Lenovo Yoga 520 Review: Good balance of Style and Performance

Lenovo Yoga 520 is more than just a traditional laptop. The flexible hinge combined with a gorgeous touch screen and capable innards make it a great buy for Windows users

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    The year 2017 was a rollercoaster ride for traditional PC market in India. The market witnessed a steep decline in Q2 post GST implementation, but swiftly recovered by the end of Q3 2017. The Indian PC market recorded a strong growth of 72.3 percent quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and 20.5 percent over the same period last year.

    As per IDC's report, even after excluding large education projects of over 10,000 units, the market still grew 10.9 percent year-on-year (YoY), which is indeed a positive sign for growth in Indian PC category. The growth in consumer PC market was driven by seasonality and online festive sales despite the fact that the year 2017 is accounted for low employment opportunities, income and price levels.

    The consumer PC business grew at an encouraging 30.9 percent YOY, which we believe is also due to the fact that PC makers are experimenting a lot and offer products that deliver much more than the traditional laptops and notebooks.

    While HP maintained its leadership in PC market, Lenovo took the second spot with a 24.1 percent market share in the overall India traditional PC market by the end of 2017. It was in 2017 when Lenovo introduced announced two new convertible laptop series - Yoga 720 and Yoga 520 with top-of-the line hardware and exclusive features. Like its predecessors, the new laptops in Yoga 720 and 520 series can be used in four different modes - Laptop, Tablet, Tent and Stand.

    While Yoga 720 offers the flagship level Windows 2-in-1 machines, the notebooks in Yoga 520 will appeal to consumers who seek an affordable yet performance driven Windows convertibles. We are currently using the 4GB RAM variant of Yoga 520 convertible which is backed by Core i5-7200 CPU and is priced at Rs. in the Indian market. Let's try to understand what Yoga 520 brings to the table in terms of performance and features with the help of this review.

    Build and Design

    Lenovo Yoga 520 convertible maintains a good balance of style and toughness. The 2-in-1's Onyx Black variant with its anodized aluminum look and feel looks as premium as an ultrabook priced around Rs. 1 lakh. Yoga 520 is also compact in size but feels an ounce heavier than some other 14-inch notebooks. The convertible weighs 1.75Kgs and has dimensions of 12.9 x 9 x 0.8 inches. The notebook has bevelled edges designed for a clean and modern look.

    Premium look and feel

    The 2-in-one looks even more premium once you open the lid and start working on it. The quality of material used in construction is top notch. The anodized metal sheet combined with shiny silver lining around the touchpad and at the outer layer of the base panel gives Yoga 520 a sense of a much premium ultrabook.

    The hinge that supports the lid is very firm and offers enough resistance to hold the notebook firmly in tent mode. However, in the absence of a slot or a gap combined with the rigid hinge, you have to make an extra effort to open the lid to start using the Windows machine.

    Yoga 520 convertible also features an updated touchpad that provides smooth comfort and improved control. The convertible is available in Mineral Grey, Onyx Black, and Metallic Gold color variants.

    Ports and Connectivity

    There's no compromise in terms of connectivity ports. The left side of the laptop has an HDMI output, a USB 3.0 port, a USB Type-C port and a headphone jack. On the right side, you'll find the Kensington lock slot, SD card slot and another USB 3.0 port.

    Vibrant 1080P IPS touchscreen

    Lenovo Yoga 520 delivers immersive visual experience. The convertible features a 14-inch IPS touchscreen panel which can get very bright and offers vivid color reproduction. You can watch movies and play videos in standard laptop and tablet mode or can also keep the convertible in tent mode for a captivating video playback experience. The 14-inch display is available in two resolutions- Full HD and HD. My review unit shipped with 1080p touchscreen panel and watching movies on this convertible in tent mode was really intriguing.

    The screen is also very touch responsive and the good brightness levels make it fairly usable in daylight conditions; however it's a bit reflective. Lenovo has also narrowed the bezels on two sides of the screen (from 12.3 mm to 7.6 mm) to maximize the viewing experience; however it's not a complete overhaul as the borders around the display are still quite visible.

    Overall, Yoga 520 convertible packs in one of the best displays on a notebook in its respective price-point that will appeal multimedia lovers.

    Hardware and software performance

    Priced at Rs. 63,999, my review unit shipped with 4GB RAM, 1TB hard drive and Intel Core i5-7200U chipset clocked at 2.50 GHz. The graphics were handled by Intel HD 620 GPU. This combination is not entirely entry-level and but expecting flawless performance out of it is not fair. The 4GB RAM holds you back from running multiple processes and the convertible struggled during multiple tabs in Chrome. Yoga 520 handled heat dissipation very well while running the usual tasks such as browsing, YouTube, VLC playback, etc. However, the convertible's surface did heat up and fans also made noise while compressing videos in VLC or running any other resource intensive tasks.

    I would recommend power users to opt for at least 8GB RAM variant for a lag free Windows experience. And for flawless performance, you can opt for 8GB RAM variant that goes up to 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB SATA HDD storage and takes use of up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU. The 8GB RAM variant with 1TB HDD costs Rs. 5,000 extra and makes much more sense.

    A far as software is concerned, the convertible runs Windows 10 Home edition with MS office pre-installed. There are a handful of other pre-loaded apps on the device, which includes McAfee antivirus software, Lenovo App explorer, Lenovo Companion App, Lenovo Vantage app that helps you customize your PC experience on-the-go.

    Audio Performance and Active Pen support

    The audio is managed by Harman Speakers and the Windows machine also supports Dolby audio. The sound delivered by speakers placed at rear surface is loud and clear and you can watch an entire movie without a pair of headphones. Yoga 520 also supports Active Pen, which is a useful accessory if you love to sketch on digital screens. The stylus was not bundled in the package but I had a chance to test it on the machine and it works effectively. Lenovo's active pen is very pressure sensitive and offers a regular pen feel. It can be a great tool for creative users out there.

    Keypad and Touchpad Experience

    The typing experience on Yoga 520 can be good or bad depending upon your previous notebook's size. The keys have a travel of 1.3mm, which can be a bit troubling for some users who require at least 1.5m travel for smooth functioning. Talking precisely about the keypad performance, the keys offer a satisfying clicky experience and are not hard on your finger tips.

    The touchpad is very smooth and supports gestures; however the slick surface feels a bit extra slippery than it is actually required for a smooth operation. Nevertheless, the touchpad is very responsive and accurate. Yoga 520 also comes with a fingerprint scanner placed on the right side of the touchpad.

    Battery backup

    Yoga 520 can easily last for up to 6 hours on intense usage, which is pretty good. With moderate usage patterns, the convertible's battery can touch close to 7 hours or even more on a single charge. The laptop's battery also refuels quickly, which makes it a good Windows machine for users who commute a lot.

    Conclusion

    Lenovo Yoga 520 is a good buy for users who are looking for a Windows machine which offers more than just standard notebook features. The 8GB RAM variant with 7th Gen. Intel CPU combined with a vivid touchscreen makes for a perfect device for work and play. The audio performance and battery backup is also noteworthy and the overall look and feel of the convertible will not disappoint you at all. Overall, it's a good buy for Windows fans who specifically look for a full-fledged touchscreen Windows machine.

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