Review: Lenovo Ideapad 730S

Feb 21, 2019

Thanks to Lenovo for providing GWW with this review unit.

  • Insanely thin
  • Keyboard is delightful
  • Speakers are weak

Lenovo’s Ideapad 730S (“730S”) is Lenovo’s latest ultrabook. It’s incredibly thin and light without sacrificing performance. The chassis is made entirely of aluminum, which gives it a premium look and feel. If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced, premium ultrabook, the 730S should be on the top of your list.

What’s Good

Weighing in at just 2.43 pounds, the 730S is a glorious achievement in laptop design. It’s only 11.9mm thin. That’s bananas. Even still, it’s equipped with a fingerprint reader and 3 USB-C ports. Looking at other ultrabooks that include USB A ports, such as the Razer Blade Stealth, there’s a good reason they’re thicker. And some folks need, or think they need, USB A. But the thinnest of the 730S applies to more than the chassis. The bezels around the display are super thin. But thick enough that Lenovo was able to include a camera at the top of the display. The display is a 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS display. I found the display to be very bright, when needed. It managed glare as well as a glass top can. With all of this compactness, Lenovo had to think about heat management. The 730S pulls air through the keyboard and out the rear, back and sides. Lenovo claims this led to a smaller fan and, thus, a thinner chassis.

The 730S is powerful enough to be your only laptop if you’re primarily a Microsoft Office / office productivity type of user. If 13.3″ is too small a display, you can use the USB C port to drive an external monitor. You can also grab a bluetooth enabled mouse. Plus USB C is designed for daisy chaining. TL;DR – you can live on three USB C. Two of these USB C ports are also Thunderbolt enabled with up to 4 lanes. Gamers – eGPUs should work! I’m not able to test it, however.

My review unit starts at $899.99, but it’s often on sale for closer to $715 directly from Lenovo. That’s an affordable price for an all-aluminum laptop with a backlit keyboard and an 8th generation Intel Core i5 (8265U) with 8GB of RAM. At the top end, you can upgrade to an i7-8565U and 16GB of RAM. I’ve also seen on Best Buy an i7 model with a 512GB SSD. Although Lenovo’s website, at time of writing, only has models going up to 256GB, which is unfortunate. It’s not unlike Lenovo to offer models exclusively to Best Buy.

What Needs Improvement

This isn’t the first laptop to include Dolby Atmos speakers in vain. The 730S has two small speakers on the bottom that fire downward – onto whatever surface you’re using. Couple that with the non-Yoga design – meaning you can’t rotate the display 360 degrees, and you have speakers that are never actually firing sound at the user. Last year’s Yoga C930 had an innovative speaker built into the display hinge. I’d love to see that in the 730S. It’s the only change I would recommend here. Even though the 730S doesn’t have a Windows Hello supported camera, it’s absolutely fine at this price point.

The 730S is powerful enough to be your only laptop if you’re primarily a Microsoft Office / office productivity type of user.

Who is this For

For those who need a speedy, thin and light laptop that has a premium build at a reasonable price.