Review: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Jul 9, 2018

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With the lovely carbon fiber chassis that every ThinkPad adorns, the X1 Yoga feels solid to the touch, and the flip! That’s right, this is a Yoga product, as well as a ThinkPad. Lenovo even included a stylus inside the body of the laptop so you can be creative and, hopefully, never lose the stylus as it always has a home. This laptop performed fairly well in my daily usability tests, but it’s not the ideal machine for me.

Specifications (As-tested)

  • CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U (1.90GHz 8MB Cache)
  • Display: 14″ FHD touch enabled
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated UHD 620
  • Webcam: 72p HD camera with ThinkShutter
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 1867 MHz Dual Channel
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe v1.1.0
  • Battery: 4-cell | 57Wh
  • Security: fingerprint reader with Windows Hello
  • I/O:
    • (2) Thunderbolt 3, Type-C
    • (2) USB 3.0 Type-A
    • (1) HDMI
    • (1) Microphone / Headphone Combo Jack
  • Dimensions: 13.1″ x 9″ x 0.7″
  • Weight: 3.1lbs

Design and Build Quality

There’s no mistaking this Yoga for a ThinkPad. From the outside it’s very clear due to the Mil-Spec ready chassis and dense feeling. It feels like the ThinkPads of old, and that isn’t a good thing. Having just reviewed the latest 6th gen Carbon X1, it’s difficult to hold another ThinkPad with a U series CPU that’s more than 3 lbs. Granted, it’s only 3.1 lbs, and that’s not too heavy. It’s hardly heavier than my Razer Blade Stealth and carries Mil-Spec with it. But there’s an expectation with ultrabooks, Yogas, and now ThinkPad X1s that they’ll be super thin and light. This is a topic for an editorial so I choose to digress for now. Just know this a sturdy and durable laptop with a hinge that is so stiff, you can’t one-hand open this ultrabook.

Have you seen this:
Razer Pro Type Keyboard is a good first GEN

Another gripe is the bezels. I think I know why they’re as thick as they are. When you use a laptop as a tablet, you’ll need some extra room for your fingers that are holding the device. I can see that. This device is a heavy tablet at 3+ pounds. Also, I’m sure this passes a few more Mil-Spec tests than the ThinkPad Carbon X1, which has very thin bezels. Still, all of this in mind, it’s not a pretty look. You have to decide if that’s important to you. Something I tell my sales team and students is that if you sell or represent technology, you don’t want to walk into a meeting with something that doesn’t look the part. Fortunately, the X1 Yoga provide so much functionality and versatility, I think it gets a pass despite the bezels and classic ThinkPad design.

Inside those bezels is a very beautiful display with a strong color representation. My model is 1440p with HDR. It’s hard going back to a non HDR display after using this.

I/O is plentiful. It’s nearly identical to the lovely ThinkPad Carbon X1 but drops the microSD card reader and puts the power button on the side. Power buttons shouldn’t be there. Particularly for a laptop that transforms into a tablet. I would prefer Lenovo put the power button inside the chassis, near the keyboard, and put a volume rocker on the side instead. No doubt between meetings you’ll want to prop this laptop up into tent mode and watch a movie. Having physical volume buttons is a huge assist.

Performance

The majority of my testing was done by my 4 year old. I’m not kidding. She loves to draw and when she saw that I brought home another Yoga device, she was all over it. She fires up Paint3D and draws some elaborate images. She’s actually tested several touch-enabled devices. She loves this! As for me, I love the ThinkShutter and keyboard. But as a daily machine, I can’t make the adjustment permanent. The hinge is too tight for me. The display is good, but could be more colorful for the price tag. When it comes to actual performance against Microsoft Office, Chrome, and Paint3D, the Yoga X1 performed well - which is expected for the 8th gen Intel Core i7. I didn’t run PC Mark or try any games. I did run down the battery a few times, which took about 5.5 hours with Windows set to “better battery” and brightness at 50%. This may be some type issue with my unit because I’ve read other reviewers got closer to 7 hours with similar settings. This isn’t great for a $1600+ ultrabook.

Have you seen this:
Razer BlackShark V2 Pro - Excellent PC Headset

Who is this For?

Lenovo gives the ThinkPad X1 series a Yoga flair with the adjustable hinge that allows the device to rotate fully into a tablet mode. Fortunately, Windows 10 can auto-detect this change and provide a fully touch-enabled UI. It’s not going to replace your dedicated tablet because the Windows app store is basically meh. But, if you’re a business professional that is borderline serious about pen-enabled drawing, let your ThinkPad buying IT department know the X1 Yoga is what you want.

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