Despite the poor battery life and boring design, if you're a true ThinkPad fan and looking for the flexibility of Lenovo's Yoga products, then this offering might well be for you.
Robust, decent performance, does what it says on the tin, nice consumer Yoga design touch
Worse than expected battery life, Boring black colour way.
LENOVO UNVEILED its fresh ThinkPad X1 series at CES earlier this year, a range that is focused on offering business users portability and power in one device. This included the standard Carbon as well as a tablet version and a refreshed Yoga 2-in-1 device.
Not so surprisingly, the most interesting out of the bunch was the latter, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, which took the innovations of the X1 Carbon and places them in a convertible form, boasting access to Intel's latest 8th-generation Core processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage under the hood.
But does this fusion of a business machine with a design that Lenovo initially introduced on its consumer devices really work?
What has always made Lenovo's Yoga devices stand out from many other laptops on the market is its 360-degree hinge. This flexibility makes it superior to many other notebook devices out there, as the Yoga's simple design enables it to be used in a number of positions. Now, this cunning design is available in the ThinkPad range via the X1 Yoga.
By rotating the display back from 'notebook mode', it can be bent into either 'tent mode', for example, which allows the Yoga to stand on its two halves so it can be watched on uneven surfaces, 'stand mode', which enables the screen to be viewed while being supported by the keyboard, or 'tablet mode', where the bottom of the keyboard and lid meet so it can be used as a tablet.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga builds on this successful design and like previous models works perfectly well, slipping easily between modes quickly and easily.
The only problem here is that Lenovo still insists on the utterly boring matte black design of the ThinkPad range. Perhaps Lenovo thinks that business people's devices don't need to look stylish? The sharp edges of the box-like clamshell design are nothing short of yawnful.
Measuring 15.3mm thick, the X1 Yoga is slightly thinner than its 2nd-gen predecessor but still isn't in the same league as some of its rivals in the consumer space, such as the Acer Swift 7 which measures in at a mere 8.98mm thick.
Build quality is also a strong point for the X1 Yoga, which is essential owing to its flexibility. Both the keyboard and the screen feel robust and sturdy, but we'll talk about these in further detail later.
Twisting the display in opposite directions at both sides gave us no cause for concern, as it felt sturdy and maintained considerable resistance. Oh, and there's also a ThinkShutter Camera Privacy physical webcam cover just in case you've seen one too many episodes of Black Mirror and are a bit paranoid about being watched.
Probably as a result of its sturdiness though, it is quite heavy for a device of its size, weighing in at 1.4kg. Not the best if you're planning on carting this thing to and from work every day.
Keyboard and trackpad
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga's keyboard is nothing to write home about. As a ThinkPad device, it's got your red dot mouse button that you'll probably never use, as well as a good travel that means it feels great to type on, although we'd have to try it out properly by constructing long documents or spreadsheets.
As with all other Thinkpad devices, the trackpad's buttons are located above the touch-responsive area in case you want to use that ugly red dot pointer thing we mentioned earlier.
The X1 Yoga features a 14in WQHD-resolution display with a 2,560x1,440 pixel resolution as well as 100 percent Adobe RGB colour gamut and brightness up to 500 nits. The most interesting thing about the display though is that it supports Dolby Vision HDR for greater brightness, contrast and colour palette. This makes the screen look more vibrant and dynamic with deeper blacks and colour range.
As a result, all images, whether movie clips, photographs or web pages, look brilliantly clear, sharp and vibrant on the display as it is. Pixels aren't visible and viewing angles are good thanks to integrated IPS display tech. Moving images appear sharp and, in testing, the touchscreen commands seem very fluid. We enjoyed using the touchscreen to skip between tabs and apps, for example.
The X1 Yoga is powered by Intel's latest and greatest 8th-generation Core processor, meaning it will run for up to around 15 hours between charges, which is a significant upgrade over its predecessor.
Paired with the new Intel chip is up to 16GB of memory and Intel UHD 620 built-in graphics.
In tests, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga seemed very responsive to commands, probably due to its Core i7 processor, and we found that the device offered an all-around fluid experience.
One of the most interesting parts of the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, however, is the far-field microphones, which can pick up voice commands from as far as 13 feet away. While we didn't go to the trouble of testing this thoroughly by measuring out 13 feet between us and the device before shouting out our commands but can confirm it works well from across an empty double bed-sized bedroom.
And for people who don't fancy barking commands at Windows 10's Cortana, then they can shout at the Amazon Alexa app that has been bundled into the X1 Yoga. And when the machine is closed, Lenovo said it will offer voice command and smart functionality similar to an Amazon Echo speaker, but without its audio chops.
Battery life for the X1 Yoga isn't going to knock your socks off by any means, especially considering its weight. We've tested many laptops that are lighter than the X1 Yoga and have performed better when it comes to battery life.
The X1 Yoga lasted just under four and a half hours with all settings turned up to full: no battery saving mode, full-screen brightness, while working on word docs and internet browsing. Even with all the power saving options ticked it stretched out to a mere six and a half hours, quite a long way off the quoted 15 hours of battery life.
We can't imagine it will actually last you a full day of work unplugged, which in this day and age, is pretty unforgivable.
Storage and connectivity
As for storage, our ThinkPad X1 Yoga review device had a 500GB SSD drive, however, this is upgradable to a whopping 1TB PCI Express drive if you're in need of storing a bulk of work files.
Connectivity wise, the X1 Yoga has a bigger range of ports built into its chassis than your average consumer machine. There are two USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports, two USB 3.0, an HDMI, microSD card slot, micro-SIM card slot, and headphone/mic jack.
In terms of wireless connectivity, there's your bog standard 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi modem, Bluetooth 4.2, and the option of LTE.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers the same innovative design as previous Yoga products but in a really boring aesthetic. Take note, Lenovo: because it's a business device doesn't mean it has to look like a black brick.
At least on the inside, it offers a significant performance upgrade over previous devices in this series. In our experience with it, we found it to use with fast and responsive performance, but it does still feel a little too chunky compared to some of the other devices we've tested over the past few months, especially for those wanting a portable machine to work on on the go.
Then there's the issue of battery life. It's just not so great for a machine in this calibre. We were expecting more for a business-focused device.
Nevertheless, if you're a true ThinkPad fan and looking for the flexibility of Lenovo's Yoga products, then this offering might well be for you.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is available now in the UK priced from £1,649.99. µ
Robust, decent performance, does what it says on the tin, nice consumer Yoga design touch.
Worse than expected battery life.
Boring black colourway.