Lenovo Yoga 710 (11") review

The Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is a laptop with a specific purpose. It wants to offer the best, most convenient ultraportable laptop experience you can get without spending a scary amount of money. It offers a 360-degree hinge and a touchscreen, making it far more useful as a fun machine while you're travelling about is just a bonus. See also: Best ultraportable laptops 

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

Lenovo Yoga 710 (11") review: Price

The Yoga 11 710 costs £549 from Lenovo. While there are various models available in the US, there’s just the one choice in the UK at present.

What this gets you is an alternative to an ultra-portable, high-end laptop like the 12-inch MacBook. It may seem like a lot of money when cheap Windows hybrids are relatively plentiful, but the spec and build here is actually closer to something that might cost you £700-900 with a larger screen. Also take a look at our Asus UX305CA review

Lenovo Yoga 710 (11") review: Design

The Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is a laptop as small as you'd want to use for real work, the sort of work that fills up your 9-to-5 rather than the household admin you might do on a Sunday morning. It is, of course, worth mentioning at this point that Lenovo offers a 14in version of the 710 which costs £100 more. It has an Intel Core i5-6200U processor, 8GB of RAM and a full HD screen, but is in every other respect a bigger version of the 11in model on review here.

Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review

You can use it sat on your knees, and we have, but it feels perched atop them rather than sturdily sitting like a 13- or 15in laptop might. The message: this is a real laptop, but prepare for the culture shock if you've only used 15in laptops to date.

However, there are great benefits to using the Lenovo Yoga 11 710, particularly if you spend a lot of time dashing between airports, cafes or meetings with a laptop in your bag. It weighs just 1.06kg, and is skinny enough to fit in just about anywhere you'd have space for an iPad in a carry case.

See also: Lenovo Yoga 300 11.6 review

The allure of the Yoga 11 710 is that it has this level of portability, and a high-end design, without a price anywhere near £1000. Build quality appears to be one of the main improvements since the Yoga 700, which went on sale at the beginning of 2016.

Like other Yoga models, the 710 has a hinge that flips all the way around, turning it into a thick, heavy tablet. It won't compare too well with an iPad or dedicated Android tablet, but this setup can be useful when a normal tablet isn't.

It'll let you prop the tablet up in bed, let you read an article easily while you cook without the keyboard getting in the way, and will keep the screen upright on a tiny table. You'd need a folio case to get the same effect with a normal tablet, and it may well feel a lot flimsier.

Each kind of hybrid has a distinct appeal, and 360-degree hinge style of the Lenovo Yoga 11 710 leaves you with a device that still absolutely feels like a laptop. Other hybrids often struggle with weight balance because their brains and at least part of their battery needs to fit in the screen.

 Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review

Lenovo Yoga 710 (11") review: Connectivity

The Lenovo Yoga 710 is part of the new band of laptops with limited physical connections, but we're glad to see it hasn't ditched traditional USBs altogether in favour of USB-C ports like some new models.

There's one USB 3.0 socket on the right edge, next to a microHDMI connector. Aside from the headphone jack on the other edge, that's your lot.

Using a single USB in an ultraportable like this is an understandable, if unfortunate, decision, but the lack of a memory card slot is disappointing. It makes the machine harder to get on with for anyone who works with a camera. You could carry around a USB card reader, of course, but that dilutes the convenience of this otherwise extremely nifty little laptop.

To a large extent the microHDMI makes up for the lack of a Thunderbolt port, although with a great many laptops over £500 now embracing USB-C, the Yoga 11 710's connectors are going to look a little dated quite soon.

Lenovo Yoga 710 (11") review: Keyboard and trackpad

A more pressing worry with a laptop as small as the Lenovo Yoga 11 710 is whether it's going to be truly comfortable to type on. For the most part, it is.

You get a keyboard that feels like the best Lenovo's IdeaPad laptops have to offer. While keys are predictably shallow, there's a nice bit of resistance to them, along with well-defined feedback when the keypress actually clicks in.

Lenovo Yoga 710 11 review

This review was written using the keyboard, and after getting used to the very minor quirks in its layout, typing was just as fast and accurate as with our workaday 13.3-inch laptop. Lenovo has kept the main keys full-size, including the 'arrow' buttons, which often suffer from space-saving cuts.

Only the left-most row of keys appears significantly trimmed, but we find the positioning and shape of the most important one, the left Shift, just fine.

The lingering issue with a smaller laptop like this is that your palms don't have all that much space to luxuriate because the surround is reduced. This is legitimate because it can mean you position your wrists more awkwardly, leading to that classic cramped feel.

Lenovo would not claim the Yoga 11 710 is a laptop designed for use eight hours a day as you're tethered to a desk, though. It's about those times when its small frame is going to be more a benefit than an annoyance.

The one missing part of the keyboard is a backlight, which would make typing in the dark much less typo-filled. We'd like to see this feature included, but at the price the Yoga 11 710 would be an outlier in including one.

To match the good keyboard, the Lenovo Yoga 11 710’s trackpad feels like that of a top-end laptop, with a smooth, non-tacky surface bordered by bevelling in the aluminium surround. It's a good look. This is a serviceable pad with a nice, meaty click feel that doesn't need too forceful a press, as some Windows laptops do.

There are some little issues, though. Its click is a little noisy, and while the size of it is about as large as you could possibly expect for the price, you may find it small if you play games or try to edit photos on the laptop.

For day-to-day Windows naviation and browsing it's fine, though.

The button arrangement also requires some getting used to. Like almost every ultraportable pad, the buttons are integrated into the surface, and we found it a little too easy to fire off an unintended right button command. It's also a little too sensitive in part, causing some unintended clicks (without actually 'clicking' the pad) as you scroll across it.

Some of this is down to the driver, some down to is the spacing of the RB sensor, which takes up 50 per cent of the pad's width, and about a quarter of its height.

We’re reasonably happy with the Yoga 11 710's trackpad, but it may not necessarily be a case of love at first tap.