Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana has been in Windows 10 laptops for a couple of years now, usually accessible via the search box on the Windows desktop and, in some cases, via a dedicated physical button. Lenovo is taking that a step further by turning its top-of-the-line Yoga laptop into what is, essentially, a home assistant.
The new Lenovo Yoga 920, announced today at the IFA trade show in Berlin, has far-field microphones so users can talk to the laptop from more than a dozen feet away and Cortana will respond — even if the laptop is closed. This means you can shout at your laptop to take notes or set calendar appointments even if you’re not at the laptop. If last year’s big Windows push at IFA was all about pen support, this year might be the year of voice control; the newly-announced Yoga 720 laptop, a smaller model, also has this capability.
That doesn’t mean the pen is taking a backset. The Lenovo Yoga 920 also works with an optional Lenovo Active Pen 2, which the previous laptop model, the Yoga 910, didn’t support. Lenovo says this second version of the Active Pen is more sensitive than the first version, with “no discernible lag.”
The new Yoga 920 also has Intel’s latest 8th generation quad core i7 processor (Kaby Lake refresh), 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. And it has twin Thunderbolt 3 ports, something that The Verge’s Dieter Bohn knocked the Yoga 910 for not having in his review of that machine. The Yoga 920 has a fingerprint reader for authentication, but still no Windows Hello facial recognition through the laptop’s camera.
Otherwise, the all-metal, 13.9-inch Yoga 920 either maintains or improves slightly upon the pre-existing Lenovo Yoga devices, which are known for their ability to be converted from a traditional laptop into a tablet or “tent-mode” display. It has the same watchband hinge that lets it fold into different form factors. It a 4K touchscreen display that Lenovo describes as nearly bezel-less, but it does still have that massive bezel on the bottom portion of the display.
It weighs just about the same as the previous model, 3.02 pounds compared to the Yoga 910’s 3.04 pounds. One new, tiny, appreciated design change is that the front edge of the laptop has a lip carved out, so you can more easily pry the laptop open.
Since this is Lenovo’s top of the line Yoga model, it’s not cheap: it has a starting price in the US of $1329.99, and is expected to ship for the holidays. It’s also coming in a couple new colors, copper and bronze, in addition to silver platinum. And Lenovo is rolling out a few limited edition, Star Wars-themed Gorilla Glass cover designs. Which is cool. But we just can’t wait to get our hands on it so we can start trying out its far-field microphones.