Lenovo Yoga 710 (11.6-inch) review: Lenovo’s newest 2-in-1, the 11.6-inch Yoga 710, packs the power of the company’s 700-series Yoga laptops into the smallest usable package yet.
The 11-inch Yoga 710 is an attractive wedge of a laptop. Thinner than an iPad Pro encased in its keyboard cover, at 14.9mm (at the thickest point) it’ll fit into most bags and thanks to its overall size and weight (1.04kg), it’s unsurprisingly ultra portable.
Part of the draw with the Yoga line is that their flexible hinges mean you can position them in one of four distinct modes, and whilst it’s still a little too weighty to be a near full-time tablet, the 11-inch 710 is arguably one of the most well suited Yogas for handheld use.
Most of its styling appears to have been dictated by its larger 14-inch sibling, which is already out in the market, with a magnesium and aluminium chassis as well as polished chamfers accenting the keyboard and trackpad nicely.
The 710’s hinge and body both feel well put together and sturdy enough to use on your lap or in hand depending on the scenario, whilst the keyboard makes for comfortable typing when you want to get some serious work done.
It’s not a perfect typing experience, with fairly shallow travel in the keys, no backlighting and some odd key arrangement on Lenovo’s part (namely the small shift keys), but it offers a surprisingly spacious and comfortable layout for such a small 2-in-1. In addition, the trackpad feels expansive with the left and right mouse buttons clearly defined at its base, even if getting left and right clicks to clearly register wasn’t always easy.
Screen and multimedia
The 11.6-inch Full HD IPS LCD strikes a nice balance between portability and visibility. Text looks sharp thanks to its 190ppi, and it packs an attractive colour gamut (although we wish it were wider). Overall brightness tops out at 300nits, which feels a little dim paired to the 710’s reflective panel, but save for extremely bright conditions, you shouldn’t run into too many problems with it.
On the underside sit speakers backed up by Dolby Audio software, which deliver perfectly clear sound for movies and music, just don’t expect much bass or dynamism from the experience.
The 710 comes running Windows 10 Home, which feels more stable now than Windows has felt for a while. Lenovo does like to add its own flourishes to the experience however and as such, there’s a heap of own-brand preloaded software treading the fine line between useful and useless.
Thankfully none of Lenovo’s offerings are essentials and all look as though they can be uninstalled. We removed REACHit (Lenovo’s cloud storage software, set to be discontinued by October 2016) pretty early on, but tools like Paper Display, which change the screen’s colour temperature for better legibility, actually felt like they added genuine value to the base Windows experience.
Windows’ tablet mode still feels like it needs work, most prominently with regards to the on-screen typing experience, but as we’ve already mentioned, the 710 is only useful as a tablet in short stints. Lenovo also offers tools for optimisation and cleanup, its own backup and restore software and an additional set of power management tools, which again, you can choose to use or ignore in place of the standard Windows offerings.
Performance and camera
Unlike Lenovo’s endeavours in the US, here in the UK the company has kept things simple, with a single hardware variant for the 11.6-inch Yoga 710 (at launch at least).
Part of the reason this 2-in-1 is so compact is that it uses Intel’s Core m3 processor at its heart, which renders this skew of 710 fanless. Pair that with a 128GB SSD in place of an HDD (which has moving parts) and you’ve got two key reasons why this laptop can be made slimmer, lighter and quieter.
General usage feels fast and fluid, with a responsive touchscreen and interface, quick multitasking, a rapid boot time and fast file transfers over the 710’s single USB 3.0 port. Speaking of ports you are limited to that single USB for data, however, there is a micro HDMI to connect a secondary display and a single headphone jack on the opposing side.
Despite the more conservative demands of the hardware inside this machine, it still relies on a round-tipped power adapter in place of a microUSB connection, but at least it ensures relatively brisk charging of the laptop’s 40Wh battery, which in general use out-performed the quoted eight hour lifespan, lasting a work day of mixed usage and some HD video streaming breaking the nine hour mark.
You can expect HD video playback from the 710, but as gaming goes, stick to simple 2D side-scrollers, the integrated Intel Graphics 515 isn’t up to the task of even humble 3D titles like Goat Simulator, that are only remotely playable at practically their lowest settings.
Not to dwell on it, but the 710 also packs a 720p HD camera above the display. It produces pretty lacklustre imagery with poor colour reproduction, contrast or clarity, but for simple video calling it fits the bill and in a way, we’re glad it doesn’t try and do anything more than necessary.
At £549, the 11.6-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 feels like it offers plenty of bang for your buck. It sits amongst similarly small laptops like the newest Apple MacBook and popular 2-in-1s like Microsoft’s Surface 3 and even the entry-level Surface Pro 4.
You don’t sacrifice aesthetics or functionality provided you’re looking for an ultra-portable machine, with quick bouts of writing, surfing or movie watching in mind, otherwise, the 14-inch Yoga 710 might be the best alternative.