Review: Lenovo Yoga 720 12

Review: Lenovo Yoga 720 12

Lenovo’s Yoga 720 12 is an excellent value. Starting at $649 (Lenovo devices are frequently discounted), this 12.5-inch ultrabook is well built, thin and light, and reasonably powerful. This is not a fan-less machine with a detachable keyboard. It’s not supposed to be a tablet that’s posing as a laptop. It’s not common to find a 12.5-inch ultrabook with an aluminum chassis. If you’re tired of sub-$500 hybrids made from plastics with less than reliable keyboards and Atom processors, here’s a slightly more expensive option for you.

Specifications (As Tested)

  • CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i3-7100U (2.4GHz 3MB L2 Cache)
  • Display: 12.5″ FHD (1080p) IPS multitouch
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated HD 620
  • Webcam: 720p HD camera with dual array microphone
  • RAM: 4GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Storage: 128GB PCIe SSD
  • Battery: 3-cell
  • Audio: Harmon speakers with Dolby Atmos
  • Security: fingerprint reader with Windows Hello
  • I/O: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB C,  mic and headphone jack
  • Dimensions: 11.5″ x 8.0″ x 0.6″
  • Weight: 2.5 lbs

Design

The 720 12 is a 2-in-1 laptop with a bright and sharp display surrounded by thin bezels. Like the other Yoga laptops from Lenovo, the 720 12 has multiple uses. It can be a laptop, a tablet, or placed in tent mode for optimal media consumption. The keyboard has well spaced keys, a properly located left-Ctrl key (unlike the X1 Yoga), and a multi-purpose function-key row. The display hinge is strong, but doesn’t carry with it the beautiful complexity of the watchband hinge in Lenovo’s flagship Yoga 900 series. For me, the real win in the design is the quality of the aluminum metal chassis that wraps a uniquely-spec’d laptop into a 12″ frame.

Performance

What makes all of these elements add up to a winning design is that it’s in an ultraportable. The value, however, gets shady after you leave the Intel i3 configuration in favor of the more powerful i5 and i7 models. From an MSRP perspective, anyhow. I have, however, seen the i5 model as low as $599 at Best Buy. If that’s a typical retail price, then the value is actually quite good. You won’t find many 12-inch laptops with an i5 CPU for $599. Microsoft’s Surface is the closest thing, and, frankly, it’s not as comfortable to use as the 720. Generally in the 12″ display category you’ll mostly come across Chromebooks like the Asus Chromebook flip. It’s a wonderful Chromebook but it’s Intel Core M3 CPU can’t compete with the Core i3 found in the Yoga 720 12. In the $600 price point you’ll find laptops with larger 14-15″ displays but they’re heavier and have thicker bezels. They weigh in around 5 pounds, like the Acer Aspire E 15. So, performance in the 720 12 is really good, considering what you’re getting.

Who is this For?

Lenovo is entering into a space that pits their new Yoga 720 12 up against either low-powered, smaller devices or more powerful, larger devices. The right buyer isn’t necessarily going to use this device as their only PC. It’s really more of a companion device for travelers or couch surfers that want to do a little more than browse the web. Or, perhaps, browse the web with more speed. There is the looming threat of Chromebooks that are excellent couch surfing companions. As a teacher, I can use this device and be happy. But as a parent with thousands of pictures, it won’t suffice; the screen is too small for editing. As a business consultant – sure, the 720 12 would be great due to the battery life and form factor. Be sure to get your hands on one of these before you make a buying decision. It’s a beautiful device that fits uniquely into the middle ground of laptops.

Joe Barhoum

Joe was born and raised in Portland, OR. As an illegitimate son of Zeus, Joe sometimes struggles with his humanity vs. his divinity. As a self proclaimed “health-nut” Joe drinks half his weight in protein shakes a day, and it is not uncommon for him to run for days, sometimes covering hundreds of miles.

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