Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lenovo Yoga 900-ISK2: shame on you, Lenovo, never again

I have posted a review of Lenovo Yoga 900-ISK awhile back in which I concluded that it's probably the ultimate choice if you need a high-end machine for running Linux. Now that it got renewed to 900-ISK2 it's no longer the case and probably nobody should buy Lenovo products if running Linux is your intention.

900-ISK2 looks really sweet on the hardware side, even faster SSD, and slightly better CPU with IRIS video card (which is probably just enough for decoding 4k HEVC video) while everything else is the same old good. Yet, a slight change in its firmware hiding the AHCI option makes it virtually unusable, locked out without possibility to change the preinstalled OS.

A thread on Lenovo forums (19 pages at the time of this writing) included both a Lenovo person promising to escalate this issue with the developers and quote from some other unknown person telling that it's been done this way per agreement with Microsoft. Someone also mentioned that it's possible to modify the bios with a programmer with only moderate soldering. After that moderators started to moderate the thread and it's now unclear whether anything will be done in any reasonable amount of time. So far the only constructive thing said was that usually bios updates in the past required from several weeks to several months.

I suppose I could wait a couple months living out of an external HDD (with usb 3.0 it's not even that slow) if I knew that it's only temporary but I'd rather try to get a refund while it's still possible.

I hope firmware will be fixed. I also hope my wife will be able to return the device for refund tomorrow. But now it's absolutely unclear what should people use instead. New zenbook with power button instead of delete? XPS with its web camera looking up your nose (besides not having enough RAM)? Noisy and overheating spectre? Overpriced and outdated macbook? Everything would be so much simpler if Lenovo just fixed this thing and not locked users out in future.

Update (Sep. 22, 2016): We managed to return the device for full refund, guys at the store didn't even give us any hard time though it required two visits to get it done. Dell XPS 13 is a likely candidate for the next purchase, it has very similar hardware specs, although the RAM thingy (8 GIB is good but not quite enough) is a possible deal breaker there.

Update (Sep. 22, 2016): Additionally, Lenovo issued a press release yesterday, stating, in effect (after you cut through the PR bullshit), that it all was intentional and they won't fix it. They are going full superfish on their customers, it seems. And the forums thread just reached 24 pages.

Update (Sep. 26, 2016): Someone started a petition to demand the update from lenovo, forums admin started deleting every post linking to it. Thread reached 30 pages.

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