Lenovo Yoga S940 first look: Crammed with AI and machine-learning features

The Lenovo Yoga S940 is a thin and lightweight laptop that’s crammed with AI and machine-learning powered features, as well as Cortana and Alexa support, and a nice-looking contoured glass screen cover.

Early Verdict

A 4K screen, light weight build and compact design all command attention and I’m keen on the idea of AI-assisted smart features like the eye tracking.

Key Features

  • Review Price: £TBC
  • 14-inch, Full HD / 4K IPS, HDR, Dolby Vision
  • Alexa integration
  • Dolby Atmos speakers
  • SSD up to 1TB
  • Up to 8th gen Core i7
  • 8GB / 16GB LPDDR3 RAM

The Lenovo Yoga S940 is thin and light, but brimming with features and big specs; a 4K screen, Cortana and Alexa, Dolby Atmos speakers, SSD up to 1TB, the list goes on.

Besides having two of the biggest names in voice assistance along for the party, Lenovo’s added a suite of what it’s calling ‘Smart Assist’ features, AI and machine-learning powered features that will react to how you use and even look at the Yoga S940, moulding it to suit your personal preferences over time. Voice controls can also be moulded to respond to you and you only, so that colleagues and flatmates talking won’t be inadvertently interpreted by the Yoga S940 as commands.

Lenovo Yoga S940 price and release date

Lenovo Yoga S490’s should be on sale from May, with prices starting at $1499 U.S. No official UK prices or release dates have been confirmed yet, but at the time of writing, $1499 converts to £1176.

Related: CES 2019

Lenovo Yoga S940 design and features

Style-wise, the Yoga S940 looks like a scaled-down MacBook Air; there are sets of micro-drilled speaker holes either side of the keyboard over on the right hand side, there are two USB-C ports, both supporting Thunderbolt. There’s an additional Type-C USB 3.1 port that’s intended to be used as the main charging port, so it one-ups the Air in this regard.

The 14-inch screen is covered by contoured glass, which also covers the bezels. This appears to be mainly an aesthetic choice – there’s no benefit I can see other than it looking nice.

Display options will include Full HD and 4K. The 4K option boasts max brightness of 500 nits and HDR support, though it’s unclear if there will be a FHD HDR option too. The 4K display is also Dolby Vision certified – whichever option you go for, you should benefit from a decent audio experience, thanks to Dolby Atmos support.

Lenovo Yoga S940

The Yoga S940’s pair of Thunderbolt ports sit on the right hand side of the laptop.

I wasn’t able to get any of the Smart Assist features to work, but they’re worth recounting here. There’s an auto-lock feature which kicks in if the front-facing camera’s eye tracking algorithms detects that you’ve looked away from the screen. Ostensibly a privacy feature, this will save you from having to shut or lock the Yoga S940 every time you step away, saving you time and a bit of battery life, too.

There’s also a ‘nosy neighbour’ feature that’ll see the screen shutting down if someone’s trying to read your work over your shoulder or from the sides.

Lenovo says that eye tracking will also come into play if you’ve connected the Yoga S940 to another monitor. You’ll be able to shift windows and tabs to that second monitor just by looking at it, apparently.

Other promised features include a boost to video calling. Mics will actively focus on cancelling ambient noise, and likewise, the camera will blur out the background, meaning whoever you’re calling will get a better look at your face. Real-time translation and transcription’s also promised though only English-Mandarin Chinese will be supported from launch.

Related: Best ultrabook

Lenovo Yoga S940 specifications

Lenovo Yoga S940
Dimensions 12.2 x 319.3 x 197.4 mm
Weight 1.2kg
Display 14-inch, Full HD / 4K IPS, HDR, Dolby Vision
Processor Up to 8th gen Core i7
Memory 8GB / 16GB LPDDR3 RAM
Storage PCIe SSD: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Graphics Intel integrated
Connectivity 2 x 2 Wi-Fi ac
Ports 2 x Type-C USB (Thunderbolt 3)

1 x Type-C USB DC-In + USB 3.1 Gen 1, 3.5mm audio jack

Cameras and microphones Fixed-Focus CMOS Camera with 2.0 Interface, far field mics
Misc Cortana, IR camera, Lenovo Smart Assist
Lenovo Yoga S940

Weighing just 1.2kg, the Yoga S490 is easily held in one hand.

First impressions

A 4K screen, light weight build and compact design all command attention and I’m keen on the idea of AI-assisted smart features like the eye tracking. Given that most video calls you’ll make tend to look blurry over poor Wi-Fi connections anyway, I’m dubious about the value of the conference call background blur feature, but any device that auto-optimises, learning how you use it, should be interesting.