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New Lenovo Yoga 730 convertibles are tamely competent

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Lenovo’s 700-series laptops have walked an interesting line for the past few years. They’re notably more powerful than the entry-level 500-series convertible laptops, but they aren’t as premium as the flagship 900-series. Even further, the 13-inch and 15-inch variants of the 700 convertibles have occupied separate slots in the line-up. At MWC 2018, Lenovo has update both to the Yoga 730, bringing internal updates with an exterior refinement.

Not much has changed on the outside when you lay eyes on the Yoga 730 in its 13- or 15-inch varieties. They carry over a similar plain design language as from the year-old 720, though with tightened corners that are almost too sharp in the aluminum body. The screens are basically unchanged, measuring 13.3 or 15 inches on the diagonal, with IPS panels sporting up to a UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution at a standard 16:9 aspect ratio. They’re surrounded by relatively narrow bezels on the sides and top (with a properly placed webcam), with a taller bezel on the bottom to house the requisite electronics and provide someplace to grip when flipped over into tablet mode. Both also support Windows Ink with Lenovo’s Active Pen 2 with its 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Category Lenovo Yoga 730 13-inch Lenovo Yoga 730 15-inch
Display 13.3-inch UHD IPS touchscreen 15.6-inch UHD IPS touchscreen
Processor up to eighth-gen Intel Core i7 up to eighth-gen Intel Core i7
Graphics Intel HD 620 Graphics up to NVIDIA GTX 1050
RAM up to 16GB up to 16GB
Storage up to 512GB PCIe SSD up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Ports 2x USB-C Thunderbolt, 1x USB 3.0, audio jack 1x USB-C Thunderbolt, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, audio jack
Battery up to 11-hour battery life up to 11-hour battery life
Dimensions 12.08 x 8.52 x 0.55 inches
(207 x 216 x 14.1 mm)
14.17 x 9.8 x 0.67 inches
(360 x 249 x 17.2 mm)
Weight 2.46 lbs (1.12 kg) 4.16 lbs (1.89 kg)
Price starts at $879.99 starts at $899.99

Inside has seen modest and expected upgrades, with the processor coming in eighth-generation Intel Core chipsets in your choice of i5 or i7 variety, 8 or 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and SSD storage that maxes out at 512GB on the 13-incher and 1TB on the 15-inch version. Both also sport a pair of USB-C Thunderbolt ports, a single rectangular USB 3.0 port, and a combo audio jack. The keyboards on each are the standard rounded-bottom Lenovo chiclet design, and the decently-sized trackpad below is a Microsoft Precision pointer.

The big difference, aside from the size, comes down to the GPU. The smaller Yoga 730 offers the modest Intel HD 620 Graphics, while those opting for 15 inches will have the choice of up to an NVIDIA GTX 1050 graphics chip. Considering that the 15-inch Yoga 730 is slightly thicker and 1.7 pounds (0.77 kg) heavier than the 13-inch, you should just pony up for the enhanced graphics power — the 15-inch display alone is nice, but not worth the weight. That is a change from the 15-inch 720, which was only available with the same GTX 1050 GPU and had a starting price $300 higher. Either way, they’re both slimmer and lighter than their 720 predecessors.

Lenovo integrated a far-field microphone array into the 730, enabling across-the-room use of voice assistants — both Alexa and Cortana, and both capable of listening and responding, even when the laptop’s asleep. And they’ll speak back via JBL speakers powered by Dolby Atmos. On the right side, just south of the keyboard, you’ll find a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint scanner; no IR camera here, alas. All of this is slipped into an aluminum body in your choice of “iron gray” (dark gray) or platinum silver (light gray).

Both versions of the Lenovo Yoga 730 are projected for April 2018 availability in copper, silver, and dark gray varieties, with a starting price of $879.99 for the 13-inch version, or $899.99 for the 15-inch convertible.

Lenovo Flex 14 (Yoga 530)

Alongside the Yoga 730 laptops, Lenovo is also updating the Flex 14 (to be known globally as the Yoga 530). This entry-level convertible laptop ditches some of the niceties of the Yoga 730, but is still a reasonable update from the year-old version.

Category Lenovo Flex 14
Display 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) touchscreen.
Processor up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7
Graphics up to NVIDIA MX130
RAM up to 16GB
Storage up to 512GB PCIe SSD
Ports 1x USB-C, 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card slot
Battery up to 10-hour battery life
Dimensions 12.9 x 9.02 x 0.69 inches
(328 x 229 x 17.6 mm)
Weight 3.25 lbs (1.6 kg)
Price starts at $599.99

In keeping with its $600 price tag, the Flex 14 tops out at a Full HD 1920 x 1080 display, can only be optioned up to the mid-level NVIDIA MX130 GPU, and has a casing primarily made from polycarbonate plastic with just the palm rest and keyboard deck sporting a brushed aluminum finish.

This is also a thicker and heavier laptop than its higher-end Yoga brethren — you get what you pay for. That’s not to say that the Flex 14 is a slouch — with up to an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, an optional NVIDIA MX130 GPU, and up to 16GB of RAM, it can still pack a moderate punch. Of course, those upgrades will cost you quite a bit over the base price, so you might be better off opting for a higher-end laptop in the end.

If the Lenovo Flex 14 / Yoga 530 strikes your fancy, it’ll be available beginning in April 2018 with a starting price of $599.99.

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