by Anton Wilson.

 

The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is exquisite no longer just for what it presents, however for what it doesn’t.

not like many different laptops in the $900-and-up funds, the IdeaPad 730S doesn’t radically change right into a tablet and doesn’t even have a touchscreen. It uses a modest 1080p reveal instead of a battery-chewing QHD or 4K panel, and its wildest flourish is a Dolby Atmos speaker system, which for a desktop actually sounds fairly decent.

with the aid of trimming away fancy gimmicks, Lenovo has delivered a lightweight computing device that appears super and performs neatly for an affordable expense.

One observe of caution, even though: We’ve validated two of these laptops, and each had regular Wi-Fi connectivity concerns across distinctive networks. Lenovo’s suggested repair concerned installation a newer Wi-Fi driver for a distinct desktop. This solved the difficulty, however the company hasn’t talked about when it will officially release these drivers for the 730S.

Rate and requisites

Lenovo despatched us the $one thousand edition of the 730S, which includes an 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8265U (1.6GHz) processor, Intel UHD 620 photos, 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 256GB solid state pressure. which you can store $one hundred by using choosing 128GB of storage, and you may upgrade to a Core i7-8565U (1.eight GHz) processor—in both storage configuration—for $200 extra.

In all cases, you’ll get a non-contact IPS screen with a resolution of 1920x1080. The maximum brightness we measured of 317 nits is exceedingly first rate for the rate: no longer a ways at the back of the 337 nits we measured for Microsoft’s surface laptop 2, and neatly above the 250-260 nits that we trust to be typical. The viewing angles are high-quality.

Design

not like some rival thin-and-easy laptops, the 730S doesn’t stamp an emblem in the middle of the lid or below the display. The simplest sign that you just’re the use of a Lenovo computing device—once you eliminate the mandatory stickers, of direction—is a tiny embedded brand on the lid’s higher-left nook.

lenovo730souterJared Newman / PCWorld

the shortcoming of a huge logo in the core of the lid is a refreshing alternate from the showy stamps on other laptops.

combine that tasteful strategy with aspect-to-part reveal glass, slim bezels around the screen, some numerous defend-fashioned keycaps, and a dark-gray aluminum body, and you emerge as with a gorgeous slick-searching computer. Lenovo even shaved a millimeter off ultimate 12 months’s IdeaPad 720S design, so the brand new model measures just 0.forty seven-inch thick, and a extremely portable 2.four pounds.

Given the absence of a touchscreen, the IdeaPad 730S’s lack of a 360-degree hinge makes feel. nonetheless, the monitor does fold lower back one hundred eighty levels to lay flat on a desk. I’m not sure why you’d want to do this, but in conception you might prop up the computer on a stand, plug in a mouse and keyboard, and apply it to a desk devoid of straining your neck. (If simplest Lenovo offered a docking station chiefly for this aim.)

lenovo730sflatJared Newman / PCWorld

The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S can fold flat, though we’re no longer bound why we’d use it that way.

a few gripes: The computer’s hinge isn’t stiff satisfactory as soon as it bends past about 120 degrees. As a compulsive leg shaker, I frequently discovered that the IdeaPad 730S screen would gradually tip again with the desktop on my lap. The 16:9 widescreen monitor is additionally a little too cramped vertically, as a minimum with the a hundred and fifty% default reveal scaling. Dialing it down to a hundred twenty five% helped, however I’d like to see a taller version of this computing device altogether.

Keyboard and trackpad

regardless of the desktop’s thinness, the IdeaPad 730S keyboard presents a lot of commute, along with two ranges of backlighting in the event you press the characteristic key and space bar. In a typing look at various, I averaged ninety words per minute, versus ninety six phrases per minute on my ordinary mechanical keyboard. The 730S keyboard’s body does bend with ease under power towards the middle, and i would’ve favored the keys to be a little less rigid, but it surely’s a solid keyboard average.

The trackpad, in the meantime, offers a huge, basically frictionless surface that supports Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad drivers. This lets you tweak the trackpad’s sensitivity and assign movements to a few- and four-finger swipes. The simplest element keeping this trackpad lower back from excellence is the increasing force required to click on it as you movement further up the surface. folks who prefer tapping over clicking should still haven’t any complaints.

Ports, camera, safety, audio system

buying the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S potential wholly committing to USB-C and abandoning legacy USB-A. both ports on the right side assist Thunderbolt three for information transfer and exterior displays, and a kind of ports presents always-on charging as well. The USB-C port on the left aspect is primarily for charging the computing device with the protected power brick, even though you could technically vigour up the desktop through any port. (i was even able to charge the computing device with a smartphone charger, albeit slowly.)

lenovo730sleftJared Newman / PCWorld

The IdeaPad 730S has handiest USB-C ports, but as a minimum you get a headphone jack.

Lenovo did have the good grace to include to consist of a headphone jack, but if you desire built-in ports for USB-A, MicroSD, or HDMI, you’ll ought to seem elsewhere.

The digicam is your regular low priced computer webcam, supporting up to 720p decision. at least it’s established along the desktop’s excellent bezel, so you’ll prevent the unflattering camera angles that plagued a few of last 12 months’s thin-and-lights. The IdeaPad 730S does have a fingerprint reader simply under the appropriate arrow key, so you can log in with out a password despite the fact that the digicam lacks home windows hi there facial recognition.

As for the aforementioned Dolby Atmos speaker equipment, it combines Dolby-designed hardware with some fancy equalization settings for louder dialogue and more advantageous-sounding tune. This nevertheless a laptop speaker, so it’s now not going to fill your room with rich audio, but YouTube videos came out sounding crisp even at full blast. It’s definitely a step up over most laptop audio system, above all when it’s on a flat floor, the place the audio can task outward.

efficiency lenovo730sventsJared Newman / PCWorld

The gaps under the keys double as air intake sources.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is among the first batch of notebooks with Intel’s “Whiskey Lake” CPUs, which should still provide it a modest efficiency boost below top loads. We in comparison it to a group of recent mainstream laptops with an identical CPU, RAM, and built-in photographs. 

Lenovo talks up the 730S’s thermal design, which attracts in cool air through vents in the keyboard and pushes it out during the again and bottom of the workstation. Supposedly this allows for both the slim design and a smaller fan. youngsters the 730S can turn into uncomfortably heat on the lap under the heaviest hundreds, it ran cool and quiet most of the time.

lenovo ideapad 730s pcmark 8 work 2 conventional correctedMelissa Riofrio/IDG

Any computer that scores over 2,000 in PCMark 8 Work generic can address mainstream functions handily. The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S excelled within its neighborhood, posting a extremely suit ranking neatly over 3,000.

we will definitely see the merits of Whiskey Lake—and, possibly, that thermal design—within the PCMark 8 Work benchmark. The IdeaPad 730S edged out every other skinny-and-mild laptop we’ve established in the closing six months, together with some Intel Core-i7 U-series notebooks and Dell’s rival XPS 13 (which has the equal Intel Core i5-8265U processor).

That stated, the XPS 13 pulled forward in CPU-intensive assessments, including Cinebench, which checks how the CPU renders 3D pix, and HandBrake, which encodes a lengthy video file for Android tablet use.

lenovo ideapad 730s cinebenchMelissa Riofrio/IDG

Cinebench is a synthetic CPU examine that shows how a laptop handles a quick burst of pastime. The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S posts an outstanding rating here. 

It’s feasible that Lenovo is dialing down the IdeaPad 730S’s CPU efficiency beneath heavy workloads to hold the computing device’s slim profile and funky, quiet operation. in case your aim is to get work done, that looks like an inexpensive trade-off. 

lenovo ideapad 730s handbrakeMelissa Riofrio/IDG

HandBrake stresses the CPU over a long period, frequently inflicting laptops to preserve issues cool by means of throttling performance. The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S erred on the facet of thermals, posting a slower time as a result. 

As for GPU performance, don’t expect the rest out of the general for a thin-and-gentle computing device. 2nd indie games like Shovel Knight and Mercenary Kings will work pleasant, and you may be capable of scrape by means of in a Borderlands 2 session at 720p resolution and 30 frames per second, but this isn’t a gaming machine. The 730S posts an honest rating in comparison to equivalent competition. 

lenovo ideapad 730s 3dmark sky diverMelissa Riofrio/IDG

The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S has integrated photos, so its 3DMark Sky Diver rating is unassuming—and appropriate in line with that of similarly configured competitors. 

Battery existence, on the other hand, become a pleasant shock. although it has reduce skill than many different laptops in its category, it nonetheless wound up on the better end of our video rundown verify.

lenovo ideapad 730s video rundown battery testMelissa Riofrio/IDG

don’t USE The Lenovo IdeaPad 730S lasted over 10.5 hours in our video rundown look at various, an outstanding score for a mainstream laptop. 

Lenovo says it’s the usage of a extra productive reveal than last yr’s IdeaPad 720S, which along with the non-touch 1080p panel possible contributed to the decent score. The inclusion of quick charging, which fills the battery up to eighty % in an hour, is also a nice contact.

in the event you buy the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S?

It’s always first-rate to look a computing device that is aware of what it’s trying to achieve. in its place of attempting to be all issues to all people, the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S is content to be an outstanding skinny-and-light laptop with a robust sense of fashion. It’s most appropriate for individuals who wish to perform office or different productivity initiatives from any place, and don’t aspire to make use of their laptop like a tablet or turn it right into a gaming rig. so long as the Wi-Fi issue I skilled doesn’t prove frequent—or gets patched within the near future—this laptop succeeds at slicing away the cruft.

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