Lenovo is announcing a pair of new laptops today, the Yoga 730 and Flex 14, both of which are seeing a number of small design tweaks and receiving Intel’s 8th-gen processors. While there aren’t any major changes this year, the 730 is getting one notable improvement to help it stand out: it has built-in far-field mics so that it can support Alexa.
The Yoga 730 is really similar to last year’s Yoga 720: like all Yoga laptops, it has a touchscreen and can flip around into tablet mode; it starts with a price around $900 but can go much higher if you spec it out; and while it’s a well-made laptop with an aluminum body, it isn’t quite as slim or light as what Lenovo offers in its Yoga 900 series laptops.
This year, the 730 has received a few nice but minor design tweaks. The back edge of both the top and bottom of the computer now come to a pleasant, bubbly edge, and the hinge slopes down between them. That also allows there to be some distance between the screen and keyboard when flipped into tablet mode, which is supposed to make the computer somewhat easier to hold. I would say “somewhat” is accurate.
Unfortunately, anything you might not have liked about last year’s model is the same here: the edges are rough in some places, there’s a thick bezel beneath the display, and there’s no Windows Hello camera — although there is a fingerprint sensor.
I didn’t get a chance to try out Alexa on the Yoga 730, but the implementation is supposed to be similar to Cortana. You’ll have to have the laptop open and logged in, so you can’t always yell across the room and expect a response like you would with other Alexa devices. I suspect that’ll make this a much less useful Alexa device than it could be, but there still seems to be an advantage in having easy access, especially if you have a bunch of Alexa devices that you use to manage things like lists of reminders. This is Lenovo’s third laptop to include Alexa, and it seems like the feature is inevitably headed for more of its lineup.
The copper color is only available in Europe
My favorite thing about the 730 by far is its copper color option. It looks great and stands out from other laptops. Unfortunately, it’ll only be available in Europe — the US is stuck with just the gray and silver options. The laptop will be available in a 13- and 15-inch model and is supposed to start shipping in April.
Lenovo’s other new laptop is the Flex 14, which is actually the successor to the Flex 5. While these laptops go under the Flex name in the US, they use the Yoga branding in Europe — in this case, it’ll be known as the Yoga 530. That makes this laptop’s position much clearer: it’s yet a cheaper way of buying into the Yoga line, while still getting a lot of the same options. Like the 730, you can spec this way up, to an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and a GeForce MX130, but that’s far from what you’ll get at its $600 entry level price.
The Flex 14’s changes are a lot like the Yoga 730’s changes — it looks pretty similar year over year, with some minor refinements to the build. This laptop has aluminum only on the palm rest and it is pretty much impossible to open the lid without prying the two halves apart, so that’s not great. But like the 730, it’s a way to get Lenovo’s 2-in-1 features and specs if you don’t care quite as much about the build quality. It’ll also start shipping in April.