Lenovo Yoga 720 15 review: An Ultrabook that can seemingly do it all

Lenovo's 700-series laptops sit somewhere in the middle of its overall selection, with the 900-series being the upper echelon when it comes to design and performance. The Yoga 910 is still awaiting an update, and now the newer 15-inch Yoga 720 could easily be mistaken as the top of the line when it comes to Lenovo products. It's that nice.

Windows Central Recommended Award

Compared to its predecessor, the Yoga 710, you're getting a beefier GPU, an HQ-series processor, larger battery, larger storage, and a lighter build. How does it fare in a world full of outstanding 15-inch laptops? Let's take a closer look.

About this review

Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the 15-inch Yoga 720. This specific configuration has an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD). It costs about $1,030.

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Plenty of options available

Lenovo Yoga 720 hardware and specs

Lenovo offers quite a few configuration options, including a 4K display, two different colors, and your standard SSD sizes. The wireless card and the SSD are both user upgradeable, and there is an accessible slot for an extra stick of DIMM RAM if you choose to add to whatever's soldered on board.

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CategoryXX
ProcessorIntel Core i5-7300HQ (up to 3.50GHz)
Intel Core i7-7700HQ (up to 3.80GHz)
Storage256GB/512GB/1TB PCIe SSD
RAM8GB/16GB DDR4-2133MHz
Display15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, touch, glossy
15.6-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS, touch, glossy
GraphicsIntel HD Graphics 630
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB VRAM
PortsUSB-C Thunderbolt 3
Two USB-A 3.0
3.5mm audio jack
SpeakersTwo JBL speakers
Dolby Premium Audio
WirelessIntel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
802.11ac (2 x 2)
Bluetooth 4.1
CameraFront-facing 720p
BiometricsFingerprint reader for Windows Hello
BatterySix-cell 72WHr
Weight4.4lbs (2kg)
Dimensions14.3 inches x 9.5 inches x 0.75 inches
364mm x 242mm x 19mm
ColorIron Grey
Platinum Silver
OSWindows 10 Home
Windows 10 Pro
PriceStarting at $1,030

Topping out the specs with a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 4K display powered by a GTX 1050 costs about $2,000, which is a price on par with other, similar laptops (looking at you, HP Spectre x360).

Sleek, smooth, slim

Lenovo Yoga 720 design

The Yoga 720 I received has an Iron Grey finish, which hides a lot of the regular dirt and oil picked up over a workday. The overall design creates an understated look. The lid has the Yoga logo in the upper-left corner, and that's pretty much it for branding until you open it up and see another, smaller Yoga logo in the bottom-right corner.

All edges, including around the lid, touchpad, and fingerprint reader, are smooth and have a machined silver accent to them that, when catching the light just right, really makes the rest of the laptop pop out at you, despite its darker, uniform color.

The lid cannot be opened with one hand due to the stiffness of the dual hinges, but that's forgiven when you start using the laptop in a moving vehicle and don't have to deal with a screen that's opening or closing on its own. Working the hinges — including converting the laptop into tent, stand, and tablet modes — is as smooth as it gets. The lid is sturdy and there's minimal flex when opening it from one corner, and the main body feels solid when you pick it up. No creaking or twisting here.

The sides of the laptop are designed to give the appearance of a bit of a wedge, but thickness, in reality, remains the same across the laptop. Compared to the Yoga 710, there are fewer ports, including a lack of Micro HDMI and an SD card reader, something many of you will miss. A USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port has been added alongside two USB-A 3.0 ports, one on each side.

There's plenty of space to plug in your peripherals, and having all ports plugged in won't cause a jam. A few more ports here would have been nice considering how well the Yoga 720 performs — it's a true multipurpose machine hampered by the fact that you won't be able to connect all of your devices without the help of adapters and dongles.

A fingerprint reader is set into the right-hand palm rest, but it's far enough to the side to keep it from rubbing up against your palm while typing. It's a single-touch reader, so to log in with Windows Hello, all you need to do is give it a tap.

One small problem I noticed when using the Yoga 720 in tablet mode was the propensity to hit the power button located on the side of the device. It isn't set into the laptop and is quite sensitive, and holding onto the tablet had me bump it quite often. It's annoying at first, but you'll eventually get used to avoiding it.

Because of the higher thermal design point (TDP) of the CPU and the GTX 1050 GPU, there is plenty of venting on the back edge and bottom of the laptop. Dual down-firing speakers can also be found on the bottom, and they deliver clear sound when not being muffled by your lap or a desk.

Nothing extraordinary

Lenovo Yoga 720 display

This Yoga 720 came with an FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touch display, but there is a 4K option also available. You'll first notice how great the small bezel looks on a glossy screen this size. Despite the slim bezel, a 720p webcam is housed at the top of the display; no nose cam here. Color and contrast are what you'd expect, and testing revealed 97 percent sRGB and 78 percent AdobeRGB, both decent results from this type of display.

The glossy finish does sometimes make it difficult to work outdoors or inside in sunlight, but luckily the screen gets very bright when you hit the 90 to 100 percent mark on the slider. Lenovo is no doubt attempting to eke as much life out of the battery inside, so there's not much difference in the middle brightness range.

Switching into tablet mode, you might find that the bezel is a bit too slim to properly hold onto. This is a big device that weighs about 4.4 pounds, and I found that my thumbs and palms hit the screen often. If you have the tablet sitting in your lap it's no problem, but if you're primarily thinking about using this device as something to draw with, you might want to invest in a stand.

Lenovo's Active Pen wasn't included with the review unit, but indeed the display should be compatible with most Wacom AES pens thanks to the AES digitizer panel.

With Precision

Lenovo Yoga 720 keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard on the Yoga 720 doesn't have the same famous comfort as Lenovo's ThinkPad line, but it's still a pleasure to type on for extended periods of time. The keys have ample spacing and make a satisfying click while you type, and there are three levels of backlight for when you're working in the dark.

There isn't quite as much travel as you'd find on a ThinkPad keyboard, and bottoming keys out on the deck isn't as cushioned. Still, this is one of my favorite keyboards of late to type on. The F1 to F12 keys all have settings adjustments, including volume, brightness, lock, and a touchpad toggle for when you're using an external mouse.

The mylar Precision touchpad is plenty big — what you'd expect on a laptop this size — and it has perfect sensitivity right out of the box. All Windows 10 gestures can be used, and overall I had no issues using it. There is no rattle and it seems well put together.

A polite gaming machine

Lenovo Yoga 720 gaming

Thanks to the GeForce GTX 1050 with 2GB of VRAM inside, the Yoga 720 makes a suitable laptop for some medium-duty gaming. I ran some benchmarks using 3DMark Sky Diver and received a score of 14,916, which is better than 46 percent of all recorded results. To put that into perspective, the highest score ever from a GTX 1050 is 26,968, no doubt pushed to its limits.

As a simpler way to measure performance, I benchmarked a few minutes of Diablo III at 1080p with all graphics settings on high. The first results, with anti-aliasing set at 4X High, I averaged 66.5FPS. With anti-aliasing off, I averaged about the same at 70.1FPS.

A real-world opinion of the Yoga 720 as a gaming machine is that it will do you well if you don't push it too hard. This is primarily a convertible laptop, and so it's made to be as thin as possible and doesn't have quite the same thermals as a dedicated gaming machine.

When the GPU is working, the laptop gets quite hot and the fan has to work hard and loud to keep everything from melting down. Stick with medium settings on newer games and this thing is actually a respectable laptop when it comes to gaming.

Nailed it

Lenovo Yoga 720 performance

Using the Yoga 720 as an everyday device for more than a week revealed no major problems with performance. No matter what I did, including game, I was satisfied. The quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ is a nice step up from the usual U-series Ultrabooks CPUs, but it also sucks up more power.

That doesn't seem to matter when it comes to the 72WHr battery, as I was able to get between seven and eight hours of standard use out of it on a single charge. While gaming steadily, that number is decreased by about three hours, and if you get the 4K display, that number will also no doubt drop. One small complaint is that Lenovo is still using its proprietary charger instead of USB-C.

CPU

Geekbench 4.0 Benchmarks (Higher is better)

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DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
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
Dell Latitude 5285i7-7600U4,6359,289
Lenovo ThinkPad X270i7-7600U4,5128,566
Lenovo ThinkPad T470si5-7300U vPro3,9196,077
Lenovo Yoga 720 13i5-7200U3,8817,509
Lenovo X1 Carboni5-7300U4,1398,311