Lenovo Yoga 720 13″ Review: Portable but Powerful

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Lenovo helped popularize the convertible 2-in-1 with its Yoga line of PCs that are flexible enough to be both tablets and laptops. The latest entry in this series is the Yoga 720, which has a 13.3-inch screen and can be configured with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD. It includes a fingerprint scanner and two USB-C ports. This Lenovo model starts at $859.99.

Yoga 720 Build and Design

At first glance, this computer looks like any other clamshell notebook PC, and it can be used as such. But the hinge allows the screen to rotate around 180 degrees, effectively making this into into a tablet. Just be aware that, in tablet mode, the keyboard and trackpad are left exposed behind the screen. This means it’s important to be sure that any surface the computer is put down on is clean and dry. The keys are deactivated, so it doesn’t matter if they’re pressed while in tablet mode.

This device can also be put into cinema mode, in which the keyboard base is lying flat on a table supporting the screen. Again, this puts the keyboard and trackpad face-down, leaving them vulnerable to accidental spills.

Probably a better option is tent mode, which accomplishes the same as cinema mode but gives better protection for the vulnerable moving parts. It’s a great configuration for when the Yoga 720 is being used as a desktop PC: a single USB-C adapter (sold separately) can add HDMI and Ethernet ports, and there’s already a USB-A port for keyboard and mouse.

Tent mode is very useful, but it requires the hinge to be too stiff for this device to be opened one handed. Still, we think that’s an acceptable tradeoff.

This 13-inch Yoga weighs 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg) and is 0.6 inches (14.3 mm) thick, making it 13% lighter and 17% thinner than the previous version. From the front, this laptop is 12.2 x 8.4 (310 mm by 213 mm), so a case like the Think Tank My 2nd Brain 13 is a better option than a full-size laptop bag.

It comes only in Platinum Silver, but it nevertheless looks attractive for consumers while still appearing professional for business people.

The Yoga 720 feels very solid. It firmly resisted our efforts to twist or bend it, giving only the tiniest amount.

Yoga 720 Display

Lenovo designed this 2-in-1 around a 13.3-inch, 1920 by 1080 pixel (FHD) screen. That gives it a pixel density of approximately 165 ppi and a 0.1534 mm dot pitch: good, but not outstanding.

Naturally, the Yoga 720 looks great in an office environment. Colors are vivid, and blacks look as black as can be expected in a traditional LCD. Just as importantly for a mobile computer, this screen is quite usable outside. We typed much of this review while out of doors but not in direct sun.


This is a touchscreen, and it’s pressure sensitive with the optional Lenovo Active Pen 2. This supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity plus palm rejection, but we didn’t have access to this recently-released stylus for testing. This convertible PC can also be used for basic notetaking with a standard capacitive stylus.

The left and right screen bezels are about 0.25 inches, and the top one is roughly 0.3 inches, making room for a front-facing HD 720p chat cam. The bottom bezel is 1.5 in. so the display is well up above your hands when typing.

This is the only screen option: Lenovo doesn’t offer this 13-inch model with any alternate display configurations. For that, it’s necessary to move to the 15-inch version of the Yoga 720.

Yoga 720 Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard surface area is 10.9 by 4.0 inches, so it’s typical for a laptop with a 13-inch screen. Most keys are 0.7 by 0.6 inches, and are flat rather than concave. There’s approx. 0.1 in. of space between each one.

The U.S. version of the Yoga 720 uses the standard QWERTY layout, of course, with five rows of keys. A sixth row of half-size function keys stretch across the top. In addition to F1 – F12 and PrtSc, these offer quick access to often-used settings, such as screen brightness, volume, and airplane mode.

Typing is fairly quiet, but not exceptionally so. The keyboard deck is firm, and key travel is average, so entering text on this Lenovo convertible is unexceptional.

There’s three levels of backlights for the keys: off, dim, and bright. White is the only option for these lights.

Lenovo offset the touchpad to the left just a bit for the convenience of right-handed people. It’s 4.0 by 2.75 inches, which is a decent size for a 13.3-inch display. It responded well in the weeks we spent using it this PC in laptop mode. The usual Left and Right buttons are extensions of the touchpad, making it just a bit taller than it otherwise would be.

Input Output Ports, Cameras, and Speakers

USB Type-C ports are very powerful and flexible, and the Yoga 720 depends on this. It doesn’t offer a wide variety of built-in ports, but there are two USB-C ones on the left edge. One of these has Thunderbolt, so multi-function adapters can be plugged in to add video-out, Ethernet, etc. Just keep in mind, the necessary adapters are sold separately. The other USB-C port is best used for charging this computer.

A classic USB Type-A port can be found on the right edge, making it easy to use non-USB-C accessories, like flash drives. This port is on even when the computer is sleeping, so it can be used to recharge phones or other accessories.

Lenovo did not put a removable memory card slot in this model. Anyone who wants to use one will have to include an adapter in their gear bag.

There’s a fingerprint scanner built into every version of the Yoga 720. This supports Windows Hello, and it performed admirably in our tests. That said, it has a typical limitation with such biometric scanners: they can’t recognize wet fingers.

This device includes a pair of JBL stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium. In laptop mode these are pointing toward the ground, but still manage to put out a respectable amount of sound. Flipping the Yoga 720 around to Tent Mode points the speakers are the user, where they are even more effective.

Yoga 720 Performance

Lenovo uses processors from Intel’s seventh generation of Core i chips — code named Kaby Lake. Buyers have a choice between a 2.5 GHz Core i5 and a 2.7 GHz Core i7 processors. These are the latest and greatest processors from Intel, offering better performance and reduced battery drain.

Another choice to make is how much RAM, but this will be heavily controlled by the choice of processor, and vice versa. The i5 version is available with either 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, while the i7 model can only be purchased with 16 GB.

Storage capacity is also determined by processor and RAM. The i5/4GB version comes with a 128GB SSD, while the i5/8GB one comes with a 256GB SSD. The i7/16GB model is available only with a 512GB SSD.

We used the i5/8GB/256GB version in our testing, and our real-world use showed this to be quick and powerful computer. We experienced no problems with our Yoga 720 as we used it for a variety of productivity tasks.

The Benchmarks section of this review goes into detail how it compares against other laptops, but the the short answer is that this model is about 25% faster than its 2015 predecessor, the ThinkPad Yoga 12. Going up against a recent Windows 2-in-1, the Yoga 720 performed just as well or slightly better than the Lenovo Miix 510.

Our review Lenovo Yoga 720 has the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i5 7500U processor at 2.5 GHz
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 8GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • 256GB PCIe SSD (238 available to user)
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • 13.3-inch, 1920 by 1080 pixel (FHD) IPS AntiGlare touchscreen
  • 2 x USB Type-C with Thunderbolt
  • USB Type-A 3.0
  • Audio jack
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • WiFi 802.11 a/c
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 4 Cell 48-Watt Hour Li-Cylindrical battery
  • 12.2 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches (310 x 213 x 14.3 mm)
  • 2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)

Yoga 720 Benchmarks

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark Fire Strike measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):

Yoga 720 Battery Life

At least as important as the increase in performance brought by the Kaby Lake processors is their reduction in battery drain. We tested this convertible with PCMark8 Power, and it lasted 4 hours and 32 minutes. We also tested it with the Powermark benchmarking tool, and the Yoga 720 lasted a bit longer.

Benchmarks like these are handy for comparing devices head-to-head, but they don’t always give the best indication of typical battery life. Based on our experiences, this PC should last for 8 or 9 hours of real-world use. Lenovo promises up to 10.5 hours, but we think that would require some atypical use, like turning off WiFi for much of that time.

Recharging is quick, especially if the Thunderbolt-compliant USB-C port is used. In a real-world example, our test Yoga 720 was at 38% when we plugged it in before going to lunch one time. When we returned, the battery was at 100%.

Heat and Noise

The fan in our Yoga 720 review unit has to run when the computer is performing processor-intensive tasks. According to Speccy, the i5 chip averages about 115 degrees (45 C) when running productivity apps. The result is a laptop that’s ever so slightly warm in the lap, thanks to the vents that are on top edge, below the display but blowing away from the user.

Yoga 720 Final Thoughts

Detachable 2-in-1s, in which the screen can be removed from its keyboard, are best for those who want a tablet that sometimes functions as a laptop. Convertibles like the Yoga 720 are better suited for those who want a laptop that can sometimes function as a tablet.

This computer benefits strongly from its seventh-generation Intel Core i5/i7 processor, as these chips bring good performance and long battery lives.

On the downside, the Yoga 720 doesn’t include very many built-in ports, requiring many users to purchase a separate USB-C adapter with video-out, Ethernet, etc.

Pros:

  • Flexible design
  • Good performance and long battery life
  • Dual USB-C ports

Cons:

  • No built-in video out or Ethernet ports
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