Lenovo Adds 3 Affordable 2-in-1s to Yoga Family

BARCELONA -- The star of Lenovo's 2-in-1 Yoga family is clearly the Yoga 900, but ever since its flagship hybrid debuted late last year, the company has been steadily adding new sizes and more affordable configurations to its winning hybrid formula.

The latest additions to the Yoga family come in the form of two new mid-range Yoga 710s, in 11 and 14-inch sizes, that start at $499 and $749, respectively. There's also an even more budget-friendly model, the $599 14-inch Yoga 510. To kick off the launch of the new models, Lenovo brought all three new Yogas to Mobile World Congress 2016, where we got a hands-on look at them.

MORE: Why Your Next Laptop Should Be a 2-in-1

We started with the 11-inch Yoga 710, which, at 0.58-inches thick and 2.35 pounds, has shaved off a little size and weight  from the current 11-inch Yoga 700 (0.62-inches thick and 2.4 pounds). Lenovo has also lopped off a big chunk of the price. The 11-inch Yoga 710 is slated to start at just $499, versus the $649 starting price of the existing 11-inch Yoga 700, which has similar specs, including a 1920 x 1080 display. The Yoga 710 can be configured up to an Intel Core m5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.

However, the 11-inch Yoga 710’s ports seem limited. It has just three -- a USB 3.0 port, a micro HDMI port and a combination headphone/microphone jack. There’s no USB-C port. or SD card expansion slot.

Thankfully, for people looking for a little more connectivity, Lenovo also brought the new 14-inch Yoga 710 to MWC.

Starting at $749, the 14-inch Yoga 710 retains the smaller model's 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, but steps up to Intel Core i-series CPUs, up to 8GB of RAM and 256GB solid-state drives. There's an  option for an Nvidia 940M GPU as well. Lenovo has bumped up the number of ports to include two USB 3.0 connections (one of which is Type-C), an SD card reader, a DisplayPort and a combo audio jack.

Both machines feature pretty, sleek metal bodies and, like almost every Yoga we've tested, both stayed firmly in position when we transformed them into any of their various physical modes. Yet we need to know more about these hybrids' battery lives. Lenovo says both the 11- and 14-inch Yoga 710 have 8 hours of battery life, but rarely does a system last as long in our battery test as it does on its spec sheet. When we reviewed the 14-inch Yoga 700 in December, the system's biggest downside was its slightly disappointing battery, which expired more than an hour short of the 8-hour-and-14-minute average for the hybrid category.

We then moved on to the 14-inch Yoga 510, which has a starting price of $599, lower than the 14-inch 710's $599, and which will be called the Flex 4 when it hits the U.S. market. The 510 features a slightly bigger and heavier plastic body than the 710, but has similarly strong and flexible hinges. The 510 can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD or 256GB SDD, and an AMD Radeon R5 M430 GPU.

Lenovo also plans to make a 15-inch Yoga 510, which should be pretty much the same as the 14-inch model, except that it will offer a slightly more powerful AMD R7 M460 top graphics option. Both sizes will feature 3 USB ports, an SD card reader, an HDMI port and a combo headphone/mic jack.

It was only when we compared the 14-inch Yoga 510 (0.82-inches thick) with the 14-inch Yoga 710 (0.63-inches thick) that we really got a sense of the difference in size. For a system that starts at $599, we were pretty impressed with the 510's overall size. The more important difference between the 510 and 710 was their displays. Despite both systems featuring 1920 x 1080 touchscreens, the 510’s display was much less vibrant and looked more washed out. That may be where some of the money was saved when making the 510.

Of the three new Yogas, the 14-inch Yoga 710 is the one we're looking forward to the most, because with a subtly tweaked new design and, hopefully, better battery life, it could fix the problems we found on last year's Yoga 700.

Both versions of the Yoga 710, and and both version of the 510 (Flex 4), are due to arrive in North America in July. Check back this summer for our full reviews.