Review: Lenovo Yoga 730 combines show & go for business traveller

By Anthony Caruana, October 30 2018
Review: Lenovo Yoga 730 combines show & go for business traveller

There was a time when a Lenovo laptop meant a utilitarian matte black ThinkPad. And while the ThinkPad thankfully remains – and arguably still rules the roost for the 'road warrior' – the Yoga range of 'convertible' laptops has gone from strength to strength.

Take Lenovo's new Yoga 730. With an elegant tapered case finished in grey or platinum, a light 1.2kg weight and a flexible notebook-to-Netflix-to-tablet mode, the Yoga 730 proves that it's possible to combine 'show' and 'go' without compromising on either.

For example, the Yoga 730 doesn't make you choose between the new USB-C and popular USB-A ports: you get both. USB-A is what you'll want for memory keys and hooking up smartphones, external drives and the like, while USB-C is there for the new wave of devices and also is how the Yoga charges its battery.

That battery is rated for up to 11 hours, with a handy rapid-charge facility which takes a near-zero battery to two hours of life from just 15 minutes on the tap (as long as the Yoga 730 is switched off while charging – that's your cue to make some phone calls or grab a coffee).

Lenovo hasn't skimped on the specs: the baseline model ($2,300) includes Intel's latest Core i5 powerplant matched to 16GB of RAM and a 256GB solid state drive that'll make light work of your typical business apps.

Important files and documents can be secured using the Windows Hello security system with authorisation via the usual fingerprint or even choosing a favourite photo from an array of images, although the webcam perched atop the 13.3 inch screen doesn't offer facial recognition.

The keyboard has a wonderful feel but is very quiet to type on, with gentle backlighting for when the lights are dim, and the wide trackpad lets you easily push the cursor around the 13.3-inch display.

But you don't buy the Yoga to use like a 'normal' laptop: this one's all about flexibility, with a hinged screen which allows the display to flip over into a 'tent' mode or fold all the way over to adopt a tablet-like form factor.

That 'tent' mode is good for watching movies, although I found the inbuilt speakers too quiet for my liking, and with a bit of practice you can make presentations and pitches to clients while gently driving that preso deck from the keypad.

Tent and tablet mode are also designed to let you draw and write on the display using Lenovo's battery-powered and Bluetooth-connected Active Pen stylus, although this is one area where Lenovo needs to improve.

I used the Yoga 730 to annotate several PDF files and take notes in Microsoft OneNote during meetings and found it was much harder to write with the Active Pen compared to Microsoft's Surface Pen or Apple's Pencil.

Also, the pen's two buttons – which can be programmed to work like the left and right buttons on a mouse – are placed such that it's easy to accidentally press them while writing. More than once, I my finger hit the wrong button while holding the Active Pen and erased what I'd just written!

Lenovo is definitely on the right track with the Yoga 730, and once a few kinks are ironed out it will be a compelling convertible for business travellers.

Anthony Caruana

Technology expert Anthony Caruana spends almost as much travelling as he does at home, and on each trip balances his early-morning runs with a search for the best hamburger (Lori's Diner at San Francisco is his favourite to date).

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