Despite the focus and sometimes obsession from pundits for the ultralight 13.3″ category, the 15.6-inch laptops remain a considerably popular market segment, and perhaps the best-selling type, if things have not changed since last year.
One of the explanations is that 15.6″ computers are often used as home computers, discarding the mobility factor altogether. They look sleek in the home and are low-key, but still manage to output very decent performance with a comfortably large display.
For true mobility users, a 15.6″ could be a portable computer destined to be moved from desk to desk, but not actually used in a completely ultra-mobile fashion (airports, benches, cafes).
For example, I tend to use 15.6+ laptops as “hotel computers” to maximize productivity in the room, and rely on another type of device, like a Qualcomm-powered Always-On Always-Connected PC for lighter tasks such as on-the-go editing, email and chat.
Configuration as tested: i7-10510U, 12GB RAM, 1080p 500-NIT Display, 475GB SSD. Estimated street price as tested : $850;
The Yoga C740 15-inch has an Aluminum unibody that is extremely rigid and sturdy, but also slightly heavy in today’s world of Ultralight computers.
Within that price range, you can find computers with a flimsier build-quality, so that is definitely something that I would take into account as I shop around.
“AN ALUMINUM UNIBODY THAT IS EXTREMELY RIGID AND STURDY”
Within the 15.6-inch / 16-inch category, its size is not that different from competitors. At ~93.8 Cubic Inches (CI), it is comparable to the 94.4 CI HP Envy x360 15t (model ed000 touch), but the MacBook Pro 16 is about ~7% smaller.
The general design language is inspired from the Yoga C940 laptop, and you will find a lot of similarities there, except for premium details like the soundbar, or more sophisticated hinges on the C940 model.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The Keyboard is slightly off to the left to make room for the full-size numeric pad. If you enter numbers often, it is a huge advantage when compared to a regular laptop keyboard.
The Keys are large and comfortable, and the metallic paint does not make them feel slippery, which is always nice. Cheaper keyboard easily accumulate grease and look shiny over time. It is not the case here.
The Keys tactile feedback is agreeable. For ThinkPad keyboards fans, the Yoga C740’s keyboard does not rival ThinkPad’s, but it is as good as more many expensive laptops we’ve tested. I would love to have large Up/Down arrow keys for coding and even text-editing, but that is not easy to accommodate.
The Glass trackpad is ~11.4 square inches, which is comfortable, but far from being the largest you can find. For most people, the additional surface area, typically have a diminishing return, but I have never heard someone complain about the trackpad being too big, so generally, “more is better”.
Glass is usually found in high-end laptop trackpads that emphasize comfort over durability. Glass feels extremely smooth and allows an extensive use of the trackpad without the fingertips feeling it.
There are plenty of ports: Two USB-C (+Power Delivery) and Two USB-A. All are USB 3.1 Gen1, so not quite the latest standard, but fast enough with external storage, for most people. If you edit video, you might want to check more powerful options such as the X1 Extreme Gen 2 if budget allows.
It would have been extremely valuable to have at least one USB-C Thunderbolt 3 port, because you can run basically everything else (monitors, external GPU, high-speed storage, network) with one of these.
For bottom-firing speakers, the sound is quite good. With Dolby Audio “ON” by default, there is a good volumetric effect and you can select different types of ambiance depending if you want to emphasize voice clarity or sound immersion.
More expensive Lenovo laptops have a dedicated soundbar that directs sound energy directly to the user, and it is hard to beat. The alternative is to have up-firing speakers around the keyboard, and that is also a bit more expensive because of the structural work to have the speaker and speaker grills there.
The Lenovo Yoga C740 comes with two 1080p/FHD display options, one with better colors (~100% sRGB) and 500 NITs, and the other with 250 NITs and more basic color reproduction (~75% sRGB).
A 100% sRGB color reproduction is good enough for many Creative professionals. When I worked in the video games industry, a whole lot of people could easily get by with slightly lower-performing monitors than this one.
There are indeed much more expensive “workstation” monitors with calibrators etc., but 100% sRGB will be more than acceptable for the vast majority of users.
Obviously, this is a matter of price, but if you do any work around Graphics (web design, for example) and are picky about how colors look or need a bright screen to work outdoors, aim for the 500 NITs model.
If you mainly use Word or Excel and do not particularly care about the color fidelity, you might be able to save a little bit by opting for the 250 NITs display.
A digital Pen is not included, but the display is compatible with the Lenovo Active Pen (~$60). When paired with the best display option, the Lenovo Yoga C740 15 and the active Pen are a particularly good alternative to much more expensive options for digital drawing.
Yoga C740 15″ Performance
From a performance standpoint, the Lenovo Yoga C740 15 has a couple of CPU options, both paired with an Intel GPU, so that is not really a “Gaming system”, even though it is capable of casual gaming.
We tested the Intel Core i7-10510U (4-core) version and we highly recommend a 10th generation processor versus prior generations. It seems evident, but in the past, CPU upgrades did not always yield the best overall performance improvements, over SSD, GPU or RAM for example.
For multimedia and general home computing tasks, the Yoga C740 15 will do very well, and unsurprisingly, more expensive computers can perform faster. Power Users will probably prefer the Yoga C940, or CPU variants with 6 or 8 CPU cores.
For heavy graphics users (high-end gaming, video-encoding), having a discrete GPU, even one that is not overly powerful does make a significant difference, in terms of speed, but also battery life (lower) and cost (higher). The PCMark 10 Creative score is good way of highlighting this.
However, the Yoga C740 15 shines when we look at the performance for the value, aka “bang for the buck”. The charts below speak for themselves, and while you may not be getting the absolute best performance, every dollar is well spent.
Yoga C740 15″ Battery Life
With a battery capacity of 60.3Wh, the Lenovo Yoga C740 is slightly above many alternatives such as the Yoga C940 (60Wh), the HP Envy x360 15t ed000 touch (51Wh) or the Dell XPS 15 9500 (56Wh).
If battery capacity is of paramount importance, the Dell XPS 15 9500 has a 84Wh battery option within the same form-factor, but it only comes with an NVIDIA GPU. There is also the MacBook 16 100Wh battery, but at 3X the nominal price, it was probably not on the table to start with.
In the PCMark 10 Battery test, the Lenovo C740 15 endured just above 11 hours of testing before the battery was deemed to be depleted enough to stop the test.
The 84Wh battery Dell XPS 15 9500 i7-10875H + GeForce 1650 Ti scored significantly less, and that shows once again that beyond sheet battery capacity, the total power usage of the whole system must be considered. More performance usually equates to higher power consumption.
Battery Charge Speed
The charge speed isn’t particularly impressive, but we wonder if this was intentionally done to preserve battery endurance in the long term as Fast-charging batteries may shorten their life span, and since a lot of these 15.6″ are used at home, a lot of people aren’t in a hurry to charge.
The Lenovo Yoga C740 is a great 15.6-inch laptop that is designed as a versatile computer that provides excellent value for the price. As such, it is evident that you can find something faster or lighter, but those advantages would come as a significant additional expense.
Most people want a sleek-looking laptop, which is comfortable and fast enough to handle any real-world tasks that need to be performed. For that, the C740 15.6 delivers remarkably well.
If you have extra budget and do not mind going down to 14″, we recommend looking at the Lenovo Yoga C940 as well, but for a 15.6″, the Yoga C740 15 should be given serious consideration.
Overall product rating: 8.8/10