The foldable hinge of Lenovo’s Yoga laptops has become a mainstay in the convertible laptop market since the original was launched in late 2012. Along with the MacBook Air and the Surface Pro 4, the Yoga has become one of the industry’s most commonly copied designs. This week at Mobile World Congress, Lenovo has updated the originals with new features that check a lot of the boxes we’re looking for 2017’s PCs to check.
The most interesting options of the new Yogas are the new midrange 720-series models, available in both 13.3-inch and 15-inch screen sizes. Both offer many of the same features: they have Windows Hello fingerprint sensors embedded in their palmrests, they come with both 1080p and 4K touchscreens, they both support pen input via an optional Windows Ink-compatible pen accessory, and they both offer a Thunderbolt 3 port that charges the laptop and offers DisplayPort support. The 13-inch model also offers one USB 3.0 port, and the 15-inch model offers two USB 3.0 ports; both have headphone jacks but no SD card readers. Both use Intel Kaby Lake CPUs, both offer up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, both offer PCIe SSDs up to 1TB in size, both have 867Mbps 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1, and both offer backlit keyboards and Windows 10 Home (Pro doesn’t appear to be an option). Like Dell’s XPS 13, each of these devices also uses slim bezels around the top and sides of the screens that are offset by a larger bottom bezel; unlike the XPS 13, though, both squeeze their 720p webcams in above the screen rather than below it.
The models differ primarily in size, weight, and performance. The 13-inch model is more-or-less an archetypal convertible Ultrabook—it’s 0.56 inches (14.3mm) thick and weighs 2.9 pounds (1.3kg). That won’t set any records, but it’s in line with other products of similar size and speed. It uses 15W dual-core Kaby Lake processors (which means it uses a fan) and an Intel HD 620 integrated GPU, and Lenovo says its 48WHr battery should deliver a so-so 8 hours of battery life in the 1080p model and 7 hours for the 4K model. It will be available in “platinum silver,” “iron grey,” and “copper” finishes, pictured above.
The 15-inch model’s performance makes it a bit more interesting for people looking for a mobile workstation. It steps up to quad-core Kaby Lake CPUs and also offers an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU—this is far from the strongest of Nvidia’s Pacsal-based mobile GPUs, but it will offer solid 1080p framerates in most games without completely killing the battery or adding a ton of size and weight to the laptop (VR, sadly, will remain out of its reach). Razer’s latest 15-inch Blade laptop offers a GTX 1060 in a similar package, but it’s also going to cost you a lot more money. The 15-inch Yoga 720 is 0.78 inches (19.9mm) thick and weighs 4.41 pounds (2kg), which, like the 13-inch model, is respectable even if it won’t break records. Its 72WHr battery offers 9 hours of runtime for the 1080p model and 8 hours for the 4K model, and it comes in silver and grey but not copper.
The 13-inch Yoga 720 starts at $860, while the 15-inch model will start at $1,100. Both launch in April.
Of somewhat less interest is the lower-end Yoga 520 series, marketed as the Flex 5 in North America. It will come in both 14- and 15-inch flavors, and while we only have specifics on the 14-inch model, both should offer similar capabilities. The 14-inch model is a 3.83 pound (1.74kg), 0.78-inch (19.9mm) thick laptop with dual-core Kaby Lake processors, 1366×768 or 1080P touchscreens (only the 1080p panel appears to be IPS), up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and support for both PCIe SSDs up to 512GB and 2.5-inch spinning hard drives up to 1TB in capacity. The fingerprint reader, backlit keyboard, and pen support from the 720 series both trickle down, but the Flex 5 only gets a plain-old USB-C port instead of Thunderbolt 3. To make up for it, you also get two USB 3.0 ports, an SD card reader, an HDMI port, and a gigabit Ethernet jack. Lenovo is offering both integrated graphics and a low-end last-generation GeForce 940MX GPU, and the laptop’s 52.5WHr battery should last up to 10 hours with the 1080p screen.
The Yoga 520/Flex 5 will be available in May, and it starts at $800.
Listing image by Lenovo