I want a 2-in-1 to be portable, but it can't cut back on features. So when I found that the Yoga 730 offers below-average battery life and a shallow keyboard, I was disappointed. This laptop has strong performance, coming with Intel's 8th Gen Core processors, but poor color reproduction on the display spoils the fun. I admire the strong build quality, but that feature also left me wishing that the rest of the laptop were that solid.
The Yoga 730 isn't necessarily striking, but it's solidly built. I reviewed its predecessor, the Yoga 720 a few months ago, and I found that this model doesn't take any steps forward with its aesthetics. It's all metal, with a silver lid that bears the Lenovo Yoga logo, but there are no other adornments. There was also zero give on this thing, even when I pressed down hard on the lid.
When you open the Yoga 930's lid, you'll find that the 1080p, 13.3-inch display is surrounded by very thin bezels on the sides and top. There's a gray, island-style keyboard and a fingerprint reader on the deck.
At 2.7 pounds and 11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches, the Yoga 730 is surprisingly small. It's lighter than both the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 (3.5 pounds, 12.8 x 8.9 x 0.8 inches) and the HP Envy 13t (2.9 pounds, 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.5 inches).
On the right is a single USB 3.0 port.
The Yoga 730's 13.3-inch, 1080p is sharp, but many colors just looked undersaturated, and there was a noticeable yellow tint. I watched the latest trailer for Deadpool 2, and while I had a few nice laughs at the jokes, I couldn't help but notice how the slightly browning trees around the X-Mansion had an orange-yellow look. A scene featuring Colossus has a slight yellow tint on most monitors, but the color was overpowering on the Yoga. I tried changing the color temperature in Lenovo's Vantage software, but that only made the issue worse.
This display put up solid numbers, though, covering 118 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is a higher than the premium laptop average (113 percent) and the results from the Envy (105 percent) and Inspiron (71 percent).
The Yoga measured an average 282 nits of brightness on our light meter, falling below the average (299 nits) but beating the showings from the Inspiron (a paltry 188 nits) and the Envy (248 nits).
Keyboard and Touchpad
With just under 1.1 millimeters of travel and keys that take 70g of force to press, the Yoga 730's keyboard is stiff and uncomfortable. While I never felt like I was bottoming out, I also didn't get the clicky, tactile feeling I expect from a good keyboard. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I hit 101 words per minute with a 4 percent error rate. That's slower than my usual minimum of 107 wpm and double my usual 2 percent error rate.
The 4.1 x 2.7-inch touchpad is extremely spacious for the size of the deck, so I had plenty of room for gestures and navigation. This laptop uses Windows 10 precision touchpad drivers, so I could perform complicated gestures like three-fingers swipes to the side to switch between apps as well as simple acts like pinch-to-zoom.
When I initially tested the Yoga 730's speakers, I was a little disappointed. I listened to Maroon 5's "Moves Likes Jagger," and the entire song felt flat. The vocals rose above the rest of the track, though at least they were loud enough to fill the room. Then, I opened up Dolby Atmos and tried some other presets. Usually, I'm fine with the default music setting, but I found that switching to Dynamic brought out more-expressive drums, guitars and synthesizers, on par with what you get from other laptops of this size, though the bass was still lacking.
With its Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD, the Yoga 730 can handle a few programs simultaneously without any sweat. I had 25 tabs open in Google Chrome and a 1080p episode of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah streaming and experienced no hiccups.
The Yoga 730 earned a score of 12,983 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance test, surpassing the premium laptop average (10,077) and results from the Inspiron (12,041, Core i5-8250U) and Envy (12,225, Core i7-8550U).
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The Yoga transferred 4.97GB of files in 17 seconds, for a 299-MBps transfer rate. That beats the average (277.8MBps) and the rates from the Envy (212 MBps) and Inspiron (121 MBps).
On our Excel macro test, in which computers pair 65,000 names and addresses, the Yoga took 1 minute and 10 seconds to complete the task, coming ahead of the average (1:40) and the times from the Envy (1:33) and Inspiron (1:32).
It took the Yoga 11 minutes and 59 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p in HandBrake, easily beating the 21:47 category average and the Envy 13's time (22:44, thanks to a last-gen dual core processor).
Intel's UHD Graphics 620 won't play Far Cry 5, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor or Grand Theft Auto V, but the integrated GPU is no slouch in simple graphical challenges. On the Dirt 3 benchmark, the Yoga ran the game at 66 fps, matching the average and surpassing both the Envy (48 fps) and Inspiron (47 fps).
A laptop this thin has to cut something, and in this case, it seems to be battery life. The Yoga ran for 7 hours on Laptop Mag Battery Test 2.0, which continuously runs through websites, videos and graphics benchmarks at 150 nits. The premium laptop average is 8:48, and the Inspiron lasted 7:25.
The Yoga's 720p webcam will suffice for simple calls, but it's got some issues. When I took a photo in our well-lit office, the entire image was undersaturated, and light coming in from windows was blown-out. At least the picture was detailed enough that I could see the stitching in my sweater's collar.
The Yoga stayed cool in our heat tests and kept below our 95-degree Fahrenheit comfort threshold. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the machine measured 80 degrees on the touchpad, 92 degrees between the G and H keys, and 92 degrees on the bottom of the laptop.
Software and Warranty
Lenovo is restrained when it comes to preloaded software, which I appreciate. Its big utility is Vantage, a one-stop shop for hardware settings, system updates, user guides and warranty information.
Otherwise, it's just the usual Windows 10 bloat, like LinkedIn, Bubble Witch 3 Saga, Candy Crush Soda Saga, March of Empires: War of Lords, Disney Magic Kingdoms and AutoDesk SketchBook.
How Much Does the Lenovo Yoga 730 Cost?
Our review unit, the entry-level configuration, costs $849.99 and comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD.
For $1,079.99, you can bump the processor up to a Core i7-8550U, while a $1,299.99 price tag adds a 512GB SSD. The maxed-out $1,149.99 version has all that and 16GB of RAM.
The Yoga 730 makes some trade-offs for its thin design. The worst is battery life, which, at 7 hours, is more than an hour below average. The keyboard is shallow and on the stiff side. And though the laptop's screen covers a large part of the color gamut, some colors just didn't look right.
If you don't need a 2-in-1 and can pony up a little more, consider the HP Envy 13t ($849.99 to start), which has a stunning design, an amazing keyboard and almost 10 hours of battery life. The Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 starts way cheaper, but it has a dim display and a stiff keyboard.
The Yoga is a bit of a disappointment this time around, because three of the most important features fell down in some way. We'd suggest looking at this one only if you need a really small 2-in-1.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag