The upper-mid-range Yoga 720 lineup from Lenovo seems promising and our overall positive review of the 13-inch version sets the bar a bit high for the 12-inch model that we have here in our hands. It follows the same design signature and hopefully will deliver at least the same, if not better, user experience than the 13-inch variant.
But despite the smaller footprint, the Yoga 720 (12-inch) surprises with the same tech specs across the board – again Full HD IPS touchscreen, Intel Core i5-7200U and Core i7-7500U processors behind the wheel, rigid aluminum chassis and M.2 SSD for your storage needs. And although everything sounds fine on paper, we are skeptical about the CPU’s performance because we had some issues with the 13-inch model and we can expect just about the same with the 12-inch model unless Lenovo has done something entirely different with the cooling solution. Let’s dive in to understand more.
The laptop comes in an identical Yoga-branded box like the 13-inch variant containing the AC adapter for charging and the usual user manuals.
Design and construction
As expected, the 12-inch Yoga 720 leads the pack of all Yoga 720 alterations with the lowest weight – just around 1.15 kg while the sides measure just 15.75 mm making it just a little thicker than the 13-inch Yoga 720 but it does make sense because the 12-inch body has to incorporate just about the same hardware inside as the 13-inch model. It’s a good thing, however, that the screen bezels remain minimal and aluminum makes most of the chassis.
Starting with the lid – it’s made of anodized aluminum and due to the “Iron Gray” color, fingerprints do stick fairly easy. More importantly, though, it feels rock-solid and doesn’t bend or twist at all. And thanks to the super slim bezels, Lenovo was able to trim off a good part of the chassis so it can be easily classified as a “subnotebook”. The footprint is considerably smaller than normal 12.5-inchers. And as for the hinges, they provide the 360-degree rotation with fairly linear travel, which means that opening the machine with just one hand isn’t possible but keep the screen firmly in place in laptop mode. The effect of the “bouncy screen” isn’t as prominent. Moving onto the bottom, it’s made of plastic and provides a big grill for cool air intake and two smaller ones for the loudspeakers.
There’s nothing much we can talk about the sides, unfortunately. They are just 15.75 mm thick and provide less than the bare minimum of I/O. Right under the machined edges of the base you can see the DC charging port and the 3.5 mm audio jack on the left leaving the standard USB 3.0 and the USB-C 3.0 on the right. However, the latter supports the DisplayPort standard so you can still plug it into an external monitor.
Opening the device reveals small but well-optimized and comfortable interior. The keyboard stretches to the sides making the most out of the free space. It provides surprisingly long key travel, satisfying clicky feedback and no layout surprises. We didn’t find, however, shortcuts for the media controls. As far as the touchpad is concerned, it has a good gliding surface, it’s fairly responsive but a bit mushy mouse clicks towards the upper edges but otherwise perfectly fine. The size is small but we couldn’t expect more to be fair considering the 12-inch form factor – there’s isn’t any unused space in practice. You can see for yourself in the photos above. And what about the aluminum sheet used for the interior? Well, Lenovo could have done better here. And we are not talking about the visible fingerprints in certain lightings, we refer to the bouncy middle section of the keyboard. Even light presses result in small deformation, although this won’t matter too much in practice.
We are generally satisfied with the build quality and design – the lid is rigid, the base feels stable most of the times – with a small exception of the middle area of the keyboard – and it’s extremely portable and lightweight. The hinges provide firm grip over the screen while the input devices will definitely get the work done despite the small working space. The most notable downfall of the 12-inch Yoga, however, is inherent to almost all 12-inchers on the market anyway – the lack of I/O. This one comes with just two USB ports but at least the USB-C connector supports DisplayPort output.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
The disassembly process is pretty easy. The bottom piece can be removed and reveals all the internals you’d need to access. Just make sure you slid the plate down after you removed all the screws.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
As expected, the notebook can carry only an M.2 SSD due to its limited internal space and small 12-inch form factor. But since the unit we’ve tested was a review sample, the M.2 SSD will most likely differ from the retail version.
|M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1||128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD||Buy from Amazon.com|
The motherboard holds 8GB of DDR4-2400 dual-channel memory but it’s soldered to the motherboard so it can’t be upgraded or swapped.
The Wi-Fi card is placed near the hinge and it’s Qualcomm Atheros QCNFA344A.
The battery unit isn’t as generous as we expected it to be – holds just a 36Wh charge.
The cooling system is pretty simple – short heatpipe taking away the heat from the heatsink and one small cooling fan taking care of the airflow.
The Yoga 720 (12-inch) uses a Full HD (1920×1080) IPS touch panel with a glossy finish. It’s manufactured by AU Optronics with model number B125HAN02.2. With a 1080p resolution and 12-inch display, you can expect a pixel density of 176 ppi and pixel pitch of 0.144 x 0.144 mm. The screen can be considered as “Retina” from at least 50 cm.
Viewing angles are excellent.
We’ve recorded a peak brightness of 256 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 248 cd/m2 as average across the surface with 13% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a bit warmer – 6100K and stays pretty much the same when going along the grayscale – 6100K. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (53% brightness) in the image below.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. And in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for multimedia web browsing and office work, a deviation of 3.3 in the lower left corner is acceptable. The contrast ratio is 1160:1 before calibration and 1100:1 after calibration.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.
Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.
Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.
Interestingly, the display covers just 56% of the sRGB color space so almost half of the colors won’t be reproduced when web browsing or enjoying a movie.
Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.
We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.
The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.
The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 25 ms.
PWM (Screen flickering)
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.
It appears that the display doesn’t use PWM for regulating brightness making it ideal for working long hours in front of it. It shouldn’t cause fatigue or discomfort if you are sensitive to backlight pulsation.
Blue light emissions
Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
The display used for the Yoga 720 (12-inch) isn’t bad by any means but it just doesn’t fit the notebook’s price tag. Closer to the 1000-ish US dollars and serving as an alternative to the 13-inch Yoga 720, a panel that’s color-deficient, has low maximum brightness that obstructs normal outdoor use – which will probably a common usage scenario given the form factor – just doesn’t cut it. In any case, the contrast ratio and the absence of PWM are some good pros to consider.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for Lenovo Yoga 720 configurations with 12.5″ AUO B125HAN02.2 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) IPS screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com
*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]
Read more about the profiles HERE.
In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.
Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.
Design and Gaming
This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.
THealth-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.
The sound quality is pretty good for a 12-inch ultrabook – the low, mid and high frequencies are clear.
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region
Lenovo YOGA 720 (12") technical specifications table
Lenovo Yoga 720 (12-inch) configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from Lenovo’s official support page.
Like most users out there, we expected good battery life from such small 12-inch laptop that has a ULV (ultra-low voltage) processor like the Core i5-7200U but we were pretty disappointed. The modest 36Wh charge just can’t keep the hardware running for any longer than a few hours.
Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature switched on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
CPU – Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel’s Core i7-7200U is part of the 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs and it’s the direct successor of the Core i5-5200U (Broadwell) and Core i5-6200U (Skylake). It’s also based on the same architecture as the aforementioned chips with little differences that should bring a small performance increase and a bump in power consumption. However, the new CPU is clocked at 2.5 GHz and its Turbo Boost frequency is 3.1 GHz opposed to the 2.3 – 2.8 GHz clocks on the previous Core i5-6200U.
Anyway, we still have the 2/4 core/thread count, 3MB last level cache, and a TDP of 15W, which includes the iGPU and the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. Speaking of the former, the chip integrates the newer generation Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics chip clocked at 300 – 1000 MHz.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i5-7200u/
Lenovo YOGA 720 (12") CPU variants
Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the Lenovo YOGA 720 (12") models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which Lenovo YOGA 720 (12") model is the best bang for your buck.
Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
Fritz is a chess benchmark that tests the computing capabilities of the CPU with various chess moves. The Intel Core i5-7200U scored 6.079 million moves per second. In comparison, one of the most powerful chess computers, Deep(er) Blue, was able to squeeze out 200 million moves per second. In 1997 Deep(er) Blue even beat the famous Garry Kasparov with 3.5 to 2.5.
GPU – Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel’s HD Graphics 620 integrated iGPU can be found in various ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors from the Kaby Lake generation. The GT2 version of the graphics chip uses 24 EUs (Execution Units) that can be clocked up to 1050 MHz and it has a base frequency of 300 MHz but the former can vary depending on the CPU. Since the iGPU doesn’t have a dedicated memory of its own – or eDRAM for that matter – it uses the available RAM on the system which is 2x 64-bit DDR3 or DDR4.
The TDP depends on the CPU model but it’s usually equipped with a SoC rated at 15W including the memory controller.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-620/
Of course, the stress tests that we perform don’t represent real-life usage scenarios because even the most demanding games don’t require 100% CPU and GPU load all the time. Still, these torture tests remain the most efficient way to assess the overall stability and effectiveness of the cooling system.
We start off with 100% CPU load for about an hour. The CPU utilized its full clock speeds (3.1 GHz) for a while before starting to fluctuate between 2.7 and 3.1 GHz. No thermal throttling occurred, though.
Switching on the GPU stress test resulted in CPU throttling but that’s to be expected because the compute cores give enough headroom for the iGPU to perform.
As to be expected, the interior remained pretty cool while the cooling fan was surprisingly silent. The Yoga 720 12-inch surely is one of the most silent notebooks we’ve tested – no high-pitch fan sounds, no noticeable fan noise ramping up during load.
The Lenovo Yoga 720 12-inch definitely has its place in the ultra-portables market but not like this. It misses on an essential feature for all convertibles and ultra-portables – a good IPS screen. Given the price point and the Yoga lineup to which it belongs, a panel with suboptimal maximum brightness and limited sRGB is just unacceptable. And when you add the glossy finish of the screen, it becomes barely usable outdoors. Still, the absence of PWM and the high contrast ratio should be noted and taken into account.
Another great misstep is the battery life. Since Lenovo has stuck a tiny 36Wh unit, battery life suffers quite a lot and falls behind most of its competitors or even bigger 13-inch alternatives.
And despite these drawbacks, the 12-inch Yoga 720 makes a compelling case thanks to its undeniable pros like sturdy aluminum chassis (except for the middle of the interior), portable body, and modern and sleek looks. In fact, the keyboard and touchpad are so comfortable, you can hardly notice any difference between the 13-inch Yoga 720 and this one. We just didn’t have that notion of limited working space, which often plagues the smaller devices.
We are also happy with the performance – sticking a full-fledged low-voltage processor in such tiny body is definitely a challenge, especially when trying to keep it chilled. In addition, the Yoga 720 deals with the heat without much noise coming close to the passively cooled systems we’ve tested before.
The bottom line? We strongly recommend considering the 13-inch Yoga 720 because you are not making a big sacrifice in terms of portability and you gain better screen, longer battery life and more I/O as a bonus. The poor battery life and the color-deficient and dim screen just can’t be overlooked for the asking price.
- Comfortable input devices despite the small form factor
- Lightweight and portable chassis
- Good CPU utilization and silent operation
- The screen doesn’t use PWM for regulating screen brightness
- The interior could be sturdier
- Color-deficient display with low maximum brightness combines with glossy finish
- Poor battery life