July 9, 2020

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Lenovo Yoga C740 (14-inch) review: A great 2-in-1 MacBook Air alternative


Sarah Tew/CNET

Whenever someone asks me for a Windows alternative to the MacBook Air, my answer for more than a year has been either the Lenovo IdeaPad 730S or the two-in-one Yoga 730 generally because they cost less, but give you a similar look and feel and potentially better performance. They’re just great ultraportables for normal, everyday home office or school work and the Lenovo Yoga C740 is no different. 

Like

  • Slim, lightweight all-metal body.
  • Privacy shutter for webcam.
  • Excellent everyday performance and battery life for the money.

Don’t Like

  • Memory is soldered on.
  • No Thunderbolt 3.

The C740, available in 14- and 15.6-inch sizes, is the update to the Yoga 730. It falls in the middle of the current Yoga two-in-one convertible lineup with the C940 above and 13.3-inch C640 below. The 15.6-inch C740 is essentially the same as the 14-inch I tested, but with a larger display and a keyboard with a number pad. My configuration lists for $870, but Lenovo regularly runs sales on it and, at the moment, it’s $730. A similar configuration is available in the UK for £681 and in Australia for AU$1,800.

Lenovo Yoga C740-14IML (14-inch)

Price as reviewed $870
Display size/resolution 14-inch 1,920×1,080 touch display
CPU 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U
Memory 8GB DDR4 2,666MHz (soldered)
Graphics 128MB Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
Storage 512GB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe NVMe
Networking Intel 9560 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
Operating system Windows 10 Home 64-bit version 1903
18-lenovo-yoga-c740

Sarah Tew/CNET

Less chin, more screen

At 3 pounds (1.4kg), the C740 is about a half pound heavier than its predecessor, but it also jumps from a 13.3-inch display to a 14-inch one. Oddly, though, their bodies are similar in size and the C740 is actually shorter because Lenovo eliminated much of the display’s bottom bezel. 

The display itself has good color and brightness, though you’ll still have to see past reflections outside or under bright office lighting. The 720p webcam above the screen has one of Lenovo’s little sliding shutters that physically blocks the camera. And if you like using digital assistants, the C740 has far-field mics and Amazon Alexa support, too. You can access it even when you’re not actively using the laptop.  

05-lenovo-yoga-c740

The C740 has a comfortable keyboard with two levels of backlighting and a smooth and responsive precision touchpad. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Lenovo offers a few configurations of the C740 that include a choice of 10th-gen Core i5 or i7 processors (Comet Lake, not Ice Lake architecture), up to 16GB of memory, integrated UHD 630 graphics and up to 1TB SSD PCIe storage. 

My configuration was perfect for typical work and entertainment use, and battery life was impressive at more than 11 hours on our streaming video test. You might want to get 16GB of memory to help with multitasking, though. The memory is soldered on, which means you can’t add more post-purchase. Storage, on the other hand, can be increased on your own easily enough. 

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The C740 has two USB-C ports, but they’re not Thunderbolt 3. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

Stay with C740 or go up to the C940? 

Most people looking for a general-purpose laptop will be well served with the Yoga C740, even if you never intend to use it as a tablet. The display is pen-enabled, however, so if you decide you want to use it for casual sketches or note-taking, you’ll just need to pick up a pen. 

On the other hand, if you know you want a pen, the C940, which starts at $1,250, comes with one and it has a storage and charging garage built into the laptop’s body. It also has Thunderbolt 3 support for its USB-C ports, whereas the C740 does not. Sound is better on the C940 also, thanks to its soundbar hinge that delivers clear audio regardless of the screen position, and it has 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) wireless, which gives you a little futureproofing, assuming you haven’t already jumped to the latest wireless standard. Lastly, you can get it configured with a six-core Core i7 processor and an UHD (3,840×2,160 pixel) HDR 400 display. 

Those are the main differences between the two and, for me, they’re things that are nice to have, but not necessities considering the price difference. With the Yoga C740, you’re still walking away with an excellent two-in-one for the money. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2019)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2019)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2019)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

System configurations

Lenovo Yoga C740 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core Intel Core i5-10210U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD 630 Graphics; 512GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga C940 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 12GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 512GB SSD
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2019) MacOS Mojave 10.14.5; 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.13GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics 617; 256GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel) Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 256GB SSD
Lenovo Yoga 730 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.4GHz; 128MB Intel UHD 620 Graphics; 256GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core Intel Core i5-8250U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 1.87GHz; 128MB Intel UHD 620 Graphics; 256GB SSD