The Understated Greatness of the Lenovo Ideapad 730s

Lenovo has been making great value ultraportables since 2016. The Ideapad 710s that they released that year was hands down one of the best reviewed slim, light, and powerful laptops of that year. The third iteration of their budget clamshell ultraportable in the Ideapad 730s is no different. It is still just as light as a generation ago. This time around, however, it has gotten a lot slimmer and even more powerful than ever.

One of the Slimmest and Lightest Without Compromising Toughness

The case is probably one of the most improved in the Lenovo 730s. Notably, the screen bezels are no longer plastic since most of the screen space has become glass. The body is still made purely from aluminium which feels sturdy and luxurious in the hand. The truly amazing part of it is that they were able to make it even slimmer than the previous generation from 13.6 mm to 11.9mm. That is a whopping 14% decrease from an already slim design.
The only drawback is that they had to drop a couple of ports because they could no longer fit in the chassis. What is perplexing, however, is that they could not even fit a small MicroSD slot. This omission can alienate photographers and content creators.
The minimalist paint job on the lid also lends to the understated look that makes it perfect for both boardrooms or coffee shops. You would not know that it is a Lenovo unless you look at it up close.

Decent Screen

Ultraportables are also known for great screens. Users, after all, are going to be looking at them for long periods of time during both work and play. The Ideapad 730s has a great screen but by no means the cream of the crop. The 1080p panel on the 13.3-inch screen is decent enough for office tasks like word processing and spreadsheets but will be a pain to watch 4K videos on.
Do not mistake this as me saying that Lenovo compromised the screen quality though. It has one of the least backlight bleeds on any monitor. Moreover, the colour accuracy is also top-notch on this device with 95% of sRGB present.
The new edge-to-edge glass screen is a welcome addition. It significantly updates the look to a modern device. With 6mm on the sides and top bezels and 10mm on the bottom bezels, it passes the modern screen to body ratio. The accumulative gains in bezel reduction also help in reducing the overall footprint of the clamshell.

All-Day Battery Life with Rapid Charge

Knowing how long you can keep the screen and the rest of the system on for is also an important aspect of assessing and buying a new ultrabook. In this category, the Ideapad 730s is also a decent performer. In web browsing tests, it can get up to 11 hours of light indoor use at 45% brightness. This is good enough to be on par with the best of them.
Go outside where you have to crank up the brightness all the way to 100%, however, tells a whole different story. This time, it’s one of the worst performing laptops. This may have something to do with the display technology installed on the device more than the battery itself.
The redeeming factor here is that it has a dedicated USB-C charging port. It is even equipped with Rapid Charge. Plugging it in while turned off for 1 hour gets you 80% of charge.

Just Enough Juice for Everyday Computing

Last year, the 8th Generation Coffee Lake processors were announced. Predictably, manufacturers were only able to produce a limited number of models with these chips. It is only now that the Ideapad going to ship with these new processors. Because they are the first chips with quad-core, processing power should be a great improvement from the last gen.
There is one caveat though:
Thermals are not well optimized for these new chips. The Core i5-8265U could not cope very well with sustained heavy loads. Sure, for the first few hours it functions quite nicely. The Core i7-8565U most likely would not be able to do any better than that as well. The short of it is that users are going to have to use their devices on load for only a few hours. If I had to guess, the thermals suffered a little bit because of the few millimetres shaved off from the device's thickness.
It comes with 8GB or 16GB of RAM depending on the model. They are soldered onto the motherboard and there is no extra slot for an additional one so you are stuck with whatever you have out of the box.
If you are interested in the user upgradeable component of this device, you should be looking at the storage. It either comes with a 256GB NVMe or a 512GB PCIe storage out of the box but you can upgrade it up to 1TB if you wish.

Futuristic Ports and Decent Input Devices

The port selection is futuristic with Lenovo opting to go for 3 USB-C ports. It has got 2 that are equipped with Thunderbolt 3 and 1 that is dedicated for charging.
The only other peripheral you could plug into the device is an audio device because of the 3.5mm jack.
The keyboard should also be quite decent because it borrows the u-shaped keys that Lenovo’s Thinkpad business laptops are known for. It is also noteworthy to say that they are also backlit like most of the modern ultrabooks out there.

Who is it for?

In a world of $1,000 ultraportables, the value proposition of the Ideapad 730s in the $611 entry-level price point is definitely something that a lot of those looking for a new thin and light are going to have in their shortlist. It has everything that is standard in the category. It has 3 USB-C ports with 2 of them being Thunderbolt 3 capable, high screen to body ratio, a quick SSD drive, and a decent helping of RAM. All in all, Lenovo has a winner in the budget ultrabook department in this one, especially if used by an average user. For power users who need to work long hours under heavy loads, however, look elsewhere.