Lenovo Yoga 730 has Alexa but isn’t very sexy

WE GOT A quick demo of the Lenovo’s new Yoga 730 at MWC.

As the latest in a long line of two-in-one tablets from the Chinese tech giant to be based on a 360-degree hinge movement, there’s not a huge amount you won’t already know.

The big selling point, this time, however, is that this is the first machine to show off its chops with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant aboard.

The fact is, if you like the range, you’ll love it. If you don’t this isn’t going to convert you. When you fold the hinges into tablet mode, you’re still left with a thick tablet, and thin and light is what most people look for in a touchscreen device.

And when it’s in laptop mode, it looks… old. It doesn’t have the curves and design language of a modern machine. It has the clunky feel of an entry-level Celeron laptop from the company.

It was far too noisy on the show floor to get a go with Alexa, but sufficed to say it works when you’ve got the computer running but the far field mic array means it’ll work from the other side of the room. Alexa and Cortana can coexist very nicely, so there’s no question of picking which one you want.

It comes in 15in and 13in versions – the 14in version is called the 530 for some reason. The camera isn’t Hello ready, but that’s ok because there’s a fingerprint reader.

It’s pretty light – the 15in is 1.89kg, and the 13in is just 1.12kg.

Thing is, we’re not entirely sure why you’d want a 15in tablet, even if it does have a UHD display.

Sound (again tricky to hear at MWC) comes from Dolby Atmos through headphones or built-in JBL speakers. Connection via a Thunderbolt 3 (both USB-C ports support Thunderbolt) allows for super-fast transfers or even an eGPU, much as the Eve V and Huawei MateBook X Pro that we’ve seen recently (and of course borrowed from the MacBook).

Discrete Nvidia graphics are an option anyway, and you and max it out to a full i7 Intel 8th-Gen processor, if you’re willing to pay. The 15in version also offers 8GB of its up-to-16GB RAM as DIMM memory which will make it insanely fast – especially coupled with the Thunderbolt connection.

The problem is, there are so many new laptops around at the moment and the market continues to shrink. This doesn’t feel like it offers anything special, and Alexa isn’t enough of a draw to change that.

In fact, design-wise it feels like something of a backward step.

Price is a major factor though. These are cheap alternatives to, say a Surface and if the performance suggested by these specs lives up to its promise, then it might actually save itself through being a clandestine powerhouse albeit a slightly fugly one with quite a lot of bloatware.

The 13ub with Active Pen 2 starts at 999 Euros while the 15in version starts at 1099 Euros. And if that floats your boat, you don’t have long to wait, they begin shipping in April. µ

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