PC review

Lenovo IdeaPad 720S offers solid build and hardware

Despite its ordinary looks, the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S' metallic chassis and bright, lively screen show it is a premium laptop.
Despite its ordinary looks, the Lenovo IdeaPad 720S' metallic chassis and bright, lively screen show it is a premium laptop.PHOTO: LENOVO

The Lenovo IdeaPad 720S looks unremarkable. Cover up the company logo at the corner of its lid and it looks like an anonymous laptop suitable for use as a movie prop.

But you will soon be persuaded that this is a premium laptop, especially after feeling its metallic chassis or peeking at its bright, lively screen. Its build quality is really good. Its sturdy chassis is made of anodised aluminium and the lid is rigid with barely any flex.

The hinge holding the screen opens up to 180 degrees, which is useful when using it sprawled on the bed. But it is stiff enough that I could not open the lid with just one hand.

While its 15.9mm profile is comparable to that of slim 13-inch ultrabooks, the 720S is not as lightweight as those laptops. This is probably because the Lenovo has a 14-inch display.

This IPS (in-plane switching) display is bordered on three sides by a narrow bezel, which is the trend nowadays. The screen is glossy, though it does not support touch. I found it too reflective, but this can be alleviated slightly by turning up the screen brightness.

This 1,920 x 1,080-pixel screen is powered by an Nvidia GeForce GT 940MX graphics chip. While this chip is not as fast as the ones found in dedicated gaming laptops, it is a step up from the built-in Intel graphics. The 940MX can do a decent job running mainstream games like Overwatch and Fifa 17, especially if you lower the screen resolution or game settings.

The keyboard is on the shallow side, but feels tactile and not mushy. Its backlight has two levels of brightness. Its ample touchpad supports Windows 10 gestures like switching apps by swiping with three fingers.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $2,199

    PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7GHz)

    GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce GT 940MX 2GB GDDR5

    RAM: 16GB DDR4

    SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3, 2 x USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card reader, audio jack

    BATTERY: 56 watt-hour

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Having been used to unlocking my smartphone via the fingerprint sensor, I was pleased that the 720S too lets you log into its Windows 10 Home operating system with your fingerprint. It is accurate, responsive and much faster than entering a password.

The 720S has new-fangled connectors such as a Thunderbolt 3 port, as well as traditional interfaces like USB 3.0 and HDMI ports. In other words, you probably won't need to reach for your adapters.

Its JBL-branded speakers are good for a laptop. Loud enough to fill a bedroom, they produce clear dialogue in movies. However, the audio sounded slightly harsh at higher volumes.

In our video-loop battery test at maximum brightness and volume, the 720S lasted around 6hr. This is very decent, especially for a 14-inch laptop with a dedicated graphics chip.

•Verdict: A premium 14-inch laptop that is more capable and versatile than a typical ultrabook.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 23, 2017, with the headline 'Lenovo IdeaPad 720S offers solid build and hardware'. Print Edition | Subscribe