💾 Lenovo Yoga 7 14ARB7 - Good riddance!

TLDR; Lenovo Yoga 7 14ARB7 is hot garbage, buy a Mac

I need to preface this “review” with something. I’m grateful for the privilege to not be worried about my finances currently. I’m deeply aware because I have been worried in the past. So, when I get something new - I need it, I’m passionate about it, I see the positives, overlook the negatives, assume good intentions.

So when I spend a non-negligable amount of money on something that disappoints me as thoroughly as the Yoga 7, I get… angry.

The prelude - we need a new laptop in the household, the Macbook Air 2017 with its horrible display doesn’t cut it anymore. So I see a “back-to-school” kind of offer on the Yoga 7. Hm, OK, a recent mobile AMD APU, 16GB DDR5 6400MHz RAM, 512 GB PCIe4 SSD - should be fine. In addition 2800x1800px resolution with an OLED, convertible laptop-tablet mode, 90Hz refresh rate - I’m excited. Won’t beat my iPad Pro 2020 in terms of writing/drawing experience but should be decent as an added bonus and the Yoga should beat the iPad, not to mention the the Macbook Air, at colors and smoothness of the image. This is what is on paper - an attractive spec, substantial upgrade for, say, half the price of what I would otherwise get if I was looking at Macs.

Online reviews were scarce, as the model seems to not be available in all regions, especially not in the States. Still, did some research, looked promising and disregarded some warning signs I thought of as anecdotal. After all, there is always someone with a defective device, or a skewed personal opinion… Here is mine.

Did you get excited about the “beautiful 2.8k OLED display” reviews and marketing materials talk about? Hot garbage because of the touch layer. There were extremely visible artefacts already during installation, especially on bright backgrounds. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at, after all the display is a highlight of this product. After some extra research I believe what I was seeing was the touch capacitive layer matrix… apparently somewhat common with OLED touch displays according to the Internet. How does this pass quality control and any sane product designers is beyond me. The combination is not fit for purpose and especially not when you add an otherwise gorgeous high-resolution OLED panel. It makes me weep thinking about it. Strike 1.

The usual Windows (11) crap kicks in - a barrage of updates. Fans are loud, I’m not worried. After a couple of hours of updates, Windows and Lenovo drivers, the background activity should get quiet. The fans, turns out, not so. With barely any activity on the device the fans spin up, even in the save battery mode. Googling more about a potential root cause and solutions… Found a Reddit thread I can’t be bothered to site but that matches my observations. The fans are not controlled by temperature but by wattage! Fan Control, well… didn’t find controls for the fans because of this. E.g. Temps are at 40-50C across the board in light usage, while all along fans are spinning based on the Watts and not temps. Strike 2.

Performance. Well, not impressive. For all the APU and DDR5 RAM buzz, the experience is not nearly as snappy as on my desktop with technically lower specs. I should say I’m happy with my Windows 11 experience on the desktop. Several temporary freezes, and extremely clumsy “tablet” mode (note, I wasn’t even expecting it to be close to an iPad)… Strike 3.

If this is not enough. While otherwise the build quality was good and I was willing to neglect that the touchpad is not nearly as good as, say, my MBP 16” work laptop… the F2 button on the keyboard was defective, pops out as if close to detaching in normal use. Bad luck, but… Strike “I’m not counting anymore”.

Can’t fix much either - fan control, APU performance tuning and BIOS settings are severely limited.

So, packed this buddy back in the box and returned it… may have to forfeit 30% of the cost for this nightmare of an evening with a defective and poorly designed Lenovo (Windows) product that retails in the 1000-1400 EUR range. No one deserves to spend this amount of their hard-earned cash to be let down like this, it’s frankly a borderline scam.

In conclusion, whatever gripes I may have with Macs sometimes… I’ve used heavily just 2 Mac laptops in the last 9 years! If the Mac annoys you occasionally - remember it’s scary out there with the Windows OEMs. I’ll probably try again in 10 years.

End of rant.

Connect on Micro.blog

Todor Vlaev @todor