With Lenovo usually saving the big Yoga news for the fall, their midrange stuff usually comes out earlier in the year. This year, they’re revealing their midrange Yoga 2-in-1s at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where they’re also showing off the low-end Miix 320. But, don’t let the mids and lows discourage you — all of these machines look like solid value picks.
The Yoga 510 (known as the Flex 4 in the United States) and 710 2-in-1 convertibles are being refreshed with the 520 (the Flex 5) and the 720. These midrange picks are a step down from the 910 we reviewed last year — lacking Lenovo’s trademark watchband hinge, the 360-degree hinges on these don’t allow these laptops to be quite as thin for their size.
In terms of hardware, it looks like the 720 might be out in front of the 910. The 720, which will come in 13″ and 15″ models, will have 7th generation Intel Core i processors, and while integrated Intel HD graphics is standard, the 15″ model can be configured with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU. Both can have up to 16 GB of RAM. The 13″ model will get up to a 1 TB PCIe SSD, while the 15″ model can be configured with up to either a 1 TB HDD or a 512 GB PCIe SSD.
But, the big new additions are the 4K display option and Thunderbolt 3 ports. A 1080p touch display will still come standard, though, and it’s worth bearing in mind that 4K does come at the cost of some battery life — Lenovo expects the 15″ 720 to get nine hours with 1080p and eight hours with 4K, or eight and seven hours for the 13″ model. Meanwhile, the 15″ model will get one of the much faster Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, while the 13″ will get two. Both also get Dolby Premium Audio, with speakers from JBL.
Lenovo is also doubling down on extras. Their Active Pen stylus can be bundled with either model, and there’s now a fingerprint sensor that can go on the right side of the palmrest. Speaking of security, both the fingerprint sensor and the HD webcam can be used with Windows Hello to sign into your computer without needing a password. The fingerprint sensor will be standard on the 720 and optional on the 520.
The biggest step down from the 13.9″ Yoga 910 is in portability. The 13″ 720 is a bit lighter at 2.86 pounds (3.04 pounds for the Yoga 910), but it’s the same thickness at 14.3 mm. The 15″ 720 is 4.40 pounds and 19 mm thick.
The Yoga 520 (Flex 5 in the United States) is a 14″ machine. It’s similar to the 720 above, but lacks the Thunderbolt 3 ports and the 4K display option. It can still be configured with a discrete GPU, but it’ll be the last-gen GTX 940M instead of something from Nvidia’s new 10-series. But, the less powerful specs do allow for a greater ten-hour battery life, so that could end up being worth the sacrifices. In addition to the same storage options as the 15″ 720, the 520 can be configured with a hybrid drive — a 128 GB SSD paired with up to a 1 TB SATA HDD. The 520 is the thickest of the three at 19.9 mm, but it’s in the middle in weight at 3.85 pounds.
The Miix title usually goes to Lenovo’s detachable 2-in-1s, and the Miix 320 is no different. The device can be separated from its keyboard, although the keyboard here looks more substantial and like a normal laptop keyboard than we usually see with detachable 2-in-1s (it even has two USB ports) — and with two tabs that go into the tablet, the tablet should fit more securely onto the keyboard, too. This 10.1″ device is definitely more tablet than laptop, running on an Intel Atom X5 CPU with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage. Add in a 1920 x 1200 display, and you get something that should last about ten hours on one charge. Not bad, and optional LTE connectivity sweetens the pot.
The new Yoga and Miix devices all look like good picks for someone who wants a 2-in-1, but doesn’t want to pay the premium prices. The Yoga 720 in particular seems like a good value — add in that GTX 1050 GPU, and you have a good machine for light work and gaming that isn’t too heavy. The Miix 320 is great for anyone who prioritizes the weight on their back above all and needs to be connected wherever they go, but the performance trade-off with that Atom processor will be considerable.
Then again, the Miix 320 is super cheap — it’ll start at $200 when it becomes available in April. Both models of the 720 will also arrive in April, starting at $860 and $1,100. The Yoga 520/Flex 5 will be released in May and will start at $800.