Lenovo Yoga 710 11 Review

by Reads (25,924)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 7
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 5
      • Usability
      • 7
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 6
      • Features
      • 6
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 6.57
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Outstanding battery life
    • Fanless thin and light design
    • High-quality 1080p IPS display
    • Respectable performance for light tasks
  • Cons

    • Shallow keyboard feel
    • No media card reader or USB-C
    • Too heavy to replace a dedicated tablet
    • Upper-tier configurations are expensive
    • Chunky power adapter

The Yoga 700 series is Lenovo’s mid-tier convertible notebook line. It’s a step up from their Ideapad Miix series in both quality and performance, and a step down from the premium Yoga 900. (See our reviews of the Ideapad Miix 310 and the Yoga 900S, respectively, to get a perspective on them.) In other words, the Yoga 700 is a happy medium – or at least, that’s what Lenovo wants it to be.

The Yoga 700 is offered with 11.6-, 14- and 15.6-inch screens. We’re reviewing the smallest one, dubbed the Lenovo Yoga 710 11. It has a full HD touch display, Intel Core m3 processor, 256GB of storage, and Windows 10. It rings up at $550, or $100 more than the base Yoga 710 11. It’s just 2.3 pounds and three quarters of an inch thin, but still a bit hefty next to a dedicated tablet. (It was decidedly more portable than the Yoga 710-14 we reviewed a bit earlier this year, though.)

We found the Yoga 710 11 offered excellent battery life, usable performance, and was thin and light to take just about anywhere. On the other hand, its upper-tier configurations were expensive, and its keyboard wasn’t the best. We did however find enough substance to send it off with a recommendation. Read this Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review to find out why.

P1440272_1920Build and Design

The Lenovo Yoga 710 11 is a svelte little convertible. Its profile is only 0.6 inches, which immediately sets this model apart from cheaper, chunkier Atom-powered ultraportables, like Lenovo’s Miix series. The Yoga’s modern appearance is helped by its glossy display surface, which spans the entire width of the lid. The screen itself doesn’t, though; the bezel is about a half-inch on the sides, and three-quarters of an inch at the top and bottom.

The 360-degree display hinges operate smoothly and not too stiffly, though they still have too much resistance to allow the lid to be opened one-handed.

We’d like to see better protection in the lid. While applying light pressure to the back, distortions appeared along the sides of the screen’s picture, in addition to where our fingertips were pressing. Moreover, the lid had more than expected lateral flex, as did the chassis. This was somewhat surprising, as the top of the lid and the palm-rest and surrounding areas were aluminum. The bottom of the notebook was convincingly color-matched to the rest of the chassis, albeit was plastic. The giveaway was that it didn’t feel cool to the touch.

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The Yoga 710 11 has the four iconic usage modes that have made the Yoga lineup famous. Besides working as a notebook or a tablet, it can be used in presentation mode, where the lid is opened 270 degrees backwards and the keyboard base is laid flat as the supporting base.

It furthermore can be used in an A-frame tent mode, with the lid tilted 270 degrees back, but resting on the top edge of its screen and base.

Of the two, we preferred the more stable presentation mode. A minor disappointment with the presentation and tablet modes was the lack of grip on the keyboard base. The Yoga 710 11 tended to slide around rather easily on a smooth surface as a result. The four rubber feet on its base weren’t particularly grippy in notebook mode, either.

Tablet mode, like on most convertible notebooks, is more of a bonus. The Yoga 710 11’s 2.3 pound weight is over double that of an Apple iPad Air. It feels downright hefty in the hand next to one of those. The gap between the lid and the base in tablet mode is another reminder that this Yoga isn’t a tablet-first device. The alternative modes will do in a pinch, but this little convertible works best as a notebook.

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Easy user upgradeability wasn’t part of the Yoga 710 11’s design. There are 11 star-shaped screws holding on the base cover. We didn’t venture a look inside, but the M.2 SSD is likely the only changeable component. The processor and RAM were both soldered to the motherboard.

Input and Output Ports

The Lenovo Yoga 710 11 has just a couple of ports. Along its left edge are the AC power and headphone/microphone combination jacks.

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The right edge has the rest, including the recessed power button, reset pinhole, micro HDMI, and an always-on USB-A 3.0. This selection is limited even for a small notebook. We’d like to see at least one more USB, preferably a USB-C, and a media card reader. The micro HDMI port is also a minor inconvenience, as it means you’ll have to carry around an adapter to connect to most devices, which are likely to use full-size HDMI. (Fortunately such adapters are rather inexpensive, around $5 online last we checked.)

This convertible has its bases covered in the wireless arena. There’s a Qualcomm 802.11ac card inside with a 1×1 antenna array, and Bluetooth 4.1.

Screen and Speakers

Our Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review unit had the only display offered, an 11.6-inch panel with respectable picture quality. Its 300 nit brightness was quite high; we found half of it was enough in darker environments. Some light bleed was evident from the lower edge when looking at a dark scene, but it was generally ignorable.

Another positive aspect of the display was its IPS technology. These permitted wide viewing angles, a necessity on a 2-in-1, where the display is likely to be viewed from a variety of different angles. The IPS technology also helped the picture quality, which had well saturated colors.

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The Yoga’s display supports touch technology, and as such, comes with a glossy surface. It was a smooth experience, but picked up fingerprints and dust fast. The mirror-like finish also tended to create distracting reflections.

The 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels) resolution is high on a display this small. As a result, you’ll likely need to crank up the text size in Windows using its scaling feature. We found 125 percent was the minimum our eyes could handle. Scaling isn’t supported in all apps, so verify yours support it; otherwise, you may need a magnifying glass.

The Lenovo’s twin speakers face downward under either side of the palm-rest. They were better than we expected, though the bar isn’t usually set high for computers this small. The sound was passable, with clear but strained vocals, and a touch of bass. There was just enough volume for one person to watch a movie in a quiet room.

P1440266_1920Keyboard and Touchpad

The Lenovo Yoga 710 11 Chiclet-style keyboard is usable for a quick email or document, but tiresome for extended typing sessions. The limited key travel and flat, plastic keys cut the tactile feedback short, making for a rather unrewarding experience.  At least the keys were quiet when pressed.

To our disappointment, keyboard backlighting wasn’t offered on the Yoga 710 11. The key layout also fell short of our expectations. The function row (F1-F12) has its secondary functions, such as raising and lowering the volume, as primary. If you want to close a window using the Alt + F4 shortcut, or open Help by pressing F1, you’ll need to press the Fn key in conjunction. (Alt + Fn + F4, or Fn + F1, respectively.) This was annoying. The right side of the keyboard was also odd. The full-size arrow keys in the main keyboard area shrunk the right Shift key to a third of its normal size.

All complaints aside, we were able to adjust to the Yoga’s keyboard after about an hours’ usage. That didn’t stop us from wishing for a better layout or backlighting, though.

P1440281_1920The buttonless Synaptics touchpad was offset to the left in the Yoga’s palm-rest. It was situated this way to line up with the main keyboard area, centering it between your wrists while typing. It makes full use of the available height. The smooth surface was pleasant, though the clicks required a tad too much effort, and made too much noise. At least the right-click zone was accurate; you’ll need to press on the orange line or directly to the right of it to get a right-click, and not a millimeter above.

Performance

It’s safe to say a small convertible notebook like the Lenovo Yoga 710 11 is designed for lighter tasks. The base model has an anemic Intel Pentium 4405Y dual-core processor, which is hardly better than the Atom processors in very inexpensive devices. Our $550, our review model (Y710-11SK) upgrades to a Core m3-6Y30 processor and doubles the storage to 256GB for $100 more than the base model. The Core m3-6Y30 isn’t a barn burner, but has practical performance for web surfing, office productivity, and full HD video streaming. It’s not well suited to tasks like video and photo editing. (For that, you’ll want at least a Core “U” i-series processor, like the Core i5-6200U, which typically isn’t found in convertibles as small as the Yoga 710 11.)

P1440264_1920Our Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review unit packed 4GB of non-upgradeable RAM (LPDDR3). This was enough for Windows 10 and running a few apps at a time. 8GB would have been nice, but it was only available in the priciest Yoga 710 11 configuration as we wrote this, which went for $700. As the prices stood, our $550 Yoga 710 11 seemed to be the best value.

Our Yoga 710 11 was a Signature Edition, meaning it came without unwanted software installed. There were no antivirus trials or otherwise. Consumer computers in this price range tend to be chock full of trial software to subsidize the cost of the machine.

Our Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review unit had the following configuration:

  • 11.6-inch touch display (1920 x 1080 resolution, glossy surface, IPS panel, 300 nits)
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Intel Core m3-6Y30 dual-core processor (900MHz, up to 2.2GHz Turbo Boost, 4MB cache, 4.5W TDP)
  • Intel HD 515 integrated graphics
  • 4GB LPDDR3-1600 dual-channel RAM (non-upgradeable)
  • 256GB M.2 SSD (Hynix HFS256G39MND-3310A)
  • Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 802.11ac 1×1 wireless network adapter
  • Internal Bluetooth 4.1
  • Built-in 720p webcam
  • Dimensions: 11.06 x 7.68 x 0.59 inches
  • Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • Starting Price: $449.99
  • Price as configured: $549.99

Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
710_11_wprimechart

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):
710_11_pc8homechart

3DMark Fire Strike is a newer DirectX 11 benchmark that measures overall graphics card performance for gaming (higher scores mean better performance):
710_11_3dfirestrikechart

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
CDM-1

Heat and Noise

The low-powered components inside the Lenovo Yoga 710 11 don’t produce enough heat to warrant active cooling. This convertible notebook therefore goes without a fan. It was silent under all conditions. The bottom center can get warm to the touch under heavy usage, but it was barely lukewarm when we were just surfing the web. The highest temperature we measured was 95 degrees Fahrenheit on the bottom center, and only 84 degrees on the top center, right below the display.

Battery Life

We use our Powermark benchmark to gauge battery life. It runs a combination of web browsing, video playback, office productivity, and gaming workloads to provide a real-world assessment. The numbers from this test are considerably lower than they would be by just idly running down the battery. We run the test with approximately 50 percent screen brightness.

PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better life):
710_11_powerchart

Despite the demanding nature of the test, our Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review unit produced an outstanding time of six hours, 31 minutes. That’s one of the longest times we’ve seen from a device in this class. It was miles ahead of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S, which is considered as having good battery life for a hybrid device. The Yoga 710 11 was beat by the Lenovo Miix 310, but that device had much lesser performance overall. Remember that these numbers are a worst case scenario. It’s possible to get significantly better life if you lower the screen brightness. To illustrate this, we ran Powermark with minimal screen brightness, and achieved seven hours, 55 minutes. That’s a difference of almost 20 percent, just from lowering the screen brightness.

Power Adapter

We were surprised at the total size and power rating of the adapter included with the Yoga 710 11. Its 45W draw is usually what we see on adapters included with more powerful notebooks, like Lenovo’s Ideapad 710S. The two-prong plug is built into the adapter itself. This keeps the design compact, but can block an outlet. The total weight with the cables was 5.7 ounces. The cord was on the short side, at just six feet, six inches.

We’d much have preferred a more compact USB-C power adapter with this convertible, like the one included with Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Tablet.

P1440274_1920Conclusion

The Lenovo Yoga 710 11 offers a satisfactory combination of features and performance for the price. It looks attractive enough, and is relatively easy to carry around, though it’s hefty as a tablet. It went for over six and a half hours in our battery test, some of the longest we’ve seen.

 We were disappointed with the Yoga’s lackluster keyboard feel, as well the fact it wasn’t backlit. We also missed having a media card reader, and wished for an additional USB port.

The Yoga 710 11’s low-powered components got the job done for basic tasks and video streaming, at least in the Intel Core m3-based model we reviewed. As we wrote this, the $450 entry-level model had a Pentium processor, which isn’t as fast. We think the $100 extra for the model we reviewed is worthwhile, both for the extra processing power and double the storage (256GB). The $700 top-tier version with a Core m5 processor and 8GB of RAM seemed a little steep to us, however.

All told, the Lenovo Yoga 710 11 is a well-rounded convertible. It’s not without compromises, but manages to balance them out with healthy dose of positives.

Pros:

  • Outstanding battery life
  • Fanless thin and light design
  • High-quality 1080p IPS display
  • Respectable performance for light tasks

Cons:

  • Shallow keyboard feel
  • No media card reader or USB-C
  • Too heavy to replace a dedicated tablet
  • Upper-tier configurations are expensive
  • Chunky power adapter

 


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