- Durable design
- Strong performance
- Optional dedicated GPU
- Awkward keyboard design
- Reflective screen
The Yoga 700 is an affordable mid-range 2-in-1 with strong performance and the added utility of optional discrete graphics.
The Lenovo Yoga 700 is the more affordable option to the Lenovo’s premium two-in-one, the Yoga 900. Equipped with a 6th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of DDR3, SSD storage, and the patented 360-degree display hinge, the Yoga 700 is a great option for users who want to the same utility and performance of a Yoga laptop without the premium price tag. Of course there are some drawbacks; the Yoga 700 doesn’t feature the same 4K display or all the fancy trappings and premium design elements seen from its more expensive counterpart. So are these concessions worth the drop in price? Read the review to find out.
Build and Design
The Yoga 700 delivers what you’d expect from a mid-range notebook; a sensible well-built design. It doesn’t offer the same eye-catching aesthetic as the Lenovo’s high-end Yoga 900 convertible, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything to scoff at. Most of the laptop exterior is comprised of a matte black plastic with a surface that compresses to make it easy to grip, especially while using the Yoga 700 in tablet form.
While the Yoga 700 might make heavy use of lightweight plastic, this convertible isn’t completely devoid of premium design features. The notebook’s keyboard deck offers a clean, brushed metal surface. That metal surface provides a comfortable wrist rest, but you might have trouble finding enough space to comfortably rest your wrists while typing thanks to the large touchpad in the bottom center of the deck. More than once I found myself accidentally moving my cursor while typing, as my wrist would accidentally drag across the touchpad’s surface. The large touchpad is certainly a boon for the Yoga 700, I just wish it didn’t dominate so much of the deck’s real estate.
As with most convertibles, several buttons and controls can be found along the sides of the Yoga 700 to allow easy access when utilizing the device’s 360-degree hinge design. With said hinge, the laptop is capable of transforming between the standard clamshell mode and tablet form, along with “stand” and “tent” modes. Transitioning between these modes is smooth and easy, but the hinge doesn’t offer the same level of resistance that the Yoga 900’s watchband hinge provides. It’s not a huge issue, but the display may move a little if you use the touch screen in laptop mode.
While the plastic design may not scream premium, it does help the Yoga 700 to shave off the pounds. Measuring 13.18 x 9.03 x 0.73 inches and weighing just 3.5 pounds, the Lenovo Yoga 700 is considerably lighter than most 14-inch convertibles weighing a full pound lighter than the 0.86-inch thick Toshiba Satellite Radius 14. This is even more impressive when you consider Lenovo offers a discrete graphics option for this notebook.
Ports and Connectivity
The Yoga 700 offers a solid collection of ports, but unlike the Yoga 900 this laptop does not offer the versatile new USB Type-C port. The right side features the power button, rotation lock controls, volume controls, a Micro-HDMI port, and a USB 3.0 port. The left side offers a USB 2.0 + charging port, USB 3.0 port, an audio jack, and an SD card reader.
Display and Speakers
The Yoga 700 houses a 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080 resolution) IPS touch display. The glossy panel does does a superb job showcasing vibrant colors. NBR was particularly impressed by how good the various bright blue, purple and red spell particle effects looked while playing a game of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The excellent color recreation makes this convertible notebook perfect for streaming your favorite video content or playing games.
The one notable downside to the glossy display is that it is somewhat susceptible to glare and reflections from external light sources. Since this display has a mediocre brightness, the panel does not fair that well in direct or heavy lightning, with colors becoming washed and noticeable reflections appearing on screen. Although viewing angles are usually quite good on IPS displays, the glossy touch screen surface limits those viewing angles; we noticed color loss and reflections appearing on the screen at around 50-60 degrees off center.
The display has its issues, but it’s also pretty great when using it in controlled (i.e., dark) environments. I really enjoyed using the laptop to watch episodes on Netflix and this screen is excellent for entertainment or just browsing the web. Just don’t expect the Yoga 700 to hold up all that great outdoors or under direct light indoors.
The Yoga 700 houses two bottom-mounted stereo speakers. Despite being located on the bottom of the chassis, the speakers’ sound remains unimpeded, even when using the device as a laptop. The pair of speakers offer a decent level of audio capable of filling a small sized room. NBR was pleased with the notebook’s ability to recapture the classical historical track Histoire du Tango III. Nightclub 1960 by Duos Sonidos. The majority of the piece sounded crisp and smooth, as the speakers accurately depicted both the highs and lows.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The Yoga 700’s keyboard is definitely one of the machine’s weaker aspects. In order to fit the keyboard to the chassis, Lenovo has shrunk both the Right Shift and Backspace keys. When I was first getting used to the keyboard, I would constantly find my right hand hitting the wrong button, often breaking my rhythm when typing. It’s something users should expect to have to get used to if they plan on using this device.
Key travel is also noticeably shallow at only 1.2mm, which is further emphasized by the lack of forceful feedback. Luckily the feedback is at least consistent … so once you’ve adjusted to the keyboard’s mushy feeling you’ll be able to develop a comfortable typing rhythm. Unfortunately, the Yoga 700 just doesn’t offer that nice tactile feel that you get from the keyboards on so many other Lenovo notebooks.
Sitting to the bottom right of spacebar is a spacious ELAN touchpad with a soft rubber surface. The touchpad is outlined by a thin chrome metallic strip and is a “clickpad” style touchpad devoid of buttons. The soft touch surface delivers minimal friction and makes fingertip travel nearly effortless. Swipes, clicks and multi-finger gestures read without a hitch, this pad truly is a pleasure to use.