The Swiss Army knife of business laptops, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga can handle everything from light editing to heavy design work. Starting at $1,394, this 14-inch, bend-back 2-in-1 features a battery that will last a full workday, a screen with vivid colors, and a stylus for drawing and navigating Windows. We tested two configurations, one with a Core i5-6200U processor and 1080p touch screen ($1,624 as tested) and one with a Core i7-6400U processor and a 2560 x 1440 display ($1,655 as tested). In both cases, we found strong performance, long battery life and a superior productivity experience.
Design And Form Factor
If you want a 2-in-1 that is sleek, slim and professional, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is for you. Its understated black design with red accents calls attention to the job being done rather than the machine doing the work. Inside is an island-style keyboard, a trackpad and nub, a fingerprint reader, and a 1920 x 1080 touch-screen display surrounded by a thick, black bezel. A card reader is located on the back of the device, but it’s difficult to access when the X1 Yoga is in laptop mode, so you’ll want to close the laptop or switch to tent or tablet mode before using the card reader. The computer features a carbon-fiber lid and a body made from magnesium, and it feels very solid despite how light it is. Definitely one of the better Lenovo products I’ve used since I began working with them a little over a year ago.
Keyboard And Touchpad
The keyboard on the ThinkPad X1 Yoga has 1.67 millimeters of travel and requires 60 grams of force to press, resulting in a comfortable typing experience, though the keys occasionally bottomed out. Typing on the X1 Yoga was pretty simple and quite pleasant, even when performing a typing test. That test resulted in about 87 word per minute with only 2 mistakes which is fairly decent when using a keyboard that is relatively new compared to what you normally type on.
The right side of the X1 Yoga houses a rechargeable stylus, which is great for when the device is in tablet mode. This is definitely something for those who have a talent when it comes to graphics, which unfortunately is an area I have absolutely no skill in. While I was able to use and play around with the stylus a bit, I can honestly say I wasn’t able to test it by doing any kind of graphics related work.
The stylus is a little thin and short, something like the Apple Pencil is more ergonomically friendly, but it fits into the notebook for easy storage and charging. Lenovo claims that just 15 seconds of charging will provide up to 100 minutes of continuous use.
Lenovo’s WRITEit app allows you to hand-write directly into any text field in any app, rather than using Windows 10’s handwriting keyboard, which sits at the bottom of the screen. I found that this app had some trouble with my handwriting but your mileage will vary and it could work well for you.
The 14-inch touch screen on the X1 Yoga comes in two flavors. There is a Core i5 model that has a 1080p display, while the Core i7 config I tested had a sharper, 2560 x 1440 QHD panel. When I watched the trailer for Ghostbusters, the QHD display was sharper, showing more wrinkles in a ghost’s face as it flew toward the screen. But this display was warmer than the 1080p version, which had better white balance with more-accurate skin tones.
I was surprised when the tiny speakers on the X1 Yoga filled my house with the loud, soulful sound of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”, which happens to be the first song I test on any device since it happens to be my favorite song of all time. I did find that the music could have an echo-y, hollow mix that buried the vocals. But when I opened the Dolby Audio app and switched to the Dynamic preset, which makes changes based on what you’re playing, the song sounded much better. The music was muffled when I used the laptop on my lap, but sounded fine when the device was on a table or in tent, tablet or stand modes.
Battery life has been impressive, especially given the device’s thin and light form factor. Lenovo claims that the X1 Yoga has 11 hours of battery life. And while I couldn’t achieve a full 11 hours, I was able to get an average of 9 1/2 hours – 10 hours with almost every full charge of the laptop. That’s a very decent amount of time for a laptop and certainly something I can live with and would emphasize as one of several of the reasons to think about purchasing the X1 Yoga.
The gap between this ThinkPad and systems with a PCI Express solid state drive, like the Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Surface Book, is most noticeable in read testing. There, the X1 Yoga I tested reached roughly half the capability of the fastest drives available.
As said, Lenovo does offer a PCI Express drive, so users can grab better performance if it’s desired. The price premium is rather slim, too. Upgrading from the 512GB SATA drive to a 512GB PCI Express drive will set you back just $55.
This laptop is built for work, not play, so gaming isn’t a priority, and a discrete GPU is not available. Intel Integrated Graphics is the only option. While the Core i7 processor presents Intel HD graphics in its best light, it’s still quite far behind what gamer’s expect.
Hot Or Cool?
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga can get warm, but it’s not too hot to handle. After tuning into my favorite streamers on Twitch for about 30 minutes the bottom of the Core i7 version of the machine reached 103 degrees above my comfort threshold of 95 degrees. The touchpad stayed cool, at 82.5 degrees on the i7 version, while the center of the keyboard hit 87 degrees which isn’t bad at all, especially considering that the back of the device got pretty heated.
Overall I am very pleased with the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga in just about every aspect. It’s a very solidly built system and performance is relatively good as long as you’re not looking to do any gaming. It has great audio output quality and just works and works well. For a starting price of around $1,300+ you can’t really go wrong here. And that’s not me being biased as we all know I really like Motorola and Lenovo products and own quite a few of both of them.
My only complaint about the X1 Yoga is the heat issue I mentioned above. It does get considerably warm on the back side of the device. While I know you can purchase laptop cooling fans and such, that’s just an added expense (one that I always splurge on when purchasing a laptop) that isn’t always needed. Definitely something to think about if you’re considering scooping up a Thinkpad X1 Yoga for yourself.