Long battery life; Fantastic keyboard; Vibrant screen colors; Thunderbolt 3 ports;
Slow SSD; Very reflective panel; Stiff hinge with noisy mechanism
A great keyboard, colorful screen and epic endurance make Lenovo’s X1 Yoga 2-in-1 a top choice for business users.
Whether you use it in laptop, tablet or tent mode, Lenovo’s second-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga 2-in-1 is a productivity powerhouse. This lightweight, 14-inch laptop combines a premium carbon-fibre chassis with a comfortable keyboard, vibrant screen, accurate stylus and long battery life. The 2017 (gen 2) version of the X1 Yoga improves on its excellent predecessor by adding dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, a new retracting keyboard design and a pleasant soft-touch texture. Starting at $1,682 ($1,772 as tested), this 2-in-1 doesn’t come cheap, but business users who want fantastic flexibility and portability will find it worth every penny.
|CPU||Intel Core i5-7300U|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro|
|RAM Upgradable to||16GB|
|Hard Drive Size||256GB|
|Hard Drive Type||NVMe PCIe SSD|
|Highest Available Resolution||2160 x 1440|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Dual-Band Wireless 8265|
|Touchpad Size||3.9 x 2.4 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI-out|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone/Mic|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Kensington Lock|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Thunderbolt 3|
|Warranty/Support||one year limited warranty|
|Size||13.1 x 9.0 x 0.67 inches|
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2nd gen) takes Lenovo’s classic raven-black aesthetic and turns up the style dial with a new luxurious soft-touch finish on all of its surfaces, including the palm rest where it increases typing comfort. In a change from the last model’s “Lift n’ Lock” keyboard, the new X1 Yoga’s “Wave Keyboard” has keys which sink down below the base when you rotate the screen past 90 degrees; this is done to prevent accidental typing in tablet mode.
Like other ThinkPad Yogas, this model uses a strong dual-hinge design to let you bend the screen back into tent, stand and tablet modes. When opening, closing or bending the lid back, the hinges on this Yoga felt much stiffer and less fluid than on most other 2-in-1s we’ve tested, including other ThinkPads. When opened the lid, we could feel an annoying bump in the mechanism and hear an unpleasant crunching sound as the keys lifted up from the base. But these were minor annoyances that we quickly got used to.
Like its sibling, the X1 Carbon, the X1 Yoga is made out of a carbon-fibre hybrid material that makes the 2-in-1 lightweight and extremely sturdy at the same time. I barely felt the 13.1 x 9 x 0.67-inch, 3.1-pound laptop when I was carrying it around in my bag. Competitors with 12- or 13-inch displays are even lighter, though, including the Toshiba Portege X20W (2.4 pounds, 0.61 inches thick), HP EliteBook x360 (2.8 pounds, 0.59 inches thick) and Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1 (3 pounds, 0.7 inches thick).
Durability and Security
If you carry the X1 Yoga, you can feel comfortable knowing that your expensive laptop won’t break too easily. Lenovo’s 2-in-1 is designed to pass MIL-SPEC tests for extreme shocks, vibrations and temperatures.
Corporate IT managers will appreciate the X1 Yoga’s discrete TPM encryption and support for Intel vPro remote manageability if it’s configured with a compatible CPU (Core i5-7300U, Core i7-7600U). The laptop also comes standard with a single-touch fingerprint reader on the right side of the palm rest.
The 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch screen on our review configuration of the X1 Yoga offered vibrant colors and sharp images. When I watched trailers for both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman, hues such as the green and yellow flowers in a field, the blue of Diana’s dress and the red of Peter’s costume really popped.
The glossy panel is a double-edged sword, as it made the colors, particularly blacks, stand out more than a matte panel would have, but it reflected a lot of overhead light. When I moved to viewing angles wider than 45 degrees, colors stayed true but the entire image was covered by the fluorescent lights in my office. However, under the LED light bulbs of my dining room chandelier, viewing angles were much wider and dark scenes such as the one where Spider-Man fights the Vulture were easier to make out.
According to our colorimeter, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s 1080p screen can reproduce a strong 109 percent of the sRGB color gamut, comfortably above the ultraportable laptop category average (100 percent) and the Dell Latitude 5289’s showing (71 percent). The HP EliteBook x360 G2 achieved an identical score, while the Toshiba Portege X20W was a bit more vibrant (121 percent)
The X1 Yoga provided 274 nits of brightness in our tests, which isn’t terrible, but it is below the 292-nit category average, the Dell Latitude’s 280 nits and the Portege’s impressive 345-nit mark. The HP EliteBook x360 was dimmer (239 nits).
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s speakers provide audio output that was accurate and loud enough to fill my midsize dining room, though not overly rich. When I played AC/DC’s “TNT,” I could hear a clear separation of sound between the guitar on one side and the drums on the other, with very little distortion, even on high tones. In the Lenovo Settings app, you can choose from among Music, Movies, Voice and Dynamic sound profiles and turn the Dolby audio enhancement on or off. The music sounded best with the Music profile chosen, but hollow when I disabled the Dolby, which is on by default.
Keyboard, Pointing Stick and Touchpad
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga has a truly excellent keyboard with a very unique capability. As you push the lid back more than 90 degrees, the keys recede below the base so that you can’t accidentally hit them while holding the device as a tablet. On most laptops, the keyboard sits in a recessed tray to keep the keys from brushing against the screen, but on this Wave Keyboard, the keys also recede when you close the lid so that no tray is necessary.
Like most ThinkPads, the X1 Yoga provides a world-class typing experience, thanks to keys that have a relatively-deep 1.72 millimeters of vertical travel and that require a strong 70 grams of actuation force to keep you from bottoming out. I particularly loved the soft-touch material on the palm rest, which kept my wrists from feeling sore as I achieved one of my best typing speeds ever — 107 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate — on the 10FastFingers typing test. Only the most discerning typists will notice a tiny amount of stiffness on the downstroke. However, this feeling didn’t affect my comfort level.
The X1 Yoga provides both a touchpad and the classic, bright red Lenovo TrackPoint. I prefer the pointing stick, because it offers the most precise navigation you can get on a laptop and allows me to move the pointer without lifting my hands off of the home row.
The 3.9 x 2.4-inch, buttonless touchpad provided accurate navigation around the desktop in my tests, with none of the jerkiness we experience on lesser pointing devices. It also responded correctly and immediately to multitouch gestures such as three-finger swipe and pinch to zoom. The pad’s smooth surface made it easy to swipe more quickly than on most laptops, but I would have actually preferred a little more friction.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga comes with an active stylus, the ThinkPad Pen Pro, that supports 2,048 levels of pressure. Unlike many other 2-in-1s that force you to carry your stylus in a bag or attach it to a flimsy loop, Lenovo’s laptop has a dedicated compartment for the pen, which also charges the implement while it’s not in use.
The 4.9 x 0.2 x 0.3-inch ThinkPad Pen Pro felt light in my fingers and provided a pleasant amount of friction as I pressed against the glossy screen to write. Some users may prefer a larger pen, like those available for the Microsoft Surfaces and Apple iPad, but I’ll go with Lenovo’s golf-pencil-sized implement any day, because it’s easier to grip and hold.
When I drew a few pictures in Windows Sketch, I noticed that the lines were clearly thicker the harder I pressed with the pen, a clear sign of its pressure sensitivity. When I scribbled some words onto Windows 10’s handwriting keyboard, I was able to draw letters quickly and accurately.
Despite its slim profile, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga doesn’t skimp on battery life. Lenovo’s 2-in-1 lasted an impressive 12 hours and 6 minutes on the LAPTOP Battery Test, which involves continuous surfing over Wi-Fi. That’s about 50 percent better than the ultraportable category average (8:24), and at least 2 hours ahead of the times for competitors like the EliteBook x360 (9:17), Dell Latitude 5289 2-in-1 (10:00) and Toshiba Portege X20W (6:37).
With its Intel Core i5-7300U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB PCIe SSD, our review configuration of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga handled everything we threw at it, including heavy multitasking. With more than a dozen tabs open in Chrome, two sketch apps running and a 1080p offline video playing, I noticed not a hint of lag.
On Geekbench 4, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the X1 Yoga scored a strong 8,514, well above the category average (6,664) and within 5 percent of showings by the Core i7-7600U-powered EliteBook x360 (8,873), Latitude 5289 2-in-1 (8,985) and Portege X20W (8,682).
Lenovo’s 2-in-1 took just 3 minutes and 35 seconds to match 20,000 names with their addresses in our spreadsheet macro test. That time is much quicker than the category average (5:51) and a bit faster than the Latitude 5289’s showing. However, the EliteBook x360 and Portege X20W were both around 20 seconds speedier.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s 256GB Toshiba PCIe SSD is the machine’s Achilles’ heel, offering far slower file transfers than competitors’ storage devices. The drive took 30 seconds to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files for a rate of 169.6 MBps, which is far below the category average (215.7 MBps) and even farther behind the Portege X20W (299.37) and EliteBook x360 (299.4 MBps). If you configure with the 512GB SSD, a Samsung unit, you may get better performance.
With its integrated Intel HD 620 graphics, the X1 Yoga is more than fast enough for playing videos or casual games, but professional video editors and 3D modelers may want something more powerful. The laptop scored 76,248 on 3DMark Ice Storm unlimited, which is comfortably above the category average (57,093) and about on par with scores from the Latitude 5289 (76,640) and Portege X20W (70,460).
When we fired up the low-end game Dirt 3, the X1 Yoga played at a rate of 54 fps, well above the category average (37 fps) and a few frames better than the Portege X20W and Latitude 5289.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga packs plenty of ports into its thin frame, but I’m particularly impressed with its dual Thunderbolt 3 connectors. The X1 Yoga is one of the first ThinkPads to ditch Lenovo’s proprietary power connector and charge exclusively over Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C, which means that it can connect to an entire ecosystem of AC adapters and docks. The 65-watt power brick that comes with the X1 Yoga can charge any USB Type-C device from other laptops to tablets and phones.
In addition to its Thunderbolt 3 ports, the left side of the X1 Yoga houses two standard USB 3.0 ports. The right surface holds the power button, HDMI-out, a 3.5mm audio jack, a third USB 3.0 port, a Kensington lock slot and a mini Ethernet port that you’ll need a $35 dongle to use. The backside houses a microSD card slot.
You can feel good holding the X1 Yoga in your hand or balancing it on your lap, knowing that it won’t get uncomfortably warm. After steaming a video for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured a cool 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the keyboard registered 86.5 degrees and the bottom reached only 92 degrees F. We consider temperatures below 95 degrees to be comfortable.
The X1 Yoga’s 720p webcam took reasonably accurate photos of my face under the flourescent lights of my office during the day. Colors like the green on my shirt and the reddish-brown hairs in my beard weren’t completely sharp or true-to-life but were better than we find on most built-in laptop cameras.
However, I was more impressed that I got the same image quality and brightness from a picture I took in a dim area of my living room at night. If you have to make a video call from a dark cubicle, the X1 Yoga will get the job done.
Software and Warranty
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga comes with a handful of useful utilities and a generous helping of Windows 10’s built-in bloatware. Lenovo Settings gives you fine control over the audio, Wi-Fi card, battery and other components. Lenovo Companion performs system health checks and searches for software updates.
There’s a free 30-day trial of Keeper, a third-party password manager. You’ll also find the standard set of unnecessary software we see on every Windows 10 PC these days, including Candy Crush Soda, March of Empires: War of Lords, a Sling TV trial and a link to download Asphalt 8.
Lenovo backs the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a one-year limited “depot” warranty, in which the company pays for shipping if you need to send the system in for service. You can upgrade to a two-, three-, four- or five-year warranty with on-site service and accidental-damage protection for prices ranging from $19 to more than $700. See how Lenovo fared on our Best and Worst Laptop Brand Ratings and Tech Support Showdown.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga starts at $1,682. For that price, you get a 1080p screen, a Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB PCIe SSD. Our $1,772 review configuration upgrades to a Core i5-7300U processor and has Windows 10 Pro instead of Windows 10 Home.
If you configure your laptop at Lenovo.com, you can choose between Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs, increase the storage to 512GB or 1TB, bump up the RAM to 16GB, and upgrade to a 2560 x 1440 IPS or OLED Display. The base config should be fine for individual users, while corporations will want to at least buy the review model, because of its vPro compatibility and Windows 10 Pro. However, if you can splurge, the OLED screen should provide extremely vibrant colors.
The Bottom Line
With a wide array of ports that includes two Thunderbolt 3 connectors, a snappy keyboard, colorful display and more than 12 hours of endurance, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga would make a great business laptop, even if it weren’t a 2-in-1. When you consider its helpful stylus and innovative keyboard-retracting mechanism, Lenovo’s laptop is even more compelling.
If you’re looking for an even-lighter 2-in-1, check out the 13-inch HP EliteBook x360, which weighs 0.4 pounds less, offers a faster SSD and has a unibody, aluminum chassis that many people will find more attractive. However, if you want a first-class business convertible with great portability, flexibility and endurance, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga should be at the top of your shopping list.