Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd gen) best buy
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (3rd gen)
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga qualifies for yet another upgrade
Lenovo’s ThinkPad range has always been about high-end performance, resilience and reliability and this third-generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga is no exception.
It combines the latest Intel silicon and NVMe storage with a 2-in-1 design that offers laptop and tablet functionality in a flexible package.
Price and availability
The price quoted for the review model is one from Lenovo partner Technoworld, and not from the official online shop, which is pricier.
The headline cost for the high-end model puts it in direct competition with the Microsoft Surface Pro, HP Spectre x360 and Dell Latitude 7285. Microsoft is still using Intel’s seventh-gen silicon on most of its machines, although the Surface Book 2 has one eighth-gen CPU option – although it costs 20 percent more than the ThinkPad X1 Yoga for the same chips, memory and similar storage.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is an elegant machine, with a slick matte black or silver finish plus the signature red dot motif. The case is made from a carbon-fibre hybrid material that offers durability and strength while remaining lightweight at 1.4kg.
The display is a bit longer than the base, making opening and shutting it relatively easy. Opening the lid presents you with a very clean working space, dominated by a touchpad that has buttons top and bottom, along with a touch- based scroll wheel at the top.
The ‘Wave’ keyboard cleverly retracts the keys when the laptop is closed, and they also do this when the hinge passes 190-degrees for tablet use. The ‘Wave’ design makes the keys stand proud of the base, giving extra travel when typing.
Another interesting feature of the keyboard is that the cursor keys on the right are allowed to encroach below the [Spacebar] line, making them larger than normal, and easier to use. Less usual is the placement of the [Fn] key where the left [Ctrl] key normally sits.
Thanks to its ultra-slim 2-in-1 design, Lenovo has also had arrange its active ports along the sides of the machine, with the air vent on the back. On the left side are two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, which offer both peripheral connection and laptop charging. Given the somewhat variable quality of USB Type-C devices and the power they can demand, Lenovo has been smart enough to make these ports ‘anti-fry’ to avoid potential damage issues. It’s also included a slimmed-down WAN port with an included adapter for
connecting to wired networks. And behind a thin removable cover on the rear, you’ll find the phone SIM (WWAN) and microSD card slots.
Since this is a 2-in-1 laptop, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga also comes with a Wacom-designed active stylus. The slot where the stylus lives provides a difficult-to-misplace home, and also charges the device. However it’s oddly located on the underside of the machine, making it easy to retrieve in laptop mode, but harder to get at when your using the machine as a tablet.
“Opening the lid presents you with a very dean working space with, dominated by a touchpad”
The stylus has two buttons, along with the pen tip clicking function, but it doesn’t appear to be pressure-sensitive.
As you’d expect given the price, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is fully kitted out with Intel’s new Kaby Lake R-series CPUs, which offer four cores and eight threads, yet have a maximum power profile of just 15W.
Oddly, the X1 Yoga uses LPDDR3 memory rather than lower power DDR4. The reason is that Intel chose not to support anything other than LPDDR3 and ordinary DDR4 in the Kaby Lake R-series chips. And, for laptops, that means a stark choice between the highest performance or the longest battery life.
A machine with this level of hardware should be fast, and it is.
Booting Windows and launching apps is practically instantaneous, and the only time the X1 Yoga isn’t highly responsive is when Windows has initiated some background upgrade exercise without asking.
Indeed, this hybrid’s only weakness is the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, which doesn’t contribute enough considering the raw computing power that is pushing it.
Benchmarking reveals some of the best numbers we’ve seen from the Intel Kaby Lake R platform, and the NVMe storage performance here is exceptional.
The drive is a Samsung PM981, an OEM-only drive that uses its Polaris V2 controller, and 64-bit Layer TLC flash memory.
A calibration test also revealed that the exceptionally crisp 2,560×1,440 IPS display could represent the full 100 percent of sRGB and AdobeRGB colour gamuts. When you combine that with a static contrast ratio of over 1,000:1 and 463-lumens brightness, it’s one of the best quality displays we’ve seen on a laptop recently.
There is only one problem, and that’s the X1 Yoga’s battery life.
We’ve been upbeat about the X1 Yoga so far, but its battery life fails to live up to the high standard of the rest of the hardware.
Our PCMark08 benchmarks revealed that the X1 Yoga lasted just four hours 18 minutes in our high-performance Work test; and six hours 24 minutes in power-saving mode – that’s a country mile short of the 15 hours of battery life quoted by Lenovo. Unless you never stop work and never answer the phone, the longevity you’ll get is probably a working day, but hardly any more than that.
We suspect that the Core i7 CPU and NVMe drive are contributory factors, and it may be that a Core i5 machine might last much longer on the same battery capacity.
At least it charges quickly, having RapidCharge technology that can get the device back to 80 percent capacity in just 60 minutes.
This hybrid is superbly designed and built, but marred by a few annoyances that lessen the wow factor a little. The mediocre battery life hints that you’d be better off with the Core i5 version, and then there’s the incredibly high price.
With much cheaper designs from Dell and HP that contain almost identical parts, this machine could be a tough sell at this price – despite its many virtues.
This X1 Yoga impresses with its design and slick performance, but is let down by limited battery life.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga
Supplier vvww3.lenovo.com Processor 1.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-8550U Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 620 Memory 16GB LPDDR3 RAM (2133MHz) Screen 14-inch (2,560×1,440) IPS Storage 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD Connectivity 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.2, LTC-A (optional); 2x USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3); 2x USB 3.0; 1x HDMI; microSD card slot; micro-SIM card slot; headphone/mic jack Camera 720p Weight 1.4kg Size 333x229x17.05mm Battery 3-cell lithium-ion 54Wh