Lenovo Yoga 700 (11.6in) review
Processor: Dual-core 900MHz Intel Core M3-6Y30, RAM: 8GB, Dimensions: 290x197x15.8mm, Weight: 1.1kg, Screen size: 11.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Intel HD Graphics 515, Total storage: 128GB SSD
Convertible laptops have been around a while now, but few have managed to find the right balance between price and performance. They can vary from extremely affordable with lacklustre build quality, to top of the range flagship devices with prices so high they make your eyes water. At £560, Lenovo's latest shape-shifting Yoga 700 falls into the mid-range category, but unfortunately it still manages to miss the mark when it comes to overall value for money.
You’ll need to watch which model you’re buying, though, as Lenovo has actually made two different laptops with the same name. The most obvious difference between them is size - there’s the 11.6in model reviewed here, and a larger 14.1in model. However, both laptops have very different specifications, as the 11.6in model uses a less power-hungry processor than its big brother, which will affect day-to-day performance. Otherwise, each one looks more or less identical to the other, and both are available in a range of colours, including silver, white and a more eye-catching orange if you’re looking to make more of a statement.
Like previous Yoga laptops, the Yoga 700 has a special hinge that allows you to bend it backwards 360 degrees, allowing you to fold it back on itself for you to use as a tablet. You can also use the Yoga 700 propped up in what Lenovo calls "tent" mode, a kind of inverted V-shape which comes in handy if you want to prod away at the touchscreen without holding it for long periods of time.
This makes the Yoga 700 incredibly versatile. Keep in mind that the screen doesn’t detach from its keyboard base, though, so when used as a tablet you’re not able to shed the excess weight. At 1.1kg, it’s reasonably light, but you might begin to tire holding it one-handed after a while. It also measures 15.8mm in thickness, so it's not the sveltest laptop around either.
The outer lid and base have a slightly soft-touch material that makes it easy to hold and pick up but the lid has a little too much flex for my liking. Otherwise, it's a well put together laptop with a solid hinge that stays in whatever position you choose and withstands all of your prods at the touchscreen.
The sides have a textured, rubberised coating surrounding the ports and buttons. Power and volume are located on the right-hand side and are very small and flush. You might struggle to find the small power and volume buttons when you need them, however, as these are located on the right-hand side and sit flush to the laptop, although you can always use the keyboard's volume controls as a back-up provided you’re not using the system in tablet mode.
Elsewhere, there are two USB ports and a single faster USB3 port. Ideally, I would have preferred more USB3 ports, as one of the USB2 ports doubles up as the power connector as well, meaning you have one less USB port when plugged in. Connecting to an external display can be done through its Micro HDMI port, and there’s an SD card reader as well as a headset jack.
Keyboard, Touchpad and Display
The inside casing is predominantly an all-black affair, with the palmrest and keyboard tray made from plastic but with a brushed metal-like effect. The keyboard has chiclet keys, but I found they had very little travel to them, so there wasn't a lot of distinct feedback to each key press. This meant typing quickly and accurately can become a bit of a chore, and the half-height Enter key and reduced-width Left Shift key were also occasionally irksome.
The touchpad is also rather small and not particularly responsive. It handled most multi-touch gestures but would occasionally miss an input or two, gradually growing more frustrating after prolonged use. The touchscreen was at least nice and snappy, as it panned and zoomed without a hitch.
I was pleased to see the screen has a 1,920x1,080 panel, as it's rare to see this kind of resolution on an 11.6in laptop. The quality of the display itself, however, was disappointing. There’s distinct backlight bleed from the bottom corners and the screen ripples and distorts when you exert any pressure on it. It's exacerbated by the flexible lid as well, which is something you definitely do not want with a touchscreen.
Colour accuracy left a lot to be desired as well with its 61.6% sRGB coverage, so this isn’t a laptop you’ll want to use for colour sensitive work. Its black levels of 0.36cd/m2 weren’t as deep and rich as I would have liked either, but it's around average for a laptop of this price. Its contrast ratio of 744:1, while not amazing, was also around what I would expect. A brightness of 335.1cd/m2 was very good, however.