The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 further expands the boundaries of what you can expect from a Chromebook in 2019. The standout feature is a terrific convertible, 15.6-inch, 4K display -- but it also has a complement of solid components and a sturdy, tasteful aluminum chassis. And like most Chromebooks, it costs hundreds less than a similarly configured Windows counterpart.
And, in fact, the C630 is the Chromebook version of Lenovo's excellent C930 -- an Editors' Choice and one of our all-time favorite two-in-one convertibles. The C930, which runs Windows, can be configured with some higher-end components and has a few noteworthy extras that the C630 Chromebook lacks (e.g. a fingerprint reader and digital stylus that can be housed in the display's hinge). But it also costs a lot more.
We tested the top-tier C630 Chromebook configuration (model 81JX0008UX) which retails for $900. That retail price converts roughly to £715 and AU$1,300. At the time this review was published it was selling for $730 -- but we've seen Lenovo discount it to closer to $600. In addition to the UHD 4K display, our test unit came with an eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a 128GB of eMMC storage. That's less firepower than what you'll find on the average Windows machine, but more than potent enough to keep webpages loading fast and apps zipping along on this Chromebook, which is as fast as any we've tested.
|Price as reviewed||$730|
|Display size/resolution||15.6-inch 3,840x2,160-pixel touchscreen|
|CPU||1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 RAM|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Networking||Dual band 802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Chrome OS|
The C630 is the first Chromebook with a 4K display. The screen is big. It's responsive to touch. And it's bright enough to make reading and watching videos a pure joy. I loved reading the New York Times website on it in portrait mode, and poking my finger at the headlines I wanted to read; it felt a bit like the 2019 version of reading an old-school print newspaper.
Note that Lenovo also sells a version of the C630 with an FHD display, which has a lower resolution (1,920x1,080) and costs about $100 less. And there's an entry-level configuration, with the same FHD display, an Intel Core i3 and half as much hard drive capacity; it usually costs between $460 and $550. I'd recommend shelling out for the high-end model we tested, especially if you can find it for under $750; it's worth it.
With an understated matte-black aesthetic, the Yoga Chromebook C630 exudes low-key class. The sturdy all-aluminum chassis weighs just over 4 pounds -- a few ounces more than the elegant MacBook Pro -- which makes it rather lightweight for a laptop with a 15.6-inch display.
Like most Chromebooks, the C630's keyboard, though full-size, is on the mushy side. (Note that the non-4K versions of this laptop come without the backlit keyboard, for some reason.) And the trackpad is large and responsive. Both are just fine.
The audio and video features are also just adequate: you get two 2-watt speakers set on the underside of the laptop and a 720p webcam with a dual-mic array. And the connections are typical of a contemporary Chromebook: two fast USB-C ports, one slower USB 3.0 port and a microSD slot. There's also a power button and a volume rocker switch on the right edge.
The C630's battery life was surprisingly good, lasting for just about 10 hours in our video-playback test. That's not enough to lift it into the pantheon of the best battery life laptops, but it's laudable for a two-in-one convertible with a 15.6-inch 4K display -- and enough to get you through a day's work or long flight.
I'm increasingly convinced that, for most people, buying a Chromebook no longer means compromising. Sure, if you're beholden to one of the few remaining apps that runs exclusively on the Windows or MacOS operating system, this is not the laptop for you. Otherwise, the Yoga C630 Chromebook is a great, inexpensive laptop -- that doubles as an enormous tablet -- with a killer 4K display and blazing performance for everyday productivity and entertainment tasks.
|HP Chromebook x2||Chrome OS; 2.6GHz Intel Core m3-7Y30; 4GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1,600MHz; Intel HD Graphics 615; 32GB eMMC|
|Acer Chromebook Spin 13||Chrome OS; 1.6GHz Intel Core m3-6Y30; 4GB Lenovo 500e Chromebook|
|Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630||Chrome OS; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2,400MHz; Intel UHD Graphics 620; 128GB eMMC|
|Samsung Chromebook Pro||Chrome OS; 2.2GHz Intel Core m3-6Y30; 4GB LDDR3; Intel HD Graphics 515; 32GB eMMC|