Lenovo Yoga 730-13 review: Ultra-portable, zippy performance, worthy MacBook Air competitor

Lenovo Yoga 730-13

Whenever you think of laptops, the usual image of a bulky clamshell device comes alive in mind. Even in 2019, the majority of laptops you will find in the market are too big, bulky and heavy. Lenovo is trying to make the laptop more versatile with the Yoga series ultrabooks. Unlike other ultrabooks in the market, Lenovo differentiates its Yoga laptops with a special 360-degrees hinge — a feature that lets the user convert it to a tablet when required or use it any orientation one prefers. The Yoga 730-13, which I am reviewing today, belongs to this series of ultraportable 2-in-1 laptops.

Lenovo sells several laptops under the Yoga moniker — the Yoga 500 series is the more affordable series while the Yoga 700 is the mid-range line-up, with the Yoga 900 offering the absolute best Lenovo has to offer in this regard. If the idea of Yoga series appeals to you and you don’t mind shelling close to Rs 1 lakh for a premium ultrabook experience with the Windows 10 in it, the current Yoga 700 series laptops look great. The Yoga 730-13, in fact, is so good that it can even take on the Apple MacBook Air head-on.

Lenovo Yoga 730 design: A sleek sheet of metal-plastic that happens to be a computer

The Yoga 730-13 is one of the sleekest laptops you will find in the market. It’s a standard clamshell design but Lenovo’s refinement to the design makes it an extremely practical laptop to live with. The top of the lid is metallic and carries the classy-looking Yoga logo towards the right. The hinges are quite visible from the top but they break the monotony of the plain surface and add some flair to the overall design. The hinges also accompany two large heat vents — they look classy with a very smartphone speaker grille-inspired design.

Pick it up and you will feel the 1.12Kg weight is evenly balanced across the device. This is one of those few laptops that you can pick up with two-three fingers and fling it in the backpack. At 13.9mm, its extremely thin and the bulk is evenly distributed. The side features the power-button that’s illuminated — in dark situations. Slim design means Lenovo had to cut corners somewhere — connectivity options.

The Yoga 730-13 only gets a single USB-A port, two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports — one of which acts as the charging port (yay) and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s no separate dongle in the box for any other port – goodbye HDMI-equipped devices.

Open the lid and you are treated to a classy Lenovo layout. There’s a wide keyboard with big keys and a fairly large seamless trackpad. There’s a small fingerprint sensor towards the edge The display portion is covered in glass with black bezels. The visible Yoga hinges break the monotony of the silver-dominated surfaces. The chrome accents surrounding the trackpad and fingerprint sensor do add a touch of class. Oh, and the keyboard is backlit.

I loved the hinges on the Yoga 730. I was surprised that a hinge allowing 360-degrees of rotation is so firm. While using it as a laptop, the lid never shook or went out of the position. Whatever angle you put it in, it stays that way until you move it.

Lenovo Yoga 730 display: Touchscreen and one of the best

The Yoga 730-13 sports a 13-inch full HD touchscreen display. The screen is an IPS LCD panel and is a fairly good one — not the best though. The colours and contrasts can be termed as above-average. The brightness levels are average too and you would need to bump it up to the max in outdoors. Viewing angles are good. All-in-all, the panel isn’t up with what you get on a MacBook Air.

However, the touch is extremely responsive — this was the first time I actually preferred the touch-based navigation over the standard trackpad and keyboard on a Windows laptop. When you flip it over to tablet mode, the Yoga 730 feels as normal to use as an iPad. I only wish Lenovo could have used a slightly better LCD panel.

Lenovo Yoga 730 performance: Reliable workhorse

The Yoga 730-13 that I was using comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550-U processor and Intel UHD Graphics 620. There’s 8GB of RAM onboard and a 512GB PCIe SSD storage. The Core i7-8550U is the quad-core variant with up to 8MB of L3 cache. There’s Windows 10 Home pre-loaded as usual. On paper, the specifications are not bleeding edge considering the laptop was launched a year ago.

However, the Yoga 730 is a utility machine and it impresses highly when utility is all you need from it. I used as my primary workhorse for a few days and never felt that it could have done with a bit more power. On an average day, I was working on long documents while keeping at least 7-8 tabs of Google Chrome opened in the background — the Yoga 730-13 never showed signs of stress. Whether you are using it in the laptop mode or the tablet mode, the Yoga 730-13 can handle all the tasks with absolute ease.

Although this isn’t a gaming machine and nobody in their right mind would use this for playing games, I still put some modern titles on this laptop. The Intel UHD Graphics 620 handled F1 2017 in the lowest settings with ease. It heated up substantially but the fans kept the temperatures under control (it did become noisy though).

The keyboard is fairly comfortable to use for long documents. The chicklet keys have a fair amount of key travel and the spacious keyboard layout ensures minimal or no ghosting at all. It isn’t as comfortable as the ThinkPad series laptops but isn’t bad by any means — I can write up to five articles at a stretch and still won’t feel tired. Lenovo clearly knows how to design laptop keyboards. The trackpad makes use of Windows Precision Drivers and is both responsive and accurate.

The lightweight body also makes it easy to use as a tablet. The joy of binging on your favourite Netflix or Amazon Prime Video title with the big 13-inch screen closer to use with the keyboard folded away is unparalleled. While travelling in an airplane, the Yoga 730-13’s was so much more productive than any other conventional laptop I have ever used. And when you are done using the laptop, just flip it up and shove it in the backpack. This the practicality that all laptops should offer in 2019 as standard.

Lenovo Yoga 730 battery: Not quite long-lasting as a tablet

When a slim laptop is possessing a powerful Core i7 processor and all sorts of fancy stuff, battery life is expected to take a hit. The Yoga 730-13 is no different. Lenovo claims up to 11.5 hours of battery life but we all know that’s not the case in reality. I was able to extract up to 6-hours of life under normal work stress — typing long documents, 5-6 tabs of Chrome and streaming music in the background. And this 6-hour life was only possible once I switched the laptop to the power-saver mode. Thankfully, the 65W fast charger fills it up within an hour when you run out of juice. Do note not all USB-C smartphone chargers can top-up the Yoga 730.

Lenovo Yoga 730 conclusion: Should you buy it?

At a starting price of Rs 1 lakh, the Yoga 730-13 is a pretty expensive laptop. It falls into the MacBook Air territory, which as we know, is a seriously capable computer. However, don’t take the Lenovo Yoga 730-13 as an inferior product to the MacBook Air in any way — there are many things that a MacBook can’t do. The most prominent feature here is its versatility — using a Windows 10 laptop as a tablet on demand with a brilliant touchscreen and a comfortable keyboard is luxury. The lightweight form factor means you can shove it in the backpack and can go around with a laptop anywhere.

However, the Yoga 730-13 loses out to the MacBook Air in two key areas — first being the average 6-hour battery life, and the second being Windows 10 as an operating system that doesn’t match macOS in terms of refinement and stability.

To sum it up, the Lenovo Yoga 730-13 is a brilliant 2-in-1 ultraportable laptop and if you choose to stick to the Windows 10 universe, this is a laptop that’ definitely recommended.


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