Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 In Review: Microsoft Surface Pro For Little Money | Tech Reviews
With the Yoga Duet 7, Lenovo wants to offer an affordable alternative to the Surface Pro. The test from our tech reviews shows whether the red pencil was placed in the right place.
The Microsoft Surface Pro series are premium 2-in-1 devices. Powerful, excellent workmanship and very good machines all round. Microsoft can also pay very well for this. A current Surface Pro 8 with Intel i7 (11th Gen), 16gb ram, 1TB storage and keyboard cover costs a whopping €2,220.86 (2333.7 USD)*. If you want the pen (Surface Pen) as well, it’s even €2,280.86 *. That’s a lot of money.
*at the time of research
The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 costs just €1,349 (1418 USD)* with the same equipment. That’s over €900 less than Microsoft. You can buy another laptop for the savings. But the question is: What compromises did Lenovo have to make in order to reach this aggressive price point? Turns out, not that many.
As mentioned before, the specs and design of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 are very similar to the Surface Pro 8 and that’s a very good template too. The hardware is up to date and promises a lot of performance that still fits in your pocket.
I will be comparing the Yoga Duet 7 to the Surface Pro throughout the review. Lenovo was inspired by Microsoft’s design – then you have to put up with the comparison.
Design: very successful and minimalistic design
The case of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is well made. It cannot be bent and scores with a very high-quality surface made of fabric and metal. The kickstand on the back has a tight hinge. Nothing moves when you operate the tablet with your hand. The maximum installation angle is about 70°.
The pure tablet of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 weighs just 800g. With the keyboard cover it is almost 1.2kg. This puts the 2-in-1 from Lenovo on a par with most ultrabooks in terms of weight. There are now devices that weigh under 1kg, but they are intended for people who care about every gram and not for the people who would like to have a good tablet that is also a computer at the same time.
If there’s one thing I’m missing from the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7’s design, it’s a pen storage option. When packing up, I either have to toss the pen loosely in my pocket or store it elsewhere. There is no slot on the tablet for this – and no magnets for attachment either.
Input devices: Convince (almost) all along the line
The Yoga Duet 7’s keyboard is very well made. It may only be around 5mm thick, but it’s no less torsionally rigid than the rest of the 2-in-1. I actually like the keyboard on the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 better than the Surface Pro, although I wish I could set it up as easily as Microsoft’s 2-in-1.
The keyboard easily makes up for this with its very good typing feel. Key travel is short and tight – just how I like it. Long texts work very well with the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7. In addition, the 2-in-1 does not skimp on details such as the backlight. The Yoga Duet 7 even has three levels and the illumination is even. This is a Bluetooth 5.0 keyboard. Even if it is not connected to the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 via a connector, it can be used.
The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7’s touchscreen works very well with both the included stylus and your fingers. Commands are recognized and implemented directly.
However, I was a bit disappointed with the touchpad of the Lenovo Yoga Duet. It’s a good size for getting things done quickly on the go without a mouse. In addition, the surface of the Precision touchpad is pleasantly smooth, which allows the mouse to move quickly and fluently. Unfortunately, Lenovo only uses a springboard mechanism. Accordingly, the upper third of the touchpad hardly reacts to inputs – mostly not at all.
I was very excited when, after Apple, Samsung and Huawei finally made trackpads that click everywhere and I was hoping that more manufacturers would develop their own technology for it. It will probably take a while for Lenovo.
Connection selection: One hides
I’d like to just say that the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 gives you three USB-C ports, but it’s not quite that simple. Lenovo officially has two USB 3.1 Gen1 ports and one Thunderbolt 4 port on the Yoga Duet.
On the Yoga Duet’s left side are two of the three USB-C ports and one is also marked with a lightning bolt symbol, making no secret that it’s the Thunderbolt 4 port. The Lenovo Duet 7 can also be charged via both ports on the left.
One of the USB-C ports on the right, on the other hand, is marked with a double S. This means SuperSpeed for data transmission. So in practice it’s a USB 3.1 Gen 1, but the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 can’t be charged via it, so all three USB-C ports are a bit different – and that feels unnecessary.
There is also a microSD slot that is somewhat hidden. It’s in a slot like the one you know from your smartphone’s SIM card. It is opened in the same way – either with a SIM needle or a bent paper clip. With the Yoga Duet, Lenovo doesn’t really want to enable you to read photos from your camera on the go, but allows you to expand your memory at a reasonable price. The read speed of the MicroSD slot is just over 70MB/s.
Display: The most important part
The display reveals one of the biggest differences between the Surface Pro and the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 – the aspect ratio. The Yoga Duet 7 uses a 16:10 format, while the Surface Pro prefers 3:2. So with Lenovo, you get smaller black borders on movies, while Microsoft shows you more of websites. It’s up to you what you use a 2-in-1 for more often.
Otherwise, the display of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is convincing. With 2160×1350 pixels, it comes to almost 200ppi. There are sharper displays on the market, but this is absolutely sufficient for the size. Thanks to IPS technology, there are also large viewing angles and very good colors. The maximum brightness is 450 nits. That’s more than enough for indoor spaces and also for shady spots outside.
The illumination is even on the panel. There was a maximum of about 10% between the brightest and darkest spot and that’s more than okay. The black values are very good for an IPS panel. I would have liked to have had more than 60Hz, but the relatively low price has to come from somewhere.
Software: Windows 11 directly from the factory
In addition to pure Windows, the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is “blessed” with some additional software. Above all McAfee, which asks you from the first second with large banners to buy the full version. Don’t do it – just don’t do it. Windows Defender is free, similarly efficient, and much more unobtrusive.
In addition, Lenovo packs Vantage, Voice Assistant and Smart Mirror on the internal SSD ex works. All programs that are not required can be completely uninstalled. This creates storage space and reduces the annoying pop-ups – ten minutes well invested.
Performance and emissions: runs well, fast and audible
With an 11th generation Intel Core i7, 16GB of RAM and 1TB of fast storage, the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 offers good equipment for 2022. The processor may be a generation old, but it still has plenty of power for everyday use, office and also for some creative uses.
However, if you want to tap the full performance of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7, you will reach the limits of the integrated Xe graphics unit. It is sufficient for older games in low resolution, but the notebook is not intended for gaming. Don’t expect miracles.
A final word on the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7’s built-in fan – it’s audible. The combination of slim design and high-performance components means that the fans start up even under light load. There are no high notes or the like, but people who are sensitive to noise should be prepared to be quickly annoyed.
Battery: Solid runtime
With 39Wh, the battery of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is a good size. If you turn the display brightness down to a comfortable level indoors and don’t overdo it with the CPU load, they’ll get you very far. The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 lasted almost nine hours with a lot of browsing and office work. Not a top value, but not bad either – a healthy midfield. If you really challenge the CPU and turn the display brightness up to maximum, it’s over after around 1.5 hours.
By the way, charging is done via one of the Type-C ports. The power adapter looks a bit bulky, but since it’s Type-C, that only plays a minor role. If you damage your charging cable years after you bought it, you will still be able to get a replacement without further ado and that is very good.
Upgrades: Not desired
At first glance, getting to the innards of the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 seems fairly easy. A total of six T5 screws are hidden under the kickstand. If these are solved, nothing happens. There is no other obvious way of violating the tablet’s integrity.
So think of the 2-in-1 as a unit that you can’t even open up. Since the Yoga Duet 7 is only available in two versions (i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD or i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD), you don’t have to worry too much about which version you should buy.
Sound and Microphones: It’s a laptop
The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7’s speakers sit on the top edge of the tablet and are announced by a nice “Dolby Audio” label. What follows, however, is rather standard fare. The sound is thin. The mids are overemphasized. This deprives the depths of their place in the sound image and the highs are accompanied by hissing sounds when speaking.
That doesn’t make media consumption on the couch in the evening the ideal area of application for the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7. If you turn the volume up to maximum, the sound distorts slightly. Alternatively, the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 also has a 3.5mm jack connection – use it if you’re watching more than a short video.
On the other hand, there are plus points for the dual array microphones. Whether you’re sitting directly in front of the screen or a meter away, background noise is reduced to an absolute minimum. Your voice will be minimally distorted, but it is absolutely sufficient for video conferences
Conclusion on the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7
The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is obviously modeled after the Surface Pro. So the question is: is it a good alternative to it? The answer is: For most it is. The small compromises that Lenovo makes here are well chosen and hardly affect the daily use at all.
Instead of an outstanding screen in 3:2 format with 120Hz, the Yoga Duet 7 uses 16:10 and stays at 60Hz. This should be a good compromise for most users. The same applies to the fans. They are slightly louder on the Lenovo and start up a little faster, but that’s not decisive in the end. Even the slightly higher weight of the Lenovo is practically unnoticeable in everyday use.
The ports on the Yoga Duet 7 are a bit confusing, but in the end it’s all USB Type-C and I’d rather use that than the Surface connector anytime. I would have wished for a little more from the speakers, but what’s on offer is okay. In addition, the keyboard of the Duet 7 is even better than that of the Surface Pro in my opinion.
When it comes to the right equipment for the Yoga Duet 7, I’ll keep it short: Buy the larger of the two versions. The small one may sound tempting at €1149, but in the end €200 is a very good investment for double the RAM, double the storage and a stronger CPU. The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 is more future-proof and still costs €900 less than a comparable Surface Pro. Keep checking out more of our tech reviews here.