Lenovo delivers an affordable and stylish ultraportable with its 12-inch Yoga 720. Starting at $629, the Yoga 720 offers a bright 1080p display and solid Core i3 performance. We would've liked to see Lenovo offer a few more ports, and the battery life could be better. However, with an aluminum chassis and a lightweight, flexible body, the Yoga 720 is a midrange 2-in-1 worth considering.
Lenovo's Yoga 720 12 is a sleek and compact 2-in-1 laptop you'll be proud to carry around. Sporting a matte iron-gray chassis made out of aluminum, the Yoga 720 is a well-built convertible with solid fit and finish. An engraved Yoga logo is located on the lid's upper-left corner. When you lift the lid, you'll find the Yoga 720's island-style keyboard, which has charcoal keys and white lettering. On its deck, you'll notice a matching gray touchpad, a fingerprint scanner and branded prints that say "Yoga" and "audio by Harman."
The 12.5-inch screen on the Yoga 720 is surrounded by glossy black bezels. The top and side bezels are slim, but the bottom bezel appears chunky for a laptop this size. Because the Yoga 720 is a convertible, the hinges allow the lid to be flipped back 360 degrees for tablet use. During my use, the Yoga 720 was fluid and allowed me to switch between tent and stand modes with ease. My only complaint is that the rubber grips at the Yoga 720's base were pretty ineffective, which isn't helpful if you work on a smooth surface.
Measuring 11.5 x 8 x 0.6 inches and weighing 2.56 pounds, the Yoga 720 is a typical size for a laptop in the ultraportable category. The Yoga is thinner and lighter than the 13-inch Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (0.8 inches thick, 3.5 pounds). However, the 13-inch Asus ZenBook UX330UA (0.7 inches thick, 2.7 pounds) gives the Yoga a run for its money with its thin frame.
For a laptop that costs more than $600, you'd expect to get an assortment of ports. However, this isn't the case with the Yoga 720, which houses a proprietary charging port and a 3.5mm audio jack on its left side, and a USB 3.0 connector and a Thunderbolt 3 port on its right.
It might sound daunting to get so few ports, but this is typical for many 2-in-1s on the market now.
The Yoga 720's 12.5-inch 1080p touch screen outputs vibrant and sharp images. According to our colorimeter, the Yoga 720 reproduced 95.3 percent of the sRGB color gamut, which is a decent score for an ultraportable. This showing is more colorful than the screen on the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (71 percent), but it was surpassed by the Asus ZenBook UX330UA (105 percent).
The viewing experience on the Yoga 720 was pleasant. When I watched the BTS "Mic Drop" remixed music video with Steve Aoki, colors looked accurate. Warm shades like red, orange and yellow popped, but darker hues were lacking in well-lit scenes compared with the colors on other screens I've seen.
In particular, the room filled with black-hooded figures was noticeably undersaturated, and the blue highlights were also washed out. Details were crisp on the Yoga; I could clearly make out the shifting fog in low-light scenes and the swirling fire in the explosion animation.
The Yoga 720's display performed very well on our brightness test, registering 274 nits on our light meter. That score is better than the showings we observed on the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (188 nits), but the Asus ZenBook UX330UA greatly surpassed its luminosity (302 nits).
The IPS anti-glare panel on the Yoga 720 handled direct sunlight well. It also has wide viewing angles, which is important for a convertible. Image quality didn't suffer when I flipped the Yoga between tablet, tent and stand modes. Viewing angles were also fairly wide when I looked at the screen from the right and left sides.
The Yoga 720 has dual bottom-facing Harman speakers that provide fairly robust stereo sound that's loud enough to fill a midsize conference room. When I listened to "For Life" by EXO through these speakers, the vocals, piano and strings were reproduced accurately.
The Yoga comes with Dolby Atmos software preinstalled, so you can customize your listening experience based on the media type (music, movies, games), but in my experience, the default setting worked perfectly fine.
Dual-array microphones are built into the top bezel of the Yoga. I recorded a few voice notes to test out how well the mics picked up audio, and I was pleased to hear the playback captured my voice perfectly.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The island-style keyboard on the Yoga 720 provides a fair amount of key travel for its size, measuring 1.4 millimeters (1.5 to 2 mm is typical). The keys require 72 grams of actuation force (65 to 70 grams is typical), which gives them a responsive feel. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, my average speed of 58 words per minute decreased by 12 percent (51 wpm), but that's not including typing errors. Overall, I'd say the Yoga provided a comfortable typing experience even for someone with long nails.
The Yoga's buttonless, 3.5 x 2.3-inch touchpad is extremely smooth and has an almost slippery feel. This texture might be why it was tricky to get the touchpad to respond to standard gestures like pinch to zoom and three-finger-swipe. However, after a few tries, I was able to get them to work. Navigation on the touchpad was accurate.
Our review configuration of the Lenovo Yoga 720 came with a 7th-generation Intel Core i3-7100U Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB PCle storage drive, all of which provided solid performance for a laptop in this price range. When I had 10 tabs open in Google Chrome -- including streams from YouTube, Pandora and Netflix -- I didn't experience lag. However, there was noticeable straggling when I exceeded 14 tabs.
The Yoga 720 scored 5,402 on Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance. That showing is underwhelming compared with the scores we saw from the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (12,041; Core i5-8250U CPU) and the Asus ZenBook UX330UA (12,871; Core i5-8250U CPU), but both of those laptops have 8th-generation Core i5 CPUs compared to the Yoga's 7th-generation Core i3.
The Yoga 720 copied a 4.97GB batch of multimedia files in 56 seconds, for a rate of 90.9 megabytes per second. That hard-drive speed is much faster than the Dell Inspiron 13 5000's 121 MBps (42 seconds). The Asus ZenBook UX330UA had a more impressive drive speed of 182 MBps (28 seconds).
It took this Lenovo laptop 5 minutes and 19 seconds to match 20,000 names and addresses on our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test. That time is slower than those from the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (3 minutes and 45 seconds) and the Asus ZenBook UX330UA (3 minutes and 40 seconds).
With an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 processor, the Yoga 720 scored 52,617 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited test, a synthetic benchmark that measures graphics performance. This mark is significantly lower than the scores from the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (58,043) and the Asus ZenBook UX330UA (73,990).
The Yoga 720 performed well on our Dirt 3 racing game test, reaching 40 frames per second, which surpasses our 30-fps playability threshold. The Yoga's score was better than what we saw from the Asus ZenBook UX330UA (27 fps), but the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 performed slightly better (47.3 fps).
Battery Life: Sufficient
Many 2-in-1s require you to keep your charger handy, but Lenovo packs an adequate amount of juice in the Yoga 720. In our Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi), the Yoga 720 lasted 7 hours and 16 minutes.
That runtime beats the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (4:50), but the Asus ZenBook UX330UA lasted 1 hour and 4 minutes longer (8:20), and the average ultraportable lasts a little over 8 hours (8:18).
Lenovo's Yoga 720 stayed cool during our heat test. After we played a full-screen video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 80 degrees Fahrenheit, its keyboard (G and H keys) registered 85 degrees and the underside hit 88 degrees. These results passed our 95-degree comfort threshold with flying colors.
Webcam: Good quality
Decent laptop webcams are hard to come by nowadays, but Lenovo sets its Yoga 720 apart with a 720p front camera that captures sharp images. When I took a selfie under the fluorescent lighting in my office, my features were easy to make out. Fine details, like the curls in my hair and even a few flyaways, could be spotted. Colors were mostly accurate, like my black-and-maroon cardigan.
However, my white turtleneck had a slight blue tinge that almost made it look like it was glowing. Other than that minor flaw, the Yoga 720's webcam is one you won't be embarrassed to make a Skype call on.
Software and Warranty
Running Windows 10 Home, the Yoga 720 comes with a standard amount of preloaded Microsoft software, first-party utilities and third-party bloatware. Lenovo Companion tests your hardware for errors and searches for driver updates, while Lenovo Settings lets you tweak the power, sound, camera, display and touchpad controls. The bloatware you'll find on the Yoga 720 includes Facebook, Minecraft, Candy Crush Soda Saga and Bubble Witch 3 Saga.
The Yoga 720 we reviewed cost $629 and came with an Intel Core i3-7100U CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB PCle SSD. For $899, you can get your hands on Lenovo's higher-capacity configurations, such as a model with a Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCle SSD, or one with a Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 512GB PCle SSD. We recommend stepping up to one of the $899 models if you want better performance.
With its vivid 1080p display, comfortable keyboard and strong audio, the $629 Yoga 720 is one 12-incher that's definitely worth a look. But if processing power is important to you, the $899 Core i5 and Core i7 configurations are better options. The $680 Dell Inspiron 13 5000 is a fairly good alternative that packs a bigger, 13-inch screen and more speed, but it suffers from shorter battery life and a dimmer screen.
If you're willing to veer away from convertibles, another option is the $749 Asus ZenBook UX330UA, a great laptop with strong performance, long battery life and a stellar display. However, if you prefer a super lightweight 2-in-1 that's easy to carry around and offers reasonable performance, the Yoga 720 is a reliable choice for work and play.
Credit: Shaun Lucas/Laptop Mag