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Lenovo Yoga 500 review: A hybrid that's short on power

Tom Bruce Nathan Spendelow Thomas McMullan
18 Sep 2018
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
353
inc VAT

It comes with a cheap pricetag, but terrible battery life and sluggish performance make the Yoga 500 one to avoid

Pros 
Sleek and striking design
Good selection of ports
Cons 
Appalling battery life
Underwhelming display
Very slow to boot and load apps
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UPDATE: The Lenovo Yoga 500 has been superceded not once, not twice, but thrice since the time of this review. The most recent version of the Yoga 500 2-in-1 laptop series is the Lenovo Yoga 530. It's a nice, lightweight laptop with a lot going for it, including outstanding performance speeds, but it does some have serious flaws.

Regardless, it's still a much better 2-in1 than the Yoga 500, and is something of a laptop rarity in that it is powered by an AMD Ryzen processor with integrated Radeon Vega graphics. You don't see too many of them! Read our review of the Lenovo Yoga 530 here, or visit our list of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy right now.

READ NEXT: Lenovo Yoga C-930 hands on review

Read on for our original review of the Lenovo Yoga 500.

Lenovo has been enjoying much praise recently with its 2-in-1 hybrids, but the Yoga 500 cuts short the company's run of top-form products. Now replaced by the Yoga 510, this cut-price laptop – at around £350 – is one of the cheapest 2-in-1s you can currently buy. However, it simply isn't worth the effort; there are far better laptops out there for the price.

It’s a shame, really, since it certainly looks the part of a sleek hybrid laptop. My particular review model had a striking white chassis, and its classy hairline finish offers a significant step up from the cheaper and rather more plasticky Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA.

Lenovo Yoga 500 review: Display

Take a close look at the 14in display, though, and you’ll see how Lenovo has managed to keep the cost down. With a resolution of only 1,366 x 768, it isn't the sharpest display out there, and text is rather fuzzy round the edges. Admittedly, the Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA also has a 1,366 x 768 resolution, but this is crammed into a much smaller 11.6in screen, giving it a higher pixel density than the Yoga 500.

The quality of the screen is pretty sub-par, too. Our X-Rite colorimeter showed it was displaying only 57.2% of the sRGB colour gamut, leaving colours looking washed out. It’s also hampered by poor viewing angles and a low peak brightness of 212cd/m2, making it difficult to use outside or in brightly lit rooms.

Lenovo Yoga 500 review: Keyboard and touchpad

The full-sized keyboard was more promising. It felt responsive over long typing sessions, and each key gave a decent amount of tactile feedback.

Lenovo Yoga 500 left side ports

Sadly, the same can’t be said for the touchpad. Not only is it incredibly unresponsive, but I often found myself wrestling with it in order to get it to do what I wanted. I actually preferred using the touchscreen over the touchpad, since this at least registered my finger taps. This is definitely a laptop that could benefit from the use of a mouse when it isn't being used in tablet mode.

Lenovo Yoga 500 review: Performance and Battery Life

The Yoga 500 showcases some pretty uninspiring specs, too. Rather than using one of 2016's Core i3 processors, the Yoga 500 is stuck with a two-year-old dual-core 1.9GHz Core i3-4030U chip and just 4GB of RAM. As a result, it was no match for our demanding 4K multimedia benchmarks. I ran our 1080p multimedia tests instead, which use the i3-4030U as a reference point. Here it scored 94 overall, which is a little below average for this type of chip.

Lenovo Yoga 500 hinge

In real-world use, the Yoga 500 proved rather sluggish. It took a fair while to boot up, with applications too taking some time to load. It’s definitely one of the slowest Lenovo 2-in-1s I’ve tested recently, although you could say that's to be expected given the price. Not surprisingly, it isn't cut out for light gaming, either: even Minecraft saw some pretty drastic frame rate drops below 20fps on numerous occasions.

Battery life is by far the Yoga 500’s worst attribute, however. Lasting a measly 2hrs 49mins in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to our predefined level of 170cd/m2, you’ll be hard-pressed to squeeze out enough juice for a morning’s work, let alone a full day, so taking the charger with you is an absolute must.

Lenovo Yoga 500 main side

Lenovo Yoga 500 review: Ports and Connections

It does, at least, have a generous supply of ports, including three USB ports (two of which are USB 3), an HDMI output, SD card reader and a combined headphone and microphone jack. There’s even a proper Ethernet port to complement its 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 support.

Lenovo Yoga 500 review: Verdict

Nevertheless, that’s of small consolation when the Yoga 500 lacks even basic stamina to get through a day. With its sluggish performance and atrocious battery life, I simply can’t recommend it, even as a budget 2-in-1 device. There are far better alternatives out there, such as the even cheaper Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA, makingthe Yoga 500 one to avoid at all costs.

If you'd rather spend a bit more, check out our regularly updated Best Laptops article for more of our top picks.

Core specs
ProcessorDual-core 1.9GHz Intel Core i3-4030U
RAM4GB
Memory slots (free)1 (0)
Max memory8GB
Dimensions340x235x21.5
Weight1.8Kg
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Display
Screen size14in
Screen resolution1,366 x 768
TouchscreenYes
Graphics adaptorIntel HD Graphics
Graphics outputs1x HDMI
Graphics memory1GB
Storage
Total storage1TB HDD
Optical drive typeN/A
Ports and expansion
USB ports2x USB3, 1X USB2
Bluetooth4.0
Networking802.11a/c wireless, Wired
Memory card readerSD
Other portsN/A
Miscellaneous
Operating systemWindows 10 Home
Operating system restore optionRestore partition