Introduction, Design Features
Typically, if you’re shopping for a laptop to take with you—and take with you often—you’re looking at buying something that emphasizes light weight over other aspects. After all, no point in lugging more weight than you need. The Lenovo IdeaPad 710S Plus suits the needs of the all-purpose lightweight laptop, and it does so without making big compromises on design, features, or price.
At around $899.99 in the model we tested (the exact SKU number was 80W3004MUS), the IdeaPad 710S Plus is one of the loftier-priced models in the IdeaPad lineup, which tends to emphasize low-cost budget models for consumers. But it also comes in at a reasonable price among its competitors with similar traits. The weight is also right-on in the midrange-ultrabook mix. The competitors vary in their offerings, with some offering more weight and more features, at a higher price; or offering less weight, at a higher price. The IdeaPad weighs 2.6 pounds, which puts it smack in the middle of competitors in terms of weight. Pricier models tend to be closer to the 2-pound hyper-portable class, like the $1,038 Asus ZenBook 3HP Spectre x360Lenovo Yoga 910.
Another point that stands out about the IdeaPad 710S Plus: It uses a 13.3-inch display that looks larger than you expect with its narrow bezels. Many laptops today—including the Lenovo Yoga 900 series—use a 12-inch display as opposed to a 13.3-incher. Many ultraportable designs are favoring the 12- or 12.5-inch display over the once-standard 13.3-inch, which on the Yoga line has been replaced by a 14-inch display (technically, a 13.9-incher) in a chassis design that once housed the 13.3-inch.
All of that is to say, with the IdeaPad 710S Plus you’re getting a good-size display and a versatile system at a reasonable price. How good? Let’s find out.
Apple MacBook. The laptop has an all-metal magnesium and aluminum chassis, with stylishly beveled edges…
We particularly appreciated the attention to detail here. For example, at the bottom of the laptop, running nearly the width of the underside, are the ventilation slots; and alongside those, near the hinge, is a quarter-inch-thick strip of rubber piping.
As we used the laptop, we realized the rubber serves a double purpose. It helps to raise the laptop to allow air to vent from the slots. But it also serves as a sturdy yet unobtrusive grip to grab the laptop—convenient for pulling it in and out of a bag for the airport security bin. Two smaller rubber feet, about half the depth of the larger swath, are at the front corners.
The lid, apart from the Lenovo branding, is a sheer metal expanse…
Open the lid and you’ll notice a similar attention to design—and another nod to Apple’s design. The power button is integrated into the keyboard, at the top right corner…
To power the laptop on, just press; to go back to sleep mode, just press and hold. One less pesky mechanical button along the side.
The rest of the keyboard is fairly standard, with comfortable spacing, width, and key definition. The touch pad is silky smooth and generously sized at 4 inches wide, and a biometric fingerprint reader is off on the right side of the palm rest, for use with Windows Hello log-ins and other security applications.
The Webcam supports 720p imaging, which makes it passable but not at the level of the cameras in the latest smartphones.
The laptop measures 0.58 inch thick and has a footprint of 12.2×8.7 inches. It starts at 2.6 pounds, making it a welcome light weight for such a reasonably priced laptop.
The laptop comes with a good complement of inputs. Along the left side sits a USB 2.0 port, an SD-card slot, and a reset pinhole.
At right sits the proprietary charging port, another USB 3.0 port, a USB Type-C port (which also supports DisplayPort output), and a headphone/microphone jack…
The sharp, 13.3-inch IPS display carries a 1,920×1,080-pixel native resolution—not as much as on higher end 4K competitors, but certainly enough to minimize eye strain and for images to appear accurate. The anti-glare coating did its job, and we found the display sufficiently bright. In our test images, videos, and Web pages, colors appeared vibrant and accurate.
We did miss that this wasn’t a touch-screen display. For that, you’d have to step up to the IdeaPad 710S Plus Touch, a separate model, which starts at $1,439.
The laptop handled well in our usage. The display’s hinge felt sturdy and kept the display firmly in place, even if we grabbed the laptop by its display (something we don’t ordinarily do, but tried nonetheless). Audio sounded good through the stereo JBL-certified speakers with Dolby Audio Premium.
The power button’s location, and the rhythm of how to engage it, took some getting used to; having the button inside the laptop was not the norm for us as long-time PC users. But we liked that it meant we didn’t accidentally turn the device on, either, just by grabbing the edge in the wrong spot.
We did puzzle over two things, though. The inclusion of a USB 2.0 port seems limiting and odd; that port is good for little beyond connecting a mouse or a USB drive with a few documents on it. If you wanted to transfer data in any tangible quantity of gigabytes, you’d need to use the single USB 3.0 port or the USB Type-C port (harder, since fewer data devices use USB Type-C today). The other oddity that is more easily understood: the use of an AC charging port instead of another USB port. Had this model used USB Type-C for charging, that would have been impressive and forward-looking—and spoken well to the overall mobility story. The AC charger is lightweight and compact, but it’s still a dedicated charger. At least the tip looks like it’s standard issue.