Lenovo IdeaPad 720S review

A compact laptop with plenty of power

It's easy to find fault with the 720S before even using it. The 256GB SSD space, with no additional storage on board, is going to fill up very quickly. It has discrete graphics but, as our benchmark results show, the GeForce 940MX really can't keep up with modern gaming.

 But as a package? This thing is nice. It's a great machine on the desktop, it's slick and efficient to use, it's perfect for media and working on the move. 

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Older games run smoothly enough, and that Kaby Lake processor is an impressive number cruncher. We used this as a family laptop for a week and it never faltered once, as adept at Minecraft as it was at Microsoft Word.

Benchmarks

Here’s how the Lenovo 720S performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Sky Diver: 6270; Fire Strike: 1878; Time Spy: 613
Cinebench CPU: 290 points; Graphics: 60.81 fps
GeekBench: 3605 (single-core); 6866 (multi-core)
PCMark 8 (Home Test): 2658 points
PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours and 27 minutes
Battery Life (TechRadar movie test): 5 hours and 21 minutes
Total War: Warhammer (1080p, Ultra): 12.4 fps; (1080p, Low): 30.6 fps
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (1080p, Ultra): 2.4 fps; (1080p, Low): 25.1 fps

Battery life

Though it's nowhere near as quick to drain as a typical gaming laptop, we suspect the battery was the first component to get shaved down when squeezing all this tech into such a small shell. 

A typical three and a half hours (using the integrated graphics) is a disappointing result, and that time drops even lower if you're gaming. Drop the brightness and stop hammering the CPU, though, and you'll get a bit longer out of it.

We liked

This is, as a package, an absolutely brilliant little laptop. It feels classy, it rarely feels less than powerful, and the reduced bezel means you get much more screen than most machines with this footprint. 

It's a great machine, if you forgive a few niggles.

We disliked

Those niggles, though. The noisy fan, the middling battery life, the underpowered GPU, the awkward keyboard. 

They're small, but push the 720S away from perfection.

Final verdict

Whether this particular meets your value expectations really depends on what you want from a laptop. Reviewer's cliché, perhaps, but one that's particularly relevant; if you're looking for gaming joy, there are beefier but uglier machines at this price point. 

If you're more of a worker, there are lighter machines with larger screens that might suit you better. But if you fall in the middle of those two camps there's no way you'll be disappointed with the 720S, particularly if you can find it for less than its asking price.