Lenovo Flex vs Yoga (2020)

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For this article we compared the Lenovo Flex versus the Lenovo Yoga, including the Performance, Screen Quality, temperature under workload and the battery of the two Laptops and gave them a grade (from 1 to 10), which you can see in our ranking below.

Winner
Lenovo - Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive - Abyss Blue
Best Price
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14 Inch FHD Touchscreen Display, AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor, 12GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, Windows 10, 81SS000DUS, Black, Pen Included
Model
Yoga 730
Flex
Test Result
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Lenovo
Lenovo
RAM
12GB
12GB
CPU
Intel Core i5-8265U
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
Graphics Card
Intel UHD Graphics 620
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Storage Capacity
256GB SSD
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
4.20 lbs
3.52 lbs
Pros
  • Awesome 4K-Display
  • A lot Storage
  • Best Performance
  • Great Display with Touchscreen
  • Good Performance
  • Silent
Cons
  • No SD-card Slot
  • Keyboard not the best
Winner
Lenovo - Yoga 730 2-in-1 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i5 - 12GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive - Abyss Blue
Model
Yoga 730
Test Result
Test Result 9.5/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
Lenovo
RAM
12GB
CPU
Intel Core i5-8265U
Graphics Card
Intel UHD Graphics 620
Storage Capacity
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
4.20 lbs
Pros
  • Awesome 4K-Display
  • A lot Storage
  • Best Performance
Cons
  • No SD-card Slot
Best Price
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14 Inch FHD Touchscreen Display, AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor, 12GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, Windows 10, 81SS000DUS, Black, Pen Included
Model
Flex
Test Result
Test Result 9.3/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
Lenovo
RAM
12GB
CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
Graphics Card
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Storage Capacity
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
3.52 lbs
Pros
  • Great Display with Touchscreen
  • Good Performance
  • Silent
Cons
  • Keyboard not the best

Ranking First: Lenovo Yoga 730

Lenovo Yoga 730 review

Pros

  • Awesome 4K-Display
  • A lot Storage
  • Best Performance

Cons

  • No SD-card Slot

With the Yoga 730, Lenovo has a convertible notebook in its range that is suitable for multimedia and gaming. A 15.6 inch touch display is used, which has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. Lenovo could accommodate an Intel Core i7 processor as well as an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 graphics in the notebook, which weighs just under 4.2 lbs.

This graphics card is also well suited for gaming or image or video editing. The aluminum case also contains 16 GB of RAM and a fast M.2 module with 512 GB memory capacity. The two display hinges allow the touch display to be folded completely around the keyboard. So you can use the Yoga 730 not only as a notebook but also as a tablet.

Display

Lenovo Yoga 730 touchscreen review

Lenovo’s Yoga 730 Series convertible notebook features a 15.6-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. This corresponds to the UHD resolution. The surface supports touch input with a finger as well as input with a corresponding pen. The Active Pen 2 is included in the scope of delivery. You can also use Windows Hello with the Active Pen 2. The average illumination is 245 cd/m². The viewing angle is very high due to the IPS panel and you can view the screen content from almost any angle without loss.

Somewhat disturbing is the reflective surface, which reflects much of the surroundings. As befits a convertible notebook, the display can be completely folded around the base unit and the notebook turns into a tablet in a few seconds. The keyboard switches off automatically when folded, as does the key illumination.

Hardware

For the inner hardware Lenovo has decided on a combination of Intel CPU and Nvidia graphics. A Core i7-8550U of the 8th generation is used as processor, which works at a basic clock rate of 1.8 GHz. In turbo mode, which is automatically switched on when needed, individual processor cores can reach a clock rate of up to 4 GHz. The 16 GB RAM, which is permanently soldered to the motherboard, operates in dual-channel mode.

Two graphics solutions are found in the Lenovo Yoga 730 for graphics calculations. Aside from the integrated UHD graphics of the Intel CPU, Lenovo has also equipped the convertible notebook with a dedicated Nvidia Geforce graphics. This is a GTX 1050, which has its own video memory of 4 GB. You can also play well with the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050. Not only older DirectX games run very smoothly, but also current game titles like Far Cry or For Honor can be played jerk-free with adjusted detail level. You have to reduce the display resolution to Full HD, though.

A fast M.2 module with a storage capacity of 512 GB is built in to store data. With about 2,600 MB/s the transfer rate is very fast when reading. When writing, the module is significantly slower. Lenovo couldn’t accommodate a hard disk in the 16.9 mm flat notebook.

You can work for about 3 hours in battery mode with Lenovo’s convertible notebook. The network connection is exclusively via WLAN. The built-in WLAN module works according to the fast ac standard. Wireless accessories like headset and loudspeakers can be connected via Bluetooth 4.1.

Ports

Lenovo was able to accommodate three USB sockets on the almost 17 mm flat convertible notebook, whereby two correspond to type A (standard USB). The type C USB socket also supports Thunderbolt, so that you can also connect another monitor to it. Lenovo has also included a full HDMI port. On the left is also the socket for the charging adapter and the headset.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Lenovo Yoga 730 review

It’s noticeable that Lenovo hasn’t made very good use of the keyboard’s surface area. A lot of space was wasted left and right. The curved keys are slightly recessed in the aluminum case so that the keys don’t protrude in tablet mode. A two-stage backlight can be turned on via the key combination Fn+Leer.

A fingerprint scanner is also included in the wrist-rest beside a large touchpad. The keyboard and touchpad switch off automatically when the display is flipped over. However, the fingerprint scanner does not switch itself off.

Upgrading

The back of the convertible notebook can be opened easily. However, the interior offers no expansion possibilities. The main memory is soldered and not expandable. But 16 GB RAM should also be more than sufficient. Only the M.2 and the WLAN module would be replaceable.

Upgrading

Under load, the aluminium housing heats up in a few places. The CAT S60 smartphone’s thermal imaging camera in the back of the keyboard just showed 30.4 degrees Celsius. Up to 38.1 degrees were measured on the bottom.

Even the small charging adapter hardly heated up at all in the stress test. The convertible notebook’s ventilation system works very quietly without stress. The fan only rotates faster when under load and is only audible directly on the device.

Conclusion

With the Yoga 730, Lenovo clearly shows that you can also work and play with a convertible notebook. The Yoga 730 is equipped with a 15.6 inch touch display with a 4K resolution. Thanks to Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1050, even games run without major compromises. Here you should only reduce the UHD resolution to Full HD and if necessary make a hand with the details. The Yoga 730 is interesting for all those who also want to do image and/or video editing. With the CUDA support of the Nvidia graphics, recoding / conversion is done much faster than with the integrated UHD graphics of the Intel CPU.

Lenovo has built an Intel Core i7 CPU of the newest generation into the Yoga 730, which has 16 GB RAM on the side. The fast M.2 module, on which Windows 10 is pre-installed, has a capacity of 512 GB. So it’s not quite so tragic that the convertible notebook can’t be expanded. A bit disappointing is the battery life. In our battery test, the lithium-ion battery lasted just about 3 hours.

Lenovo’s Yoga 730 made a very good impression overall, which makes it better versus the also well performing Lenovo Flex.

Ranking Second: Lenovo Flex

Lenovo Flex review

Pros

  • Great Display with Touchscreen
  • Good Performance
  • Silent

Cons

  • Keyboard not the best

The dual-mode notebook Lenovo Flex 2-15 belongs to the especially low-priced 15-inch notebooks and is already available for under $700, depending on the configuration. But contrary to the usual savings in terms of equipment in this price class, the test device advertises with a wealth of exciting components and features.

The Lenovo Flex 2-15’s component list in our test configuration is therefore not at all commonplace. An IPS multi-touch display, Intel’s Pentium 3558U, 4 GB RAM, Nvidia’s Geforce 820M graphics and a 500 GB hard disk already cover the performance section above average for itself. The Lenovo Flex 2-15 hefts itself into bargain status with a keyboard light, 300 degree hinge and a neat interface equipment. However, you have to do without a Windows operating system, which didn’t fit into the package in terms of price.

Design

Already during unpacking and first touching it becomes clear very quickly that the good data sheet is not necessarily reflected in the case quality. Somehow, the low price must also be reflected in the quality in the end. Although Lenovo has realized a quite appealing look at first glance, the stability doesn’t come close to that of the ThinkPads by far. It creaks and cracks noticeably when touching the base unit with one hand.

Generally, this part of the notebook can be twisted with little force and leaves a mixed impression of quality. The display unit again shows itself to be quite stable and only yields slightly when pulling and pushing the display corners in different directions. The display lid can also hardly be pushed in and thus makes a pleasantly solid impression.

Whilst you could easily overlook the base unit’s moderate torsional stiffness in stationary use, the bouncing and not very stable keyboard mat won’t only annoy frequent typists in the long run. The pressure point turns out quite spongy and the typing feel is overall not very appealing. Apart from that, the case at least optically benefits from the slim construction and the structured top side around the keyboard. The weight is 5.7 lbs and is thus somewhat above the usual average of a 15 inch notebook. You won’t find any maintenance flaps on the Lenovo Flex 2-15. The entire base plate has to be removed in order to access the components here.

Ports

Lenovo Flex review ports

The interface equipment available in the Lenovo Flex 2-15 can be considered comparatively opulent for a notebook in this price range. Of the total of three available USB ports, at least one works according to the fast USB 3.0 standard. You should primarily use fast external mass storage devices here so that they aren’t slowed down with about 37 MB/s during data transfer, as in the other two USB 2.0 ports. With the blue colored port, I achieved up to 412 MB/s when reading with a Samsung SSD T1 (256 GB). The UHS-I card reader (limited to about 95 MB/s) in my test with a Sandisk Extreme III UHS-II 16 GB memory card achieved 47 MB/s reading and 45 MB/s writing.

Normally the Sandisk is good for speeds beyond the 200 MB/s mark with appropriate card readers. A supposedly slower Lexar Professional UHS-II, on the other hand, achieves almost twice as high a speed of 90 MB/s when reading. When writing, both lie on the same level again. This example shows that not every memory card works optimally with every reader.

Nowadays already a rarity, optical drives integrated directly into the housing have become a rarity. Here a DVD burner from Matshita is used, which supports most formats. As has been customary for a long time, Lenovo has combined the microphone input with the headphone output in a 3.5 mm jack socket in the Flex 2-15 as well. Older headsets, which still use two separate cables, would therefore have to be operated with an adapter.

The other communication equipment also turns out pleasantly extensive. Dual Band AC-WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, Gigabit Ethernet and an HD webcam with a dual array microphone complete the range. Wow! The complete package is convincing.

Keyboard and Clickpad

As already mentioned, the keyboard doesn’t make a good impression in terms of typing characteristics. The entire keyboard mat teeters and can be pressed in with little force. That’s a pity, as it otherwise pleases very well with a nice layout, practical FN combinations, keyboard illumination and a separate number pad. It’s just hardly suitable for writing for a longer period of time, which is what a keyboard is already used for. If you attach great importance to a keyboard light, you also have to be especially careful when choosing a device. Not every configuration is equipped with this feature.

The clickpad, on the other hand, is generally easy to use, even if it doesn’t have separate input keys. The gliding characteristics and responsiveness are pleasing and allow for smooth navigation. While the usual multi-finger gestures can be activated, the clickpad doesn’t accept a two-finger tip, for example to open the context menu. Here you have to make a mechanical click to get a reaction. The one-finger tip, on the other hand, works without a problem.

The IPS screen’s multi-touch capability presents itself as the third and quite nice input option. Here, the combination of a 15-inch screen and FullHD resolution proves to be extremely positive and offers a good ratio of display area and icon size. The touch surface reacts well under Windows 10, offers an appealing accuracy and makes handling easier, especially when opening programs, folders and files.

Display

Lenovo Flex review

The Lenovo Flex 2-15 is basically available with two different screens. The HD display already appears less attractive on the data sheet, which promises only the most meager fare with a TN panel, a brightness of 200 cd/m² and a contrast of 400 : 1. The specifications of my test model read much better. With FullHD resolution, IPS panel and a contrast of 700 : 1, three essential characteristics are much better implemented. Due to the capacitive touch surface, however, both versions are strongly reflective and, together with the relatively low maximum brightness, disqualify themselves for extensive outdoor use.

In contrast, the measured 208 cd/m² (display center) are usually sufficient indoors and can even be reduced in darker environments. Only in particularly bright working environments is the screen’s luminosity too low to sufficiently outshine any reflections that occur.

On the one hand, this contradicts the device concept with its 300 degree hinge, and on the other hand, it can still be classified as good for a notebook in its price class. By the way, the brightness isn’t reduced any further in battery mode when the display energy saving technology is disabled for battery operation in Intel’s graphic driver.

With a black value of 0.338 cd/m², the LG-Philips panel achieves a contrast of 615 : 1 in the delivery state, which doesn’t quite reach the manufacturer’s specifications. If you profile the display, the white point is adjusted. This leads to a significantly reduced brightness of 171 cd/m² but also to an improved black level of 0.154 cd/m². Overall, the contrast increases to 1110 : 1. 56% of the sRGB color space is covered, which is in line with what you can expect in this price range.

The small colour range is ultimately also responsible for the poor colour accuracy. This turns out extremely low with a maximum DeltaE 2000 of 26.2. A profiling can indeed significantly improve the gray tones, but as especially some blue and violet tones go far beyond a DeltaE 2000 of 10, the display is generally unsuitable for color accurate work.

The reaction speed of the IPS panel moves between 26.2 and 51 ms. I haven’t noticed any use of PWM (pulse width modulation) for brightness reduction. If this would be used, one could perceive a flickering at different brightness settings. The viewing angle stability is very good and is only affected by reflections on the display surface depending on the viewing angle. Colors, contrast and brightness remain unchanged overall.

Performance

Lenovo Flex review

Basically, Lenovo offers the Flex 2-15 in many different variants, with the top model including: i7 CPU, Nvidia Geforce 840M, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD. Meanwhile, the series is running out and is only available for sale. My test model is equipped with an Intel Pentium 3558U, integrated Intel HD Graphics, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB hard disk and dedicated Nvidia Geforce 820M. In the upgrade article for the Lenovo Flex 2-15, I upgraded the test model with a 256 GB SSD and a second RAM module.

The computing power of the Pentium CPU turns out relatively modest in comparison to the more powerful Core i processors, but offers enough performance to handle many office or work tasks sufficiently fast. Thanks to Intel’s Quick Sync Video and Nvidia’s CUDA technology, even performance demanding video conversions aren’t an impossibility, but are processed quite quickly by the graphics units.

On the other hand, if pure processor performance is important, Intel’s Pentium 3558U quickly reaches the performance limit with its maximum clock rate of 1.7 GHz with a maximum of 2 threads. For example, only 67 points (single) and 129 points (multi) are achieved in Cinebench R15 64 bit. Just for comparison: Apple’s 15″ MacBook Pro Retina (Late 2013) achieves 108 points (single) and 504 points (multi) with its Intel Core i7-4750HQ CPU under Mac OS X.

With the much more important part of system performance, all components should work hand in hand. If performance bottlenecks occur here in individual hardware areas, this has the same effect on the entire system. In the test configuration of the Lenovo Flex 2-15, two major limitations already show up on the data sheet. Firstly, only a RAM module is used here, which limits the maximum possible speed to the single channel mode, and secondly, the system still uses a conventional hard disk as mass storage.

Depending on the benchmark, this reaches a maximum of 112 MB/s for sequential reading and an extremely low 0.4 MB/s for reading small 4k files. In the system benchmark PCMark 8, the test configuration achieves 2149 points in the Home Test and 2230 points in the Creative Test. How the performance behaves after upgrading RAM and mass storage, I showed in the upgrade test to the Lenovo Flex 2-15.

If you want to dare to play a game every now and then, you’ll have to rely on the best possible graphics performance. First address of the two usable graphic chips for this purpose is first of all Nvidia’s Geforce 820M. It achieves 3178 points in 3DMark Cloud Gate and a fluid 70 fps in Tomb Raider in the lowest settings. Intel’s HD Graphics achieves 2421 points and a permanently borderline 31 fps in Tomb Raider. You won’t really be happy with this performance, but it’s certainly enough for one or two less demanding titles in low-key settings.

Heating / Noise

Heat development as well as operating noise are hardly noticeable under low load. The fan stays off most of the time and only turns sporadically in between times on the lowest level and thus barely noticeable with a sound pressure level of 29.2 dB(A). The maximum measured case temperature here is 31.2 °C on the rear bottom. After 1 hour of GRID: Autosport benchmark in loop, however, the sound pressure level reaches 39.2 dB(A) and the case temperature a maximum of 44.2 °C directly at the air outlet. This is already the maximum condition, as I couldn’t measure higher values even after a longer stress test.

The Lenovo Flex 2-15 stays relatively quiet and cool even under full load.

Battery

In relation to performance, energy consumption is also quite modest. With the display turned off, it’s just 4.6 watts in energy savings mode and with wireless modules turned off. If the display is turned on with minimum brightness, the consumption increases to a still moderate 6.3 watts. Depending on the test environment, the energy consumption increases to up to 49 watts in the GRID: Autosport benchmark with maximum brightness and Nvidia graphics and up to 57 watts in the stress test.

The battery tests carried out under the same conditions show that the possible runtimes in practical applications range between two and three hours. On the other hand, in order to achieve the theoretically possible 6 hours, one would have to accept too many restrictions with minimum display brightness and in airplane mode. The bottom line is that you can’t bridge a whole workday with the Lenovo Flex 2-15 by far, but the battery runtimes are good enough for a temporary mains-independent work within a limited framework.

With Lenovo’s energy manager, the user gets a quite appealing tool with which you can make practical settings for your notebook quite comfortably. Depending on your needs, you can certainly still beat out a few minutes of battery life compared to my test routines. Also useful is the offered battery maintenance mode, which keeps the battery capacity in a range favorable for the battery life during longer mains operation.

Conclusion

All in all, the Lenovo Flex 2-15 offers a lot for the money in consideration of the price range: A sufficient system performance, a dedicated graphics unit, a touchscreen display that is suitable for home users, a good interface configuration and quite a useful battery life. The fact that the system stays relatively cool and quiet in every situation will especially please noise-sensitive users.

The Lenovo Flex 2-15 is a great Laptop for many uses and is still a great second rank in our test, with a better price than the Lenovo Yoga.


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