PROS / The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is immensely portable and flexible.
CONS / There is a microSD card slot instead of a full SD slot, which is a bit of a hassle.
VERDICT / The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a good business laptop with the added edge of a convertible design and long battery life for use on the move.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga combines the slim stylings of the best ultrabooks, the capabilities of well-made business-class laptops and the versatility of a 2-in-1 convertible design. With a slim and rugged design, solid general performance, and the addition of tablet functionality and included stylus, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is the work laptop you want when you need more than just any business notebook.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is outfitted with an Intel Core i5-6200U processor – the same dual-core 2.3GHz CPU found in many of the current business laptops in our review. It’s paired with 8GB of RAM, a combination that yielded passable overall performance. The Yoga scored 6,408 points in Geekbench 3 and completed the Laptop Mag Spreadsheet Test in five minutes 17 seconds, lagging slightly behind the category average and earning a B-minus for overall performance. While it should do just fine for day-to-day office use, you can upgrade both the processor and the memory, up to an Intel Core i7-6600U and 16GB of RAM, for more power and speed.
The laptop uses Intel HD Graphics 520, with no other graphics solution available. In our 3DMark Pro graphics testing, the laptop scored 18,431 points in Ice Storm Unlimited but only 864 points in the more demanding and GPU-friendly Fire Strike. Overall graphics performance earns a C-minus rating. That’s sufficient for all of your regular visual demands, like streaming video and putting together presentations, but for more demanding work, such as editing video, you want a system with a dedicated graphics card.
The laptop comes standard with Windows 10 Pro, but other operating systems are also available, with Windows 10 Home and Windows 7 Pro both available at time of purchase.
Our review unit came with a 256GB solid-state drive, though it’s also available with a smaller 128GB drive or a larger 512GB drive. The smaller 128GB drive may do the trick if you don’t need a lot of storage space – with Windows installed you only have about 100GB of storage free – but the 256GB configuration should do quite well.
As part of Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 line, the Yoga features some of the same choice elements as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, with a carbon-fiber lid and magnesium chassis. The result is extremely thin and light, measuring just 0.66 x 13.11 x 9.01 inches and weighing a mere 2.8 pounds. Any laptop under the 3-pound mark is especially portable, but the Yoga adds extra usability on the go with a convertible design.
The Yoga’s 360-degree hinge – a staple of Lenovo’s Yoga laptops – lets you use it as a laptop, fold it back around for use as a tablet or prop it up in tent or display modes. The ThinkPad model also gets a unique keyboard that has a raising deck, coming up flush with the tops of the keys when folded into tablet mode. This dynamic feature makes it more comfortable to hold as a tablet with no clicking keys, but it also helps to protect the keyboard when laid keyboard-side down onto a desk or other surface.
The spill-resistant chiclet keyboard is fairly good, with a TrackPoint pointer in the center of the keys. The accompanying touchpad offers gesture support and has clickable zones in the bottom right and left corners. Along the top, between the touchpad and the keyboard, are three additional buttons for use with the trackpoint: right and left click and a dedicated scroll button in between.
For more intuitive and precise tablet use, it also comes with a rechargeable stylus, which stores and charges in a built-in slot on the right-hand side of the laptop. The slim stylus charges quickly, with Lenovo claiming 100 minutes of stylus use after just 15 seconds of charging.
In our battery testing, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga lasted more than 10 hours in a test that simulates continuous browsing over Wi-Fi. With that sort of battery life, you can take the laptop with you for a full workday and never worry about charging it or take it on a cross-country flight without having to bring the power adapter in your carry on.
With the convertible design, the laptop’s touchscreen is a no brainer, but it’s a feature that Lenovo doesn’t offer on some of its more traditional business laptops. Our review unit came with a 1920 x 1080-resolution panel in the 14-inch display, but you can also configure it with a higher-resolution 2560 x 1440 option. In our testing, the display brightness measured at 290 nits, and color accuracy was quite good, with a DeltaE rating of 4.5.
On the right of the laptop you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. On the left is a third USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort and a connector for Lenovo’s Onelink dock. An integrated fingerprint reader offers secure logins with a tap. On the back of the system on the hinge is a covered compartment with a SIM-card slot for optional mobile broadband and a microSD card slot. The compartment placement is irritatingly inconvenient, and the use of microSD leaves anyone with a full-size SD card out of luck without a separate USB adapter. For wireless connectivity, the Yoga has 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Lenovo covers the ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a standard one-year warranty, with extensions available to take that coverage out to two or three years, for a fee. Included in the warranty coverage is free phone support and remote access to let distant support personnel fix things on your system directly. Lenovo ranked fifth out of 10 in Laptop Mag’s independent evaluation of tech support services and earned praise for things like scheduled callback on support calls and numerous manuals and helpful materials available through its website.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a versatile 2-in-1 laptop for the business set, offering a solid professional laptop and highly portable tablet PC in equal measure. The result is a capable work machine that lets you do more in more places.