Lenovo Yoga 720 Laptop Review
Is this 13-inch Lenovo the best laptop for the money?
Since 2012, Lenovo's Yogas have been among the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. That's not gone unnoticed by competing laptop makers. Just about everyone else has at least one model with Yoga-style 360-degree hinges—a simple design tweak that lets you turn a conventional laptop into a tablet in seconds.
The Yoga 720 (MSRP $729, $979 as tested) doesn't pretend to be Lenovo's flagship model, but it also doesn't have to be. And while it may lack some of the pinache of the more expensive Yoga 910, it is easily the best Yoga for the money. Its sleek metal frame, pretty HD screen, and premium niceties like Thunderbolt 3 and a fingerprint scanner help the 720 feel fresh and modern.
The Battery life is mid-pack for a laptop like this, but the Yoga 720 delivers the goods everywhere else. Just be sure to spring for a version that comes with at least 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, instead of the entry-level model. If you're in the market for a sleek, affordable, and powerful laptop, the Yoga 720 is tough to beat.
About the Lenovo Yoga 720
Even though Lenovo's Yoga 910 is still the flagship of the Yoga line, this 720 doesn't cut corners to keep the price down. It's thin, light, and has a nice display, along with the latest Intel chips inside. Our tester was a well-equipped version that's priced at $979 with the following specs:
•Intel Core i5-7200u dual-core processor
•8 GB RAM
•256 GB SSD
•13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS LCD touchscreen with slim bezels
•Intel HD Graphics 620
•Wifi AC/Bluetooth 4.1
•Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint scanner
I'd say this i5 version is the sweet spot for price and performance. The entry-level Yoga 720 is, only around $729 as I write this, but with 4 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD, you're looking at a system that'll feel sluggish and cramped in a couple years. I've seen pricing on the 8 GB RAM/256 GB SSD spec for as little as $779, making it a much better buy. It's not clear if RAM and the SSD are upgradable after the fact, so definitely take that into account.
If you want to super-size your Yoga, there's also a 15-inch version that starts at $999. The biggest difference aside from the larger screen is the availability of optional Nvidia GTX 1050M graphics. If you play some games, or do a lot of media work in Photoshop, this might be a nice upgrade for you, but it likely won't run intense games all that well.
What We Like
The essentials are covered thanks to a superb keyboard and trackpad
The previous Yoga laptop we got our hands on, the Yoga 910, had one fatal flaw: its keyboard layout was designed without much regard for the way that many people type. This flaw was a shrunken right shift key, placed next to a bigger up arrow. As a seasoned touch-typist, this was an infuriating change, causing me (and loads of other users, according to reviews) to make novice mistakes like crazy. On top of this, an otherwise smooth and great feeling trackpad was saddled with inferior Synaptics drivers, making its responsiveness less-than-ideal.
Thankfully, Lenovo has addressed both of these issues in the Yoga 720, and the experience shines because of it. Not only is the right shift key back to its old self, but the buttery glass trackpad has gotten an overhaul as well. Powered by Microsoft's Precision Touchpad drivers, this touchpad is easily configured in the Settings app, and gestures like scrolling feel great to use.
The display has slim bezels—and a proper webcam
Skinny display bezels are all the rage. That said, the rush to have the smallest frame on the block has led to some dire consequences. When the top edge is shaved away to but a sliver, there's nowhere for the poor webcam to live, so that laptops like the Dell XPS 13 and LG Gram 13 stow their webcams beneath the display. Let's face it—nobody looks great on Skype when the camera's pointed straight up their nose.
The Lenovo Yoga 720 made its top bezel just a skoshe wider in order to keep the webcam sitting pretty atop the HD touchscreen. When I tried the webcam, I found that it perfectly framed my head and shoulders so that I was looking my best.
The HD screen that comes standard on the Yoga 720 is colorful and contrasty, and it shows when you pop on your favorite movie. Even though we live in an age of super-duper high resolutions, 1920 x 1080 is often high enough for both productivity and media, without killing battery life.
Ports for today and tomorrow
The new, reversible USB-C port has spread like wildfire across the computer industry. That said, Lenovo's implimentation on the Yoga 720 is one of the best I've seen. Thanks to the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3, this thin laptop unlocks its full potential, letting you hook up to the future of computer accessories when they're more commonly available. Today, you can use adapters to turn these ports into normal USB 3.0, or even DisplayPort for hooking up a screen.
Lenovo has kept a single solitary USB 3.0 Type-A port, too so you won't need to rush out and replace all your peripherals or buy gaggles of dongles. This blend of ports is about right for average users, and gives you the best of today and tomorrow's PC accessories.
What We Don't Like
Middle-of-the-road battery life
While Intel's latest 7th generation chips sip power compared to past processors, the Lenovo Yoga 720 isn't as long-lasting as other laptops we've tried lately. In our intensive PC Mark 8 Home battery test, the 720 ran for around 3 hours and 40 minutes. That's not bad, but it's certainly not as impressive as the 6 hours we saw from the Dell XPS 13.
That said, you can rest assured this will make it through most of a day before needing a charge. In our Chrome web browsing test, the Yoga 720 was good for 6 hours of continuous surfing. But, as the battle for battery life heats up, laptop makers need to up their game and the Yoga 720 doesn't improve on past Yogas by much.
The entry-level version isn't a great value
There something that's been bugging me more and more in 2017, and I just have to get it off my chest: there's no place for an $700+ laptop with only 4 GB RAM and a puny 128 GB SSD. Sure there are plenty of companies doing this—even halo products like Microsoft's Surface Laptop start off in this lackluster configuration—but it's a bad idea. Users willing to spend more than $500 deserve something nicer, so why not give them the complete package?
Lenovo's made that mistake with the Yoga 720, selling a bare-bones version with only 4 GB RAM and 128 GB of flash storage. On the surface that might not sound terrible, but when it costs more than $700 to get there, you're setting your buyers up for regret down the road.
Yes! After years of refining the Yoga, this one gets it right.
Even though the Yoga 910 is still the prettiest Yoga around, I think that the Yoga 720 is the one most people should actually buy. Sure, you won't get the stylish watchband hinge or a bigger, higher-resolution 14-inch screen, but this Yoga is nearly as good for way less dough.
It used to be that going down a level in Lenovo's lineup meant you were losing out on some of its best technology, but for the most part, the Yoga 720 manages to feel as fully-featured as more expensive 2-in-1s. With its thin-bezeled LCD, excellent keyboard and touchpad, and fingerprint scanner and Thunderbolt 3, this Yoga has 2017's best advancements for less than a grand.
Competing 2-in-1s that offer this kind of quality, like the Spectre X360 from HP or Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1, are significantly more than I've seen this Lenovo selling for. Both of those premium 2-in-1 laptops around $1,200, while the Lenovo Yoga 720 can be had for as little as $829 similarly equipped. Those more expensive options aren't bad buys by any stretch, but Lenovo gets you easily 80% of the way there with this reasonably-priced Yoga.
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