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Sometimes playing it safe really is the best move to make.
The 13.3-inch Lenovo Yoga 720 was an excellent two-in-one for the money, and its follow up, the Yoga 730, is no different. And when I say "no different" I mean Lenovo changed little between the two models, resulting in a slightly better but not drastically dissimilar laptop. Moving up to eighth-gen Intel Core i-series processors is the biggest change, and it results in a noticeable performance boost.
There are a handful of other changes, like it now has two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports instead of only one, and Lenovo added far-field microphones letting you call out to Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant and eventually Amazon Alexa services from up to 13 feet (4 meters) away.
The 730's design changes slight, too, but you probably wouldn't notice unless it was next to the 720. it's a little thinner and lighter, and the edges are rounded more, especially at the back. All the changes make it more comfortable to use as a tablet, whether that's with your fingers or the optional $60 Active Pen 2 with 4,096 levels of pen sensitivity.
Despite the improvement, the pricing stays about the same as the Yoga 720: The 730 starts at $880, but my review system is priced at $950, which gets you a storage increase from a 128GB PCIe SSD to a 256GB drive. The Yoga 730 isn't yet available in the UK or Australia, but the US price converts to about £700 and AU$1,265. For office work, for school work, this is just a solid pick and a good value to boot if you want a thin and light laptop.
|Price as reviewed||$949.99|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 touch display|
|CPU||1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz|
|Graphics||128MB dedicated Intel UHD Grphics 620|
|Networking||802.11ac wireless, Bluetooth 4.1|
|Operating system||Windows 10 Home (64-bit)|
Basically, everything that made the 13.3-inch Yoga 720 an excellent two-in-one is still present in the 730, albeit in a slimmer, lighter package at 2.7 pounds (1.2kg) and 0.55-inch (14.1mm) thick. The iron gray metal chassis gives it a premium look and feel as do the slim bezels around the full-HD-resolution touchscreen. The screen's hefty 360-degree hinges keep the Yoga in just about any position you could want it in. They're stiff enough that it will require two hands to open it, but not so much that you'll have problems adjusting it.
The display has good color performance, but not good enough to recommend for critical photo and video editing (though this isn't designed for that in the first place). It gets adequately bright for outdoor use, though with the glossy coating you might still struggle. One nice extra, though: The display also supports Lenovo's optional $60 Active Pen 2 if writing or drawing on the screen is a necessity for you.
The keyboard might not feel as firm as one of the company's professional ThinkPad models, but the keys still have a fair amount of travel to make typing comfortable, and they are well spaced, clearly labeled and brightly backlit.
The Windows Precision touchpad works really well and I didn't experience any cursor jumpiness. The precision pad means you get full multitouch gesture support for three- and four-finger gestures for quickly switching between applications, activating Cortana (Microsoft's digital assistant), or hiding all open windows. Speaking of Cortana, Lenovo added far-field mics so you can use Cortana from up to 13 feet (4 meters) away. Lenovo intends to add Amazon's Alexa services, too, assuming the integration into Windows 10 ever pans out.
Like many ultraportables, the Yoga 730 isn't loaded down with ports. If having built-in Ethernet, an SD card reader and an HDMI port are necessities for you, you'll have to look elsewhere. Instead, you'll get one USB 3.0 port (type-A), two USB-C ports and a headphone/mic jack. Both of the type-C ports can be used for charging and are Thunderbolt 3, so with a dock or adapters you'll be able add video outputs, an Ethernet jack and more, as well as accommodating data transfer speeds up to 40Gbps.
The 13.3-inch Yoga 730 (it's also available in a 15.6-inch size) I tested was just a step above the base configuration with a 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB of memory, integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics and a 256GB PCIe SSD for storage. You can get the system with more memory and storage, and if you're willing to pay $1,550, you can get it with a 1.8GHz Core i7-8550U, 16GB of memory and a 512TB PCIe SSD. There are currently no 4K UHD-resolution screen or 1TB PCIe SSD options, which were offered on the Yoga 720.
The configuration I tested is more than enough for day-to-day tasks, though depending on how much you push it, you will end up with some fan noise. Want to listen to music while you answer some email and post to Facebook? This will have you covered. However, Playing the latest first-person shooter on ultra settings and editing high-resolution video are not in the cards. That said, it made quick work of some basic photo and video edits.
As for battery life, it underperformed compared to similarly configured systems we've tested with our video-streaming battery drain test. It did run for 8 hours and 21 minutes, which isn't bad, but it is 25 minutes less than what we got with the Yoga 720.
Under normal use you're probably not going to get through a full day without hooking up to your power supply or a USB-C power bank. The positive here it has a quick-charge feature that gets you two hours of battery life with only a 15-minute charge.
Like its predecessor, the 13.3-inch Lenovo Yoga 730 has a premium look and feel, but with a smaller price tag. It's a pretty nice little two-in-one for students or the home office where some added flexibility comes in handy and a quality thin-and-light design is appreciated.
|Lenovo Yoga 730-13||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD|
|Lenovo Yoga 720-13||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-7200U; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 256GB SSD|
|HP EliteBook 1040 G4 (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-7820HQ; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 630; 512GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2017)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i5-7Y75; 8GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,866MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel HD Graphics 615; 256GB SSD|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Yoga (3rd)||Microsoft Windows Pro (64-bit); 1.9GHz Intel Core i7-8650U; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,133MHz; 128MB dedicated Intel UHD Graphics 620; 1TB SSD|