The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is notable not only for what it provides, however for what it doesn’t.
Unlike many different laptops within the $900-and-up value vary, the IdeaPad 730S doesn’t rework right into a pill and doesn’t actually have a touchscreen. It makes use of a modest 1080p show as a substitute of a battery-chewing QHD or 4K panel, and its wildest flourish is a Dolby Atmos speaker system, which for a laptop computer truly sounds fairly good.
By trimming away fancy gimmicks, Lenovo has delivered a light-weight laptop computer that appears nice and performs properly for an inexpensive value.
One phrase of warning, although: We’ve examined two of those laptops, and each had fixed Wi-Fi connectivity points throughout a number of networks. Lenovo’s prompt repair concerned putting in a newer Wi-Fi driver for a special laptop computer. This solved the issue, however the firm hasn’t stated when it is going to formally launch these drivers for the 730S.
Price and specs
Lenovo despatched us the $1000 model of the 730S, which incorporates an Eighth-generation Intel Core i5-8265U (1.6GHz) processor, Intel UHD 620 graphics, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB strong state drive. You can save $100 by choosing 128GB of storage, and you may improve to a Core i7-8565U (1.8 GHz) processor—in both storage configuration—for $200 extra.
In all instances, you’ll get a non-touch IPS show with a decision of 1920×1080. The most brightness we measured of 317 nits is surprisingly good for the value: not far behind the 337 nits we measured for Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2, and properly above the 250-260 nits that we contemplate to be common. The viewing angles are nice.
Unlike some rival thin-and-light laptops, the 730S doesn’t stamp a brand in the midst of the lid or beneath the show. The solely signal that you simply’re utilizing a Lenovo laptop computer—when you take away the compulsory stickers, in fact—is a tiny embedded brand on the lid’s upper-left nook.
Combine that tasteful method with edge-to-edge show glass, slender bezels across the display screen, some distinctive shield-shaped keycaps, and a dark-gray aluminum body, and you find yourself with a reasonably slick-looking laptop computer. Lenovo even shaved a millimeter off final 12 months’s IdeaPad 720S design, so the brand new mannequin measures simply 0.47-inch thick, and a really transportable 2.4 kilos.
Given the absence of a touchscreen, the IdeaPad 730S’s lack of a 360-degree hinge is sensible. Still, the show does fold again 180 levels to put flat on a desk. I’m unsure why you’d need to do that, however in concept you can prop up the laptop computer on a stand, plug in a mouse and keyboard, and apply it to a desk with out straining your neck. (If solely Lenovo provided a docking station particularly for this objective.)
A few gripes: The laptop computer’s hinge isn’t stiff sufficient as soon as it bends previous about 120 levels. As a compulsive leg shaker, I usually discovered that the IdeaPad 730S show would regularly tip again with the pc on my lap. The 16:9 widescreen show can also be slightly too cramped vertically, at the least with the 150% default show scaling. Dialing it all the way down to 125% helped, however I’d like to see a taller model of this laptop computer altogether.
Keyboard and trackpad
Despite the laptop computer’s thinness, the IdeaPad 730S keyboard provides plenty of journey, together with two ranges of backlighting while you press the Function key and area bar. In a typing take a look at, I averaged 90 phrases per minute, versus 96 phrases per minute on my common mechanical keyboard. The 730S keyboard’s body does bend simply below strain towards the middle, and I’d’ve favored the keys to be rather less inflexible, but it surely’s a strong keyboard general.
The trackpad, in the meantime, supplies a big, virtually frictionless floor that helps Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad drivers. This means that you can tweak the trackpad’s sensitivity and assign actions to three- and four-finger swipes. The solely factor holding this trackpad again from excellence is the growing strain required to click on on it as you progress additional up the floor. Folks preferring tapping over clicking shouldn’t have any complaints.
Ports, digicam, safety, audio system
Buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S means totally committing to USB-C and abandoning legacy USB-A. The two ports on the best facet help Thunderbolt 3 for knowledge switch and exterior shows, and a type of ports provides always-on charging as properly. The USB-C port on the left facet is primarily for charging the laptop computer with the included energy brick, although you can technically energy up the laptop computer via any port. (I used to be even capable of cost the laptop computer with a smartphone charger, albeit slowly.)
Lenovo did have the great grace to incorporate to incorporate a headphone jack, however if you’d like built-in ports for USB-A, MicroSD, or HDMI, you’ll should look elsewhere.
The digicam is your typical low cost laptop computer webcam, supporting as much as 720p decision. At least it’s mounted alongside the laptop computer’s high bezel, so that you’ll keep away from the unflattering digicam angles that plagued a few of last year’s thin-and-lights. The IdeaPad 730S does have a fingerprint reader simply beneath the best arrow key, so you may log in with no password although the digicam lacks Windows Hello facial recognition.
As for the aforementioned Dolby Atmos speaker system, it combines Dolby-designed with some fancy equalization settings for louder dialogue and better-sounding music. This nonetheless a laptop computer speaker, so it’s not going to fill your room with wealthy audio, however YouTube movies got here out sounding crisp even at full blast. It’s definitely a step up over most laptop computer audio system, particularly when it’s on a flat floor, the place the audio can undertaking outward.
The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is among the many first batch of notebooks with Intel’s “Whiskey Lake” CPUs, which ought to give it a modest efficiency enhance below peak masses. We in contrast it to a gaggle of latest mainstream laptops with comparable CPU, RAM, and built-in graphics.
Lenovo talks up the 730S’s thermal design, which pulls in cool air via vents within the keyboard and pushes it out via the again and backside of the pocket book. Supposedly this permits for each the slim design and a smaller fan. Although the 730S can turn out to be uncomfortably heat on the lap below the heaviest masses, it ran cool and quiet more often than not.
We can definitely see the advantages of Whiskey Lake—and, maybe, that thermal design—within the PCMark 8 Work benchmark. The IdeaPad 730S edged out each different thin-and-light laptop computer we’ve examined within the final six months, together with some Intel Core-i7 U-Series notebooks and Dell’s rival XPS 13 (which has the identical Intel Core i5-8265U processor).
That stated, the XPS 13 pulled forward in CPU-intensive checks, together with Cinebench, which checks how the CPU renders 3D graphics, and HandBrake, which encodes a prolonged video file for Android pill use.
It’s doable that Lenovo is dialing down the IdeaPad 730S’s CPU efficiency below heavy workloads to take care of the laptop computer’s slim profile and funky, quiet operation. If your purpose is to get work performed, that looks like an inexpensive trade-off.
As for GPU efficiency, don’t count on something out of the atypical for a thin-and-light laptop computer. 2D indie video games like Shovel Knight and Mercenary Kings will work high-quality, and also you may have the ability to scrape by in a Borderlands 2 session at 720p decision and 30 frames per second, however this isn’t a gaming machine. The 730S posts an honest rating in comparison with comparable competitors.
Battery life, alternatively, was a nice shock. Although it has decrease capability than many different laptops in its class, it nonetheless wound up on the upper finish of our video rundown take a look at.
Lenovo says it’s utilizing a extra environment friendly show than final 12 months’s IdeaPad 720S, which together with the non-touch 1080p panel doubtless contributed to the respectable rating. The inclusion of fast charging, which fills the battery as much as 80 p.c in an hour, can also be a pleasant contact.
Should you purchase the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S?
It’s all the time good to see a laptop computer that is aware of what it’s attempting to perform. Instead of trying to be all issues to all folks, the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is content material to be a strong thin-and-light laptop computer with a robust sense of favor. It’s best for individuals who need to carry out workplace or different productiveness duties from anyplace, and don’t aspire to make use of their laptop computer like a pill or flip it right into a gaming rig. As lengthy because the Wi-Fi situation I skilled doesn’t show widespread—or will get patched within the close to future—this laptop computer succeeds at slicing away the cruft.