Notebookcheck

Lenovo Ideapad 720S (Ryzen 2500U, Vega 8) Laptop Review

Mike Wobker (translated by Martin Jungowski), 03/13/2018

AMD-Update. We have already had Lenovo's IdeaPad 720s in review, and found it to be a lightweight and thin notebook for everyday challenges. The 13-inch notebook is now also available with AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U processor and as a viable alternative to the Intel SKU.

Recently, we have had Lenovo’s IdeaPad 720s equipped with an Intel Core i5-8250U in review, and it turned out to be a robust and lightweight office notebook ideal for everyday use. Today’s review unit is identical at first glance, but houses an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU instead, and we expect overall performance to be equal to, if not better than, the Intel SKU.

In this review, we are pitting the two IdeaPad 720s SKU directly against each other, and to mix things up a bit are also going to include other Ryzen 5 2500U notebooks in our test group: the HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng and the Acers Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1. In addition, we have decided to include two similarly compact devices at a very similar price point: the Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF and the ZenBook 13 UX331UN from Asus.

Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR (IdeaPad 720 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
8192 MB 
, DDR4
Display
13.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 166 PPI, LG Philips LGD04EF, IPS, glossy: no
Mainboard
AMD CZ FCH
Storage
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR, 128 GB 
Soundcard
AMD Raven - Audio Processor - HD Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, Audio Connections: audio combo jack, 1 Fingerprint Reader
Networking
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC (ac), Bluetooth 4.1
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 14 x 306 x 214 ( = 0.55 x 12.05 x 8.43 in)
Battery
48 Wh Lithium-Ion, 4-cell, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 8 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1 MP, 720p
Additional features
Speakers: JBL Stereo, Keyboard: chiclet, Keyboard Light: yes, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
1.14 kg ( = 40.21 oz / 2.51 pounds), Power Supply: 170 g ( = 6 oz / 0.37 pounds)
Price
799 Euro

 

Case

We have already discussed, in depth, the case of the IdeaPad 720s as part of the extensive review of the Intel SKU. For further details, please refer to this review.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

left: 1x USB 3.0 Type-C (with power delivery), 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
left: 1x USB 3.0 Type-C (with power delivery), 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
right: microphone, 1x audio combo jack, 1x USB 3.0
right: microphone, 1x audio combo jack, 1x USB 3.0

Communication

Wi-Fi performance was a big letdown, to say the least. Despite being equipped with a Wi-Fi modem that supports the faster ac standard, we were only able to squeeze a meager 90 MB/s through our antennas. Given that the Intel SKU managed a much faster 300 MB/s, we strongly advise you to make sure to order the correct Wi-Fi modem when purchasing your IdeaPad 720s.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
603 MBit/s ∼100% +1371%
Average of class Office
  (5 - 688, n=155)
470 MBit/s ∼78% +1046%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
311 MBit/s ∼52% +659%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
308 MBit/s ∼51% +651%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
41 MBit/s ∼7%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Atheros/Qualcomm QCA6174
580 MBit/s ∼100% +552%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
515 MBit/s ∼89% +479%
Average of class Office
  (34 - 688, n=155)
437 MBit/s ∼75% +391%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165
343 MBit/s ∼59% +285%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Realtek 8821AE Wireless LAN 802.11ac PCI-E NIC
89 MBit/s ∼15%

Security

The IdeaPad 720s is equipped with a fingerprint reader and a TPM 2.0 chip. The fingerprint reader was not the fastest kid on the block, and it took quite a while to detect and recognize our fingers. In other words, it seemed rather lethargic.

Accessories

Lenovo does not have any model-specific accessories for sale for the IdeaPad 720s. However, a plethora of third-party accessories can be used thanks to the device’s USB 3.1 Type-C port.

Maintenance

As already shown in the review of the Intel-equipped 720s model, the bottom cover can be removed fairly easily. Once removed, one has access to the SSD slot. The photo below shows the Intel SKU.

maintenance
maintenance

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Warranty

As usual, devices sold in the US get just 12 months of warranty (the exact same notebooks are sold in Europe with 24-months warranty). Optional warranty extensions including pickup and return service, on-site service, or an international warranty are available.

Input Devices

An extensive description of both input devices can be found in the review of the 720s Intel SKU. Keyboard and ClickPad were accurate and did not cause any trouble after long and extensive periods of usage. That said the keyboard does take some getting used to.

input devices
input devices

Display

subpixel geometry
subpixel geometry
screen bleeding
screen bleeding

The 720s came equipped with a frameless IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. Brightness was only mediocre at best, but in return, the panel’s contrast ratio was very high. Screen bleeding was only noticeable in complete darkness and for entirely black screen images. We did not notice anything during everyday use.

Given that both our 720s review units were equipped with identical panels, our measurements yielded practically identical results. Noticeable differences include brightness, contrast ratio, and black level.

315
cd/m²
320
cd/m²
319
cd/m²
287
cd/m²
299
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
298
cd/m²
309
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 320 cd/m² Average: 305.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 90 %
Contrast: 1107:1 (Black: 0.27 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.46 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 2.41 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
83% sRGB (Argyll 3D) 55% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.29
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
LG Philips LGD04EF, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
B133HAN04.9, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
LC133LF102, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
LG Philips LGD04EF, , 1920x1080, 13.3
Response Times
9%
-46%
-31%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
36 (18, 18)
22.4 (10.8, 11.6)
38%
49 (30, 19)
-36%
35 (17, 18)
3%
Response Time Black / White *
26 (14, 12)
31.2 (17.2, 14)
-20%
27 (15, 12)
-4%
25 (14, 11)
4%
PWM Frequency
128000 (90)
1000 (20)
-99%
131 (90)
-100%
Screen
-2%
6%
-16%
Brightness middle
299
338
13%
295
-1%
335
12%
Brightness
306
321
5%
276
-10%
303
-1%
Brightness Distribution
90
90
0%
88
-2%
85
-6%
Black Level *
0.27
0.35
-30%
0.27
-0%
0.46
-70%
Contrast
1107
966
-13%
1093
-1%
728
-34%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.46
4.2
6%
2.97
33%
5.09
-14%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
10.51
6.5
38%
5.67
46%
11.92
-13%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.41
3.9
-62%
3.12
-29%
3.23
-34%
Gamma
2.29 105%
2.43 99%
2.45 98%
2.18 110%
CCT
6757 96%
7144 91%
6676 97%
6214 105%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
55
60.4
10%
62
13%
54
-2%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
83
93.1
12%
94
13%
82
-1%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
4% / -0%
-20% / -6%
-24% / -20%

* ... smaller is better

The amazingly low black level of just 0.27 nits is very noteworthy indeed. For example, the Windows taskbar’s black background is very rich and deep, and combined with the more than decent contrast ratio colors are easily distinguishable. At more than 80% sRGB color space coverage, the display manages to achieve an adequate color representation. Some competitors manage to achieve a better color space coverage, but that should only be relevant for professional photo editing purposes.

sRGB color space coverage - 83%
sRGB color space coverage - 83%
AdobeRGB color space coverage - 55%
AdobeRGB color space coverage - 55%
outdoors
outdoors

The display is bright enough to be usable outdoors, albeit shady spots are definitely preferable overall. At least reflections are a non-issue thanks to the matte panel.

CalMAN - gray scale
CalMAN - gray scale
CalMAN - color accuracy
CalMAN - color accuracy
CalMAN - saturation
CalMAN - saturation

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
26 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14 ms rise
↘ 12 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 46 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.8 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
36 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 18 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 27 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.3 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 128000 Hz ≤ 90 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 128000 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 90 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 128000 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8813 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Our review unit's viewing angles were very wide, and we were able to use the display from all directions without any distortions even at acute angles. Colors also remained undistorted. Connecting an external display to the 720s requires the use of a USB-C dongle.

Performance

The IdeaPad 720s was equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U, 8 GB of RAM, and a 128 GB SSD. While this is the only model available in Europe, three different Ryzen models are sold in the US: a base model equipped with a 2500U and a 256 GB SSD for $649; a mid-range model for $100 more that gets you an upgraded 512 GB SSD, and a high-end model for $200 more equipped with a 512 GB SSD, AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700U processor, and Windows 10 Pro. The 720s is also available with Intel processors, and we have had the Core i5-8250U-equipped SKU in review about a month ago. Overall performance was acceptable, and we expect at least the same level of performance of our AMD review unit.

 

Processor

The Ryzen 5 2500U is a quad-core processor capable of working on up to 8 threads simultaneously. Configurable at TDPs between 12 and 25 W, the CPU seems to be ideally suited for ultraportable light thin laptops. However, the cooling system’s prowess is a deciding factor in the device’s overall performance.

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Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64 Bit

And sadly enough, this is exactly where the IdeaPad 720s falls short. While the first iteration of our Cinebench R15 Multi loop yielded a very good result and measured up to our expectations, the second iteration showed a massive drop. Eventually, the system settled at a level more fitting for a Core i7-7500U. Repeating the Cinebench R15 multi loop yielded the exact same results.

During everyday use, we have noticed a very quick rise in surface temperatures and thus suspect that the cooling system is incapable of dealing with the Ryzen 5 2500U’s heat dissipation leading to unavoidable CPU throttling. Additional benchmarks for AMD’s Ryzen 5 2500U can be found on our CPU benchmark page.

Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Core i7-8550U
162 Points ∼100% +20%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel Core i5-8250U
144 Points ∼89% +7%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
142 Points ∼88% +5%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
140 Points ∼86% +4%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel Core i5-8250U
138 Points ∼85% +2%
Average AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
  (135 - 142, n=6)
138 Points ∼85% +2%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
135 Points ∼83%
Average of class Office
  (20 - 178, n=456)
107 Points ∼66% -21%
CPU Multi 64Bit
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
Intel Core i7-8550U
623 Points ∼100% +12%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
618 Points ∼99% +11%
Average AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
  (556 - 618, n=6)
590 Points ∼95% +6%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
589 (min: 499, max: 552) Points ∼95% +6%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
556 Points ∼89%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel Core i5-8250U
534 Points ∼86% -4%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel Core i5-8250U
506 Points ∼81% -9%
Average of class Office
  (36 - 1050, n=460)
311 Points ∼50% -44%
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
135 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
556 Points
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
34.29 fps
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
98 %
Help

System Performance

As expected, thermal issues plagued the device during our system performance benchmarks as well. The SSD certainly helped to a certain degree but not enough to prevent the IdeaPad's poor, substandard performance in PCMark 8. The IdeaPad 720s with Intel Core i5-8250U processor was much faster than our AMD unit.

PCMark 8
Work Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
5037 Points ∼100% +31%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
4777 Points ∼95% +24%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
4563 Points ∼91% +18%
Average of class Office
  (1226 - 5428, n=290)
3928 Points ∼78% +2%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
3852 Points ∼76%
Average AMD Ryzen 5 2500U, AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (3797 - 3852, n=3)
3816 Points ∼76% -1%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3800 Points ∼75% -1%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3797 Points ∼75% -1%
Home Score Accelerated v2
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
3899 Points ∼100% +23%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3544 Points ∼91% +12%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
3462 Points ∼89% +9%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
3450 Points ∼88% +9%
Average AMD Ryzen 5 2500U, AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (3168 - 3462, n=4)
3366 Points ∼86% +6%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
3197 Points ∼82% +1%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
3168 Points ∼81%
Average of class Office
  (1169 - 4458, n=334)
2998 Points ∼77% -5%
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3168 points
PCMark 8 Work Score Accelerated v2
3852 points
Help

Storage Devices

Both, the Intel and the AMD SKU, are equipped with a Samsung PM961-series SSD. When benchmarked in other systems, our review unit’s 128 GB SSD turned out to be slower than the 256 GB SSD supplied with the Intel SKU. Accordingly, the benchmark results did not surprise us at all.

The IdeaPad’s SSD was fast but unable to keep up with the fastest SSDs currently available. See our HDD/SSD benchmark table for a comparison between the PM961 and other SSDs.

Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Average Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
 
CrystalDiskMark 3.0
-3%
10%
94%
14%
Write 4k QD32
124.7
211.9
70%
292
134%
332.2
166%
154 (125 - 176, n=5)
23%
Read 4k QD32
292.4
322.9
10%
247.3
-15%
349.2
19%
427 (292 - 521, n=5)
46%
Write 4k
69.54
53.47
-23%
91.58
32%
114.9
65%
115 (69.5 - 155, n=5)
65%
Read 4k
36.4
28.04
-23%
27.52
-24%
51.78
42%
40.8 (28.1 - 47.2, n=5)
12%
Write 512
163.7
369.8
126%
361.9
121%
852.3
421%
174 (139 - 197, n=5)
6%
Read 512
723.3
275
-62%
325.2
-55%
658.2
-9%
525 (456 - 723, n=5)
-27%
Write Seq
770.1
424.1
-45%
439.9
-43%
1191
55%
781 (749 - 798, n=5)
1%
Read Seq
1755
430.6
-75%
462.7
-74%
1674
-5%
1560 (991 - 2127, n=5)
-11%
Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
Sequential Read: 1755 MB/s
Sequential Write: 770.1 MB/s
512K Read: 723.3 MB/s
512K Write: 163.7 MB/s
4K Read: 36.4 MB/s
4K Write: 69.54 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 292.4 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 124.7 MB/s

GPU Performance

Our IdeaPad 720s review unit was equipped with AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 8 GPU, which should in theory offer performance similar to that of an Nvidia GeForce 940MX. Deciding factors are once again the cooling system and the TDP level chosen by the manufacturer.

Unfortunately, the 720s also performed rather poorly in this regard. The abysmal cooling system resulted in graphics benchmark scores only half as high as previously reviewed Ryzen 5 2500U units were able to achieve.

What the Radeon RX Vega 8 is truly capable of can be seen on our GPU benchmark page.

3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
3581 Points ∼100% +115%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
3549 Points ∼99% +113%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
3457 Points ∼97% +107%
Average AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (1668 - 4317, n=9)
3338 Points ∼93% +100%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
1668 Points ∼47%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1607 Points ∼45% -4%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1537 Points ∼43% -8%
Average of class Office
  (185 - 4967, n=581)
1195 Points ∼33% -28%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
1186 Points ∼33% -29%
3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
2903 Points ∼100% +165%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
2310 Points ∼80% +111%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
2109 Points ∼73% +93%
Average AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (1095 - 2901, n=8)
2096 Points ∼72% +91%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
1095 Points ∼38%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1049 Points ∼36% -4%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
954 Points ∼33% -13%
Average of class Office
  (138 - 4109, n=417)
919 Points ∼32% -16%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
735 Points ∼25% -33%
1280x720 Cloud Gate Standard Graphics
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Intel Core i7-8550U
18572 Points ∼100% +154%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
15186 Points ∼82% +108%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
14338 Points ∼77% +96%
Average AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (7309 - 18177, n=8)
13496 Points ∼73% +85%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
8654 Points ∼47% +18%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
8025 Points ∼43% +10%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8, AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
7309 Points ∼39%
Average of class Office
  (1208 - 27117, n=461)
6438 Points ∼35% -12%
Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 515, Intel Core m3-6Y30
6078 Points ∼33% -17%
3DMark 11 Performance
1768 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
6303 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
985 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The IdeaPad 720s also failed to meet our gaming performance expectations. While the integrated Vega 8 GPU managed to outperform Intel’s integrated HD Graphics 620 without effort it was unable to keep up with other Ryzen 5 2500U and Vega 8 equipped competitors that managed to squeeze out more FPS from their hardware. In addition, our review unit did not support the fairly common 1366 x 768 resolution.

What AMD’s mobile GPU is truly capable of can be seen on our gaming benchmark page.

BioShock Infinite
1920x1080 Ultra Preset, DX11 (DDOF)
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
29.91 fps ∼100% +147%
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
18.4 fps ∼62% +52%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
17.6 fps ∼59% +45%
Average AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (12.1 - 20, n=7)
15.8 fps ∼53% +31%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
12.1 fps ∼40%
Average of class Office
  (5.3 - 39.6, n=195)
9.84 fps ∼33% -19%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
8 fps ∼27% -34%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
7.6 fps ∼25% -37%
1280x720 Very Low Preset
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
105.7 fps ∼100% +38%
Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN
GeForce MX150, 8550U, SanDisk SD8SN8U512G1002
101.03 fps ∼96% +32%
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
Vega 8, 2500U, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7
101 fps ∼96% +32%
Average AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
  (74.4 - 114, n=7)
95.2 fps ∼90% +24%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
Vega 8, 2500U, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR
76.53 fps ∼72%
Acer Spin 5 SP513-52N-54SF
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Micron 1100 MTFDDAV256TBN
56.1 fps ∼53% -27%
Average of class Office
  (12.2 - 185, n=306)
51.1 fps ∼48% -33%
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
UHD Graphics 620, 8250U, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
49.6 fps ∼47% -35%
low med. high ultra
BioShock Infinite (2013) 76.5312.1fps
Thief (2014) 25.25.9fps
Rise of the Tomb Raider (2016) 27.75.9fps

Emissions

System Noise

Even under load, the IdeaPad’s fans remained unobtrusive and only ever so slightly above ambient noise levels. The fan kicked in early on and did not turn back off afterwards. When switched off, we were able to discern a high-pitched noise when the notebook was connected to mains.

Noise Level

Idle
30.4 / 30.4 / 30.4 dB(A)
Load
32.3 / 31.4 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Audix TM1, Arta (15 cm distance)   environment noise: 30.4 dB(A)
dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.832.832.43231.82533.431.235.730.233.43132.333.833.633.432.3403130.230.328.5315038.436.728.529.438.46327.929.527.927.827.98026.826.327.126.126.810025.425.92525.625.412524.125.12524.524.116023.423.723.323.223.420023.222.922.422.323.22502222.621.9212231521.522.720.820.921.540020.52220.32020.550020.421.819.919.420.463019.520.518.61919.580019.420.318.31819.4100019.820.818.117.519.8125019.920.117.717.419.9160019.920.517.417.419.920001920.117.317.71925001920.817.817.719315018.819.417.818.518.8400018.320.31818.318.3500018.519.718.118.318.5630018.318.718.218.418.3800018.618.818.518.818.61000018.718.818.518.718.71250018.518.718.518.618.51600018.919.418.619.318.9SPL31.432.330.430.531.4N1.61.71.41.41.6median 19.5Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARRmedian 20.5median 18.5median 18.7median 19.5Delta1.31.61.91.71.3hearing rangehide median Fan Noise

Temperature

stress test
stress test

In stark contrast to the Intel SKU, the AMD SKU already felt pretty warm shortly after boot-up. The fan was spinning constantly even under low load, and surface temperatures rose to more than 30 °C (86 °F). The laptop never got really hot but it remained warm to the touch.

We were reminded of the cooling solution’s inadequacy once more during our stress test. Core temperatures shot up to 70 °C (158 °F) and remained at that level. In return, CPU clock speeds started to suffer significantly and dropped to less than 600 MHz. At the end of the test, the frequency settled at a very low 900 MHz and thus significantly below the CPU’s base clock speed of 1.6 GHz. It is true that our stress test scenario is rarely ever encountered in practice, but remember: even when running our benchmarks the cooling solution already proved to be inadequate and underdesigned. We do thus expect performance loss in scenarios of sustained load.

Max. Load
 32.8 °C
91 F
37.9 °C
100 F
33.1 °C
92 F
 
 30.6 °C
87 F
26.6 °C
80 F
32.1 °C
90 F
 
 26.7 °C
80 F
26.1 °C
79 F
26.6 °C
80 F
 
Maximum: 37.9 °C = 100 F
Average: 30.3 °C = 87 F
34.3 °C
94 F
38.2 °C
101 F
32 °C
90 F
29 °C
84 F
30.2 °C
86 F
30 °C
86 F
26.4 °C
80 F
27.4 °C
81 F
27.7 °C
82 F
Maximum: 38.2 °C = 101 F
Average: 30.6 °C = 87 F
Power Supply (max.)  33 °C = 91 F | Room Temperature 22.1 °C = 72 F | FIRT 550-Pocket
heat map top (idle)
heat map top (idle)
heat map bottom (idle)
heat map bottom (idle)
heat map top (load)
heat map top (load)
heat map top (bottom)
heat map top (bottom)

Speakers

For a detailed description of the IdeaPad's speakers we would like to refer you to our Lenovo IdeaPad 720s with Intel CPU review.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.63232.62533.830.233.83139.133.439.1403328.5335036.329.436.3632827.8288026.326.126.310026.325.626.312531.324.531.316036.123.236.120042.522.342.525055.62155.63156220.96240063.82063.850062.619.462.663061.71961.780069.71869.7100067.517.567.512506117.461160060.317.460.3200062.717.762.725005817.758315060.518.560.540005618.356500052.618.352.6630053.218.453.2800051.818.851.81000055.818.755.81250061.318.661.31600058.819.358.8SPL74.130.574.1N32.81.432.8median 58.8Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARRmedian 18.7median 58.8Delta6.31.76.335.335.132.931.831.83236.535.132.428.93328.936.328.848.32761.52752.924.860.92462.822.763.32269.521.267.82174.82075.919.472.718.97117.770.117.86917.671.817.668.117.671.417.673.717.670.417.571.617.671.617.669.617.459.717.583.630.662.51.5median 69.6Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHzmedian 17.84.62.4hearing rangehide median Pink Noise
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR audio analysis

(-) | not very loud speakers (69.67 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 17.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.8% away from median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.9% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (18.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 38% of all tested devices in this class were better, 9% similar, 53% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 20%, worst was 51%
Compared to all devices tested
» 36% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 59% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2016) 1.1 GHz audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (14.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 2.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 2% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (4.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 2% of all tested devices in this class were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 8%, average was 19%, worst was 47%
Compared to all devices tested
» 2% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

frequency diagram (checkboxes selectable/deselectable!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Overall, power consumption was similar to other ultraportable Ryzen 5 2500U-based notebooks. In fact, the AMD SKU turned out to be significantly more energy efficient than the Intel SKU. The included 45 W charger is more than amply dimensioned for the IdeaPad 720s.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.37 / 0.44 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 5.3 / 9 / 12.6 Watt
Load midlight 37.1 / 26.5 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
2500U, Vega 8, Samsung PM961 NVMe MZVLW128HEGR, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 13.3
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
2500U, Vega 8, Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
2500U, Vega 8, Intel SSD 600p SSDPEKKW256G7, IPS, 1920x1080, 15.6
Power Consumption
8%
-4%
-23%
Idle Minimum *
5.3
3.9
26%
4.8
9%
7.3
-38%
Idle Average *
9
7.7
14%
7
22%
9.7
-8%
Idle Maximum *
12.6
10.4
17%
9.5
25%
13
-3%
Load Average *
37.1
33.3
10%
40.8
-10%
40.4
-9%
Load Maximum *
26.5
34
-28%
44.3
-67%
42.2
-59%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

Unfortunately, battery life was below average. The IdeaPad ran out of power in our Wi-Fi test after just 3.5 hours. The other AMD notebooks in our test group lasted for at least another 90 minutes.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
11h 23min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
3h 24min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
3h 20min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 14min
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR
2500U, Vega 8, 48 Wh
Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13IKB
8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 46 Wh
Acer Swift 3 SF315-41-R4W1
2500U, Vega 8, 48 Wh
HP Envy x360 15-bq102ng
2500U, Vega 8, 55.8 Wh
Average of class Office
 
Battery Runtime
73%
6%
109%
40%
Reader / Idle
683
1035
52%
730
7%
553 (101 - 1857, n=760)
-19%
H.264
200
408 (139 - 791, n=144)
104%
WiFi v1.3
204
608
198%
310
52%
426
109%
407 (105 - 964, n=273)
100%
Load
134
91
-32%
81
-40%
101 (37 - 259, n=705)
-25%

Verdict

Pros

+ incredibly lightweight
+ very thin
+ very narrow bezels

Cons

- poor connectivity
- poor maintainability
- only single-channel RAM
- poor cooling system

Our review clearly shows that taking an existing notebook design and swapping the Intel CPU for an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U does not cut it. If Lenovo would have spent some time and effort on adapting the cooling solution to the brand-new AMD CPU, the Ryzen-based IdeaPad 720s could have become a true alternative to Intel’s 8th generation Core processors.

The AMD-based IdeaPad 720s is a solid and powerful notebook thwarted by the terribly poor and inadequate cooling solution.

Still, the reviewed AMD SKU of Lenovo’s IdeaPad 720s remains a decent office notebook with enough oomph for everyday office tasks and basic multimedia challenges. We would have expected better performance than offered by the recently reviewed Intel SKU; unfortunately, it fell victim to Lenovo’s failure to adapt the device to AMD’s CPU properly.

Lenovo Ideapad 720S-13ARR - 03/07/2018 v6
Mike Wobker

Chassis
87 / 98 → 89%
Keyboard
80%
Pointing Device
87%
Connectivity
37 / 80 → 46%
Weight
73 / 20-67 → 100%
Battery
71%
Display
82%
Games Performance
60 / 68 → 88%
Application Performance
74 / 92 → 80%
Temperature
94%
Noise
94%
Audio
50%
Camera
56 / 85 → 66%
Average
73%
82%
Office - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Lenovo Ideapad 720S (Ryzen 2500U, Vega 8) Laptop Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-03-13 (Update: 2018-05-15)