Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2017) Review: Outstanding but Pricey Windows Convertible

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  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Price/Value Rating
      • 8
      • Total Score:
      • 8.00
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Fantastic keyboard
    • Great speakers
    • Vibrant Screen
    • Long lasting battery
  • Cons

    • Reflective panel
    • Expensive

Quick Take

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a versatile two-in-one that earns its expensive price tag by excelling in most areas to provide one of the most well-rounded convertibles on the market.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the mashup between two of Lenovo’s laptop brands: the reliable ThinkPad and the versatile Yoga. In some ways, it seems like a strange combination, as two lines are nearly polar opposites with Yoga targeting creatives, while ThinkPad is tailored toward enterprise. You might think that result is a diluted mess that doesn’t really live up to either line, but that isn’t the case. It’s like your favorite salty sweet food combination, the two distinctive tastes are both clearly there, but they’re heightened one another to create a truly enticing blend.

Unfortunately, this delectable tech concoction does come at a steep price, but it may be well worth it for users that are looking for that perfect mix between productivity and flexibility.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2nd Edition

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Build and Design

The black (also available in silver) carbon fiber build offers a great cushy feel that is resistant to fingerprints and easy to grip. The surface also makes for an excellent wrist rest, to help ease those long typing sessions. The ‘feel’ of a machine isn’t often talked about, but it’s a great quality of life boon that can make using the device all that much better.

Not only does the X1 feel great but it looks good as well. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga features that same simple clean design with the top of the display lid sharply slanting in towards notebook’s base to give it a sharp cutting look. What’s impressive about the X1 Yoga’s design is that it’s able to have an impact and catch your eye without too much noise.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017

Of course, the Yoga also sports this company’s patented 360-degree hinge design. The hinge is pretty standard at this point, but that’s alright because it just works. It’s fairly easy to push the lid back and forth transforming between a tablet and laptop at will. The power button is located on the right side of the machine so that it’s easily accessible even while in tablet form. There’s also a single touch fingerprint scanner sitting just below the arrow keys on the notebook’s deck.

Measuring 13.1 x 9 x 0.67-inches and weighing 3.2 pounds the 14-inch convertible is incredibly light for a 14-inch laptop. However, as a tablet, the device can feel a bit unwieldy especially when trying to hold the X1 Yoga with a single hand. There are lighter convertibles on the market, such as the 12.5-inch Toshiba Portege X20W (2.4 pounds) and the 13.3-inch HP EliteBook x360 (2.8 pounds). Of course, these devices also come with smaller screens so there is a tradeoff.

In addition to being light, the carbon fiber also affords excellent durability. ThinkPads are typically known for their tough chassis and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is no different. The notebook boasts extensive MIL-STD testing holding up under extreme temperatures, shocks, and vibrations.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Ports and Features

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga packs a surprising amount of connectivity into its thin frame. The right side features a Kensington lock slot, an HDMI connector, a USB 3.0 port, a Mini-RJ45 Ethernet connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The left side features two USB Type-C (Thunderbolt) ports, and two additional USB 3.0 ports, the latter of which is always on. Finally, there is a micro SIM and microSD card reader located next to the back right display hinge on the rear.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017

This impressive array of ports is proof that the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is as much about productivity as it is flexibility. The device covers just about every area that you could need for connectivity. The big star, of course, is the pair of USB Type-C ports that have replaced Lenovo’s proprietary power adapter. This not only gives users more connection options but allows them to use alternative docking stations instead of being arbitrarily tethered to Lenovo’s ecosystem. Really our only gripe with the ports is that mini Ethernet port isn’t really widely adopted enough to be useful out of the box. Consumers will likely need to purchase an additional adapter to have a wired connection. Although considering how many ports are crammed into this device, it’s likely that Lenovo didn’t have room for a full-sized ethernet and we’d rather have the option to buy an adapter than being stuck with WiFi only.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga also offers a number of useful features for corporate scalability including discrete TPM encryption and Intel for remote manageability support (with the Intel Core i5-7300U and Core i7-7600U variants).

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Keyboard and Touchpad

Pretty much every ThinkPad we get our hands on we gush about the keyboard and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is no different in that regard. However, this isn’t an exact carbon copy of the ThinkPad design, the X1 Yoga features a Wave Keyboard that recedes when the screen is traveling past 90 degrees or is closed. Because the keys lay flat when the screen is closed, this removes the need for a tray allowing the keys to lay level with the deck.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2nd Edition

The black glossy keys are rounded along the edges and curve inward to cup your fingers while you type. The keyboard offers excellent travel for such a thin laptop with solid activation force and feedback. All of that results in a typing experience that feels deliberate and satisfying. ThinkPads are often lauded for having the best-in-class keyboards and the X1 Yoga keeps up with that tradition.

Of course, it wouldn’t really be a ThinkPad device if there wasn’t a bright red Lenovo TrackPoint pointing stick sitting just above the B key. The iconic red braised nub affords excellent connectivity and control for those that want an old school feel. In addition to the nub, there are three mouse buttons along the top portion of the touchpad. Just like the keyboard, the buttons offer excellent travel and responsive feedback making them the perfect companion for the little red nub.

The smooth buttonless touchpad performs just as well. The frictionless travel allows for excellent control and sensitivity. Equipped with Synaptic drivers the touchpad performs beautifully corresponding to each swipe, click, and multi-finger gesture without delay.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Stylus

The notebook also features the Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus, which supports 2,048 levels of pressure. The pen has a dedicated compartment along the lower right side of the chassis, which also serves a charger for the pen.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017

The pen is a bit a small side, feeling more like the pencils you’d find on a golf course than your traditional writing utensil. With excellent tracking and sensitivity, the Pen did a masterful job capturing our quick tests of notes and doodles, which is really saying something given our poor penmanship skills.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Screen and Speakers

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga features a 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 10-point multi-touch display. The glossy panel offers a clear picture with vivid deep colors. While watching the trailer for Thor: Ragnarok NBR was impressed by how rich the deep red contrasted against the silver glistening armor of Thor in the opening sequence.

While the glossy panel does provide gorgeous colors it’s also highly reflective. This isn’t helped by the fact that the screen offers mediocre brightness at 274 nits. That’s not terrible on its own, but paired with the glossy display and it’s easy for the screen to become reflective in direct light. This is particularly a big problem when using the device as a tablet with overhead lighting. Viewing angles are also somewhat shallow as moving beyond 70 degrees causes reflections. However, because this is just a symptom of the brightness and glossy panel, the screen offers far more flexible viewing angles in dimly lit areas with images holding up well past 100 degrees.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017

Lenovo also offers two optional higher resolution panels with a WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution IPS display and a WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution OLED display. The higher resolution options will cost an additional $125 and $250 respectively. Unfortunately, NBR didn’t get to test a review unit with the OLED display, but it’s still a great option to have, as there are still very few OLED options out there.

In addition to rich colors, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga also offers rich sound. The X1 Yogas speakers aren’t all that boisterous, though they’re still suitable for a small room, the sound quality is rather good for a notebook. NBR was impressed when listening through Candyrat Records collection as the speakers expertly depicted the wide array of taps, wraps, and strums of the various acoustic guitar tracks. The speakers captured both highs and lows and were even able to reproduce the faint harmonics with pristine quality.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Performance

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is equipped with a seventh-generation 2.6GHz Intel Core i5-7300U CPU, Intel HD Graphics 620, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD for $1,477. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers a number of upgrade options with expandable ram, memory, along with an Intel Core i7 CPU. The fully decked out model will costs considerably more though. The top of the line model is currently equipped with a seventh-generation 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-6600U CPU, with 16GB of RAM, a 1TB NVMe PCIe SSD, and a 14-inch WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution OLED display for $2,114.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017Lenovo is offering full customizability currently on their site, so you can pick and choose what components you want to find the right build and level of performance for your needs. That being said, we feel that Lenovo hit a nice middle ground with the unit that they sent us. The unit we tested offers strong performance and it isn’t all that much more expensive than the starting price. Spending over $2,000 on this laptop is more difficult to recommend, especially with the lack of a dedicated GPU option, meaning that even with the best specs available there will still be some serious limitations with what this machine is capable of.

In terms of general performance, this notebook hits it out of the park. Basic computing, productivity apps, and even heavy multitasking prove to be a breeze. While testing this device, we were able to run 14 active Google Chrome tabs while watching 2 HD video streams and running Spotify in the background with no noticeable drop in performance. The fast read and write speeds of the 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD also contribute to the solid consistent performance as programs and file load within seconds.

The biggest bottleneck for performance has to be the Intel HD 620 graphics. Truthfully the integrated graphics aren’t that bad, it’s just that everything else on this machine is rather good. The X1 Yoga is capable of basic HD video editing and playing less demanding game titles like League of Legends and Hearthstone, but the machine will struggle with more demanding tasks like 3D modeling, and more graphically intense games.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review unit that we tested had the following specifications:

  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2017Windows 10 Pro
  • 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) resolution IPS display
  • Intel Core i5-7300U 2.6GHz CPU
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 8GB of DDR3
  • 256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9 x 0.67-inches
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Starting price: $1,402
  • Price as configured: $ 1,477

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmarks

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmark

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmark

3DMark Fire Strike measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmark

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmark

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Battery Life

To test battery life, we used Futuremark’s PowerMark benchmark in balanced mode. The test consists of a combination of automated web browsing, word processing, gaming and video playback workloads. The test is far more strenuous than typical web browsing alone, measuring the machine under a litany of scenarios to better simulate high-stress usage. With the test being far more demanding the scores are understandably lower than what you’ll experience just checking Facebook or watching Netflix.

PowerMark “Balanced” battery life test results listed in minutes (higher scores mean better life):

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Benchmark

In our tests, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga ran for 8 hours and 12 minutes before shutting down. Surpassing 8 hours is absolutely incredible for a convertible. Considering that our tests are more strenuous than typical use you can expect to get upwards of 12 hours on a single charge. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 can last all throughout the day on a single charge.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Conclusion

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is one of the best convertibles on the market and it’s also one of the best business laptops. Lenovo has done such a great job of incorporating the identities of both of these brands into a single device.

Sporting a durable design with built-in security options, customizable specs, an extensive amount of connectivity options, and a world-class keyboard the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers the dependability that you’d expect from a ThinkPad. However, the laptop doesn’t stop there. It also features the portability, flexible design, vibrant display that we’d expect from a Yoga. Add in the built-in stylus, amazing battery life, and fantastic speakers and you have one of the most well-rounded machines out there.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2017)

Truthfully the only barrier for this machine is its price. It’s expensive starting at $1,402. There’s a lot of great features here, but you may not need all of them depending on your computing needs. If you’re simply looking for a machine that offers flexibility, but you don’t need top-notch performance there less expensive options out there. The same goes if you only need a workhorse, but don’t care about portability or form factor. However, if you’re looking for a well-rounded machine that can basically do it all, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is one of the best options out there.

Pros:

  • Fantastic keyboard
  • Great speakers
  • Vibrant Screen
  • Long lasting battery

Cons:

  • Reflective panel
  • Expensive



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