Lenovo IdeaPad 730S: Thinner, lighter MacBook Air alternative drops to $490 (Update: Sold out)

That's $60 below last week's deal, and you get $98 in Rakuten cash for a future purchase.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
3 min read

The IdeaPad 730S is a great deal at $490, but even better with $97.80 in Rakuten bonus cash.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Whoa. I was excited about this deal when I first ran it last week -- but as of this morning it's better still.

Everything I look for in a laptop can be found right here. Thin and light: check. Solid-state storage: check. Backlit keyboard: yep. Truth be told, I'd already been eyeballing the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S before this deal came along; this just puts it over the top. For a limited time, and while supplies last, you can get the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S 13.3-inch laptop for $490 with promo code LEN60. Assuming you have a Rakuten account (which you'll need in order to use the promo code), you'll also get 1% cash back and a hefty $97.80 in Rakuten Super Points. Those points are as good as cash for future Rakuten purchases. Update: Last week, the laptop was $550, with $110 in Super Points. Needless to say, this is even better.

The IdeaPad isn't just thin; it's thin, measuring a mere 11.9mm. That beats Apple's notoriously skinny MacBook Air (15.6mm). It's also quite light, though there's a bit of discrepancy between Rakuten's product page (which indicates 2.2 pounds) and Lenovo's (2.4 pounds). The current-gen MacBook Air weighs 2.75 pounds.

Read more: Best MacBook Air alternatives for 2020  

This SKU features an eighth-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. The 13.3-inch screen displays a generous 1,920x1,080-pixel native resolution, though the integrated Intel graphics subsystem might fall short if you're looking to play certain games or work with big image or video files. It's not a touchscreen, either, if that matters to you. (Personally, I see zero value in that on a laptop.)

Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is a premium ultraportable for less

See all photos

I'm also not sure of the value of Dolby Atmos in a system with tiny built-in speakers, but it's there. Also there: a backlit keyboard, a feature I consider fairly essential. Hate typing passwords? The IdeaPad sports a fingerprint reader. Finally, Lenovo promises up to 10 hours of runtime, and a battery that can recharge to 80% capacity after just one hour.

That's due in part to the presence of a USB-C charging port. In fact, the 730S has three of them, and no legacy Type-A USB ports -- so be prepared to buy a hub if you need to plug in older devices.

Read CNET's IdeaPad 730S review to learn more about the machine. Verdict: "One of the best alternatives to the MacBook Air you'll find." And that was based on a $999 price tag. I'm loving this at $490, especially with $98 in Rakuten "mad money."

Your thoughts?

Read more: The best ultraportable laptops for 2020

Note: Originally published last week. Updated to reflect new sale prices and/or availability. Removed expired bonus deals.

Read MoreAll the latest Rakuten coupons

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and check out our CNET Coupons page for the latest promo codes from Best BuyWalmartAmazon and more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page.

Get the best price with CNET Shopping.
Love shopping online but don't have time to compare prices or search for promo codes? Our CNET Shopping extension does that for you, so you always get the best price.
Add CNET Shopping
Shopping laptop image