Slightly thinner, faster
Lenovo’s Yoga 530 succeeds the Yoga 520 and has become thinner and lighter in its new form. That was allowed because the Yoga 520 was pretty rude. The new convertible is faster than its predecessor but is unable to keep up with the competition in some tests. The housing is still sturdy and has the fingerprint scanner in the right place. The wifi chip is outdated and we do not really fit in a laptop of this price. The battery life is slightly shorter than that of its predecessor, but we can still not complain in more than nine hours.
Still good battery life
Fingerprint scanner in the right place
Faster than Yoga 520
CPU slower than with some competitors
Outdated WiFi chip
Shorter battery life than predecessor
With Intel Core i5-8250U processor That model stood out positively due to it’s sturdy partially metal housing, fingerprint scanner and the ease with which the hardware could be upgraded. Minuses were also there because the i5 processor performed a lot less well in the Yoga 520 than in competing laptops. In addition, we found the Yoga 520 quite heavy and unwieldy for a convertible. The latter seems to have been observed by Lenovo itself because meanwhile the Yoga 520 has been succeeded by the Yoga 530, which is lighter and thinner. In this review, we see if Lenovo has improved even more. Our test sample is a version with a Core i5-8250U processor, 8GB memory and an Nvidia MX130-GPU.
On the outside of the Yoga 530 you can immediately see that the Yoga 520 has had a weight loss cure. The case has become a bit thinner and when we place it on the scale, the weight is 1606 grams. That is a lot less than the 1780 grams that its predecessor weighed. It is not exceptionally light, but you cannot expect ultrabook dimensions and weights for a laptop of around one hundred euros.
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Just like with the Yoga 520, the housing is made of plastic and metal. Around the keyboard you will find the metal, in which lines are now brushed. It looks a bit busier than with the Yoga 520, but is still pretty sturdy. You can let it spring in, but then you have to exert forces on it that don’t get on it during normal use.
Furthermore, little has changed on the outside compared to the predecessor. The fingerprint scanner is in the same place, right next to the touchpad, which is a better choice than incorporating the scanner into the touchpad, as many competitors do. The connections are also in the same place as with the Yoga 520. That means that there is still a USB 3.0 connection and an SD card reader on the right. On the left is an HDMI 1.4 connection, with two USB 3.0 connections, one with a USB-A and one with a USB-C connector. The latter connection unfortunately only transmits USB signals, so you cannot use it in combination with a hub to connect external screens, or use it to charge the laptop.
Just like the appearance, nothing has changed since the Yoga 520 on the keyboard and touchpad. The keyboard has background lighting and not excessive travel, but it is a pleasant, clear touch. If you don’t mind the slight travel, the Yoga 530 is fine. The precision touchpad, under the keyboard, does its job smoothly and has a fairly smooth surface, which provides enough accuracy.
Benchmarks and upgrades
Core i5-8250U It was clocked very conservatively, so the performance was disappointing. After a bios update, those performances were higher, but the other convertibles in our roundup remained faster. We are therefore looking at whether Lenovo with the Yoga 530 can reach the competition level.
In Cinebench we see at least that the result has improved enormously, from 387 to 552 points in the Multi test and also in the Single test there has been a considerable improvement. In Photoshop and Lightroom, the i5-8250U is also faster than in the Yoga 520, but there are enough laptops with the same CPU that perform better. That seems to have to do with the still somewhat conservatively adjusted energy management, because unlike other laptops, the power consumption of the CPU during the running of the Photoshop benchmark does not exceed 15 watts. If you are considering the purchase of a Yoga 530, the question is whether the version we tested with MX130 is the best choice. The Nvidia gpu is a rebrand of the GeForce 940MX and is roughly one and a half times as fast as the Intel-igp in the Yoga 520. That is nice in itself, but still makes the Yoga 530 not really suitable for gaming. To put the speed of the gpu in perspective, we have also added laptops with MX150, GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti gpus to the 3DMark table. So you can play with the MX130, but should not expect too much. In F1 2017, at medium settings, with a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, we achieved 31 fps on average.
If you don’t have enough of the standard 8GB memory and the 256GB SSD, you can upgrade the hardware if necessary. Unfortunately, there is only room for a memory module, so you can only replace it in its entirety for a 16GB copy. The nvme-ssd, an SK Hynix SC300, resides in an m.2 slot and is also replaceable, but with the Yoga 530 there is no room for a 2.5 “sata disk like the Yoga 520 still does Under the hood is also the wireless network card and you could possibly replace it, because the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3165 is not really a common model, although the network card supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks , but does that with a single stream at a maximum speed of 433Mbit / s and does not support mu-mimo.
Screen and battery life
The Yoga 530 is equipped with a 14 “ip touchscreen with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. It is a convertible, so you have to do with a glossy screen, over which your finger glides easily, but easily reflects light. In the Yoga 520, Lenovo used a screen that automatically dimmed in dark colors, and in the Yoga 530 the same panel was used, which is why we performed an ANSI contrast measurement using our CalMAN software.
The brightness is not particularly high and a higher brightness is nice to compensate for the reflections. We are very pleased with the contrast and if you are not in an environment that produces a lot of reflections, it is a great screen.
When it comes to battery life, the Yoga 530 also does pretty good things, especially when you consider that the battery has become smaller. That is undoubtedly done to make the laptop thinner and lighter and the battery life does not deteriorate enormously. While browsing, the battery life is still over nine hours and that is also achieved while watching video, although the Yoga 520 did it better.
Lenovo sent us the Yoga 530 with MX130-GPU and that is not in the Pricewatch. That makes it a bit difficult to draw a conclusion, but the question is whether the version with MX130 is so interesting in view of the performance. Fortunately, the version without Nvidia-GPU is already for sale. It costs 800 euros, which is about the same price as its predecessor. For the same money you get with the new 530 a thinner and lighter laptop and given the heavy weight of its predecessor, we find that not a superfluous luxury. The sturdy housing, the fine keyboard, the fingerprint scanner, and the full HD ips screen have remained, although the latter can be expected in this price category.
The somewhat disappointing benchmark results also remained. The Yoga 520 scored low in all benchmarks and with the Yoga 530 Lenovo has improved its performance. The scores in Cinebench, for example, look better, but although they have also improved in Photoshop and Lightroom, we still see enough laptops with the same CPU that do better. This is due to the still somewhat conservatively adjusted energy management that limits the processor to a consumption of 15 watts in certain situations, while many other laptop processors get more room for overclocking using turbo boost. Because the Yoga 530 costs the same as the Yoga 520 with i5-8250, we still think it is a successful update. The CPU is not as fast as we would like, but it is faster than in the Yoga 520 and moreover the new Yoga is thinner and lighter. The battery has become a bit smaller and despite the shorter battery life, we still have a respectable nine hours. The chipset of the wireless network card is now four years old and cannot be found in a laptop of this price. Finally, the thinner housing is just as sturdy as before and we like that Lenovo has mounted the fingerprint scanner in a handy place.