Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen2 Review

In 2016, the first Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga (which I reviewed) was released in the ThinkPad lineup. It was my pick of laptops, being a solid all-rounder.

It’s 2017 now, and the second generation of this laptop has been out for a few months now. You can buy it straight from Lenovo or other suppliers… but is it still as good, and what’s changed in this latest generation?

Let’s start with the tech specs:

Processor
  • 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-7200U Processor (3M Cache, 2.5GHz, max. 3.1GHz)
  • 7th Gen Intel Core i5-7300U Processor (3M Cache, 2.6GHz, max. 3.5GHz), vPro
  • 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7500U Processor (4M Cache, 2.7GHz, max. 3.5GHz)
  • 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7600U Processor (4M Cache, 2.8GHz, max. 3.9GHz), vPro
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit – Lenovo recommends Windows 10 Pro.
Display
  • 14″ FHD (1920×1080), glossy, 270 nits, 700:1 contrast ratio, narrow bezel FHD panel (on models with no WWAN only), IPS
  • 14” WQHD (2560×1440), glossy, 270 nits, 700:1 contrast ratio, IPS
Multi-Touch
  • Capacitive touch panel, supports 10-finger gesture
Hinge / mode
  • Yoga hinge, 360 degree / Laptop, tent, stand and tablet
Pen
  • ThinkPad Pen Pro
Graphics
  • Intel HD Graphics 620 in processor only, supports external digital monitor via HDMI or USB Type-C; supports 3 x independent displays; max. resolution: 4096×2304@60Hz (USB Type-C), 4096×2160@24Hz (HDMI)
Adaptor (optional)
  • HDMI to VGA adaptor
  • USB-C to VGA adaptor
  • USB-C to DisplayPort adaptor
Memory
  • 8GB / 16GB, LPDDR3 1866MHz, soldered to systemboard
Webcam
  • HD 720p resolution, fixed focus
  • IR camera and HD 720p camera (option is available on models with narrow bezel FHD panel only)
Storage
  • M.2 SSD / SATA 6.0Gb/s: 128GB
  • M.2 SSD / PCIe NVMe: 256GB OPAL2 / 512GB OPAL2 / 1TB OPAL2
Optical drive
  • None
Dimensions (W x D x H)
  • FHD/WQHD: 333 x 229 x 17.05 mm
Weight
  • FHD/WQHD: 1.42 kg
Case colour
  • Black
  • Silver
Case material
  • Carbon-Fibre Hybrid
Battery
  • 4-cell integrated battery (56Wh)
Battery life
  • FHD: up to 15 hours
  • WQHD: up to 14 hours
AC adaptor
  • 45W Type-C
  • 65W USB Type-C (support Rapid Charge)
Keyboard
  • 6-row, multimedia Fn keys, spill-resistant, wave keyboard, backlit
UltraNav
  • TrackPoint® pointing device and multi-touch with 3+2 buttons click pad
Fingerprint reader
  • Touch style fingerprint reader on keyboard bezel
Audio support
  • HD Audio, Dolby® Audio Premium / stereo speakers, 2W x 2 / dual array microphone, combo audio/microphone jack
Ethernet
  • Gigabit Ethernet via Ethernet (RJ-45) adaptor
Wireless LAN
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, 2×2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth® 4.1, M.2 Card
  • Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265, 2×2, WiGig™ + Wi-Fi + Bluetooth® 4.1, M.2 Card (available only on models configured with vPro processor)
Wireless WAN
  • Sierra EM 7430 (optional)
SIM card slot
  • Micro-SIM card slot (models with 4G card only)
NFC
  • None
Ports
  • 2 x Intel Thunderbolt 3
  • 3 x USB 3.0 (1 x AlwaysOn)
  • HDMI
  • microSD
  • microSIM (models with 4G card only)

Processor wise, we’ve jumped a generation too, now on the 7th Gen Intel series of CPUs. Pretty standard there. The 8th Gen has already started releasing Q4 2017, but that’s early days with both series being released in the same year, and companies like Lenovo need time to incorporate these into their products.

The display options are good too, the two resolutions I’m happy to pick from. OLED is supposed to be available, but I have personally not seen one in real life, nor can I find any information in Lenovo’s tech specs on it, so you’ll have to read some other reviews to get a take on that. From everything I’ve read though, it’s highly praised. Hopefully I’ll get to see one soon!

Touchscreen, 360 degree hinges and the stylus are standard again, which makes this device particularly versatile. It’s still my preferred style of hybrid laptop/tablet as no functionality is lost in laptop mode, and you don’t need to undock/dock and worry about where half the device gets stored.

Graphics is still on board, which these days is more than enough unless you’re doing high end graphic design or gaming. Having a full HDMI port is nice too, instead of finding adapters or the right cable when outputting video – full size HDMI is today’s standard.

RAM wise, 8GB and 16GB options are all you need, again unless you’re doing some real high end work, or trying to run several virtual machines at once. Storage is the same as last year, no complaints there.

The size of the newer Yoga is identical to last year’s, apart from this new one being thicker. THICKER? Yep, a little, 0.25mm. It’s also heavier by 6 grams. I don’t think you’re going to notice either of these changes though, here’s then Gen 1 and Gen 2 stacked together:

X1 Yoga Gen 2 on top of a X1 Yoga Gen 1

You might be wondering why the newer one is slightly thicker and heavier, and I believe this is because of the keyboard.

It’s called a ‘Wave Keyboard’ and it rises and falls with the opening and closing of the screen. The idea of this is to protect the keys from damage when in tablet mode:

I like it, and the keyboard itself still feels normal despite having this extra ability.

Battery life has been improved again, and quite drastically – a claim of 4-5 hours more than the previous generation. Quite impressive!

Here’s a full photo of the keyboard:

After using this for a while, I have no faults to pick. Caps Lock is where it should be, as well as page navigation buttons (such as home and page up). The keys are nice to use, trackpad is a great size and has the physical mouse buttons if you prefer. There’s also a fingerprint reader that works great with Windows 10 Hello for almost instant logins.

If you’re trying to identify a X1 Yoga Gen1 vs a X1 Yoga Gen2 (beyond checking the side for USB-C!) it’s easy to see via the keyboard. For one, the PrtSc (print screen) button is different:

X1 Yoga Gen 1 PrtSc

X1 Yoga Gen 2 PrtSc

Or, you can look at the F12 button, the newer Yoga has a star:

X1 Yoga Gen 1 F12

X1 Yoga Gen 2 F12

Let’s have a look at the sides of the laptop:

Left Side: USB-C in, USB-C out, USB 3, USB 3 with power out (can charge a phone without powering on laptop)

 

Right Side: Stylus, Power, 3.5mm Headphone Jack, Ethernet adapter port, USB 3, Full Size HDMI

Back – Hinges, Protected Slot for SD and SIM

As you may have noticed, the old rectangle power cable port has gone, replaced by USB-C. This is the new industry standard, and it’s good to see Lenovo be a part of that. USB-C charges quickly, and if you have a phone with the same port, can be used to charge that too. The rapid charge claims to get to 80% charge in 60 minutes which I’m very happy with, and experienced similar charge times in real life.

Also there’s no full size network port – the laptop would have to be thicker because of this, so I can live with a dongle on that. Most of the time the laptop is being used portable on Wifi, or at a workstation and using a dock, so this isn’t a dealbreaker.

Speaking of docks, that’s what the USB-C out port is for. My experience so far with those docks has been much better than the older USB 3 models which seemed to lock up occasionally, and there’s the added bonus of running power and data over 1 cable!

I haven’t picked on this year’s X1 Yoga because there’s really that little to pick at. The 7th Gen CPU only supports Windows 10, so you can’t use Windows 8.1 or 7, but that’s an Intel CPU/Microsoft limitation across all laptops and desktops now. Beyond that, I really like this laptop – even more than last year’s. At my work, this is our standard laptop purchase now, which is why I’ve been able to review it, tied into a Windows 10 rollout (It wasn’t given to me by Lenovo).

I can honestly say that I believe this is the right time to upgrade if you’re thinking about it. This laptop will last many years, incorporates all the new features and connections that I think are worth considering, and doesn’t leave anything behind. You won’t be disappointed with this laptop!

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