CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Lenovo Yoga 730 vs. IdeaPad 730S: Can a laptop-tablet hybrid beat a clamshell?

These two have more than a model number in common. Here's how to pick the right one for you.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
4 min read
Sarah Tew/CNET

Should you buy a traditional clamshell laptop or go with a two-in-one that can be used as both a laptop and a tablet? It's a question as old as time... or at least a couple years old, as processors and touch displays have gotten cheaper and more efficient, allowing for better performance and streamlined designs at lower prices.

Lenovo's Yoga 730 is a prime example: A sub-$800 13.3-inch pen-enabled two-in-one with slim aluminum chassis that weighs 2.6 pounds (1.2 kg) and is 0.55-inch thick (14.1 mm). But Lenovo also makes a strong argument for straight-up laptops with the IdeaPad 730S, which is essentially a thinner, lighter version of the Yoga 730 minus the touchscreen and 360-degree hinges. 

Watch this: Lenovo's Yoga 730 is a versatile 13-inch 2-in-1 you'll want to take everywhere

In fact, the IdeaPad 730S was originally named the Yoga S730 as part of Lenovo's move to use the Yoga name for all of its premium PCs and not only convertibles. You'll be able to tell them apart by the S or C added to the names for "slim" laptops and "convertible" two-in-ones.   

Confusing nomenclature aside, they're both good at what they do, but what follows is a closer look at the key features to help you choose between the Yoga 730 and IdeaPad 730S. 

Sometimes you feel like a tablet, sometimes you don't

Sarah Tew/CNET

The most obvious reason to go with a two-in-one like the Yoga 730 is to have one device to use as a regular laptop and quickly turn into a tablet. While it's a bit cumbersome to use standing or holding for a long time, it's fine when supported on your lap, a pillow or table. 

The Yoga 730 is pen-enabled too, so you can write or draw on the screen. Although Lenovo's Active Pen 2 isn't included, it's less than $50 and the experience is smooth with little to no discernible lag.

Sarah Tew/CNET

With the IdeaPad 730S you get laptop mode... and that's it. Lenovo doesn't even give you a touchscreen as an option. The 730S is damn good at being just a laptop, though. 

Simply stylish

The Yoga 730 and IdeaPad 730S look a lot alike, and that's a good thing as long as you're not looking to get noticed. The 730S has a more premium look and feel than Lenovo's entry-level IdeaPads, with an understated iron-gray aluminum body that gives it a sturdy feel despite weighing only 2.4 pounds (1.1 kg) and measuring 11.9 mm thick (0.5 inch).

The Yoga 730 is slightly thicker at least in part because of its 360-degree hinges and a little heavier for having a touchscreen. That also affects its overall balance. Regardless, neither is going to weigh down your backpack for your daily commute or walking around campus. 

Lenovo Yoga 730-13IKB

See all photos

The design similarities continue to the backlit keyboards and smooth touchpads. Lenovo knows how to make a comfortable keyboard and that's the case here. The Windows Precision touchpads worked really well and I didn't experience any cursor jumpiness.

Like a lot of superslim laptops, the 730S only has a combo headphone jack and USB-C ports: two USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (one with always-on charging) and one USB-C 3.1 Gen 1. The Yoga 730 trades the USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 for a USB-A 3.0 port. Neither has an SD card slot or Ethernet jack.    

Despite the Yoga's design flexibility, the display has average color performance and brightness. For general use it's fine, but it's not good enough to recommend for critical color work. The IdeaPad's color gamut and accuracy is better as is its 300-nit brightness. 

Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is a premium ultraportable for less

See all photos

For productivity, not high performance

The Yoga 730 and IdeaPad 730S we reviewed had almost identical configurations and as such they performed pretty much the same. The IdeaPad has newer versions of the Intel eighth-gen mobile processors in the Yoga. The newer chips don't offer a significant performance bump, but are more about power efficiencies and improved connectivity. 

Bottom line is both of these are built to handle normal day-to-day tasks and entertainment. Also, while both offer the option for a Core i7, the IdeaPad 730S might not be able to take full advantage of its performance because of how thin the laptop is and its ability to stay cool. 

The Yoga had slightly -- and I mean slightly -- better battery life than the IdeaPad, which could easily be chalked up to its larger battery. The 730S ran for 8 hours and 8 minutes on its 42-watt-hour battery for our video streaming test. Meanwhile the Yoga 730 made it 8 hours and 21 minutes on its 48Wh battery. Should you opt for the Yoga with the 4K UHD touchscreen, you should expect battery life to be shorter. The same goes for bumping up to the Core i7 processor on either. 

Configuration options

Lenovo IdeaPad 730S Lenovo Yoga 730
Base price $899 $699
Display size/resolution 13.3-inch FHD display13.3-inch FHD or UHD touch display
CPU 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8265U or 1.8GHz Core i7-8565U1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8250U or 1.8GHz Core i7-8550U
PC Memory 8GB or 16GB DDR3 SDRAM 2,400MHz8GB or 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,400MHz
Graphics 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620128MB Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage 128GB, 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD128GB, 256GB or 512GB PCIe SSD
Networking 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1
Operating system Windows 10 Home (64-bit)Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

Decisions, decisions

Considering what you get for the money, you really can't go wrong with either the Lenovo Yoga 730 and IdeaPad 730S. Both have sleek, lightweight aluminum bodies. Both offer solid battery life and performance for the components they have and have good supporting features. Their pricing is similar, too. 

The Yoga 730 won't replace an iPad. But if you're in the market for an ultraportable laptop, the 730 is that and adds the option to use it as a tablet without a major penalty to design, price or performance. This model's top configuration offers a 4K UHD-resolution display, which you can't get on the IdeaPad 730S.

If you're looking for a pure ultraportable laptop experience, get the IdeaPad 730S. Without the touchscreen, it has a more balanced feel, along with being smaller and lighter. It's proof you don't need to spend more than $1,000 for a premium ultraportable that you'll forget is even in your bag.