It wouldn't be fair to say that the Lenovo Yoga 700 is just the cheaper alternative to the Lenovo Yoga 900. Yes, it doesn't have the watch band hinge, a metallic finish and it's not as light. Sure it costs less, but it has a few interesting upgrades including a larger 14" display (albeit at lower but still competent resolution) and optional NVIDIA 940M graphics for moderate graphics punch. Thanks to frequent sales on Lenovo's website, pricing is a moving target, but we like the $799 model on sale this week with a Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM, 256 gig SSD and the NVIDIA GT 940M as a pleasing value proposition. Our review unit is the $899 model with a Core i5, 8 gigs of RAM, 256 gig SSD and Intel HD 520 integrated graphics.
The Yoga 700 is a 14" Windows 2-in-1 convertible with a 360 degree hinge that's available in matte black or light silver. Unlike the super-lightweight 2.8 lb. Yoga 900, the Yoga 700 is a hearty 3.6 pounds. Slimming and shaving weight from a laptop still costs a pretty penny. The Yoga 700 looks more like Yoga convertibles of old, before they gained the glitzy watchband hinge and color options. It's a fairly bland looking machine, but it's not ugly or cheesy looking. You won't get cutting edge ports like USB-C, but given the current dearth of USB-C peripherals, that likely won't be a deal breaker for buyers in this segment. The notebook has Intel's lower end dual band WiFi 802.11ac + Bluetooth 3165 card, a 1080p touch screen and a backlit keyboard. It's available with Intel 6th generation Core i5 and i7 dual core CPUs.
Build, Keyboard and Trackpad
Build quality is good, though you won't get a unibody metal casing or an impossibly rigid keyboard deck at this price. That said, the HP Spectre x360 that's often on sale for $999 does have both a unibody aluminum casing and a very rigid keyboard deck and casing. HP's x360 is a hard convertible to beat and it throws off the value equation in a good way for consumers. That said, the keyboard deck is by no means squishy and I actually prefer the key travel and feel of the Yoga 700 keyboard over the Yoga 900's. The keys are backlit in white and you'll turn it on and off using Lenovo's usual Fn and spacebar (there's only one brightness level). The keys will face outward or downward when using the Yoga in non-laptop position, and the keys do move, though the machine will ignore input from the keyboard and trackpad when not in laptop mode. This is not a lift and lock keyboard where the keys and trackpad lock down--that's a Lenovo ThinkPad-only feature.
The large, buttonless glass trackpad had us less excited, and it's not as good as the Yoga 900's or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga's. It feels more like the average Windows 8 trackpad with just OK tracking accuracy and a tendency to ignore two-finger scrolling gestures.
Since this is a 2-in-1 convertible that can be used in tablet, tent and presentation modes, it has power and volume controls on the side (there are volume buttons on the Fn row of the keyboard too). It has two USB 3.0 ports (one on each side), Lenovo's new dual purpose charging/USB 2.0 port, micro HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio and an SD card slot. Loud and full stereo speakers fire from the bottom--Lenovo does audio very nicely in their consumer product line.
The laptop has vents at the rear edge and on the bottom. To remove the bottom cover you'll unscrew many Torx T5 screws then work the bottom cover off--those plastic clips are tenacious. Once the cover is off you'll have access to the battery, 2.5" drive bay, socketed wireless card and a single RAM slot. It's rare to see an Ultrabook with a RAM slot rather than soldered RAM, though with one slot, that makes 8 gigs the readily attainable max. You can buy 16 gig SODIMM laptop RAM modules, but so far only Intelligent Memory is selling those direct to consumers and they're expensive.
Lenovo has one display offering, and it's a competent though not remarkable full HD 1920 x 1080 glossy touch screen. Contrast is good at 700:1 and black levels are good, but color gamut is below the competition at 66% of sRGB and 50% of Adobe RGB. This isn't the machine for photographers and graphics professionals given the less than 99% sRGB coverage, but it actually looks pretty decent when viewing photos and video--it's fine for content consumers even if it doesn't wow you with incredible color. Brightness is mediocre at 200 nits, which is fine for work indoors in home environments, but if you're lucky enough to have an office with large windows or often kick back in Starbucks, you'll have to face the display away from the window to avoid it washing out. There is no pen option for the Yoga 700 (or 900 for that matter). Look to Lenovo's ThinkPad offerings if you need a pen and active digitizer.
Deals and Shopping:
Lenovo Yoga 700 Video Review
Horsepower and Performance
The Yoga 700 is available with 6th generation Intel Skylake dual core 15 watt Core i5 and i7 CPUs, 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and a SATA SSD in the 2.5" drive bay. Our 2.3 GHz Core i5-6200U scores similarly to the competition running on the same internals. Heat and noise are well managed, and we rarely heard the fan unless gaming or running large Windows updates. The bottom gets warm but never hot during typical productivity and streaming video scenarios. Like any Ultrabook with these specs, the laptop is capable and fast enough to be your main machine if streaming video, photo editing with Photoshop, occasional video editing, MS Office and light software development are in your daily to-do list.
Since it's available with Intel HD 520 graphics or NVIDIA 940M graphics, there's a model for everyday users and for light gamers. The 940M 2GB graphics will make advanced Photoshop filters run faster and speed up video rendering. It's suitable for 2-3 year old moderately demanding games at 1600 x 900 or 1920 x 1080 resolution and medium settings (Bioshock Infinite, Skyrim) and even GTA V at lower settings and resolutions. It's not a gaming laptop however, so it won't run Fallout 4 at native resolution and medium (or even low) settings at preferred frame rates.
The laptop has a RAM slot, unlike many 13" Ultrabooks, so you could in theory upgrade it to 16 gigs of RAM with a single SODIMM RAM module. The Yoga 700 has 2.5" drive bay, and those drives are readily available should you wish to source a larger drive later.
PCMark 8 (Home, accelerated): 2917
wPrime: 17.8 sec.
Geekbench 3: 2713 single core, 5822 multi-core
The Lenovo Yoga 700 has a 45 Whr, 4 cell battery that's nominally sealed inside (if you remove the bottom cover, you can service the battery). Lenovo claims 7 hours runtime on a charge, and that's actually accurate for typical productivity and streaming video tasks with brightness at 50% and WiFi on. It uses the same compact square charger as the Yoga 900 rather than the usual laptop charger with two lengths of cable.
The Lenovo Yoga 700 is a serviceable and sensible 14" 2-in-1 convertible Ultrabook whose only failing is that it brings nothing new or sexy to the table. It's somewhat dull looking, but we like the soft touch finish and firm display hinges. It lacks features that make it stand out, but it's competent and capable for use as a main computer. At 3.6 lbs., it's not terribly heavy for a 14" machine, and it's portable enough for work and school. Lenovo created the 360 degree convertible laptop, and now that other manufacturers have jumped on the design they have a great deal of competition from Dell with the Inspiron line (generally cheaper), HP (that sexy Spectre x360!) and even Asus. Then there's Lenovo's own Yoga 900 for $1,199 with a better WiFi card, a significantly higher resolution display and a super-slim and nice looking design in a 2.8 pound package. It's easy for the Yoga 700 to get lost in the fray.