College is a time of compromise — mainly, a compromise between wanting the best and definitely not having that kind of money. Ponying up for a flagship laptop like the Lenovo Yoga 910 might be out of the question, but there are still some nice value picks available that find a nice middle ground between cutting edge and bare bones. Specifically, we’re looking at the Lenovo Ideapad 710S — some sacrifices have to be made, but hey, is there any more important lesson to learn from college?
But, let’s start off with what doesn’t need to be sacrificed — comfort and performance. At 2.6 pounds and .55″ thick, and made of a magnesium-aluminum case, the Ideapad 710S is on the lighter end of the laptop spectrum, with a thinness that makes it easy to slip into a bag or a backpack and a sturdiness that protects it from the inevitable jostling. But, despite the small frame, the Ideapad 710S packs a punch. The laptop comes standard with a 13.3″ 1080p display and a 6th generation Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM. When it comes to day to day performance, the 710S is a capable multi-tasker. The system earned a very good Geekbench score of 6,191. Plus, its super-thin .2″ bezel around the display ensures that the laptop is kept as compact as possible, because no one needs back pain early on in life.
Two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader ensure that the Ideapad 710S will be flexible enough for students to upload their weekend camping trip photos or hook their laptop up to the big screen to give a presentation.
There are some nice surprises here, too. Lenovo treated their mid-range laptop to top-tier sound with JBL stereo speakers and Dolby Premium audio. It’s not quite top-of-the-line stuff, but for the price, the powerful, clear sound from those JBL speakers will make a big difference — especially if the budget doesn’t have room for a set of external speakers. Add that to a large touchpad and an ergonomic keyboard to help keep students comfortable when hammering away during crunch time, and you’ve got a nice mid-range package.
But, we can’t have it all. Unlike machines in the Yoga line, the Ideapad 710S doesn’t have that vaunted 360-degree hinge, nor does it have a touchscreen — no tablet mode for this laptop. But, the 180-degree hinge allows the 710S to be folded out flat, and given how many positions college students go through to get comfortable in a span of a few hours, that’s going to come in handy sooner or later. The base 128 GB SSD isn’t the biggest or fastest around either, but the option is there to upgrade to a 512 GB SSD — if the money’s there, of course.
And if it’s not? Well, we think that’s OK. For $750, you get a great clear 1080p display, a fast Intel Core i5 processor with 8 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SSD, and premium audio, all bundled in a thin, attractive and lightweight laptop. With 7 plus hours of battery life which we observed during testing, students shouldn’t find themselves frantically searching for that last open outlet at the campus Starbucks, either.
The Good: Attractive and sturdy design with a 180-degree hinge, excellent bright display with good colors and a thin bezel, very good performance for the money, great keyboard, very good speaker system, solid battery life
The Bad: Lacks a touchscreen, comes with too much bloatware, SSD is on the slow side
This post has been brought to you by Lenovo. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.