Lenovo Yoga 720 12 review: Struggling to compete with its larger siblings

The excellent Yoga 720 is also available in a 12-inch size. It's smaller and cheaper, but is it as good as its larger siblings?

We've already had the chance to review the 13-inch Yoga 720 and the 15-inch Yoga 720, and we were impressed with both, going so far as to stamp the latter model with a Windows Central Choice Award.

With the 12-inch Yoga 720, we aren't getting a dedicated GPU or as many ports, but the tradeoff is a lower price and a smaller footprint, perfect for those on the go. Let's take an in-depth look at this laptop in our review.

About this review

Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the 12-inch Yoga 720. This specific configuration has an Intel Core i3-7100U processor (CPU), 4GB of DDR4-2133MHz RAM, and a 128GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD). It costs about $630.

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Lenovo Yoga 720 12 hardware and specs

There are a few configurations to choose from, including up to an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB PCIe SSD. Here's what our review unit looks like.

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CategoryXX
ProcessorIntel Core i3-7100U (2.40GHz)
Dual core
Storage128GB SATA SSD
RAM4GB DDR4-2133MHz
Display12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080)
IPS, touch, glossy
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 620
PortsUSB-A 3.0
USB-C
3.5mm jack
SpeakersHarman speakers
Dolby Atmos Audio
WirelessQualcomm Atheros QCA61x4A
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing 720p
BiometricsFingerprint reader for Windows Hello
BatteryThree-cell 36WHr
Weight2.5 pounds (1.15kg)
Dimensions11.5 inches x 8 inches x 0.6 inches
292mm x 203.4mm x 15.75mm
OSWindows 10 Home
PriceAbout $630

Lenovo Yoga 720 12 design

The 12-inch Yoga 720 is available in the same sparkly silver color as we've seen on plenty of other Yogas, and it also has the shiny machined edge around the main body, touchpad, and fingerprint reader. The aluminum chassis is just over a half-inch thick and is less than 12 inches wide. In a bend test, there's actually quite a bit of movement near the touchpad, and you can hear a clicking noise. It's not evident in everyday use, but if you're hard on your device, this might not stand up to a ton of punishment.

This is a standard hinge setup and does not use the "Wave" system that we didn't like in the X1 Yoga, which retracted the keyboard into the body when rotated around. The dual hinges are sturdy and silent and hold the display in place, even while shaking. When closed, the lid doesn't quite match up with the rest of the body, something I know will annoy a lot of people.

As with a lot of convertible laptops, the power button located on the right edge does sometimes get bumped while in tablet mode. It's an annoyance and an inconvenience, but you get used to it quickly. Also on the right edge are a USB-A 3.0 and USB-C port. On the left are a 3.5mm audio jack and a charging port. You're definitely getting a far smaller selection of ports here, and anyone with plenty of peripherals will probably mind, but at least they chose to include both USB-C and USB-A.

Dual down-firing Harman speakers are located on the bottom-front corners, and while they do get pretty loud, the sound isn't exactly full or satisfying. Finally, the fingerprint reader is set in the perfect spot on this small body, not interfering with your palm while typing. Logging in with Windows Hello worked flawlessly.

Lenovo Yoga 720 12 display

The 12.5-inch FHD display has edge-to-edge glass, but the bezel is bigger than that found on the 13- and 15-inch 720 models. There's enough room at the top for a 720p webcam that works well enough for video, but don't expect any amazing still photos. Lenovo went with an IPS panel for wide viewing angles, and the glossy finish is common with touch. Unfortunately, it doesn't get as bright as we'd like it, and working in a sunny room can be problematic, especially when seeing a lot of glare. Testing color accuracy, we saw 69 percent sRGB and 53 AdobeRGB. These results aren't the best, but the display does still look pretty good in everyday use; you just won't see as deep of color.

This display does have an AES digitizer, and while Lenovo's Active Pen 2 (opens in new tab) isn't included, I did have one available to test. I'm no artist, but it worked very well for jotting down notes and sketching a few stick figures.

Lenovo Yoga 720 12 keyboard and touchpad

Lenovo has stretched the keyboard to the very edge on both sides, which provides decent spacing for all keys. There's a lot of travel here, and typing for long periods of time doesn't become uncomfortable. Lack of a backlight is a drag, but otherwise, I had no problems. The F keys provide all your usual shortcuts, and all keys seem balanced well.

The Precision touchpad is a bit smaller than I like, but there's really no room to grow on the small chassis. Sensitivity is perfect right out of the box, and the click is muted but satisfying. I had no problems here either that need mentioning.

Lenovo Yoga 720 12 performance

Battery life is quite impressive, netting somewhere between eight and nine hours on a single charge if you keep brightness at about 70 percent and stick to light tasks. That's enough to get through most workdays, so you won't have to bring the charger with you to the office. This number no doubt drops if streaming video.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

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DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Lenovo Yoga 720 12i3-7100U2,9305,309
Surface Book 2 13i7-8650U5,03614,237
Lenovo Yoga 920i7-8550U4,48512,297
Lenovo ThinkPad 25i7-7500U4,2117,919
Lenovo Flex 5 15i7-7500U3,9767,730
Lenovo Yoga 720 15i7-7700HQ3,78410,255
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)i5-7200U3,9117,549
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Lenovo ThinkPad T470i5-7300U vPro4,3948,580
Lenovo Yoga 720 13i5-7200U3,8817,509
Lenovo X1 Carboni5-7300U4,1398,311
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Exti7-7500U4,3168,320
Dell Latitude 7280i7-7600U4,3817,935
Dell XPS 13 (9360)i7-6560U4,1207,829
HP Spectre 13i7-7500U4,1007,469

The U-series dual-core Core i3 CPU here is a decent performer and is enough power to get you through everyday productivity tasks, like word processing and web browsing. For much more, you'll want to look into a Core i5 or Core i7 option.

GPU

Geekbench 4.0 Graphics OpenCL (Higher is better)

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DeviceScore
Lenovo Yoga 720 1213,395
Microsoft Surface Book 2 1375,665
Lenovo Yoga 92021,892
Lenovo Flex 5 1516,912
Lenovo Yoga 720 1513,727
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)19,738
Surface Pro 201730,678
Surface Laptop19,256
Lenovo ThinkPad T47021,276
Lenovo Yoga 720 1318,185
Lenovo X1 Carbon20,932
Dell XPS 13 (9360)19,410

These results are typical for the integrated Intel HD Graphics, and if you'd like to use this laptop for any sort of serious gaming, you're going to find disappointment. Nevertheless, it's alright for some light entertainment.

PCMark

PCMark Home Conventional 3.0

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DeviceScoreComparison
Lenovo Yoga 720 122,343Better than 33 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 9202,882Better than 51 percent of all results
Microsoft Surface Book 2 133,090Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo Flex 5 152,634Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 152,993Better than 57 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)2,773Better than 46 percent of all results
Surface Pro 20173,055Better than 57 percent of all results
Surface Laptop2,494Better than 40 percent of all results
Lenovo ThinkPad T4703,103Better than 62 percent of all results
Lenovo Yoga 720 132,717Better than 46 percent of all results
Lenovo X1 Carbon Core i52,965Better than 57 percent of all results
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext2,998Better than 57 percent of all results
Dell XPS 15 (9560)3,534Better than 71 percent of all results
HP Spectre x360 152,472Better than 41 percent of all results

The PCMark Home Conventional test takes a bunch of your hardware and determines how well it works together while performing a number of everyday tasks. Keep in mind that we're using a Core i3 CPU and only 4GB of RAM here, so results aren't nearly as impressive as other machines. Still, the Yoga 720 offers decent performance for the asking price, and I didn't really have any standout issues in everyday use.

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

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DeviceReadWrite
Lenovo Yoga 720 12545.8 MB/s173.8 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 9201,756 MB/s1,428 MB/s
Lenovo Flex 5 152,146 MB/s1,186 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 720 151,839 MB/s1,238 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd Gen)1,253 MB/s763.6 MB/s
Surface Laptop423 MB/s237 MB/s
Lenovo ThinkPad T4701,079 MB/s716.1 MB/s
Lenovo Yoga 720 131,904 MB/s1,169 MB/s
Lenovo X1 Carbon1,518 MB/s1,188 MB/s
Samsung Notebook 9 15 Ext1,365 MB/s1,213 MB/s
Razer Blade Pro2,571 MB/s2,467 MB/s
Dell XPS 15 (9560)2,207 MB/s1,628 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 (9360)1,287 MB/s794 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 151,128 MB/s862 MB/s

The SSD used in the Yoga 720 is a Liteon CV3, and although Lenovo's website (opens in new tab) advertises both a PCIe and SATA drive, this one is definitely using a SATA bus. Speeds aren't great, but they're definitely still faster than what you'd get with a hard-disk drive (HDD).

Lenovo Yoga 720 12 review: Conclusion

The 12-inch Yoga 720 is designed as a cheaper option for those who still love the look of the bigger siblings, but I don't think it quite captures the stuff we loved so much. For less than $400 more, you can grab a 15-inch model with a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe SSD, and a dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050 GPU.

True, 15 inches might be too large to tote around easily, but the same holds true for 13-inch Yoga 720 models. Get a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe SSD for only about $130 more than the 12-inch model reviewed here.

If we ignore the other laptops in the Yoga 720 family, the 12-inch option really isn't a bad laptop. It offers great battery life, decent performance for what you're paying, and the keyboard and touchpad feel great. Overall, it's a strong option for a productivity machine. However, as soon as we factor in the other, larger models, this one just seems like an outlier unless you absolutely are set on the 12-inch size.

See at Lenovo

Pros

  • Great battery life.
  • Reasonable price.
  • Keyboard and touchpad feel great.
  • Decent performance.

Cons:

  • Lid doesn't quite sit flush when closed.
  • No keyboard backlight.
  • Low color reproduction and dim display.
Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

3 Comments
  • Sounds like a budget laptop, but not with the budget price tag.
  • I would go for the Lenovo Flex 5 (Yoga 520 outside of the U.S.) before this. Same price, 14-inch screen, backlit keyboard by standard design, dual HDD and M.2 SSD capable, more ports. Don't know why Windows Central reviewed only the 15" Flex 5.
  • I love Lenovo, for some reason they have a spot in my heart, but I cannot buy their consumer laptops. There just too much bottom bezel. Why Lenovo??? Why so much screen bezel???