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(Pocket-lint) - It was only a year ago we were praising the Lenovo Yoga 11 710, an 11-inch laptop which we said "offers just about everything you get with the 12-inch MacBook, and a bit more besides, for much less money," when reviewed in mid 2016.

But that era is over, the 11-inch model has been laid to rest, so all hail the Lenovo Yoga 720 12-inch, which leads the 2017 onslaught with increased power from 7th gen Intel Core i chipsets (not the latest 8th gen, keeping price point in mind) and a starting-from £699 price point.

That power bump also means fan cooling, however, so does the Yoga 720 remain quiet enough in its 12-inch form to be the small-scale Windows 10 laptop to go for?

Lenovo Yoga 720 12-inch review: Design

  • 360-degree convertible hinge design
  • 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphones jack
  • Integrated fingerprint reader
  • Onyx Black and Mineral Grey finishes
  • 293 x 203.4 x 15.75mm; 1.15kgs

The Yoga 720 is all about being small scale - something that was apparent in the excellent 13.3-inch model, which we reviewed just prior to the 12-inch model's announcement. Strangely, however, the 12-inch model is slightly thicker than it's larger-scale brother (only by around 1.5mm), presumably to cram in enough battery cells.

Pocket-lintLenovo Yoga 720 12-inch review image 3

Still, it's a small and portable device. With trim screen bezel and a keyboard that's almost edge-to-edge in the design, this metal-chassis laptop is perfectly portable.

It's also designed to have its screen rotated through 360-degrees, so whether you want to use it like a laptop, a (bulky) tablet, or in a more upright position, that's no problem. The two-piece hinge holds the screen firmly in place whatever the angle, while being more discreet than the watchband hinge found in pricier Yoga models.

Pocket-lintLenovo Yoga 720 12-inch review image 4

Other feature highlights include a fingerprint reader for quick login to Windows 10. It's a square with rounded edges, conveniently positioned just beneath the keyboard.

Lenovo Yoga 720 12-inch review: Performance

  • 12.5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen display
  • 7th gen Intel Core i processor options (up to Core i7)
  • Up to 8hrs battery

The biggest change compared to the 11-inch model of old, however, is the 12-inch model's adoption of 7th gen Intel Core i chipsets. Logically more power makes more sense, but with fan cooling necessary, there's the risk of noise.

Pocket-lintLenovo Yoga 720 12-inch review image 7

Lenovo has made the fan openings to the rear of the device pronounced, to ensure circulation, but the Yoga 720 12-inch we saw behind closed doors at IFA 2017 - Europe's largest tech show - was making a notable hum, which we'd prefer wasn't there. And with Acer making liquid-cooled laptops - the pricey Switch 7 Black Edition being one example - the goal should be for silent operation.

With a 12.5-inch Full HD touchscreen there's scope for reasonable battery life, however, given that Lenovo hasn't ramped up resolution to ultra-high (and unnecessary) levels. The company claims up to eight hours per charge, which doesn't sound as ambitious as we'd have liked.

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First Impressions

Exactly which spec skews will make it to which countries is yet to be seen, but our suspicion is that lower-powered Core i models will be the most affordable, quietest and longest lasting.

So if you're not looking to use particularly demanding apps, then the 12-inch Lenovo Yoga 720 could be a great little portable notebook. One that's very fairly priced too. Given how impressive the 13.3-inch model already is, however, we'd be very tempted to stick with that option.

The Lenovo Yoga 720 12-inch will be available from October 2017, with prices starting at £699.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 31 August 2017.