The flexibility of Lenovo’s Yoga series has been a stand-out feature ever since its inception back in 2012. Since then, it has spawned different series under the same name, including the Yoga S series, which is their Ultrabook variant of the line-up.
Their newest release is the Lenovo Yoga S730, possibly one of the thinnest laptops on the market right now. Measuring at a thickness of just 11.9mm and weight of 1.2kg, it is easy to mistake it as one of your magazines if you have both in your bag.
The chassis of the laptop is made out of aluminium, with a slightly textured feel that makes it easier to grip, quite like the MacBook actually. It’s a shame that the laptop only comes in two different shades of grey as other colours would work well with the overall aesthetic given by the metal.
Speaking about the metal, the aluminium is one of the big reasons for how the Yoga S730 is able to weigh so little, but that does not mean it skimps out on the durability of the laptop. In fact, the laptop is actually quite sturdy, with little to no flex when putting physical pressure on it, even when doing it on its sides,
Flipping open the laptop, you’ll be greeted by the 13.3-inch display, which comes with a glossy feel on the screen. The bezels on the top and sides are satisfyingly slim, giving a nice futuristic aesthetic. It is unfortunate though that the bottom bezel does not follow that same design, instead, it has a noticeable chin that otherwise would have completed the edgeless look.
Like all Lenovo Yoga branded products, the Yoga S730’s screen can be inclined to lay completely flat. This feature has its uses, specifically if you are laying down while using the laptop as it means you don’t have to re-posture yourself to see the screen. What is perplexing though is that the display itself is not a touch-screen, as it would be very useful for artists or even for browsing more efficiently.
The display can render images and videos at 1080p FHD, which looks great when viewing vibrant photography or movies with heavy special effects, giving a crisp and sharp quality. What is a shame though, is that you can’t really experience the full extent of the display until you turn up the brightness on the screen.
The screen’s default brightness is simply too dim to view content at a reasonable degree. In conjunction with the gloss display, glare becomes a major issue when using the device in areas with lots of natural light, making it a frustrating experience. Even when cranking up the brightness to 70 to 80%, it still is a little too dim; you’ll need to get it around 90% or max it out to see clearly.
Next, we’ll move downwards to the keyboard. You’ll get the same chiclet keyboard that many other brands also sport. Nothing much to say here, it’s reliable if unremarkable; simply works as intended. What I do want to highlight is the trackpad, which is excellent. It tracks every swipe and gesture made with laser precision, making for a very efficient browsing experience. The trackpad is also nice and big, which allows for more room for your finger to travel.
The Yoga S730’s speakers are located at the bottom of the laptop along with the fans. The speakers themselves are actually surprisingly good despite being placed in a horrendous position. It gets pretty loud even at half volume with no instances of distortion in the sound. It’s not as good as an external speaker obviously, but it does a respectable job if you try using it to listen to bassy music or watch blockbuster movies.
Performance-wise, the Yoga S730 comes packed with a base processor of 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5 (upgradable to an Intel® Core™ i7) and an Intel® HD 620 graphics. Using the computer is fast and snappy with no visible slowdown even when browsing with an obscene amount of tabs open on Chrome (more than 25); as a machine that is used mainly for web-browsing and CPU-light applications, the device runs very well.
On that note, It should be stated that this is by no means a computer suited for gaming. Running Dying Light, a 2015 released game, garnered very noticeable lag and operated at around 15 – 20fps, well below the reasonable 30 fps. If a 4-year-old game is having trouble running on this computer, don’t expect it to run the more recent games.
You’ll have more luck with less graphically intensive games like 2008’s Portal, which ran at a respectable framerate of around 40fps. Unless you are a casual gamer, you’ll have a bad time trying to play games on this machine.
Since we’ve now established the Lenovo Yoga S730’s main function of use, how long will you get to use it for? Lenovo states that the battery gets you up to 10 hours of use before it runs out. While this is fairly accurate (battery lasted about 9 hours with regular use), it comes with a major caveat.
As established before with the brightness, the computer is very frustrating to use at its default brightness. You’ll have to increase the brightness to get a comfortable experience, and doing so skews how much battery life you actually get.
Using the device at the tolerable 90% brightness, the laptop could only muster about 6 hours of battery life; very unremarkable in comparison. Fortunately, the laptop has rapid charging which charges its battery up to 80% in an hour.
Speaking of charging, you’ll find the port for that at the side of the device along with a couple of others. The left-hand side houses the aforementioned USB-C charging port along with a headphone jack, while the right-hand side of the device includes two more USB-C ports, with one of them also capable of charging the device.
Of course, with how thin and light the laptop is, sacrifices had to be made. And it’s fair to say that the device not being port-heavy is a result of that, meaning that you’ll probably need to buy an adapter if you use devices that do not have USB-C support.
As a whole package, the Lenovo Yoga S730 is not going to subvert your expectations and give you something that other laptops/ultrabooks don’t already have. What you see is what you get, a perfectly capable ultra-portable laptop for you to do casual work and browsing. And for its price, that’s perfectly reasonable.
Photos by Soloman Soh and Goh Jing Wen of the DANAMIC team