For a long time after the dawn of the era of 2-in-1 convertible laptops, it seemed that designs with screens larger than 14 inches were doomed to extinction. Expensive, unwieldy to hold as tablets, and typically weighing more than their clamshell counterparts to accommodate extra hinge hardware, they appeared to have few advantages. But many people apparently overlook these deficiencies, and manufacturers continue to sell large convertible laptops, like the 15-inch version of the Lenovo Yoga C740 (starts at $779.99; $1,099.99 as tested). It offers an excellent display, long battery life, powerful components, and an affordable price tag. Other than its relatively large size and heavy weight, there’s little not to like.
Versatile But Hefty
A 2-in-1 convertible differs from a traditional clamshell design by virtue of a 360-degree hinge. That means the Yoga C740 can be opened up like a laptop, and then opened up even further to let you position it as a tent on a flat surface, or even hold it like a tablet with the keyboard folded completely away. That’s where things get a bit impractical, though. While you might be tempted to pick up the C740 as you would an iPad, your arms will quickly grow tired of dealing with its 4.19-pound weight. Even the largest Apple iPad Pro weighs just 1.42 pounds.
One potential explanation for the continued success of large-screen 2-in-1s despite their unwieldiness is that new models have consistently become trimmer and lighter without sacrificing screen real estate. Compare the Yoga C740’s weight and size—0.72 by 14.1 by 9.3 inches (HWD)—with a five-year-old design like the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 15, which measures 0.8 by 15.1 by 10.1 inches and weighs 5.1 pounds. And convertibles with 15.6-inch screens continue to shrink. With a 90 percent screen-to-body ratio, the upcoming HP Spectre x360 15 will almost certainly be smaller and lighter than this Yoga.
So if your most important requirement is a screen larger than 13.3 or 14 inches and you’d like the ability to occasionally prop up your laptop on a desk or airplane tray table to watch a movie, a 2-in-1 convertible like the 15.6-inch Yoga C740 could be for you.
The Lenovo’s Mica color scheme gives it a slightly more cheerful vibe than the cold gray expanses of aluminum that are currently in vogue among ultraportable laptops. The Yoga C740 is still a slab of aluminum, however, and while it looks quite modern, it’s far from unique or flashy. The award for flashiest-looking 2-in-1 currently goes to the Spectre x360, with its gem-cut edges and available Poseidon Blue color scheme.
The edges of the Yoga C740, by contrast, are completely flat. They contain an adequate port selection, though not an exceptional one. There are two USB Type-C ports (one of which must be used to charge the laptop), two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and a 3.5mm audio input/output jack. While this should let you plug in many peripherals without adapters, you will need an adapter or special cable for external monitors and SD cards. Video outputs and flash card slots are common on other 15.6-inch laptops at this price, so it’s disappointing not to see them here. The Yoga C740 also lacks support for Thunderbolt 3.
Wireless connectivity includes 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 5.0. Support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) protocol is missing, which could be a demerit if you plan to keep your Yoga for many years. The 802.11ac standard is plenty fast enough for the time being, however.
You’ll find the laptop’s power button on the right edge instead of next to the keyboard, a placement that’s common on 2-in-1 convertible designs. There’s a slight risk that you might accidentally press it and put the laptop to sleep while you’re gripping the edges of the Yoga. It didn’t happen to me during testing, though, and in Windows, you can always disable the ability for a power-button press to push you into sleep mode.
One of the key omissions on the Yoga C740’s edges is a built-in holder for a digital stylus. It’s one way that Lenovo distinguishes the C740 from the flagship Yoga C940, which includes a built-in holder that also recharges the active stylus pen. If you do plan to use the C740 for digital sketches or taking notes, you’ll need to buy a stylus and find a place to store it. Lenovo’s active digital stylus, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, is a $60 optional extra.
Display Options: All 1080p
The Yoga C740 also lacks the option for a display resolution above full HD (1,920 by 1,080 pixels). A full HD screen with touch support is adequate for a laptop at this price, however. I found the Dolby HDR panel offers reasonably crisp text, and at an impressive 500 nits of rated brightness, it’s viewable even in a room flooded with sunlight. But if you’re looking for the super-fine detail of a QHD or 4K display, you’ll have to look elsewhere—the Yoga C940, Lenovo’s business-focused ThinkPad X1 Yoga, and the Spectre x360 15 all offer 4K options.
Above the display, there’s a 720p fixed-focus camera. Quality is not its strong suit—the video feed appeared washed out and slightly grainy even with good light, which is common with laptop webcams at every price. The Yoga C740’s camera does have a nifty built-in privacy door that covers the lens to thwart snoopers, however, and it’s one of the best-designed privacy doors I’ve encountered. It’s virtually invisible, with a tiny lever built into the display bezel and the rest of the door hidden behind the outer display glass. It’s perhaps the best example of the exemplary attention to detail that is present throughout the Yoga C740’s design.
The camera lacks IR sensors for face-recognition logins, but you can still log into Windows Hello by using the fingerprint reader built into the keyboard deck, right below the dedicated number pad. The backlit keyboard itself offers above-average comfort, with mostly well-spaced keys and virtually no flex when you press them. That said, the travel distance of each keystroke is quite short, and the directional arrow keys are very cramped, which means the typing experience overall doesn’t match the superior feel of most keyboards in the ThinkPad lineup. The touchpad is accurate and sturdy, if a bit on the small side and lacking dedicated left- and right-click buttons.
Lenovo supports the Yoga C740 with its standard one-year warranty, which includes mail-in service for repairs.
Testing the C740: Strong Performance
Computing performance is one of the Yoga C740’s strengths, and it offers some small but noticeable advantages in general productivity and multimedia creation tasks (but not gaming) even when compared against other thin and light ultraportable laptops and 2-in-1s that we’ve tested recently. As configured, our upgraded Yoga C740 review unit includes an Intel Core i7-10510U with a base clock speed of 1.8GHz. This CPU has an Intel UHD Graphics processor and it supports Hyper-Threading, which means each of its four cores can handle two software instruction threads simultaneously, for a total of eight. (See how we test laptops.)
Our Yoga C740 also includes 12GB of system memory and a 512GB solid-state drive teamed with 32GB of dedicated Intel Optane memory to help speed up access to the drive. Meanwhile, the base configuration includes a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of memory, and a 256GB SSD.
Here’s how our Yoga C740 stacks against the specs of a few of its key competitors, including the Dell Latitude 5300 2-in-1 (a 13.3-inch convertible) and the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (the gold standard for standalone Windows tablets without integrated keyboards):
I’ve also included the smaller 14-inch version of the Yoga C740, as well as the 13-inch version of the Spectre x360. HP announced a revamped 15-inch Spectre x360 in January, but it’s not available yet, so it’s not represented here.
The Yoga C740’s all-around superior performance is evident in the PCMark 10 benchmark, which simulates different real-world productivity and content-creation workflows. We use it to assess overall system performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheet jockeying, web browsing, and videoconferencing. The test generates a proprietary numeric score; higher numbers are better.
Despite its Intel Optane storage accelerator, the C740 didn’t perform meaningfully better than any of the other laptops in the PCMark 8 storage subtest, however. This is to be expected. Optane has limited benefits outside of transferring files from one location to another and launching software programs.
The Yoga C740 continued its strong showing in our Adobe Photoshop image editing benchmark, which involves applying a series of 10 complex filters and effects to a standard JPEG test image. We time each operation and, at the end, add up the total execution time.
Its performance in our two other multimedia tests (3D rendering and video encoding) was also good, though not class-leading. We test 3D rendering with Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 test, which is fully threaded to make use of all available processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU rather than the GPU to render a complex image. The result is a proprietary score indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads.
Cinebench is often a good predictor of our Handbrake video-editing trial, another tough, threaded workout that’s highly CPU-dependent and scales well with cores and threads. In it, we put a stopwatch on test systems as they transcode a standard 12-minute clip of 4K video to a 1080p MP4 file. It’s a timed test, and lower results are better.
Gaming and Battery Life
The Yoga C740 is certainly no powerhouse gaming laptop. It lacks the peppier gaming graphics performance that some more expensive (but still quite thin and light) laptops have thanks to their CPU-integrated Intel Iris Plus or dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX graphics. This means it’s only suited for basic games like Minecraft or Fortnite played at lower resolution and quality settings. But it’s not alone in this predicament, as you can see from the results of our gaming graphics tests. Integrated graphics is nothing if not predictable.
Most of the tested laptops performed roughly equally in the 3DMark benchmark, which measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of highly detailed, gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting. The Surface Pro 7 and the Spectre x360 are equipped with more powerful Iris Plus graphics, but only the Spectre x360 stands out. (There is a big difference in thermal overhead between a tablet like the Surface Pro and a rotating 2-in-1 like the Spectre, after all, likely the reason behind the tablet’s ho-hum graphics showing here.) We run two different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike, which are suited to different types of systems. Both are DirectX 11 benchmarks, but Sky Diver is more suited to laptops and midrange PCs, while Fire Strike is more demanding and made for high-end PCs to strut their stuff. The results are proprietary scores.
The Superposition results follow the same pattern. Like 3DMark, Unigine’s Superposition test renders and pans through a detailed 3D scene and measures how the system copes. In this case, it’s rendered in the company’s eponymous Unigine engine, offering a different 3D workload scenario than 3DMark for a second opinion on the machine’s graphical prowess.
While this gaming performance is rather ho-hum, it largely meets our expectation for this type of laptop. We have much higher standards for battery life, however, and the Yoga C740 also meets these. At more than 13 hours of video playback in our test, it didn’t last quite as long as the Spectre x360 13’s impressive 18 hours, but it should be able to get you through a day of light work plus an evening watching movies on the couch.
It’s a Big Value
In fact, watching movies on the couch (or while traveling) is definitely one of the key use cases for such a large convertible laptop. In the Yoga C740’s case, you can’t output video to a larger screen without casting it wirelessly or using an adapter or dongle, so it’s a particularly relevant activity.
Other potential uses for a convertible laptop, like writing or drawing, don’t apply as much to the Yoga C740. There’s no built-in stylus, and its 4-pound weight makes the laptop uncomfortable to hold in one hand for very long. Serious digital artists are therefore better off with a true tablet like the iPad or the Surface Pro.
Despite its potentially limited physical flexibility, the Yoga C740 is still an excellent laptop in its own right thanks to its topnotch build quality, good computing performance, and thoughtful extras like the webcam privacy filter. While we continue to recommend 13- and 14-inch screens for convertibles, it’s clear that many consumers disagree. As for Lenovo, the company declines to provide sales data for its big-screen convertibles, but it clearly sees a benefit to selling 2-in-1s with super-sized screens at palatable prices.
In fact, perhaps the best part about the Yoga C740 is that it’s a much better value than flagships like the Yoga C940, the clamshell-style Dell XPS 15, or the Spectre x360. At just over $1,000, the configuration of our review unit is quite budget-friendly, a feat that it sensibly accomplishes by sacrificing a few features (like Thunderbolt 3 and a built-in stylus) while keeping build quality to a high standard.
Lenovo Yoga C740 (15-Inch) Specs
|Laptop Class||Convertible 2-in-1|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-10510U|
|Processor Speed||1.8 GHz|
|RAM (as Tested)||12 GB|
|Boot Drive Type||SSD|
|Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)||512 GB|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Native Display Resolution||1,920 by 1,080|
|Variable Refresh Support||None|
|Screen Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Graphics Processor||Intel UHD Graphics|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ac, Bluetooth|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)||13:39|