It turns out that style, performance and convenience don't need to cost you over a grand. Take the $829 Lenovo Yoga 720, a convertible laptop with Intel's 7th-Gen Kaby Lake CPUs, blisteringly fast storage and an elegant, lightweight design. While the 13-inch laptop would be even better with more battery life and a brighter screen, it's still a more-than-capable laptop that will serve you well.
A glimmering aluminum sliver of a notebook, the Yoga 720 is so svelte that I was surprised to see it packs a 13-inch panel. Available in silver, grey or gold, it features shiny YOGA branding on the top-right corner of the lid and equally reflective bevelled edges that wrap around the display and keyboard deck.
Opening the Yoga 720, I felt its sturdy, 360-degree hinges that make it possible to use this machin in tent, tablet, display and laptop modes. Its full-size, island-style keyboard is slightly recessed from the rest of the machine, and the 2-in-1's fingerprint reader (a perk included in none of the below competitors) sits under the bottom right of the keyboard.
As good as everything else looked on this machine, I'm not a fan of the display's thick, 1.1-inch bottom bezel.
Weighing 2.8 pounds and measuring 0.6 inches thick, the Yoga 720 is thicker than the HP Spectre x360 (2.9 pounds, 0.5 inches) but lighter than both the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 2-in-1 (3.4 pounds, 0.8 inches) and Asus ZenBook Flip UX360CA (3.0 pounds, 0.6 inches).
On the left side of the Yoga 720, you'll find the 2-in-1's Thunderbolt 3 port, headphone jack and USB Type-C port, which the machine relies on for drawing power. The Yoga's USB 3.0 port and power button sit on the right side.
The Yoga 720's 13-inch, 1920 x 1080-pixel panel produces crisp, colorful images, but the screen is a tad dim. When I watched a trailer for The Defenders, I noted the inky-black shadows of a jail cell along with the vibrant hues of Danny Rand's amber fist and Daredevil's crimson mask. The resolution was sharp enough that I could see the splotches of blood on Jessica Jones' face.
According to our colorimeter, the Yoga 720 produces 127 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's more than the 68-percent category average, as well as the readings from the Spectre x360 (102 percent), Inspiron 13 (69 percent) and ZenBook Flip (102 percent).
I'd prefer it if the Yoga 720's panel offered a little more brightness, as it emits only up to 280 nits. That's below the 293-nit ultraportable average, as well as the 318 nit displayed by the Spectre x360 and the 298 nits for the ZenBook Flip. Sure, the Yoga's score beats the 228-nit Inspiron 13, but I still saw colors darken when I viewed the 720's panel from 45 degrees to the left or right.
The convertible's touch screen registered my input accurately as I navigated the desktop and kept up as I speedily doodled in Paint. The screen also recognized Windows 10's swipe-based navigation gestures.
Keyboard, Touchpad, Fingerprint Reader
The Yoga 720's shallow-but-responsive keyboard enables speedy typing. Testing it out on the 10FastFingers test, I clicked my way to 83 words per minute, breaking my 80-wpm average.
While this machine's keys are short on travel (with 1.2 millimeters versus the 1.5 to 2.0 we hope to see), their 76 grams of required actuation force (we hope to see at least 60 g) balance that out to make for an acceptable experience. Still, if the keys were deeper, users could stay comfortable while typing for longer stretches.
The Yoga 720's 4.1 x 2.7-inch touchpad enables smooth scrolling and offers a good feel in each click. It also correctly registered Windows 10's three-finger app-switching gestures.
To the right of the touchpad, below the keyboard, you'll find the 2-in-1's fingerprint reader, which enables speedy logins via Windows Hello. I'm also happy that Lenovo continues to keep the reader separate from the touchpad, something not all manufacturers do.
The convertible's JBL-branded speakers produced solid audio that filled our medium-size conference room with a solid rendition of Imagine Dragons' "Thunder," producing strong bass, clear vocals and crisp drums. Although the preloaded Dolby Atmos sound-tuning app offers several presets, I found that the default Music setting delivered the best audio experience.
I tested a Yoga 720 armed with a Core i5-7200U CPU and 8GB of RAM, which enable solid multitasking. I noticed no lag after splitting my screen among a dozen Chrome tabs (including ones for TweetDeck, Slack and Google Docs) and a 1080p YouTube video. The system stayed zippy and responsive after I opened even more apps on top, doodled in OneNote, shot selfies with Camera and played a round of Candy Crush.
Our Yoga 720 scored a very good 7,300 on the Geekbench 4 generalperformance test. That beats showings by the Inspiron 13 (6,707), which features the same CPU and RAM, and the ZenBook Flip (5,082), which has a Core m3-6Y30, 8GB RAM. The Yoga also beats the 7,024 ultraportable average. The Spectre x360 earned a better score, at 8,147, with a Core i7-7500U CPU and 16GB RAM.
The 256GB NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD in the Yoga 720 duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 18 seconds, for a speed of 318.1 MBps. That's tied with the Spectre x360's 512GB PCIe SSD's time of 318.1 MBps, and is faster than the 191.08 MBps ultraportable average. It also beats the rates from the 256GB M.2 SSD in the Inspiron 13 (110.6 MBps) and the 512GB SSD in the ZenBook Flip (169.6 MBps).
The Yoga 720 completed our OpenOffice productivity test, which consists of matching 20,000 names to addresses, in 4 minutes and 2 seconds, a time that beats the 5:39 category average and the 6 minutes from the ZenBook Flip. The Inspiron 13 finished a mere second later (4:03), and the Spectre x360) needed even less time (3:33.
The Intel HD Graphics 620 chip in the Yoga 720 pushed the machine to a strong 877 on the 3DMark Fire Strike graphics test. That beats the Inspiron 13, which uses the same GPU, the category average and the Intel HD 515-based ZenBook Flip. The Spectre x360 (Intel HD 620) earned a higher score, at 920.
Gamers with moderate demands will enjoy the Yoga 720, as it ran DiRT 3 (at Medium settings) at a smooth 52 frames per second. That beats the 35-fps category average and the scores from the Spectre x360 (40 fps), Inspiron 13 (38 fps) and ZenBook Flip (18 fps).
The Yoga 720 could stand to last a little longer on a charge. The convertible made it only 7 hours and 4 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (constant web browsing at 100 nits), which is below the 8:16 ultraportable average, as well as the times from the Spectre x360 (10:06) and the ZenBook Flip (9:58). Only the Inspiron 13 offers even less battery life, at 6:30.
This 2-in-1 laptop reminds me that nobody takes pride in notebook webcams. Sure, a friend or colleague could recognize me in the selfie I shot on the Yoga 720's 0.9-megapixel camera, but the image suffers from tons of fuzziness, and the whites of the logo behind me are completely blown out.
The Yoga 720 doesn't just look cool' it also stays cold to the touch. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on this machine, our heat gun picked up temperatures from 74 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit on the Yoga's touchpad, G&H keys and underside. Those measurements don't come close to crossing our 95-degree comfort threshold.
Software and Warranty
Lenovo preloaded the Yoga 720 with a mix of tools that includes some stuff you'll want and others to be deleted without prejudice. So while you'll want to remove standard Windows bloatware such as Minecraft, March of Empires and Sling, you'll want to retain the Lenovo Companion for system-health tracking and Lenovo Settings for fine-tuning adjustments.
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For some reason, Lenovo includes its own App Explorer software store, which is redundant when you consider that the Windows Store already exists.
The entry-level Yoga 720 costs $829 and features a Core i5-7200U CPU and 8GB of RAM.
The top-of-the-line model that I reviewed costs $1,099 and packs a Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Only the most demanding users will need the Core i7 configuration.
The Yoga 720 will attract many eyes with its slick design, speedy performance and colorful display. If only this 2-in-1 lasted longer on a charge, then it would earn an even higher rating.
For a longer-lasting notebook with a better keyboard and brighter display, you can get a similarly configured HP Spectre x360 for $1,069. Still, the Yoga 720 provides a premium convertible experience at a more affordable price.
Credits: Jeremy Lips/Laptop Mag