PC

Feel of real pen and paper with Lenovo Yoga's stylus

Lenovo's Yoga convertible offers the ability to switch between various usage modes.
Lenovo's Yoga convertible offers the ability to switch between various usage modes.PHOTO: LENOVO

Laptop's other standout features are the keyboard, speakers and app management

Lenovo's new Yoga convertible laptop comes with a Wacom-based stylus that closely replicates the feel of actual pen and paper.

There is almost zero lag while writing with this stylus - called the Lenovo Active Pen 2 - on the Yoga's smooth, glossy touchscreen. It offers up to 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which means a usercan vary the strength of his scribbles to produce anything between a very fine line and a thick bold scrawl.

Pity, then, that I do not see myself using it regularly, at least not with the 15-inch Yoga 720. While the Yoga can transform into a tablet suitable for taking notes or drawing, it is also a chunky device that weighs around 2kg.

I do find the Stand mode handy for watching videos, as it moves the Yoga's keyboard face down on the desk and out of the way of the screen.

The Yoga will probably compete against the latest Dell XPS 15. Both of these 15-inch laptops sport similar specs - an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a discrete Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip. The Yoga wins in the storage department with a 1TB solid-state drive, compared with a 512GB model on the XPS 15.

Both laptops also have a high-resolution 4K touch display (3,840 x 2,160 pixels).

The Yoga's screen looks bright and crisp and is surrounded, on three of its sides, by a narrow bezel. Lenovo just about managed to fit the Web camera at the top of the screen, unlike Dell, which moves the camera to the bottom of the display.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,899

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7700HQ (2.8GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 4GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 15.6 inches, 3,840 x 2,160 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C Thunderbolt 3, 2 x USB 3.0, audio jack

    BATTERY: 72 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The key difference between the two is that the Yoga convertible offers the ability to switch between various usage modes. But this feature is not high on my list of priorities.

Its keyboard gets my vote - it feels tactile with good key travel and comes with a backlight. A fingerprint sensor is located just below the right side of the keyboard.

Its Precision Touchpad uses native Windows drivers and feels silky smooth.

It also has plenty of real estate for multi-finger gestures.

Surprisingly for laptop speakers, the Yoga's JBL-branded speakers sound excellent. They are clear and full with no distortion.

For a 15-inch model, the Yoga has a meagre number of ports. There is a Type-C Thunderbolt 3 port for display and data, two full-size USB 3.0 ports and an audio jack.

Even Apple has four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro. The XPS 15 has the same configuration of ports as the Yoga, but with an additional HDMI connector.

Unlike some PC makers, Lenovo has reined in the third-party app bloat. Instead of preloading a bunch of apps that you might not need, Lenovo has put their app picks in the App Explorer software. It is up to you to select the apps that you wish to install.

It packs a GTX 1050, which is the entry-level graphics chip in Nvidia's latest GeForce series. This chip did well in running more casual titles, like Pyre, at 4K resolution. But you will need to reduce the resolution to run more graphically demanding games.

In PCMark 10, the Yoga put out an impressive 3,949 score, probably because of its Core i7 processor and ample memory.

Compared with standard office laptops, the Yoga should perform better in more intensive computing tasks like video editing.

Its battery stamina was very decent for a 15-inch laptop with a high-resolution screen. It lasted 5hr 20min in our video-loop test at maximum brightness. Of course, this is at least an hour short of most 13.3-inch laptops.

• Verdict: At $2,899, the Yoga is slightly cheaper than the XPS 15 ($3,099), and much more affordable than a 15-inch MacBook Pro ($3,488). It also has an excellent stylus, sharp 4K display and decent graphics.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 09, 2017, with the headline 'Feel of real pen and paper with Yoga's stylus'. Print Edition | Subscribe