Lenovo Yoga 710 15-Inch Review

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The Pros

Clicky, responsive keyboard; Great display; Solid performance

The Cons

Fewer ports than competitors offer; Tinny speakers

Verdict

The Lenovo Yoga 710 delivers a great keyboard, a vivid display and strong performance, all for less than $1,000.

Until recently, you couldn’t find a truly premium 2-in-1 for under $1,000. However, the Lenovo Yoga 710 15-inch (starting at $750; $900 as tested) is proof of how quickly that’s changing. For less than a grand, this bend-back notebook punches above its price tag, competing with our favorite 2-in-1s, such as the HP Spectre x360. The Yoga 710’s beautiful display, responsive keyboard and strong performance make it a fantastic large-screen 2-in-1 and a great value.

Design

The Yoga 710 sports a minimalist aesthetic with an all-black aluminum body. The lid features a shiny Yoga logo in silver and Lenovo’s seal in gray, but is otherwise plain. The hinges, which are silver on the 11-inch and 14-inch models of the 710, are a dark gunmetal gray. Opening the lid shows off the 15.6-inch 1080p display with a small bezel, island-style keyboard and the trackpad.

At 4.2 pounds and 14.1 x 9.6 x 0.7 inches, the Yoga 710 is on the smaller and lighter end of the 15-inch-convertible spectrum. The HP Spectre x360 15t weighs the same as the Yoga, but it’s larger (14.8 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches), and the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is about the same size (14 x 10.1 x 0.8 inches) but far heftier, at 5 pounds. The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 has the chunkiest footprint, at 14.9 x 9.9 x 0.7 inches, and weighs 4.6 pounds.

The 360-degree hinges on the Yoga allow the notebook to be used in four modes: laptop, tablet (by folding the screen all the way back), tent (an upside-down “V”) and stand (the screen standing up with the keyboard facedown). 

Ports


I hope you don’t have too many peripherals, because the Yoga 710 has fewer ports than its competitors. The left side is home to the power jack, SD card slot and headphone jack. On the right side are a micro-HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports. The Inspiron 15 offers three USB ports; the Spectre x360 and Notebook 7 each offer four, all with USB Type-C among them. All three also have full-size HDMI outputs rather than micro HDMI.

Display

The 15.6-inch, 1080p display on the Yoga produces crisp, bright images. When I watched the trailer for War Dogs, the green palm trees on an arms dealer’s estate looked fresh and vibrant, and the pool was so blue I wanted to jump in it. I could see sand kicked up by trucks and tanks in a scene in Fallujah, Iraq, and puffs of smoke blowing from actor Jonah Hill’s gun after he fired rounds.
The screen reproduces an excellent 103 percent of the sRGB color gamut, far surpassing the mainstream category average of 92 percent. Only the Spectre x360 (119 percent) was more vivid, while the Inspiron 15 (62 percent) and the Notebook 7 Spin (72 percent) had duller hues.

The Yoga 710’s display had a Delta-E color accuracy score of 0.3 (0 is best). That’s superior to the category average of 2.3, and also better than the Inspiron 15 (0.9), the Notebook 7 Spin (1.8) and the Spectre x360 (4.1).

On top of that, the screen has an average brightness of 317 nits, which is more luminous than the category average (269 nits), the Notebook 7 Spin (260 nits), the Spectre x360 (246 nits) and the Inspiron 15 (244 nits).

Keyboard and Touchpad

I loved the Yoga 710’s clicky and responsive keys. They have 1.46 millimeters of vertical travel, falling just below our preferred 1.5-mm minimum, but require a strong 61 grams of force to actuate.

Thanks to the keys’ strong tactile feedback, I typed my usual 110 words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com typing test with my average 2 percent error rate. The keyboard was set a little farther back into the deck than I would have liked, but I still found the typing experience to be extremely comfortable.

The 4.1 x 2.7-inch touchpad was responsive to navigation and Windows 10 gestures, including switching among apps with three fingers and swiping down to reveal the desktop.

Audio

The speakers on the Yoga 710 are loud enough to fill a room, but they’re a little tinny. When I listened to Yellowcard’s “For You, And Your Denial,” the vocals sounded a bit hollow, but the guitars, drums and violin were all very clear. When I folded it into tablet mode, the speakers echoed. 

The Dolby Audio app has several Equalizer presets, but I recommend leaving it on the default setting.

Performance

Armed with a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of VRAM, the Yoga 710 will serve multitaskers well. I had 30 tabs open in Chrome, one of which was streaming 1080p video, and didn’t see any lag at all.

On the Geekbench 3 overall performance test, the Yoga 710 earned a score of 6,566, which is lower than the mainstream category average of 7,979. The Notebook 7 Spin (Core i7-6500U; 7,132) had a higher score, while the Inspiron 15’s (Core i5-6200U, 6,499) and Spectre x360’s (Core i5-6200U, 6,376) marks were slightly lower.

The Yoga 710 took 29 seconds to transfer 4.97GB of mixed media files, which translates to 175.5 megabytes per second. That’s faster than the average of 139.1 MBps, as well as the SSDs in the Spectre x360 (149.7 MBps) and the Inspiron 15 (122.6 MBps) and the 5,400-rpm HDD in the Notebook 7 Spin.

It took the Yoga 710 4 minutes and 2 seconds to complete the OpenOffice spreadsheet macro, which involves pairing 20,000 names and addresses. The average mainstream notebook takes 4:40, the Inspiron 15 took 4:47, the Spectre x360 completed the task in 4:31 and the Notebook 7 Spin needed 4:03.

The Yoga 710 is on the smaller and lighter end of the 15-inch-convertible spectrum.

While the Yoga 710 has an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of RAM, that card isn’t powerful enough for intense games such as Doom, Metro: Last Light and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. You’re more likely to see a performance bump in apps such as Photoshop.

The Yoga 710 earned a score of 83,878 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark. That’s a boost over the mainstream average of 79,876 but falls short of the Notebook 7 Spin with the same GPU. The Inspiron 15 and Spectre x360, both with integrated Intel HD Graphics 520, had lesser scores of 64,067 and 64,632, respectively.

Battery Life

The Yoga 710 endured for 7 hours and 6 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuously web browsing over Wi-Fi. That’s better than the mainstream average of 6:33 but worse than the HP Spectre (8:27). The Inspiron 15 7000’s battery life was just a tad shorter (6:55), and the Notebook 7 survived for a paltry 5:53. 

Webcam

The 720p webcam on the Yoga 710 took grainy, overexposed photos. A photo I took in our labs went way overboard on the light bouncing off my forehead and cheeks, making me look even paler than usual (and I don’t need the help). The photo was detailed enough to show off the stitching on my collar, but all of the noise was distracting.

Heat

No matter which position you keep it in, the Yoga 710 will stay nice and cool. After we streamed 15 minutes of HD video from Hulu, the bottom of the notebook reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit, the keyboard hit 88 degrees and the touchpad measured 79.5 degrees. All of those measurements are below our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Software and Warranty

There’s not that much in the way of preinstalled software on the Yoga 710. The bloatware consists solely of the usual suspects: Candy Crush Soda Saga, Flipboard and Twitter. Lenovo’s Settings app gives you fine control over display and power settings, while the Companion app scans the laptop for hardware issues.

Lenovo offers a one-year warranty on the Yoga 710. You can see how Lenovo did on our Best and Worst Brands rankings and Tech Support Showdown.

Configurations

The Yoga 710 that we reviewed was a $900 configuration that included a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i7-6500U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU with 2GB of VRAM.The base model costs $750 with a Core i5-6200U CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and integrated Intel HD Graphics 520. For $1,000, you can get a model that was identical to ours, except with a larger, 512GB SSD.

No matter which model you get, it will come with the same 1080p touch screen.

Bottom Line

Between its beautiful screen, responsive keyboard and solid performance, the Lenovo Yoga 710 is the best 15-inch hybrid you can get for $1,000 or less.If you need longer battery life, consider the HP Spectre x360 15t, which lasts an hour and 20 minutes longer. The trade-offs for choosing that machine, however, are a shallow keyboard and a $150 higher price tag (the HP starts at $1,149). But you’ll get a great display, speakers superior to those on the Yoga 710 and one of my favorite 2-in-1 designs.

But if you want one of the best keyboards on a 2-in-1 and can trade a little battery life, you’ll save a lot of cash by going with the Yoga 710, which provides superior value and usability.

(laptopmag.com, http://goo.gl/orQ9Dz)

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