It’s a good laptop, and it matches my couch!
It’s a good laptop, and it matches my couch!
Photo: Joanna Nelius (Gizmodo)

It is a sad fact that 2-in-1s exist despite the fact that they’re never exceptional at being both a laptop and a tablet. Maybe it was a bad experience with a tablet that turned me off to the idea, not to mention I hate typing on anything but an actual keyboard. I have a gaming laptop for work and play, and two full bookshelves of paperbacks and hardbacks since I prefer physical books. Tablet? Kindle? I do not need these things! But then I built a gaming desktop PC, so I had no need for my gaming laptop. And then the quarantine happened, and it was suddenly safer to buy ebooks. And then I reviewed a 2-in-1 that does the laptop side of things so well, and at such a nice price and I actually didn’t mind having 360-degree hinges and touch screen keyboards foisted on me. I never thought I’d say this, but the Lenovo Yoga C740 has made me like 2-in-1 laptops, not just because it’s filled a new niche need in my life, but also because it’s a genuinely good machine.

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The Yoga C740 isn’t an ultra-budget machine or even a budget machine, but with a starting price of $900 it gives you a lot of typically premium features for less than a grand. It does have a quirk or two, namely the new speaker placement. With the previous Yoga model, the speakers were by the hinge, which meant you could play music or watch a movie in any mode and not lose a lot of sound quality. The Yoga C740 has them back on either side of the keyboard.

This new Yoga model does come with a Dolby Atmos speaker system though, which makes anything you play sound crisp and transparent, but when they are facing away from you in either tent or tablet mode, the sound gets a little muffled just because of the direction the speakers are facing. Don’t even bother trying to listen or watch something if the Yoga C740 laying on your lap in tablet mode; the sound goes right into your thighs.

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It’s not all bad keeping it in laptop mode for watching movies, though. Aside from the fantastic sound quality, there’s a vent at the back near the hinge in addition to one on the bottom, for double the heat dissipation. The C740 doesn’t get hot anyway, but it gives me the extra peace of mind knowing that it’s there. It lasted 8 hours and 45 minutes in our battery test which means you can use this 2-in-1 nearly all day without a charge. Though compared to other laptops, like the Dell XPS 13 which lasted 9 hours and 59 minutes, that’s super short. Yet compared to other Lenovo models, especially the gaming models I am used to, just under 9 hours is fine. It’s nice to have a battery that lasts longer than four hours (and that’s when I’m not gaming).

Overall, Lenovo has kept the Yoga’s standout features from older models: sturdy hinges that smoothly transform it from laptop to tablet and back again; a wider bezel on one side of the device to make it easier to hold with one hand; and a brushed, metallic finish makes this lightweight and pleasantly portable 2-in-1 look lovely. It easily rivals other devices like the HP Spectre x360 13t and the Surface Pro X on price and features alone. In fact, I think it’s even a better choice.

I wasn’t joking when I said it matches my couch.
I wasn’t joking when I said it matches my couch.
Photo: Joanna Nelius (Gizmodo)
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For under $1,000, you get one of Intel’s newest 14nm processors, the Core i5-10210U with a Turbo Boost of up to 4.2 GHz, a fingerprint reader, and a built-in 720p HD webcam. You can also opt for a larger, 512GB SSD for $50 more, but 256GB should be more than enough since this 2-in-1 is best suited for basic productivity and streaming videos. It’s connectivity ports are scant though, with just two USB-C ports, one USB-A, and a 3.5mm headset jack. But it has Bluetooth, so the C740 will work with both wired and wireless headphones with or without microphones.

As with most Lenovo products, I appreciate that the keyboard on the Yoga C740 is actually comfortable. People with large hands might find the low-profile keyboard on the cramped side, but the keys are firm and gently spring back after you remove your finger. They’re also super quiet, so you anyone you’re sharing a space with won’t hear any click-clacking as you look up something during a Zoom meeting. The Yoga C740 didn’t win me over with it’s software-based tablet mode keyboard though. Those digital-only keyboards are known for their input latency the faster you type. There really isn’t a way around this either, unless you—surprise—use a regular keyboard. Its an area Lenovo, and Microsoft, could improve on. Thank goodness for the C740 being an actual 2-in-1 with an actual keyboard.

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What pleasantly surprised me was the trackpad’s responsiveness. I’ve been more of a mouse woman the last few years, but Yoga C740 made me a fan of trackpads—or at least a fan of its trackpad. So much so that I didn’t want to use a mouse with it as I normally do with my Lenovo Legion Y520. It didn’t have any issues detecting if I was using one finger to move the cursor or two to scroll vertically or horizontally. It was seamless as the best trackpads should be.

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As of publishing this review you can get the Yoga C740 for $820 (we’ve seen it as low as $770) and that is an absolute bargain if you have the cash. It normally goes for $900, and even then it’s still cheaper than other rival 2-in-1s, especially for everything that it offers. It’s not designed for niche groups of gamers or content creators, but for a much more varied swath of working professionals and students who don’t want to spend or don’t have the budget for an iPad or Surface and their accompanying keyboard cases. It’s for people who need a really nice alternative to their phone for working on documents, watching videos, and attending Zoom socials. If you need a really solid laptop that balances price with premium features there’s few available that are as good a deal as the Lenovo C740.

README

  • The 14-inch, 16:9 screen feels less cramped than other 2-in-1s.
  • USB-C ports are not Thunderbolt 3 compatible, sadly.
  • The Dolby Atmos speakers sound amazing for a tiny laptop.
  • Thank you, Lenovo, for continuing to believe in the 3.5mm headphone jack.
  • Under a grand? Hell yeah.
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Staff Reporter & Reviews at Gizmodo, formerly PC Gamer.

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