Lenovo Yoga 730 Review

Pros

  • Decent power for applications and games
  • Excellent exterior design
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • Solid screen and speakers
  • Cheaper than its key rival

Cons

  • Dell XPS has more speed
  • Screen could be a little better
  • Battery life inconsistent

Key Features

  • Review Price: £1500
  • 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U processor
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB graphics
  • 15.6-inch 3840 x 2160 screen
  • 16GB DDR4 memory
  • 512GB Samsung PM981 SSD
  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • 360 x 249 x 17.15mm
  • 1.89kg
  • 1yr RTB warranty

What is the Lenovo Yoga 730?

The Yoga 730 is a new addition to Lenovo’s range of hybrid machines. However, instead of being a smaller, casual machine, this £1500 Yoga is designed for creative work.

Those impressive aims mean higher expectations when it comes to power, screen quality and battery life – and they also see this 15.6in version of the Yoga in competition with machines such as the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1.

Lenovo Yoga 730 – Design and build

The Yoga 730 looks good, although its professional design does mean that the exterior isn’t particularly eye-catching.

The Yoga 730’s body is made from aluminium and is finished in a dark shade that Lenovo calls Iron Grey. There’s a subtle Lenovo logo on the left-hand side of the screen, slim bezels around the panel, and two plain hinges.

Lenovo Yoga 730 02

It looks like it means business, and it compares well to the Dell. It’s more subdued than the ageing carbon-fibre finish of the XPS, and the Lenovo’s webcam is above the screen rather than below. As such, the Yoga will allow you to handle conference calls without giving people a good look up your nose.

The Yoga weighs in at 1.89kg, which makes it a little lighter than the Dell. Its 17mm body is technically one millimetre thicker than the Dell, but no-one will notice the difference. More importantly, the Yoga’s build quality is just as good as the XPS 15 2-in-1: the base panel is sturdy and the screen feels solid, despite its slim dimensions. The 360-degree hinges are also strong – and a tiny bit smoother than the Dell’s hinges when moving the screen.

Lenovo Yoga 730 17

I wouldn’t think twice about slinging the Yoga into a bag, and I’m fully confident that it will survive frequent switches between laptop and tablet positions.

The Yoga has two full-size USB 3.0 sockets and a Type-C Thunderbolt port. It also has a full-sized HDMI output. I’d say, on balance, that these ports are a little more useful than the Dell’s connectivity options – the XPS has pairs of USB 3 .1 Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports, but no full-size USB without an adapter and no HDMI.

A fingerprint reader sits below the keyboard on the Yoga, just like the Dell, but the Lenovo doesn’t feature a battery indicator like the XPS.

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Lenovo Yoga 730 – Keyboard and trackpad

The Lenovo and Dell machines both take a similar approach to the keyboard; they offer minimal travel in order for each system to remain as slim as possible.

The Yoga’s keys have little travel – imperceptible from the 0.7mm used on the Dell’s magnetic keyboard – and the typing action is light and shallow.

The keys push down with an action that’s a little softer and less clinical than the Dell’s snappy action. This makes the Yoga’s buttons quieter, but it also means that the Dell’s typing action is a hair faster.

Lenovo Yoga 730 10

Make no mistake, the Yoga’s keyboard is excellent, and it will allow you to float around the buttons, quickly and quietly hammering out documents. However, if you do prefer a more solid feel or a well-defined ‘snap’ when you type, then the Dell will be more suitable.

The Yoga 730’s keyboard doesn’t have a numberpad, which is a slight irritation on a machine designed for productivity – even if the Yoga is built for creatives. Elsewhere, the layout is fine.

The trackpad is decent, too. It’s broad, smooth and responsive, showing no signs of friction. The buttons are a little spongy, but you’ll soon get used to them.

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Lenovo Yoga 730 – Screen and sound quality

I’ve reviewed the more expensive of Lenovo’s two 15.6-inch models. It comes with a 4K touchscreen that, mercifully, keeps reflections to a minimum. It’s IPS, too, which bodes well for colour accuracy. However, while the Lenovo does deliver decent quality, it can’t match the Dell.

While its brightness level of 300 nits is great, and good enough for office and outdoor use, the Dell managed 451 nits of maximum brightness. Lenovo pairs its solid brightness level with a reasonable black point of 0.26 nits, and those figures create a contrast ratio of 1154:1.

Lenovo Yoga 730 12

That, again, is a decent figure – ample for browsing and for colour-sensitive photo work. However, Dell goes one better with a contrast ratio of 1574:1. That figure, combined with the extra brightness, delivers greater punch and more vibrancy across the range.

It’s a similar story when it comes to colours. The Yoga’s colour temperature of 6632K is good, and a tad better than the Dell’s figure, but its average Delta E of 3.01 is middling. Importantly, the Yoga’s screen could only handle 84.1% of the sRGB colour gamut, 61.5% of the Adobe RGB gamut, and 68% of the DCI-P3 gamut – whereas the Dell nailed the sRGB gamut and handled 94.2% and 85.2% in the other two tests.

Those latter two figures are important, because they’re crucial for artists, filmmakers and creatives – exactly the market that Lenovo is hoping to target with this machine.

Overall, the Yoga 730’s screen is decent – certainly good enough for less-intensive photo work and artistic tasks, and for browsing the web and handling documents. But, if you need a screen for more precise and demanding creative work, Dell’s XPS 15 2-in-1 is better.

Lenovo Yoga 730 15

The Yoga comes with a 4096-point active stylus that works very well. It’s precise and easy to use, just like the Dell’s unit. Lenovo includes a small holder for the stylus, which isn’t so impressive – it’s a flimsy bit of plastic that occupies a USB port if you decide to use it.

The device’s speakers are excellent, though. They’re punchy and well-balanced, with ample bass and plenty of clarity in the lighter parts of the range. For music while you work, or an after-hours Netflix binge, they’ll easily do the job.

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Lenovo Yoga 730 – Performance

The Yoga is powered by a pair of interesting chips that take a markedly different approach to the Intel and AMD hardware found on a single chip inside the Dell.

This more expensive model of Yoga 730 includes a Core i7 processor. The i7-8550U is one of Intel’s latest mobile chips, and it comes from the Kaby Lake Refresh range. This new lineup didn’t alter the architecture, but it did add further cores and more efficient power handling.

The i7-8550U in the Lenovo has four Hyper-Threaded cores, which benefits multi-tasking. They’re clocked to a modest 1.8GHz, but Intel’s improved Turbo Boost circuitry launches the chip to a huge Turbo peak of 4GHz.

The processor is paired with 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 512GB Samsung PM981 SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip. It will have the power to handle graphical applications thanks to its 640 stream processors and 1354MHz clock. Plus, it has 4GB of memory.

Lenovo also sells one lesser specification of the 15.6in Yoga 730. The £1100 model retains the GTX 1050, but halves the memory and storage allocations. It also drops down to a Core i5-8250U processor. That chip retains four Hyper-Threaded cores, but its 1.6GHz stock and 3.4GHz Turbo clocks are lower.

Lenovo Yoga 730 11

You have to spend a little more money to get the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 with equivalent specifications. The £1699 model has a Core i5 processor with Radeon RX Vega graphics, while the £1849 version has a Core i7 chip but a 1080p screen. If you want a Core i7 and 4K panel, it will set you back £2099.

Both of the processors in the cheaper Lenovo machines are low-power parts with a peak power requirement of just 15W. That’s one of the key statistics that highlights the difference between the Yoga and the Dell. The XPS used a Core i7-8705G processor – which has a higher stock speed of 3.1GHz, a Turbo pace of 4.1GHz, and consumes more power at 65W.

That chip also includes integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics, which is designed to take on discreet chips such as the GTX 1050. That built-in part has 4GB of memory.

Benchmarks prove that the Yoga is never far behind the Dell. Its single-core Geekbench score of 4351 is around 400 points behind, and its multi-core score of 14439 is only around 1500 points behind Dell’s machine.

Device PC Mark 8 Geekbench 4 single-core Geekbench 4 multi-core Crystaldiskmark read Crystaldiskmark write 3DMark Fire Strike
Lenovo Yoga 730 (15) 3309 4351 14439 3307MB/sec 1873MB/sec 5156
Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 3404 4770 16055 2976.7MB/s 520.2MB/s 6276

Lenovo Yoga 730 16

In PCMark 8, the Lenovo laptop scored 3309, less than 100 points behind the Dell. The SSD helps, too – its read and write scores of 3307MB/sec and 1873MB/sec are quick enough to ensure boot and application loading speeds are rapid.

The Yoga may be a little slower than the Dell in applications, but it still has the power and the cores to handle multi-tasking and most work tools. Certainly, anyone buying this machine for creative purposes won’t be left wanting for extra oomph.

The GTX 1050 is a reasonable graphics core, but it isn’t as fast as the integrated Radeon hardware in the Dell. In 3DMark Fire Strike the Yoga scored 5156, but the Dell returned a score of 6276 in the same test. That slower pace is evident in games.

I managed to play Rise of the Tomb Raider at High settings and at 1080p with an average of 33fps, but you won’t be able to run today’s top titles without toning down graphical settings. If you play eSports games, you’ll be fine.

The Yoga is a solid thermal performer, too, no doubt because of the CPU’s modest power requirements. The outside always remained cool, plus it was always far quieter than the noisy Dell, even during demanding work tasks.

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Battery life

The Yoga has a 51Wh battery, which is smaller than the 75Wh unit inside the Dell. Nevertheless, the Lenovo’s 15W processor requires much less electricity than the 65W chip inside the Dell.

Not surprisingly, this has a big impact on battery life. In the synthetic battery test, which involves looping five minutes of video playback and ten minutes of web browsing with the screen set to 150 nits, it lasted for a staggering 15 hours – nine hours more than the Dell.

Lenovo Yoga 730 03

If you use the Lenovo for more conventional work tasks – web browsing, Office apps, and drawing and creative tools – then you’ll easily get a day’s use out of this machine. You’ll have more juice left after work than the Dell has to offer, too.

However, pushing the Yoga’s components does see battery drain faster. I ran a CPU stress-test and the 15W processor and the battery lasted for a little over two hours. During a gaming test the 64W GTX 1050 dropped the Yoga’s battery life to just over an hour.

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Why buy the Lenovo Yoga 730?

The Lenovo Yoga 730 is an excellent laptop that doesn’t quite match its chief rival – but, with significant savings to be made, there’s a solid argument to opt for this machine.

Ergonomically, it’s sound. The build quality, hinge and dimensions are all good enough to support frequent use in the field, and the keyboard and trackpad are both great – even if the former is a little spongier than the Dell.

The low-power Intel CPU and Nvidia GPU have enough grunt for most work tasks, even if the Dell’s components are a little quicker. The screen has the quality for getting creative work done – although the Dell is a little better in this regard, too.

The Yoga 730 doesn’t quite match up to the quality of the Dell, but it gets pretty close while saving plenty of cash. If you need a hybrid machine for creative, productive tasks – and the Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is out of your budget – then the Lenovo Yoga 730 is an excellent alternative.

Verdict

The Lenovo Yoga 730 offers excellent ergonomics, a decent design, a solid hinge and a comfortable keyboard, plus internals that offer the power to handle most work tasks. The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 may have faster internals and a better screen, but the Yoga 730 is never far behind – with the bonus of being far more affordable.

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