An excellent convertible 2-in-1 takes the portability and performance of a laptop and adds tablet modes without sacrificing battery life or adding weight. The 11-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 (starting at $549.99, tested at $649.99) pulls off all of these feats. Though this machine's display is a little tinted and its underside a bit warm, the 2-in-1's terrific mix of speed and endurance makes it an excellent option for consumers who want a reliable, lightweight hybrid.
The Yoga 710's magnesium and aluminum chassis comes in Ebony Black and sports a slightly iridescent finish. The hybrid feels solid and reliable, and its screen rotates 360 degrees on a pair of metallic hinges to sit in tent, stand, tablet and laptop modes. Silver rings wrap around the device's deck and touchpad, and if black isn't your color, Best Buy sells a Platinum Silver version of the Yoga 710.
Weighing 2.20 pounds and measuring 0.6 inches thick, the 11.6-inch Yoga 710 is lighter than and about as thin as the 11.6-inch Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA (2.61 pounds, 0.73 inches), the 11.6-inch Dell Inspiron 11 3000 2-in-1 (2.8 pounds, 0.8 inches) and the 12-inch Acer Switch Alpha 12 (2.82 pounds, 0.6 inches).
The Yoga 710's power and headphone jacks sit on the device's left side, while Lenovo placed the USB 3.0 and mini HDMI ports on the machine's right side, near its power button.
Yoga 710's crisp display offers some vibrant colors, but tints others. When I watched a trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on the hybrid's 1080p panel, I noted that a blue panel in a war room glowed with a brilliance, but neither a Star Destroyer nor a Stormtrooper's armor looked as white as they're supposed to.
According to our colorimeter, the Yoga 710's display can produce a paltry 66 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That may outdo the Inspiron 11 (56 percent), but the Transformer Book (69 percent), Switch Alpha (101 percent) and average ultraportable (92 percent) all scored higher marks.
The Yoga 710's display is also rather inaccurate, as it scored a 3.54 on the Delta-E test (where 0 is best). The Transformer Book (0.3), Switch Alpha (3.69) and average ultraportable (2.23) all scored better marks. The Inspiron 11 3000 (3.79) scored worse.
The Yoga 710 emits 309 nits (a measure of brightness), outshining the Transformer Book (243 nits), the Inspiron 11 (208 nits) and the average ultraportable (301 nits). The Switch Alpha (432 nits) is even brighter. The brightness of the Yoga 710's panel enables decent viewing angles, with colors retaining their hues at 45 degrees to the left or right, but you'll see reflections from any nearby lights at those angles.
Keyboard, Touch Screen, Touchpad
The Yoga 710's keyboard is best-suited for smaller hands or those individuals willing to type slowly. The layout and keys are somewhat cramped, and some of the keys are smaller than what I'm used to. When I asked a colleague with smaller hands to give it a try, she had no such trouble with the keyboard and said it "works great." That remark made sense, as individual keys are responsive and tactile, requiring a solid 60 grams of force to actuate.
When I tried to type quickly on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, I found my fingers stumbling over each other and was able to produce only 68 words per minute, a drop from my 80-wpm average. The Yoga 710's keys offer 1.23 millimeters of travel, which is OK, but below the 1.5mm amount that we like to see.
The Yoga 710's 3.8 x 2.1-inch, buttonless touchpad tracked my input accurately as I navigated the desktop and scrolled through web pages. Its 11.6-inch touch screen responded speedily to swipe-based navigation gestures and registered my touch input correctly as I doodled at a fast pace in MS Paint.
The Yoga 710 is small, but its speakers pack enough punch to fill a medium-size conference room. When I played Carly Rae Jepsen's "Run Away with Me" on the hybrid, I noted the machine produced clear vocals and accurate synthesizer notes, and that the song's bass sounded strong.
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The Yoga 710 comes with a Dolby Audio sound adjustment utility that offers Dynamic, Movie, Music, Game and Voice presets, as well as manual EQ adjustments. I found the most consistent sound for trailers and songs came from the default Music setting, as the Movie setting overemphasized bass, while Dynamic muddied vocals.
Armed with an Intel Core m3-6Y30 processor and 4GB RAM, the Yoga 710 enables decent multitasking. I saw no lag when I split my screen between a 1080p YouTube video and 12 tabs (including Slack, Google Docs and TweetDeck), with the Camera app running in the background. I noticed a slowdown only after I opened three more tabs (a total of 15).
The Yoga 710 earned a decent mark of 4,707 on the GeekBench 3 synthetic performance test, which beats the Core m3-powered Inspiron 11 (2,345) and the Celeron-powered Transformer Book (1,315). The average ultraportable (5,288) and the Core i5-powered Switch Alpha (6,398) earned higher scores.
The Yoga 710's 256GB SSD offers decent speed, as it took 32 seconds to duplicate 4.97GB of multimedia files, for a rate of 159MBps. That beats the average ultraportable (147.97 MBps) and the SSD on the Switch Alpha (152.37 MBps), and leaves the Inspiron 11's 500GB 5,400 rpm drive (27.18 MBps) and the Transformer Book's 64GB eMMC drive (34.15 MBps) in the dust.
The Yoga 710 also performed well on our Open Office macro test, which times how long it takes to match 20,000 names to addresses. The Lenovo convertible finished in 5 minutes and 56 seconds, which beats the Transformer Book (15:32), Inspiron 11 (6:16) and average ultraportable (6:49). The Switch Alpha (4:12) finished with a shorter time.
The Yoga 710's integrated Intel HD 515 graphics chip isn't capable of supporting demanding games, but it can support a round of the pre-loaded Candy Crush Soda Saga or a series of laps in the casual racer Asphalt 8. The Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark gave the Yoga 710 a great score of 50,199, which beats the Transformer Book (18,154), Inspiron 11 (42,354) and the average ultraportable (48,404). The Switch Alpha (64,550) earned a higher mark.
The Yoga 710's long endurance makes it an even more portable machine, since you won't need to carry its ac adapter on day trips. The Lenovo 2-in-1 lasted 9:14 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness), which means its battery takes longer to drain than those in the Switch Alpha (4:49), Inspiron 11 (5:30) and average ultraportable (7:53). The Transformer Book (10:56) did even better on the test.
The Yoga 710's 0.9-megapixel webcam captures inaccurate color and few details. When I shot a selfie in our office, the camera recorded my purple shirt in a blueish hue and made my facial hair look like smudges.
The Yoga 710 is a cool customer on the top, but it gets hot underneath. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video on the hybrid, our heat gun recorded an excessive temperature on the 2-in-1's underside (107 degrees Fahrenheit), which exceeds our 95-degree comfort threshold. The machine's touchpad (85 degrees) and its G and H keys (93 degrees) stayed below that number.
Lenovo gave the Yoga 710 a pretty clean installation of Windows 10, packing only a couple of the company's own system-management utilities. Lenovo Companion allows you to run system diagnostics and check your warranty, while Lenovo Settings is an alternative method for accessing settings found in Windows 10's Settings app.
The entry-level Yoga 710 costs $480 and comes with a Pentium 4405Y processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. The Best Buy-exclusive Platinum Silver version of the Yoga 710 features the same specs and costs $400.
The $550 version we tested upgrades the base model to a Core m3-6Y30 processor and a 256GB SSD. The top-of-the-line model features a Core m5-6Y54 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, all for $700.
The 11-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 is a lightweight hybrid that offers great battery life, performance and audio. Unfortunately, its too-blue display and warm underside hurt an otherwise solid experience.
Those who need more horsepower should check out the Acer Switch Alpha 12, though that machine offers less battery life and costs $150 more. If you want a hybrid that lasts longer on a single charge and you can settle for less CPU power, check out the more affordable Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA ($355). However, if you want the best balance of performance and endurance in a light package that will easily fit into most bags, the Yoga 710 (11-inch) is your best choice.