Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1 Gen4 Review

Lenovo’s newest ThinkPad X1 Yoga is out, and as soon as I took it out the box there were some vast differences compared to all the other X1 Yogas. I’ve spent some time using one for a few weeks now, so let’s check it out.

Where to start with the differences… it has a smaller footprint, it’s all metal, it’s a different colour (iron gray) and it just doesn’t look like the older X1 Yogas.

I’ve written up a quick comparison of the ‘Four Generations of ThinkPad X1 Yoga’ seperately, so I’ll try to focus on this more as a standalone review.

Here’s an overview of the tech specs with the options I have bolded:

Processor8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5/i7 Processor:
Intel Core i5-8265U (4C / 8T, 1.6 / 3.9GHz, 6MB)
Intel Core i5-8365U (4C / 8T, 1.6 / 4.1GHz, 6MB)
Intel Core i7-8565U (4C / 8T, 1.8 / 4.6GHz, 8MB)
Intel Core i7-8665U (4C / 8T, 1.9 / 4.8GHz, 8MB)
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home 64
Windows 10 Pro 64
Display 14″ 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS with Dolby Vision HDR400, 470 nits, glossy, multi-touch
14″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) IPS, 280 nits, glossy, multi-touch
14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, low power, 380 nits, glossy, multi-touch
14″ FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS PrivacyGuard, 380 nits, glossy, multi-touch
Multi-touchCapacitive-type multi-touch, AR (anti-reflection), AS (anti-smudge), supports 10-finger gesture
PenThinkPad Pen Pro, on-board rechargeable
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics
Memory8GB or 16GB / 2133MHz LPDDR3, soldered
Webcam720p HD Camera with microphone
IR & 720p HD Camera with microphone
StorageUp to 1TB PCIe SSD (256GB here)
Dimensions (W x D x H)323 x 218 x 15.5 (mm)
WeightStarting at 1.36 kg
Case colourIron Grey
Case materialDisplay cover: Aluminium
Bottom: Magnesium
Battery4-cell (51 Wh), integrated
Battery life1Up to 18.1 hours
AC adaptor65W USB Type-C (supports RapidCharge)
KeyboardBacklit keyboard with white LED
UltraNav™TrackPoint® pointing device and buttonless Glass surface touchpad
Audio supportStereo speakers 2 x 2W, 2 x 0.8W
Dolby® Atmos™ speaker system
Quad array far-field microphones
ConnectivityWLAN: Intel Wireless-AC 9560, Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac + Bluetooth® 5.0W
WAN: Optional integrated Mobile Broadband 4G LTE-A (Fibocom L850-GL)
Ethernet: via optional ThinkPad Ethernet Extension Adaptor Gen 2
SecurityMatch-on-Chip Touch Fingerprint Readerd
TPM 2.0 chip
ThinkShutter camera cover
Security-lock slot
Ports2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1 x Always On)
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 / Thunderbolt™ 3
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x Ethernet extension connector
1 x nano-SIM card slot (WWAN model)
1 x headphone/mic jack
1 x side docking connector
Supported dockingThinkPad Thunderbolt™ 3 Dock
ThinkPad Basic/Pro/Ultra Docking Station CS18
ThinkPad USB 3.0 Pro/Ultra Dock

Processor – It’s nice to have the 8th Gen CPU with it’s 4 cores / 8 threads on the entry level option, but this is the first time we’ve not seen a generational jump from the previous year’s X1 Yoga. The 8th Gen for laptops was a good change though, as it doubled the core count. I’m not sure why Lenovo didn’t go for the newer 9th gen CPU; maybe it wasn’t ready in time, and since the 8th to 9th jump isn’t much of a difference they went ahead with the 8th gen again – albeit Whiskey Lake rather than Kaby Lake.
Update: Lenovo have now announced that they’ll be releasing a 10th gen CPU option in September 2019, with everything else being identical.

Display – Although I have the lowest end 1080p screen as usual, it’s a really crisp screen to look at. The viewing angles are impressive, at no stage does the screen become less readable and the bezel itself is small – a lot smaller than previous models. There’s also the PrivacyGuard option which might not be available at the time of writing, but it looks like a nice choice for users who work in public areas. That full 4K option with HDR/Dolby Vision would also look great I’m sure!

Dimensions – Weight wise it’s about the same as previous models, not too heavy – but the footprint it takes up is 17% less than previous models. Those now feel much chunkier that I’ve been using this new one, and it’s not too small. It’s also a bit thinner than previous models too, by 11%.

Audio Support – The speakers have been moved since previous models, and the sound now comes out the top of the keyboard so the sound appears to come straight at you, with the subwoofer on the bottom of the unit.

Ethernet – This is an interesting change – there’s a new Ethernet dongle connector which appears to be due to the new dock support.

New Ethernet Dongle

Personally I’d rather just have a USB3 dongle or an actual Ethernet port, but I also want a thin laptop, and I still *could* use a USB3 dongle – which has the overhead of using the USB BUS instead of getting directly to Ethernet on the laptop.

Let’s see more of this laptop:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4 Screen

Here’s a photo of the screen (which doesn’t do it justice quality wise), but you can see how much smaller the bezel is on this.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4 Left Side

On the left side of the laptop going from left to right we have USB-C, USB-C + Ethernet in a single port but can still be used separately, USB 3, full sized HDMI and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4 Right Side

The right side has the stylus, which is a bit more hidden than previous models (and sometimes I try to press that to power on the unit), power, USB 3, vent, and Kensington lock.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4 Right Keyboard

The keyboard is nicely laid out without any keys in strange places, backlit also and the keys are easy to type on. The Trackpad too works well – nothing to complain about here at all.

Conclusion

I can honestly say this is the best X1 Yoga yet. There’s no negatives at all to me, beyond price since it’s the newest. If you care about Ethernet you’ll have to use the new adapter, but that comes with it anyway and it’s unlikely you’ve invested in a bunch of those from older models.

The one removal that some people might not like is the inbuild SD Card reader – it was in previous generations – so if that’s a must have for you. you’re out of luck. Look at a different laptop or get used to using a USB SD Card reader.

It’s fast, the screen is great, it feels even higher quality than previous models due to being completely aluminium and magnesium, and it still even has a stylus tucked away. The speakers are improved, so it’s even a better movie watching experience on this business laptop.

RAM is soldered on as usual, the only thing you could upgrade would be the SSD and it’s not a laptop designed to be opened up – so make sure you get specs that’ll keep you happy for a few years.

I hope this review helps you decide what you’re looking for, feel free to post and questions below.

Also, if you want a video review, check out Lisa’s review on MobileTechReview:

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