Lenovo Yoga 710 14 Review

by Reads (66,862)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 7
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 7
      • Usability
      • 6
      • Design
      • 6
      • Performance
      • 7
      • Features
      • 7
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 6.71
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Very good display quality
    • Comfortable keyboard, though some layout annoyances
    • Solid-feeling construction
    • Excellent battery life
  • Cons

    • Heavy and bulky in tablet mode
    • No full-size video out (just micro HDMI), and no USB-C
    • SD cards only insert halfway

Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review unitThe new Yoga 710 series is the replacement for the older Yoga 700, which debuted at the end of 2015. The “Yoga” in the name isn’t merely for show, as these notebooks are capable of folding their displays 360 degrees around to transform into a tablet, or two in-between modes. The model we’re reviewing features a 14-inch display, but the 710 series is also available in 11- and 15.6-inch models.

The key selling points of the Lenovo Yoga 710 14 are its premium magnesium-aluminum chassis, stylish design, good quality display, and excellent battery life. It’s too thick and heavy to be considered as a dedicated tablet replacement, but that complaint isn’t unique to this convertible PC. As a matter of fact, we’ve said that about almost every convertible PC we’ve reviewed. The convertible modes should be viewed as a bonus.

Starting at $799.99, we found the Yoga 710 14 to be a solid value. It’s both thinner and lighter than the competing Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series, and is just $50 more than Lenovo’s non-convertible ideapad 710S. It’s still well below the four-figure plus price points of more premium convertibles, like the Lenovo Yoga 900 (13”) and the HP Spectre x360, yet offers most of the quality and features. Read this Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review for a full breakdown

Build and Design

The Lenovo Yoga 710 14 looks like an ordinary notebook, though an upscale one at that. Its twin floating display hinges are the only hint it’s a convertible. Magnesium-aluminum covers almost the entire exterior, from its display lid to the underside of its chassis. The shiny diamond-cut edge around the display lid and base adds a bit of visual flare. The black display bezel and keyboard keys provide further contrast. The chassis corners are softly rounded off, though not overly so. Lenovo’s logo is printed vertically at the lower right corner of the lid, while the tactile YOGA logo is more prominently visible at the upper left corner.

Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review unit (rear) P1440151_1920

For a convertible notebook sporting a 14-inch display, the Yoga 710 14 is quite trim thanks to its almost bezel-less display. The chassis measures just 12.7 by 8.8 inches. Compare that to Lenovo’s own ThinkPad T460s, a traditional notebook with same size screen as our Yoga. It measures a more substantial 13 by 9 inches. The competing Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series is almost the exact same dimensions as the Yoga 710 14, despite housing a smaller 13.3-inch display. The Lenovo also manages to be eight ounces lighter than the Dell, at 3.4 pounds. Nonetheless, the Yoga 710 14 is outmatched by its cousin, the slimmer Yoga 900 (13″). It weighs just 2.8 pounds and is only 0.6 inches thick, as opposed to the Yoga 710 14’s 0.7 inch thickness. It’s far more expensive, however, staring at $1,199.

Lenovo Yoga 710 14 tablet modeThe most visually similar non-convertible notebook Lenovo offers is its ideapad 710S. It has a smaller 13.3-inch display, but is also almost bezel-less, and is thus a bit smaller than the Yoga 710 14 at 12.1 by 8.4 by 0.55 inches. It’s also almost a full pound lighter, at 2.6 pounds. It’s worth considering as an alternative if convertible functionality isn’t a major draw for you, and you’re comfortable going with a slightly smaller screen. (Wait until you get to the battery life section of this review to make a final decision, though.)

The Yoga 710 14’s heft isn’t without its benefits. It’s sturdy enough to inspire confidence, with practically no flex anywhere on the unit. The display panel is well protected; we couldn’t get the picture to distort by applying pressure to the back of the lid. The display lid also exhibited a relatively minimal amount of flex.

But you’ll pay for the heft in terms of convertible usability. The Lenovo’s 14-inch display is considerably larger than that of the average dedicated tablet, which is usually 10 inches or less. It’s three and a half times as heavy as an Apple iPad Air 2, as well, so you won’t exactly be handing the Yoga 710 14 around one-handed. As we would summarize most convertible PCs, consider the tablet mode a convenient bonus.

P1440152_1920This convertible doesn’t have “Yoga” in its name without reason. In addition to tablet mode, it also supports an A-frame stand mode. Fold the display about 270 degrees backwards, and then stand it on the top of its display lid and the bottom edge of the chassis. It can furthermore be used in a presentation mode, also with the display opened about 270 degrees, but this time with the keyboard facing downward. We preferred the latter, as it tended to feel more stable, and it was easier to change the angle of the display. The display hinges operate smoothly, though you’ll need two hands to get the lid opened past 30 degrees from its closed position.

Upgrading the Yoga 710 14 entails removing the 10 proprietary star screws from the bottom of the chassis. Lenovo says the memory is changeable, but our review unit already had the maximum officially supported, 1x 8GB-DIMM. The unit’s Intel Core i5-6200U processor officially supports up to 32GB in a 2x 16GB-DIMM configuration; the Yoga 710 14 only has one slot, so it may be possible to use a single 16GB module. We didn’t try this. Again, Lenovo says this model can support 8GB maximum.

Input and Output Ports

Port selection isn’t the Yoga 710 14’s strong suit. The left edge holds the AC power jack, full-size SD card reader, headphone/microphone combination jack, and reset pinhole. It’s disappointing that SD cards stick out halfway when inserted. That means you can’t transport this convertible, or even safely move it around without first removing the card.

The right edge has the power button, micro HDMI, and two USB-A 3.0, the second of which is a sleep and charge. We’d really like to see a full-size HDMI port. It looks like there might have been enough room to accommodate one. Micro HDMI to HDMI adapters are usually $5 to $10 online, but you’ll have to remember to take it with you. Lastly, the Yoga 710 14 lacks a USB-C port. The power button had a stiff enough action to prevent accidental presses.

P1440157_1920 P1440156_1920

There are no ports along the front, and only the two air cooling vents along the backside.

For wireless, there’s an internal Broadcom adapter supporting the latest 802.11ac band. Integrated Bluetooth 4.1 is also standard. The Yoga 710 14 doesn’t have any biometric capability, in the form of a fingerprint reader or an Intel RealSense camera.

Screen and Speakers

As its model name indicates, the Lenovo Yoga 710 14 has a 14-inch display, but it looks bigger thanks to its almost bezel-less design. There’s just enough of a bezel at the top to fit the 720p webcam. The display’s viewing angles were practically unlimited because of the IPS panel technology, an important feature on a convertible, where the screen will be viewed from different angles. The color saturation was high, along with the contrast, creating a good visual experience for most applications. The brightness was also excellent, to the point of being overwhelming in a darker environment. Lenovo advertises it at 300 nits. It’s brighter than the display on the competing Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series.

P1440148_1920 P1440165_1920

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The faults with the display are mostly limited to the reflections created by its glossy surface. It literally looks like a mirror when turned off. It can be distracting in well-lit environments, especially outdoors in the shade. That said, the glossy surface does provide a slick surface for gliding your fingers across, and helps the display look crystal clear. Also, the display’s brightness is enough to overwhelm the reflections in many situations.

The only other downside we noted with the display was actually not with the panel itself, but the fact that it tended to wobble quite a bit when we touched it. The display requires only the barest contact to register touch input, but even the smallest touch seemed to make the display wobble for a few seconds. We’d like to see some improvement here.

The Lenovo’s JBL-branded speakers project downward under either side of the palm rest. Their ability to project is dependent on the notebook sitting on a solid surface. (Being in tablet mode suffices, too.) The sound’s clarity was surprisingly good, even if they lacked in volume and bass. We had no trouble watching a movie in a quiet room. Expecting them to entertain a crowd is a bit far-fetched, though.

P1440146_1920Keyboard and Touchpad

The Yoga 710 14’s full-size keyboard has a pleasant typing feel. The feedback is crisp, with a nicely-defined up-and-down movement for each key. The audible clicking noise they make when pressed is also encouraging. The white LED backlighting has two levels in addition to off, toggled by pressing the Fn key + spacebar. The light gently spills around the edges of the keys. The secondary symbols on the keys are backlit.

The keyboard’s layout is somewhat disappointing. The arrow keys appear to be the main culprit. They’re full-size, but were forced into the main keyboard area, instead of being separated out into their own cluster. Your right pinky will have to be more precise, as the right Shift key is only one-third its usual size. Also frustrating is the lack of dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. They’re Fn-key combos with the arrow keys. Lastly, the top function row keys (F1-F12) require Fn to access. The upper row printed symbols on them are the primary functions, such as raising and lowering the screen brightness and volume, enabling airplane mode, and a few others. Pressing the F1 key mutes the volume, for example; if you want actual F1, you need to press Fn + F1. This means an extra keypress for Windows shortcuts like Alt + F4 to close a window. You now need to press Alt + Fn + F4.

P1440170_1920The clickable Synaptics touchpad has louder clicks than we prefer. The required pressure is relatively consistent, though. Only the upper half inch is more difficult to click than the rest, and chances are you won’t be pressing down there often. The right-click zone is precisely defined as any presses on or to the right of the orange line at the bottom of the pad. Pressing down just to the left of that line results in a left-click, as well as any area above that line. This precision is certainly appreciated.

Performance

The Lenovo Yoga 710 14 was available in a few fixed configurations, as of writing. The entry-level $799.99 model sent to us had an Intel Core i5-6200U processor. Its two processing cores, 2.3GHz base clock, and up to 2.8GHz Turbo Boost clock made it a responsive performer for all but the most demanding of tasks. The Yoga 710 14 was also offered with the Core i7-6500U dual-core processor, with a marginally higher 2.5GHz base clock and 3.1GHz Turbo Boost. The difference between it and the Core i5-6200U won’t be obvious in most usage.

Our Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review unit had 8GB of RAM, a healthy enough amount for moderate multitasking. As we noted, that’s the maximum this convertible officially supports. Its 256GB SSD was the minimum size we’d expect at this price point. The Hynix drive in our review unit had average performance for an M.2 format SSD, with 414MB/s read and 376MB/s write speeds in CrystalDiskMark. It was highly responsive for opening apps, files, and booting up the system, though.

Interestingly enough, the Yoga 710 14 includes a dedicated Nvidia 940MX graphics card. It’s limited to lightweight gaming and older titles, given its 384 CUDA cores, 64-bit memory bus, and 2GB of DDR3 memory, but is still far better than the integrated Intel graphics that come in most notebooks for that purpose. The dedicated graphics card can also be useful in video editing programs that support using the graphics card for processing.

Our Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review model had the following technical specifications:

  • 14-inch FHD display (1,920×1,080 pixels, IPS panel, glossy plastic surface, touch enabled, 300 nits brightness)
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Intel Core i5-6200U dual-core processor (2.3GHz, up to 2.8GHz Turbo Boost, 3MB cache, 15W TDP)
  • Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card w/ 2GB DDR3 dedicated memory
  • 8GB DDR4-2133 single channel RAM (1x 8GB; max. supported)
  • 256GB M.2 SSD (Hynix HFS256G39MND-3310A)
  • Broadcom 802.11ac wireless network adapter
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • 53 WHr battery
  • Dimensions: 12.68 x 8.78 x 0.68 inches
  • Weight: 3.42 lbs.
  • Price: $799.99

Benchmarks

wPrime processor comparison results (listed in seconds – lower scores mean better performance):
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):
pc8homechart

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):
pc8workchart

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

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:
CDM

Heat and Noise

P1440144_1920There are two cooling fans inside the Yoga 710 14’s chassis. They occasionally turned on while surfing graphics and animation-heavy websites. They were relatively quiet at lower RPMs, but still had an audible fan whine. The whine became progressively more apparent as the fan’s RPM increased, but even at top speed, their overall volume level was low. It should go unnoticed in most environments, but will be audible in a silent room. At least they keep the chassis temperature under control. The center rear of the chassis, both top and bottom, tended to warm up under continuous load, but didn’t get to the point where we felt uncomfortable putting our hands there.

Battery Life

We use our new Powermark benchmark for battery life testing. This test is more demanding than a typical run-down. It runs automated web browsing, photo editing, video playback, and gaming workloads until the battery is exhausted. Approximately 50 percent screen brightness is used for the test.

Powermark battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better battery life):
powerchart

Our Lenovo Yoga 710 14 review unit achieved a run time of five hours, 20 minutes, which is outstanding in this benchmark. It’s possible to achieve run times 20 to 30 percent greater than these under less strenuous conditions, especially if you lower the screen brightness. This time is a full hour longer than Lenovo’s non-convertible ideapad 710S and the competing Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series. It’s still shy of beating the HP Spectre x360, but that convertible will run you into the four-figure price range when equipped like our Yoga 710 14.

Power Adapter

The power adapter for the Yoga 710 14 is a square unit with the two-prong wall plug built in. It’s a cumbersome design, since it can block two outlets. We weighed it at 5.7 ounces, and measured its total stretch at 6 feet, 6 inches. We’re used to seeing a few feet longer.

Conclusion

P1440149_1920The Lenovo Yoga 710 14 is a first-class convertible notebook. We have no qualms recommending it if you’re in the market for a touch-screen notebook that could be used as a tablet. Alas, like most convertibles we’ve reviewed, the Yoga 710 14 is still too heavy and bulky to be used as a dedicated tablet replacement. Its 3.4 pound, 0.7-inch thick chassis is more than acceptable for a 14-inch notebook, however. The chassis is actually the size of a 13.3-inch notebook, since the Yoga’s display is almost borderless. It’s physically smaller and a half-pound lighter than the competing Dell Inspiron 13 7000 convertible, despite the fact the Dell houses a smaller 13.3-inch screen. That’s an impressive feat.

We liked almost everything about the Yoga 710 14, minus a few nuances. The SD cards didn’t insert fully into its slot, there was no full-size video out (only micro HDMI, for which you’ll need an adapter in most cases), and it lacked a USB-C port. The keyboard layout was a bit cumbersome as well. In the grand scheme, there were no glaring issues – quite the opposite.

The $799.99 price point of our review unit is fair, to the point where it’s quite the jump to the next level of convertible. Those would be the Lenovo Yoga 900 (13”), which started at $1,199 when we wrote this review, and the HP Spectre x360, which was $999 when configured like our Yoga 710 14 review sample. The Yoga 710 14’s closest competition is the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series, which starts $50 lower with the same specs. However, it has a smaller screen, is both larger and bulkier, and had an hour less battery life in our testing.

If the convertible functionality isn’t a selling point for you, consider the Lenovo ideapad 710S as an alternative. It’s lighter, thinner, and about the same price as the Yoga 710 14, though doesn’t quite have the battery life, or the dedicated Nvidia graphics. Either way, we’re happy to send the Lenovo Yoga 710 14 off with a full recommendation.

P1440141_1920Pros:

  • Very good display quality
  • Comfortable keyboard, though some layout annoyances
  • Solid-feeling construction
  • Excellent battery life

Cons:

  • Heavy and bulky in tablet mode
  • No full-size video out (just micro HDMI), and no USB-C
  • SD cards only insert halfway



LEAVE A COMMENT

2 Comments

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  1. sooomitin

    “some layout annoyances”- Holy crap! To close a window, they want me to press Alt+Fn+F4? FAIL!!! Looks like this keyboard is designed for the multimedia lovers, and not for the people using short-cuts.
    “Heavy and bulky in tablet mode” – FAIL for a hybrid.
    “No full-size video out (just micro HDMI), and no USB-C” – Ahhh! You are contradicting yourself! If you want USB-C, you actually want micro HDMI as both will support thinner design. I want to see the surface 5 with micro HDMI (instead of minidisplay) and USB-C indeed.

  2. richardhc

    Your review and the Lenovo website both say there is a dedicated Nvidia 940MX graphics card. But all the versions at bestbuy and amazon only have an integrated intel graphics chip. Also the price is more than you quote here even without the dedicated graphics card. Let the buyer beware. No wonder sales in laptops have been dropping steadily; right along with truth in advertising and customer service.