Lenovo IdeaPad 720S review: A solid 14-inch laptop with discrete graphics and a great keyboard

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 720S is an all-metal thin-and-light laptop that comes in both 13-inch and 14-inch variants. It offers useful features such as Thunderbolt 3, a fingerprint sensor and up to 14 hours of battery life. However, you may need to go up few notches from the £849 (inc. VAT) starting price to get the features and performance you need.

My review model had a silver chassis, although one of the four-off-the-shelf versions of this laptop has a gold chassis (see below). The aluminium outer chassis has a matte, brushed finish that’s appealing if somewhat staid. Rubber feet on the underside stop the laptop from sliding around on a desk.

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Lenovo’s 14-inch IdeaPad 720S starts at £849.99 (inc. VAT), rising to £1,199.99 for a Core i7 model with 512GB of SSD storage. It weighs 1.55kg.


Images: Lenovo

The IdeaPad 720S’s size and weight betray its non-premium status. Granted, there are shallow screen bezels that keep the desktop footprint relatively small for a 14-inch laptop, at 320.7mm by 222.8mm. On the other hand, it’s relatively thick at 15.9mm and weighs 1.55kg. This is no 1kg featherlight, although it should still fit into a small backpack with ease.

There’s a small amount of flex in the lid, but not enough to cause real concern. The wrist rest is also on the flexible, but the keyboard is solid enough.

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The (non-touch) IPS screen has full HD resolution, while the keyboard has two levels of backlighting. There’s a fingerprint reader on the right side of the wrist rest.


Image: Lenovo

The keys themselves are just about perfect for my light-touch typing style, although I’d have liked a little more ‘click’. Still, the key action — light, with a springy return — makes this laptop a pleasure to work with. There are two levels of backlight, toggled via the Fn key and space bar.

The touchpad is responsive and I have no complaints about its usability. It’s also good to see a fingerprint reader sitting on the upper right of the wrist rest.

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The screen is not quite so pleasurable to use as the keyboard. Lenovo has really squished it in, with minimal left and right bezels — just 4mm — that are more often seen on premium laptops. The top bezel is pretty shallow too, although at 8mm it’s deep enough to accommodate the webcam. There is no touchscreen option for this laptop, and the screen itself only delivers full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution. Still, at 100 percent scaling you can still work on two documents side by side at the same time.

While the IPS display is clear and sharp, and viewing angles are good, I had to run the screen at full brightness for it to be usable. Any lower and the lack of illumination and reflectivity were a real problem. Even at 100 percent I could always see so much reflection that I was constantly distracted — and not in a good way. One for the narcissists, perhaps.

Colour intensity is acceptable, while the speakers, while lacking somewhat in bass tones, deliver plenty of volume. They’re located on the underside, to the far left and right, with their grilles on the upward-curving part of the base.

This isn’t a fully convertible, 360-degree laptop. The screen rotates far enough to lay flat on a desk or table and there it stops. Lenovo fans wanting full rotation should look to Lenovo’s Yoga range — the more expensive Yoga 720 which comes in 13-inch and 15-inch versions, for example.

The IdeaPad 720S has a starting price of £849.99 (inc. VAT), and all four of the pre-configured models have discrete graphics, which will please anyone who wants their laptop to double up as a gaming system (providing they can cope with the screen, of course). I was sent the Core i5, 256GB silver model to review, which retails at £899.99 (inc. VAT).

When comparing models, note that only the most expensive system offers a Core i7, SSD storage increases with the price, and all share 8GB of RAM, the Nvidia GPU and Windows 10 Home.

  • Intel Core i5-7200U, Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB GDDR5, 8GB RAM, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen, 128GB SSD, silver chassis
    £849.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i5-7200U, Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB GDDR5, 8GB RAM, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen, 256GB SSD, silver chassi
    £899.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i5-7200U, Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB GDDR5, 8GB RAM, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen, 256GB SSD, gold chassis
    £899.99 (inc. VAT)
  • Intel Core i7-7500U, Nvidia GeForce 940MX with 2GB GDDR5, 8GB RAM, Windows 10 Home, 14.0-inch 1,920 x 1,080 non-touch screen, 512GB SSD, silver chassis
    £1,199.99 (inc VAT)

Lenovo has not stinted on connectivity. There’s a Thunderbolt 3 port, a USB 3.0 port and a full-size HDMI port alongside an SD card reader on the right edge. The left edge has a second USB 3.0 port, a 3.5mm headset jack and the power input. The Thunderbolt port isn’t used for charging, so it remains free for other uses.

Lenovo says the battery (size not specified) will keep the IdeaPad 720S going for 14 hours. This might be a stretch, but it should get you through an average working day. For example, during testing I used the laptop for six hours with a mix of writing, web browsing, and some streaming, and the battery depleted to 57 percent. I had the screen at 100 percent throughout.

Conclusions

A tough chassis and excellent keyboard are real selling points for Lenovo’s IdeaPad 720S, which although not exactly lightweight has plenty of connectivity options. However, the key feature is discrete graphics, which makes this is a laptop suitable for both work and play.

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