hoping for a smooth Fedora experience, but sadly I ran into two issues right away after booting from a Fedora Live USB:
- The wireless didn’t work. It didn’t even see the interface. Of course I ran into this same problem 2 years ago with the yoga 2 pro: it was the ideapad_notebook module not knowing about this laptop and thinking it had hardware rfkill set on all the wireless modules. A quick bit of hacking on that module and it no longer showed the interfaces as hardware blocked. Unfortunately, it still didn’t work. I looked then to confirm that the intel 8260 wireless was supported by Linux, and indeed it is. Looking closer, I saw that the pci id of the card I had was not in fact listed in the driver. They had “0x24F4, 0x1130” and mine was “0x24F3, 0x1130”. Fixing that quickly in the module got the iwlwifi module working with the interface and all was well. This bug tracks these issues (both of which should be headed upstream): bug 1275490
- The touchpad and touchscreen didn’t work. This seemed to be a probing issue with the i2c-designware platform. A few posts to the linux i2c-devel list and some exchanges with an intel engineer and I had a one line patch that gets it working. Hopefully that will be upstreamable soon.
With those issues out of the way, I went ahead and did a rawhide install on it, copied my /home over to it and then updated my ansible playbooks that setup all the things I want on my laptop. It was a pretty painless process overall and then I was up and running on the new machine. 🙂
- All the nice things about the yoga 2 pro came over: It’s actually a bit smaller and lighter, the screen resolution is still 3200×1800, it fits in the laptop sleve I got for the yoga 2 pro.
- It’s really fast. The latest gen i7-6500U’s are really zippy.
- I’ve not traveled too much with it yet, but in the short times I have the battery life has been great. Estimating around 12 hours or so, almost 2x the battery life on the yoga 2 pro.
- The hinge is a new “watchband” style. I never had any issues with the yoga 2 pro’s hinge, but this one looks a good deal sturdier.
- 16GB of ram (over the yoga 2 pro’s 8GB) is nice. Might run some vm’s now. 🙂
- The laptop backlight now has 3 levels: bright, low, off. I could see using the low setting in some cases.
- It has a USB-C port instead of a mini-hdmi on the yoga 2 pro. I have no USB-C cables, but this seems like it will be a win allowing me to connect (with the right cables) to a DP, hdml, usb, whatever via the USB-C port. I am not clear on if I could charge from this port as well, but I’ll see when/if I get a cable. 🙂
- The power port is also a USB 2 port. Could be handy in some times when you don’t have power and need to attach another usb device.
- The firmware actually has a way to enter secure boot setup mode and add your own keys. The yoga 2 pro didn’t have that.
- Just like the yoga 2 pro, firmware updates seem to require windows. ;( Lenovo provides handy iso updaters for many laptops, but not this one. Likely because they outsourced the firmware to some 3rd party. ;(
- The keyboard feel is different. I am not sure if I like it better, don’t like it, or just need to get more used to it.
- 512GB ssd instead of a 128GB in the yoga 2 pro. I wasn’t even using the 128, so it doesn’t really seem that much different. 🙂
Overall I think the upgrade is well worth it, but it’s all mostly incremental improvements, nothing jaw droppingly awesome. The active warentee, cpu speed, memory and battery life all make it worthwhile IMHO.