Quick summary: Good components but below average build quality and a known issue with a garbage Wifi card which you will need to replace yourself or send the computer back to Lenovo and wait 2 weeks in order for them to replace it with a different model card which works well. Learn more below.
Apple has unfortunately dropped the ball recently with laptop design. I know the keyboard is polarizing, but I’m strongly in the camp of hating the new Butterfly keyboard and I like a trackpad that clicks versus Mac’s new “force touch” feature. It was time to break free and get back into the windows eco-system. The Lenovo Yoga 730 15″ seemed like a great alternative.
In looking for a true “Macbook Killer”, I specced out the 2 in 1 Lenovo Yoga 730 with top of the line components:
- Processor: 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Processor (1.80GHz, up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost, 8MB Cache)
- Display Type: 15.6″ UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS multi-touch
- Memory: 16 GB DDR4 2400MHz (8 GB Onboard + 8 GB DIMM)
- Hard Drive: 1TB Solid State Drive PCIe
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB
- Battery: 3 cell Li-Polymer 51.5Wh
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth® 4.1
- Camera: 720p HD
Beautiful Ultra HD Screen
A big factor with the 15″ Yoga 730 choice was the fact that its display came in a 3840×2160 resolution. After working on a retina display for years, I couldn’t bring myself to trade one in for a standard 1080 HD screen. The screen is beautiful, nice and crisp with good colors.
From an aesthetics standpoint, it’s a very nice looking machine. The full aluminum body gives it an appearance similar to a Mac (although not the same as explained on below). I also like the symmetrical keyboard which is centered without an offsetting number pad.
Dedicated Graphics Card
Having the GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card with 4gb dedicated memory has been amazing. I do a bit of video work every now and then and it breezes through rendering an HD video in Adobe Premiere. Typically the 1050 card lays dormant and lets the onboard intel graphics card do the day to day tasks, but when it kicks in for graphic intense processes it does it’s job well.
Nice Traditional Feeling Keyboard / Trackpad
The keyboard may not depress as much as laptop keyboards did a couple generations ago, but it’s incredibly nice to type on and still has a very satisfying amount of give to it. I’m constantly writing articles and emails so this was a major factor in the purchase.
I hope Butterfly mechanism keyboards are a fad since companies like Lenovo are still able to make thin devices even with a more traditional keyboard.
The trackpad is also great. This was something I was concerned about given that when I changed over to Mac around a decade ago, their glass trackpads were lightyears ahead of windows devices in terms of sensitivity. Now it seems this isn’t the case and while I still do marginally prefer the sensitivity of a MacBook’s trackpad, the difference is barely noticeable. Having a trackpad which actually depresses, unlike the new Mac’s, is well worth the tradeoff.
Macs have brilliantly designed heat syncs and emit very low noise, but at the end of the day sometimes a computer just need proper venting. the Yoga 730 15″ definitely has that with a large air intake on the bottom of the device and fighter jet reminiscent vents shooting out the back.
Some may say this is a negative, but honestly, I would much prefer a little white noise from a fan every now and then if it means the device is working at it’s full capacity instead of throttling itself due to heat or frying internal components if you push it too hard in the wrong situation.
Variety of Ports
These days a lot of devices (again, Mac) are moving towards having only usb-c ports. The problem is I’m constantly using external hard drives, keyboards, monitors, and other devices. You need a dongle for everything and if you’re out of the office then that’s not always possible.
The Lenovo Yoga 730 comes with a great variety of ports, 2 USB-A ports, a headphone jack, and a full-sized HDMI input which is very handy.
The build quality of the device is not great in my opinion. There are two major issues with the build of the device I received:
1. The edge of the screen doesn’t line up with the body when closed
As you’ll see in the image above when the lid is closed, the left hand side of the screen lines up with the body of the computer, but on the right it juts out past it. It’s only about 1.5mm, but that’s enough of a difference that you really feel and notice it.
The entire screen is slightly off-kilter so that the sides do not line up as well. It was like this out of the box. It’s definitely a first-world-problem, but when you’re spending this much on a device they should get it right.
2. The edge of the aluminum casing is sharp
This was the most noticeable detail when I first picked up the device. The aluminum body has a seam at the bottom of the sides. That’s not unusual and a lot of laptops do it, but the strange thing is this one has a pretty sharp edge to it. The corners seem to have been rounded slightly, but for the rest, if you scrape your nail on it, a bit will come off. The inside of that edge is even sharper than the outside and since the side overhangs the bottom casing a bit, you notice it every time and it makes the device feel unfinished, almost like an industrial piece of machinery versus a finely tuned electronic device.
Small Battery – 1/2 Bad Point
The battery is quite small for the device at 52Wh. I’ll get a few hours on a full charge, but Expect to bring a charger if you’re out for the day. That said, you can’t have it all and this thin device works well in most situations. A 15″ laptop isn’t the type of thing you plan to lug around every day anyways.
The rest of the negative points are liveable, but this one isn’t.
Wifi Connectivity Issues
Immediately the device began having internet connectivity issues. A network connection would remain but the internet would drop. I’m using a Google router so it’s reliable and there are a half dozen other devices which run flawlessly on the same network. Regardless of the signal, the Lenovo Yoga 730’s internet connection will drop sporadically. Sometimes I’ll get a couple hours in before it happens, sometimes it will happen every minute and you need to disconnect from the network and reconnect before it will work again.
I called Lenovo support, reloaded drivers, updated everything, checked settings and they weren’t able to solve the issue.
A bit of hunting around and it seems the issue is the Realtek 8822BE wireless card they’ve used. Many others are having the exact same issue according to the Lenovo support forum here. There is no solution listed other than replacing the wireless card.
Are They Aware and Ignoring the Problem?
What makes me angry with Lenovo is that many of the people who did send their laptop in for repair, had their Realtek wireless cards replaced with an Intel 8265 card. That leads me to believe Lenovo knows the Realtek card is a faulty item. They’re still shipping them out however since my device was manufactured after people recorded the swap.
Lenovo’s Lack of a Solution
To their credit, Lenovo will accept the laptop under warranty and supposedly repair the issue. The problem is that this process seemed to take on average about 2 weeks. After speaking with a couple of Lenovo representatives, there was also no guarantee they would change for the Intel Card. One rep told me they would only use the original parts, until I showed her the forum posts and she changed her mind.
I’ve purchased the card out-of-pocket and will install it myself. This isn’t acceptable for a brand new $2k+ device.
In summary, I really like elements of this laptop. It’s powerful and has some great features. In the end, I would not have purchased it however and Lenovo will not take the return without charging a fee.
There are a lot of laptop manufacturers. I recommend you choose another.