For years, laptops were the only portable computers you could buy. While tablets replace them by allowing you to carry out most of the computing tasks on the go, they still lack the power you get on a desktop or laptop. This is where the convertibles and hybrids let you enjoy the best of both worlds. The recently launched Lenovo Yoga 710 (14ISK) is a stylish 2-in-1 convertible that can be used as a typical laptop, or you can completely rotate the display all the way back to use it as a tablet.
Running on Windows 10, the convertible is equipped with top of the line hardware. Priced at Rs 85,490, the Lenovo Yoga 710 competes with the Dell Inspiron 5000-series and HP Pavilion x360-series. One of the advantages the Yoga 710 gets is in the form of an on-board discrete graphics solution and a Solid State Drive (SSD), compared to Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) on the competition. But can it justify its hefty price tag? Read my detailed review of the Yoga 710 to find out.
Lenovo Yoga 710 Design
Lenovo has gone with a simple, yet elegant design for the Yoga 710. Weighing just 1.5Kg, the chassis is made from aluminum, which adds to its sturdiness, while also offering a premium look. Further, the inner side of the display lid as well as the edges surrounding the keyboard and the track pad have chamfered edges, all adding to its distinct design elements. The lid is rather plain with Lenovo branding on one corner, and a shiny Yoga logo at the top.
Opening the lid reveals the 14-inch touch-screen display with thin bezels, the island-style backlit keyboard and a large trackpad. The keys are comfortable to type, even for hours, thanks to good travel and crisp feedback. The LED backlight on the keyboard can be toggled by Fn key + space. It has two levels – when toggled, it gently lights up, and pressing the Fn key + space again brightens it even more. The function keys on the top keyboard row are configurable using Lenovo settings app – you can either use them as hot keys for volume, brightness and more, or you can use them for as function keys F1-F12, while hotkeys can be accessed by pressing down on the Fn button.
The trackpad, on the other hand, is quite spacious, accurately responds to gestures and it is comfortable too. I didn’t face any difficulties at all, be it while navigating through the interface, web browsing or cropping some photos using online tools. The pinch to zoom and two-finger scrolling also work like a charm.
Connectivity wise, you get two USB 3.0 ports on the right edge, along with a micro HDMI port and a power button. One of these USB 3.0 ports can be used to charge your smartphone, even while the laptop is turned off. On the left, you have a charging port, an SD card slot and a headphone + mic combo jack. Sadly, there is no Ethernet port for LAN connectivity, and you will have to rely on Wi-Fi for Internet connectivity. ALSO READ: Lenovo Yoga Book Review
The USP of the Yoga 710 is its 360-degree hinge, which allows you to switch between four modes. You can always use it like an ordinary laptop when in ‘L’ shape, fold the display all the way back to use it like a tablet, the tent mode (making an upside-down ‘V’), or use the screen as a display with the keyboard face down and monitor swiveled vertically. The hinge operates pretty smoothly, but you will need both your hands to open the lid and turn it around.
Unlike other laptops where the hinge is a little loose, the one on Yoga 710 is sturdy enough to hold the display well in its place. Even when you are using it like a laptop, tapping on the display doesn’t easily push the lid backwards. Overall, I really like the design and build of the Yoga 710; it just oozes ‘premium’ in every possible way.
Lenovo Yoga 710 Specifications
The Lenovo Yoga 710 hybrid laptop features a 14-inch full-HD IPS touchscreen display with maximum brightness of 300 nits. The touch sensitivity of the display is pretty good and doing basic things like closing programs with touch and doodling on paint worked well. The display is adequately bright, but I wish it was a little brighter at max brightness. It’s good for normal conditions when in your home or in office, but if working on the go, the display seems a little dim. One small issue I noticed was with the brightness level — when you lower it from 100 to 60 percent, the screen appears way too dull, something that you would expect at around the 40 percent level. I suspect this could be some calibration issue with the brightness steps.
The text on the screen is pretty crisp, viewing angles are wide, and color reproduction is vibrant too. The black levels are quite deep and the whites look very bright too. The display makes watching movies is a treat, especially the colorful, high-resolution ones. Lenovo has also added an e-paper mode that adds a yellow filter to the display, to help reduce the stress on eyes when working for prolonged hours.
Under the hood is Intel’s sixth-generation Core i7-6500U Skylake processor (two cores, four threads, with base clock speed of 2.5GHz base clock, and Turbo boost up to 3.1GHz Turbo clock). It is paired with 8GB of DDR4 RAM (running at 2133MHz), Intel HD Graphics 520 and an Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB discrete graphics.
The Yoga 710 also comes with a 256GB SSD (Solid State Drive), out of which about 180GB is user accessible. There are two partitions – the installation drive with about 150GB free space, and other drive of roughly 30GB with a backup of applications and divers. To keep things ticking, there is a 4-cell 53WHr battery, which Lenovo claims will offer battery life of up to eight hours. I’ll talk about the battery life in detail in a bit.
The laptop also sports a 720p HD webcam, and connectivity options include two USB 3.0 ports, one HDMI port, an SD card reader, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, microphone and headphone combo jack, and Bluetooth 4.0. It runs on Microsoft’s Windows 10 Home edition. The good part is that the Yoga comes with minimal bloatware in the form of Windows 10 apps – Candy Crush Saga, OneNote and Quiz Up. However, it’s sad that you don’t get bundled subscription for Office 365 or a version of Microsoft Office Home and Student edition. Considering the money this laptop costs, I would at least expect it to be ready with Microsoft Office suite.
The convertible also features JBL-powered speakers, placed under either side of the palm rest. However, their ability to project the audio depends on the kind of surface you place it on. You can’t expect too much from tiny laptop speakers, but the audio clarity and volume output on this one is surprisingly good. It’s decently loud to enjoy watching a movie promo or listen to music in a less noisy environment, like your bedroom or a conference room. However, the speaker output isn’t powerful enough for conference calls on Google Hangouts or Skype.
Lenovo Yoga 710 Performance
Thanks to the Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, the Yoga 710 gets the sheer power it needs to perform daily tasks with ease. Booting takes less than 10 seconds, thanks to the fast SSD. Opening apps and multi-tasking is quite snappy. I had the Chrome browser open with about 15 tabs, one tab playing full-HD video on YouTube and browsing through flickr.com/explore photos in another tab.
I ran CrystalDiskMark benchmark to test the performance of the internal SSD. It logged read speed of 552MB/s and write speed of 509MB/s. But these are theoretical speeds; in real-world performance, it took me 45 seconds to transfer a single 5GB file from an external hard disk to the Yoga 710 (write speed of approximately 111MB/s). Similarly, for transferring multiple files (around 75 videos) of 5GB in size took 52 seconds (write speed of 88MB/s). These speeds are pretty good, compared to time taken to write on a hard disk.
As the Yoga 710 has a very capable hardware, I also put it through gaming test. I downloaded Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5: Blackout from the Windows App Store, and both games run without any hiccups. Then I tried playing some games such as Dota 2, Left4Dead2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Rocket League, all of which run very smoothly.
My personal laptop with Core i5 6th Gen processor, 8GB RAM and Nvidia GeForce 940M struggles to run The Crew, and I have to lower down the graphics from high to low, frames per second (fps) from 60 to 30, and so on, just to be able to play. However, it’s not the same with the Yoga 710. Even with high settings and 60fps, the game ran very smoothly. In short, casual gamers won’t be disappointed, but for those who want to play intense, and slightly graphics hungry games, the Yoga 710 may not suffice the need. Overall, I like the performance of the Yoga 710, and there’s nothing to complain about in this department.
Lenovo Yoga 710 Battery Life
One of the major concerns with of laptop users is battery life. And despite having a powerful hardware on board, the Yoga 710 lasts long, really long. My daily workday usage includes internet surfing and writing for BGR India. At times, I also listen to music while working to keep ambient distractions out. With laptop set on balance mode and brightness set at 80 percent, the Yoga 710 almost sailed through the work day (from 10:30AM to 5PM), before needing a charge.
On power saver mode, I was able to stretch it a little further to 6PM, whereas on high performance mode with brightness set to full, the Yoga 710 could last till about 3:15PM before dying out. When playing games such as The Crew, the battery could fall at a rate of one percent per minute, which isn’t that bad considering the amount of resources that are being put to use. For those who need to go on for hours without a charge, the Yoga 710 won’t disappoint you with its battery life.
I have reviewed convertible laptops before, but one of the major issues I always had was a lack of powerful hardware and functionality. Even the performance of top-end ones wasn’t on par. However, the new Lenovo Yoga 710 changes everything in my record book. Right from the hardware to form factor, performance and battery life, there’s a lot I like about the Yoga 710.
It does come with a touchscreen, which a barely used. There were only a couple of times where I actually turned the display around to use the Yoga 710 as a tablet. But, having these features is a potential useful addition for a lot of people, and it was always nice to know I had the option.
But it is all about the adaptability and things you can do. When using other laptops, I always wished the battery could last longer, and while options with the Core i3 processor and low-end configurations do, they lack sheer power and performance. This is where the Yoga 710 impressed me, even with heavy usage and memory-hogging programs running in background, I never faced any hiccups. If you have been looking to get a powerful 2-in-1 convertible, and have no budget constraints, at Rs 85,490, the Yoga 710 should be on the top of your list.
Photos – Vijay Khutale