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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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