Ideapad 710S: Well-rounded ultraportable

The island-style keyboard on the Lenovo Ideapad 710S is decent and the large touchpad is comfy to use.
The island-style keyboard on the Lenovo Ideapad 710S is decent and the large touchpad is comfy to use.PHOTO: LENOVO

The Lenovo Ideapad 710S is an ultra-thin and light laptop that looks like an Apple MacBook Air.

This should come as no surprise as the 710S belongs to the ultrabook category that was created by the PC industry in response to the MacBook Air.

But the best ultrabooks have since surpassed the Air in features and specifications.

Instead of taking design cues from Apple, Lenovo appears to be taking a leaf out of Dell's playbook.

Last year's Dell XPS 13 ultrabook won our Best Ultrabook award mainly because of its razor-thin bezel. The 710S, too, sports a slim bezel: not quite as narrow as the XPS 13's, but enough to let the 710S have a much smaller footprint than most 13.3-inch laptops.

In fact, the 710S takes up less desk space than the 12.5-inch Razer Blade Stealth.

Unlike the XPS 13, which places the front Web camera at the lower left corner, leading to unflattering shots up your nostrils, the 710S has the camera at the usual spot in the middle of the top bezel.

My 710S review set is in gold (it is also available in silver). Its aluminium chassis is clean, with just the Lenovo logo at the top left corner of the lid.

The display has a matte finish that is less reflective than a glossy screen. It is not a touchscreen.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $1,999

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6560U (2.2GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 540

    RAM: 16GB

    SCREEN SIZE: 13.3 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 2 x USB 3.0, micro-HDMI, SD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 45.5 watt-hour

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

This 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen uses an in-plane switching (IPS) panel that ensures colours look accurate and viewing angles are as wide as they get.

But, on my review set, the screen's backlight is apparent at two points along the top edge. This can be distracting, especially when viewing dark images.

The screen can be opened up to a maximum of 180 degrees, which I found handy for reading e-mail while sprawled on the bed.

Key travel on the 710S' island-style keyboard is decent. It is not as shallow as some ultrabooks I have tested.

The large touchpad is comfy to use. Although it has two-finger scrolling, the touchpad does not support Windows 10's native multi-touch gestures.

I was a bit disappointed that Lenovo chose the older Type A USB 3.0 ports over the new Type-C variants that offer higher data transfer speeds. The micro-HDMI port is also a minor inconvenience, as it requires an adaptor.

The 710S has decent stamina, lasting 5hr 48 min in our video-loop battery test.

This is slightly longer than the HP Envy 13 (5hr 10 min), but not as good as the 7hr managed by the Asus ZenBook UX305 ultrabook.

My $1,999 review set comes with the best hardware configuration available: Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). But you can buy the 710S for just $1,099, albeit with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. A typical mid-range model (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) costs $1,499.

Vincent Chang

•Verdict: The Ideapad 710S provides excellent value with its clean design, solid performance and competitive pricing.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2016, with the headline 'Ideapad 710S: Well-rounded ultraportable'. Print Edition | Subscribe