In the rather limited world of dual-role laptops – those that can act as both a laptop and a tablet – the Lenovo Yoga 700 is staking its claim to be the go-to option.
At the last count by Gartner, Lenovo still reigns supreme as the company able to shift the highest number of PCs worldwide, although that might not be much of a claim to fame given that with, each report issued, we read that PC shipment numbers have decreased by ‘X’pc for the last number of years.
This is why PC-producing companies have turned to new concepts that aim to take back some of the customers it has lost to the mobile market, most notably with the small number of dual-role laptops out there.
To explain, this means that the screen can either be used as a tablet or laptop and – depending on the manufacturer – will let you flip the screen around completely.
While some of the best known out there include Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4, released towards the end of last year, Lenovo’s own creation is aiming to nudge in on the more affordable market.
But what is it actually like to use?
Lenovo Yoga 700 Design
Well, starting with the aesthetics, the Lenovo Yoga 700 is rather easy on the eye, with its orange lid and smooth black base that is pretty sturdy for a small notebook-sized laptop with an 11.6in screen.
In terms of ports, you’re given plenty of USB ports, more specifically, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0, with of the latter also being the charging port for the wall socket, which is a nice way of getting the most out of your laptop ports.
There’s also a micro HDMI connection point if you’re looking to hook it up to a TV, as well as all the standard SD card readers and headphone jacks.
The real meat of the design, though, is seen with its dual-role capabilities and, from doing it a number of times, the screen flipping is smooth and doesn’t appear to result in any drooping.
The sticker on the front of the laptop shows it can be used in four different modes, but in reality it’s more likely you will use it in three ways: I used it as a laptop only, tablet only and, finally, flipped it so the keyboard is the stand and the tablet tilted for viewing.
The previous tilted Lenovo tablet I tried worked rather well, and this concept would appear to work pretty well also.
I’ll be honest and say I didn’t use it too much as a tablet as, while I like the idea, it’s just a strange feeling to hold a tablet while your fingers continuously press the disabled keyboard behind the screen.
Likewise, there’s a few design issues that I don’t think Lenovo had in mind when creating it, specifically, the fact that by flipping to tablet mode, the volume control buttons are flipped whereby the typical ‘volume up’ button is now the opposite; a minor detail, but curious all the same.
I’d also add that, from the screen’s perspective, despite a quite clear resolution of 1920x1080p, the issue whereby backlights would appear during boot-up didn’t seem to me to be a particularly good design, but I’ll admit it was hardly noticeable at any other time.
Processing power and performance
With a sixth-gen 2.3-GHz Intel Core i5-6200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, you’re getting considerable bang for your buck with the Yoga 700.
Aside from the almost instant boot-up, I never had any slowdown issues when running all the things you’d be likely to come across during typical use.
This included web browsing on Chrome – typically the most processor-pushing of browsers – with multiple tabs, including Netflix open and, aside from a small amount of heat I could feel through the casing, it ran completely fine.
While not geared towards gamers, I decided to run Football Manager on it to see how it’d fair and, it has to be said, it ran perfectly.
It is more than capable of playing the casual games available on the Windows Store, however, and with its high-res screen they come out very nicely.
What doesn’t come out particularly clear is the 1MP selfie camera that comes with the Yoga 700. While I’d never consider myself to be too picky when it comes to a camera I’d use for Skype, a camera of this low-quality is a bit of an oversight.
In terms of the software you’re dealing with, a typical new device features Windows 10, as well as a range of Lenovo’s own software, which to its credit doesn’t really fall into the category of bloatware that slows your computer down for no good reason.
Some of it’s quite useful in fact, such as Lenovo’s Shareit app for cloud sharing, but others are perplexingly placed, such as its battery-monitoring app which, on default launch, is placed where the normal battery indicator would be, in the bottom right-hand corner and they, confusingly, looked completely identical to one another.
This led to me thinking the battery was doing fantastically well, only to find it was not.
While I rather enjoyed using the Yoga 700 overall as a portable notebook-cum-tablet, I couldn’t help but recall an issue that you would experience when driving an electric vehicle, that being, ‘range anxiety’.
The term refers to the fear that you’ll run out of energy on the road in between two charging points, and I felt the same anxiety due to the rather poor performance of the battery.
Promising 7.5 hours of life, I found when running something processor-heavy this would drain much quicker and I would be charging it around twice a day.
Obviously, some concessions have to be made on a laptop that weighs just over 1kg, but compared with some of its competitors – like the Acer Aspire R14 or the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – it falls considerably short of the mark.
While I’ve referenced a few niggling issues with the Lenovo Yoga 700, I’d stress that they didn’t frustrate my time with it.
Sure, the battery life could have been better considering its competitors, but it didn’t render it useless.
I found myself using it regularly during my brief stint with it and definitely found uses for running it both as a laptop and as a tablet.
If you’re looking for an everyday use device but don’t want to reach to shelling out four figures, the Lenovo Yoga 700 is a pretty solid choice for most users, unless you’re big into gaming, which is unlikely for such a small device.
The Lenovo Yoga 700 is currently starting from €720 on its own website for Irish consumers.