Lenovo Yoga 700 (14-inch) Review
Finding a laptop that fits your every need is hard. You want a lightweight package for an on the go system with a spacious screen, competent performance and battery life to last you through the day. Lenovo thinks its 14-inch Yoga 700 meets this happy medium with mid-range size system featuring mid-range performance at a mid-range price of $899.
A signature feature of the Yoga series, the notebook's touchscreen can be flipped backward, converting it into a 14-inch tablet complete with convenient buttons to control volume and lock display rotation. Alternatively, it can be stood into tent mode or set on its keyboard with the screen tilted back for presentation mode.
The Yoga 700 has a smooth, soft-touch exterior and comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port that doubles as its power connector and an SD card reader. Measuring just over 13 inches wide and 9 inches deep, the notebook is designed for quick, on-the-go use that is further underscored by fast boot-up and load times from the 256GB solid-state drive (SSD).
Its glossy, 14-inch touchscreen produces some glare, but the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution picture is so sharp and colorful that it's forgivable. Also, the fact that it can be converted into a tablet to easily read webpages in portrait mode makes the Yoga 700 a handy system, especially if you don't want to buy two separate devices.
Work and play
At a glance, the Yoga 700 might seem like an overly straightforward notebook primarily for productivity, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with it. Its 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of memory pack enough power to use the system for light gaming and video playback. It's not enough to drive high-performance games, but it works especially well for watching movies since it features full, loud, speakers.
The laptop's ability to convert into a tablet makes it a multi-functional system that can be quickly taken out and packed away again. It still weighs significantly more than an average tablet, but consider the 14-inch screen. Either way, in tablet mode, it's just light enough to read on comfortably on the couch.
Lenovo's compact, backlit AccuType keyboard is comfortable to type on, although I had to get used to using the Function key to make the F keys work. Out of the box, the top row of keys activates secondary functions, like volume and brightness control.
I initially thought the system had things backwards, but quickly found that it feels very natural. My main gripe about its design is that the tiny battery indicator light is on the right side, where it is completely out of view.
The system only weighs 3.5 pounds (1.59kg), which is comfortable enough to keep on your lap for extended periods. Its small size also makes it convenient enough to place in tent mode on a variety of surfaces, including a crowded kitchen tabletop, to watch shows while eating.
Like the Yoga 700, the Dell Inspiron 15 is a convertible notebook with a soft touch finish, but it has a larger 15.6-inch screen that drives up its weight to 4.7 pounds (2.13kg). The Aspire E15 lacks the ability to convert into a tablet and weighs in at 5.29 pounds (2.4kg).
Here is the Lenovo Yoga 700 configuration sent to techradar:
- CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200 (dual-core, 3MB cache, up to 2.8Ghz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
- RAM: 8GB DDR3L (1,600MHz SDRAM)
- Screen: 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD LED with multi-touch
- Storage: 256GB SSD
- Ports: 2 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 (w/ DC-in), micro HDMI, SD card reader, headphone jack
- Connectivity: Intel 802.11ac 2x2; Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: 720p webcam
- Weight: 3.5 pounds
- Size: 13.18 x 9.03 x 0.72 inches (W x D x H)
This 14-inch, 256 GB SSD configuration of the Yoga 700 comes priced at $899 in the US and AU$1,399 in Australia with the storage halved. The Yoga 700 is currently unavailable in the UK at 14 inches, but the 11-inch version with a 128GB SSD can be had for £559.
The laptop matches well against other convertible systems, like the Dell Inspiron 15 7000, which has similar specifications but features a larger, 15.6-inch screen. For $899 (about £580, AU$1,499), you could pick up a Inspiron 15 7000 system with similar specifications to the Yoga 700.
However, the Inspiron 15 also weighs about a pound more, so it's a trade-off worth thinking about. I was able to quickly tuck the Yoga 700 into a small messenger bag while running out the door without giving it much thought or attention.
Additionally, the Yoga 700's design is much more straightforward and plain compared to systems like the Acer Aspire E15. Though, that notebook sports a larger screen, much more memory, faster processor and an Nvidia GeForce 940M discrete video card. Although the Aspire E15 may have a stylish pattern etched on its exterior, the Yoga 700 has a touchscreen that's considerably nicer to look at, despite its glare.
Perhaps the Yoga's biggest limitation is its 256GB SSD. Although the SSD lets the computer boot up quickly and hard drive space isn't as much of a concern among more cloud-reliant users, it limits what can be stored locally and there are no options to upgrade your storage.
Here's how the Lenovo Yoga 700 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
- 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 5,014; Sky Diver: 3,072; Fire Strike: 639
- Cinebench CPU: 286 cb; Graphics: 26.54 fps,
- PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2,421 points
- PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 7 minutes
- Geekbench 3: Single-Core: 2,605; Multi-Core Score: 5,749
- Since the Yoga 700's hardware very closely matches that of the Inspiron 15 7000, it's not surprising that their benchmark scores should also be fairly comparable. The Yoga 700 wins out in some areas, particularly in the 3DMark tests (Inspiron 15 7000 scores: Cloud Gate: 4,556; SkyDiver: 2,547; Fire Strike: 612), but it's by a relatively small margin.
At the same time, the Acer Aspire E15 (Cloud Gate: 6,584; Sky Diver: 5,521; Fire Strike: 1,436) exceeds the Yoga 700's scores in almost every test, thanks to its discrete video card and faster processor. However, the tradeoff is that you get about half the battery life out of the Acer laptop in comparison to the Yoga 700.
Best of both worlds
Although the Lenovo Yoga 700's battery is rated for 7 hours, our local movie loop battery test saw just under 4 hours use. The PCMark 8 estimate puts the battery life at around 3 hours, which is less than the 3 hours and 40 minutes you'd get from the Inspiron 15 7000, but way better than the 2.5 hours the Aspire E15 offers.
I find that the Yoga 700 shines best through off-and-on use, such as doing some web browsing, writing a few emails, or doing some light reading before putting it away.
On the other hand, given its powerful speakers, bright screen and tent mode, this is a great system for marathon binges of streaming shows. Between the productivity and the convenience of the tablet mode, I ended up not wanting to put the system down unless I had to.
Even though it doesn't match well against the Aspire E15's more powerful hardware, the Yoga 700 makes up for it with more versatility. You might get the same flexibility out of other convertibles, like the Inspiron 15 7000, but the weight of the bigger screen could become an issue.
- Lenovo Companion 3.0: An included program that helps optimize the system, its connections and security.
- Lenovo Photo Master 2.0: Program for editing, organizing, and sharing photos.
- Lenovo SHAREit: Included software for sharing documents across devices
- Lenovo REACHit: Utility program for managing files from a single app from multiple locations
- McAfee LiveSafe: 30-day trial to antivirus software.
Frankly, the Yoga 700's price point can be an issue, since you can get a faster device for the same or less money. However, its portability and versatility make the Yoga 700 a worthwhile purchase.
Small, light and versatile with a colorful, bright, screen, the Lenovo Yoga 700 is ideal for when you have to quickly pick up and go between writing emails and documents and spending the afternoon being entertained with a tablet. Not only does this system pack the power to handle most basic productivity tasks, but the versatility to bring the fun with Lenovo's Yoga usage modes.
The Yoga 700's screen produces some glare, and the indicator light is too far out of view. But the bigger issue is with the disappointing battery life, which falls short compared to similar systems, especially given its hardware and screen size. Its price tag is also a little on the high side, considering how you can pick up a notebook with a bigger screen or more power for about the same price.
You can find similarly or better powered systems for the same price or less than the Yoga 700, some with the same ability to convert into a tablet. Although you lose a bit of screen real estate with a 14-inch screen compared to a 15-inch notebook, its smaller size and lighter weight are some of the system's marquee features. You can carry the Yoga 700 around without feeling burdened, or put it down somewhere without it taking up too much space.
The 256GB SSD might be fast, but limits what you can run locally, as does mid-performing hardware, like the 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 chip. Still, the Yoga 700 fits my everyday needs almost perfectly, both professionally and for light entertainment. While its battery ends up falling a little short, this is a laptop with awesome versatility, and is worth picking up should it go on sale.