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Lenovo Yoga 6 13″ 2021 Convertible Review: Zen 2 in Ryzen 5 5500U Tested

Lenovo’s Yoga series is popular for its convertibles and touch displays whose portability makes it especially suitable for artists and designers on the go. The Yoga 6 13″ 2021 which features the Ryzen 5 5500U at its core is one such notebook we’ll be looking at today. As is the norm with most of our reviews and analysis, we’ll be focusing on the performance aspect of things. Before we begin, it’s worth noting that, unlike most Ryzen 5000 SKUs, the Ryzen 5 5500U and Ryzen 7 5700U are based on the Zen 2 core.

The Zen 2 offerings come under the Lucienne family while the Zen 3 mobile parts form the Cezanne lineup. Other than the Zen 2 core, all the other platform features of the Ryzen 5000 stack are retained by the 5500U/5700U. These include per-core voltage control, preferred core optimizations, and an upgraded memory controller.

Specifications, Prices and Form Factor

The Lenovo Yoga 16 is a 13-inch convertible with super-thin bezels, a 1080p touch display with a Digital Pen for designers, and an overall compact form factor. It weighs just 1.3 kg and comes with a Type-C charger for added flexibility. The display is your standard run-of-the-mill 1080p IPC touchscreen with an sRGB >99% color coverage and a 1500:1 contrast ratio. The brightness tops out at 300 nits which puts it in the “gets the job done” section. As for the price, the Ryzen 5 5500U variant with 16GB of DDR4-3200 memory and a 512 GB NVMe SSD costs somewhere between $700-800 or 70-80K INR.

Performance

The Ryzen 5 5500U generally performs a bit over the 4500U in PC Mark 10, especially in Essentials and Content Creation. In Cinebench multi-threaded, however, the IdeaPad 5 (powered by the 4500U) performs a notch better, likely a result of better thermals. The 5500U in the Yoga 6 mostly stuttered between 3.5GHz and 4.5GHz, seeing frequent drops to 2GHz in rendering and photo editing.

Compared to the Core i7-1165G7 on the Dell XPS 13, we’re looking at roughly the same levels of performance, except in lightly threaded workloads. In single-threaded workloads like browsing, word processing, video playback, etc the IPC advantage of Tiger Lake comes into play, giving it an edge over the competition. I reckon Alder Lake-P will do something very similar.

LZMA compression algorithms such as 7-zip benefit hugely from the multi-threaded capabilities of Ryzen processors. The Ryzen 5 5500U is notably faster than the Core i7-1165G7 as well as the Ryzen 5 4500, especially in decompression. The 4800U maintains a healthy lead thanks to its 16 threads.

Moving to x265 or HEVC, the Ryzen 5 5500U sits between Intel’s quad-core designs and its octa-core siblings. An expected result as most encoding algorithms will utilize as many threads as you throw at them.

Thermals and Battery Life

The Yoga 6 packs a 4-cell, 45WH Lithium-ion polymer battery which can last for as much as 12 hours under light load. However, for most people, we’re looking at 5-7 hours of battery backup with a mix of surfing and typing, video playback, and music. The notebook does heat up quite a bit after sustained load which can be an issue for people who are especially sensitive to burns.

Conclusion

The Yoga 6 is a decent convertible for designers and content creators. The Ryzen 5 5500U won’t be breaking any records but it holds its own across every workload. The inclusion of the Zen 2 cores instead of Zen 3 may be a dealbreaker for many but unless you’re really picky about render times, you won’t really feel the difference. We’re talking about a 15-20% delta in most cases.

Moving to the display and design. The latter follows the signature Yoga style with plenty of options for customization. As for the display, it’s an average screen with average brightness and a better than average color gamut. The speakers are pretty neat for a convertible and the same goes for the battery but the thermals will almost certainly be an issue for some.

Areej

Computer hardware enthusiast, PC gamer, and almost an engineer. Former co-founder of Techquila (2017-2019), a fairly successful tech outlet. Been working on Hardware Times since 2019, an outlet dedicated to computer hardware and its applications.
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