It's not easy to find a laptop with the flexibility of a 2-in-1, strong discrete graphics and an affordable price. But the 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 720 ($999.99 to start, $1,199.99 as tested) is a convertible that delivers just that. It packs a fast Intel Core i7 processor and a potent Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. In fact, it's the first convertible we've seen with the latest Nvidia 10-series graphics, making this a machine strong enough for designing and gaming in laptop mode and watching movies in tablet mode.
To go with its strong performance, the Yoga 720 includes all-day battery life, a gorgeous display and powerful audio, making it our favorite 15-inch 2-in-1 and one of the best convertibles you can buy.
Lenovo opted for a plain-but-professional design with the Yoga 720. The aluminum lid is a dark shade of gunmetal gray with a Yoga logo in the top left-hand corner, but it's otherwise unadorned. When you lift the lid, you'll find a 15.6-inch FHD display with minimal bezels, an island-style keyboard and an aluminum deck in the same coloring as the lid.
At 14.3 x 9.5 x 0.8 inches and 4.6 pounds, the Yoga 720 has an average-size footprint for a convertible. The 15-inch HP Spectre x360 (14 x 8.9 x 7 inches, 4.4 pounds) is smaller and lighter, and the 15-inch Samsung Notebook 9 Pro (14.7 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches, 3.8 pounds) is slightly larger but is the featherweight of the group. The Dell XPS 15, a clamshell laptop, was just as heavy (14 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches, 4.6 pounds).
The Yoga's 360-degree hinges allow it to be used as a laptop, a tablet, a tent or as a display (with the keyboard face down).
Its set of ports is minimal, but fairly average for a 2-in-1. On the left are the power jack, a full-size USB 3.1 port and the headphone jack, while on the right is another USB port and a Thunderbolt 3 port.
The 15.6-inch, 1080p display on the Yoga 720 is stunning, with vivid colors and sharp details. When I watched the trailer for Marvel's Inhumans, Medusa's red wig (however fake it looks) popped against her lavender dress, and I could see small wrinkles in Black Bolt's leather suit.
The Yoga's screen covers an excellent 114 percent of the sRGB color gamut, surpassing the mainstream notebook average (95 percent) and edging out the Spectre x360 (113 percent) and Notebook 9 Pro (107 percent). The XPS 15 reproduces an insanely high 188 percent of the gamut.
Those colors aren't very precise, though. The panel registered a Delta-E accuracy score of 4.2 (0 is ideal). That's worse than the average (2.1), Spectre (3.5), XPS 15 (1.4) and Notebook 9 Pro (0.2).
The Yoga 720's screen measured 272 nits on our light meter, falling just under the average of 276 nits. It's better than both the Spectre (255 nits) and Notebook 9 Pro (266 nits), but fell short compared to the luminous XPS 15 (282 nits).
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Yoga 720's keyboard could use a bit more travel, but it's not bad. The keys press down just 1.2 millimeters (we prefer 1.5 mm or more), but the 71 grams of actuation provide a clicky feel. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I reached 106 words per minute (just under my usual 107 wpm) with a 3 percent error rate (a tad over my average 2 percent).
The 4.1 x 2.7 touchpad is spacious and responsive. I had no trouble navigating Windows or using gestures like pinch-to-zoom or tapping three fingers to invoke Cortana.
The speakers on the Yoga 720 provide loud, balanced sound. When I listened to Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You," the marimba, vocals and percussion filled our midsize conference room. The Yoga comes preinstalled with Dolby Atmos software to switch between specific sound profiles for music, movies and gaming. I found that there wasn't much difference between them, and that leaving them on the default music mode was fine.
With a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of video memory, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, the Yoga 720 is ready for both work and play. I had 30 tabs open in Google Chrome, including one streaming Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy in 1080p from Twitch, without any noticeable lag.
The Yoga 720 notched a score of 11,951 on the Geekbench 4 overall performance benchmark, beating the mainstream average of 10,597. The Spectre (8,017, Core i7-7500U) and Notebook 9 Pro (8,274, Core i7-7500U) had weaker scores, while the XPS 15 (13,911, Core i7-7700HQ) blew the competition away.
It took the Yoga 720 19 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed-media files -- a rate of 267.9 megabytes per second. That's speedier than the category average (208 MBps) and Notebook 9 (221.3 MBps), but both the Spectre (282.1 MBps) and XPS 15 (a blazing 339.3 MBps) were even faster.
The Yoga 720 completed our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro, in which it paired 20,000 names and addresses, in 3 minutes and 52 seconds, again beating the average (4:13) but falling short of the Spectre (3:34), XPS 15 (3:23) and Notebook 9 Pro (2:37).
Graphics and Gaming
If you're looking to use your laptop for creative work or light gaming, the Yoga 720 will hold its own, thanks to its GTX 1050 graphics. The XPS 15 has the same GPU, but the HP opted for the older, weaker 940MX in its Spectre.
On our budget gaming test, which runs Rise of the Tomb Raider at high presets and SMAA anti-aliasing, the Yoga 720 played the game at 39 frames per second. The XPS 15 and the average are both 42 frames per second, but the Spectre only reached a stuttering 15 fps, which is unplayable (30 fps is our threshold for playability).
It notched a score of 119,006 on 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, handily beating the average (88,950) and the Spectre (93,759). The Notebook 9 Pro was close behind (118,845) and the XPS 15 did even better (134,459).
The Yoga 720 can last a workday, and then some, on a single charge. It ran for 8 hours and 59 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which continuously browses the web over Wi-Fi. That's longer than the category average (6:55) and every competitor. The Spectre endured for 8:36, the XPS 15 lasted 8:23 and the Notebook 9 Pro stopped after a paltry 6:56.
The 720p webcam on the Yoga 720 takes sharp photos that you'll be able to use whether you're on a business call or just Skyping your friends and family. In a photo I shot at my desk, I could make out individual hairs on my head, and it was more than bright enough. The colors weren't exact (my red shirt appeared orange and my boss's green shirt looked more like a shade of mint), but not bad enough to distract.
Whether you use it as a laptop or a tablet, the Yoga 720 will stay nice and cool. After streaming 15 minutes of HD video from YouTube, the bottom measured 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the center of the keyboard reached 82.5 degrees and the touchpad was just 77.5 degrees.
Software and Warranty
For the most part, the software Lenovo includes with the Yoga 720 is useful. The Companion app makes it easy for you to keep your system up to date and check its health, while the Settings app lets you take a deep dive into camera settings and network options, among other things. I was less impressed with the Keeper password manager (we prefer top-tier options like LastPass); users may have alternative choices they'd rather use.
As usual, Windows 10 provides some bloat, including Facebook, Netflix, Candy Crush: Soda Saga, March of Empires and Sling, among other things.
The Yoga 720 we reviewed cost $1,199.99 and came with a 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 2GB of video memory, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD.
The $999.99 base model uses a Core i7-7700HQ CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD, but doesn't come with discrete graphics.
The top-of-the-line, $1,549.99 configuration comes with the same CPU, but bumps the memory up to 16GB of RAM and the storage to 512GB. Oddly enough, a version with the same specs but a higher-res, 4K display is just $1,499.99.
The Lenovo Yoga 720 is among the most powerful, versatile 2-in-1s we've tested to date. Its mix of a Core i7-7700HQ CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU make it just as useful for video editing and playing games (at low settings) as it is for consuming movies and web browsing. It's a tad heftier than its competitors, but I'm willing to give that up for the power.
If you don't care about the literal flexibility of a 2-in-1, the Dell XPS 15 was a slightly stronger performer in our tests and has almost no bezel at all. But if you want a 2-in-1 with a 15-inch screen and the most power you can get, the Yoga 720 is a no-brainer.