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Lenovo's Yoga A940 is a serious Surface Studio rival

Plus, it'll please fans of the magic of tidying up.
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Lenovo is taking on Microsoft with its new Yoga A940 -- an all-in-one desktop with a rotating dual-hinge that lets you move the screen between 25 and 90 degree angles. It's like the Surface Studio, but with a few key differences that make it a compelling competitor. For one, the Yoga A940 will cost just $2,350 when it hits retail in March. For another, Lenovo designed a new precision dial that plugs into the side of the device, instead of taking up precious screen real estate.

Like the Surface Studio, the Yoga A940 is designed for creative professionals who would appreciate bringing the screen down to a 25-degree drafting-friendly angle. I'm not Lenovo's target audience, but even I can see the Yoga A940's appeal. As I leaned down on the screen to carefully sketch out a portrait, I was impressed that the hinge held my weight well.

It was relatively easy to shift the display to different positions, though Lenovos's dual-hinge didn't feel as smooth as the Studio's from my experience. The touchscreen did register the edge of my palm as a brush stroke, unfortunately, so I still had to be quite careful with how I placed my hand on the device.

Gallery: Hands-on with the Lenovo Yoga A940 | 8 Photos

The Active Pen, which Lenovo includes, worked smoothly on the Yoga A940, though it dragged a little on the screen. Speaking of, the 27-inch 4K display was bright and bold as we edited pictures of wildlife in Photoshop.

It was also fun to use Lenovo's Precision Dial to quickly control settings like brush size and swap tools while editing and sketching. Unlike Microsoft's magnetic Surface Dial, Lenovo's is a dongle that plugs into a USB A port on either hinge. I like that this frees up space on your screen and won't get in the way, but I must admit I had some trouble figuring out which was the right way up to plug in the dongle. Thankfully, you most likely won't be removing the Precision Dial once you insert it, so the slightly troublesome process won't be too frustrating.

The dial has two rotating rings and a button at the top, giving users plenty of options to play with. Pressing down on the middle button will show you the shortcut options for the app you're using, and a LED ring on the dial will glow in a color that corresponds with your app.

Lenovo Yoga A940 at CES 2019

When we switched from Lightroom to Photoshop, for example, the light changed from purple to blue. It's not particularly useful, but at least indicates that the dial is working and the right shortcuts are ready. Currently, the Precision Dial is only compatible with Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator as well as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. During my demo, I also tried it out with Autodesk Sketchbook, and could use shortcuts to quickly tweak brush size and drawing implements.

Another (literally) neat thing about the Yoga A940 is how it's been designed to facilitate a tidy workspace. Lenovo built a tray into the computer's base, so you can tuck your keyboard away before pulling the screen down towards you. This way, you don't have to look for space on your table to put your keyboard when you're trying to draw. There's also an integrated wireless charging dock for your compatible smartphones and a slot to hold your Active Pen so you won't misplace it.

Lenovo Yoga A940 at CES 2019

The Yoga A940 chugged along smoothly as we switched between Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Autodesk Sketchbook, all the while making edits to high-res photos. It's a powerful machine, thanks to its eighth-generation Intel Core i7 CPU with AMD Radeon RX560 graphics. If you plan on doing more than just work on this device, say play a game or watch a movie, you'll appreciate the Dolby Atmos speaker system. There are two speakers in the machine's base, and two built into the bottom of the screen so that audio is still firing out at you when the display is sitting in its 25-degree position.

Depending on where you live, some versions of the Yoga A940 might have different specs, like a lower power processor or a less-sharp screen. In the US, though, Lenovo is expecting the high-end option to be most popular, and at $2350, the A940 is hundreds cheaper than the original Surface Studio and more than $1,000 less than the Studio 2. If you're after a high-end all-in-one desktop with a rotating hinge, and want a cheaper alternative to Microsoft's offerings, Lenovo's latest is seriously worth considering.

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