Lenovo

Four Generations of the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga

Lenovo’s X1 Yoga is my favorite business laptop. Ever since the X1 Yoga Gen 1 came out, I liked it over the other X1 options as it was an all-rounder, while doing everything really well.

That first generation came out in 2016, and each year there’s been a new one, the 2nd Gen, 3rd Gen and now in 2019, we’re at the 4th Gen.

It’s about time I did a round up and comparison of these four models.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 1

The Gen 1 came out in 2016 as the X1 Carbon became lighter, thinner and lost it’s touchscreen. There was mixed reaction to this decision from Lenovo, and although the Yoga had existed in several forms previously, this was the first in the ThinkPad X1 series.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 1

Notable on this model is the OneLink+ connector – a shortlived port for a OneLink+ dock that only survived a single generation, to be replaced by USB-C/Thunderbolt. It has the standard rectangle style power plug hole, again this would not be seen on future X1 Yogas.

This is the only model to not have a dedicated Ethernet port, instead a special OneLink+ Ethernet dongle, USB2 100mbit dongle or USB3 gigabit dongle was required.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2

2017 saw this release with the 7th Gen Intel CPU and the OneLink+ port abandoned, replaced by USB-C. This was great, since it was now an industry standard and meant there was a lot of flexibility with what power pack and dock you could use.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2

This is the first model to have an OLED display option, and strangely this Gen 2 is slightly thicker and heavier than the Gen 1. There wasn’t that many improvements in this model, but overall it’s pretty well rounded solution.

Battery life on this was claimed to be a lot better than the Gen 1.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3

It was the third model’s turn in 2018 which saw few changes again. Another generation jump on the Intel CPU, which this time doubled the core count from the 7th to 8th mobile CPU generation.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3

Other smaller changes included the introduction of a shutter over the camera, a HDR display option with Dolby Vision, and the black colouring a bit different – the chassis is glossier, and anything silver has gone black including the hinges and ThinkPad logo (it still looks silver in this photo sorry!)

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4

And finally, here we are in 2019 with the Gen 4 being released… and it’s a major jump. The biggest jump we’ve seen year to year so far. An all metal chassis, the laptop footprint has been drastically reduced (17% smaller footprint, 11% thinner), the colour is now ‘iron grey’ which I’m personally a fan of, and the screen to bezel distance is much smaller.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 4

There’s also a new connector for a different ethernet dongle, and support for a new style of dock that connects on the left hand side to the combo USB-C/ethernet slot. Of course it’s jumped a CPU generation again, up to Intel’s 8th.

The MicroSD slot has been dropped, probably as part of making the laptop smaller. If you really need that, then look at any of the previous generations.

One other interesting feature is a new privacy screen option called PrivacyGuard that can be toggled on and off, and stops people seeing the screen on an angle. The retractable key feature has gone again – there’s no rubber feet to protect the keys, but they might be minutely sunk in, I couldn’t tell with the naked eye.

The final note on this model is that it has a very similar CPU to the Gen 3, still an 8th Generation Intel CPU but a newer variant – Whiskey Lake rather than Kaby Lake.

Let’s have a look at the 4 generations stacked together, going bottom to top Gen 1, Gen 2, Gen 3 and Gen 4:

Front – X1 Yogas
Back – X1 Yogas
Left Side – X1 Yogas
Right Side – X1 Yogas

You can see that footprint difference in the photos above. The 4th Gen looks completely different to the rest.

Each of my individual reviews lists out the possible specs for each model if you want to dive a bit further into the technical differences;

Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 1
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 2
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 3
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Gen 4

The X1 Yoga will never be as small and light as the X1 Carbon, and never be as portable as the X1 Tablet, nor the powerhouse of the X1 Extreme – but it is all of these devices at once in it’s own way. It’s still my pick of the X1 series for it’s flexibility, but the other choices could also be better for your personal needs if you know how you’re going to use it.

Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller Review

Thanks to Lenovo, I’ve been given an interesting new gadget to review – the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller. It’s a compact sized wireless keyboard, designed for usage from a couch.

For a long time, I’ve used a computer plugged into the main loungeroom TV for a variety of things – watching TV shows and movies via local copies of content on Kodi, streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, as well as general web browsing.

The sticking point on doing all of this from a couch rather than a desk, is how to drive it all. I’ve tried a fairly vast array of devices:

  • A standard wireless keyboard and mouse, an ‘air mouse’ – too clunky and no nice flat surface to use the mouse on.
  • An ‘air mouse’ which is what happens when you breed a keyboard and Nintendo Wiimote together – inaccurate and slow to type on.
  • A dedicated remote control for ‘media’ content – too limiting in what you can do with it, no keyboard for typing.
  • Smartphone as keyboard/mouse – keyboard too slow to type on, mouse too tricky to use, always need smartphone around.
  • All in one keyboard and trackpad – the current winner for me (Logitech K400

The all in one keyboard and trackpad gives me what I want – a full keyboard experience so I can type fast, a multi-touch trackpad so I can move the cursor around fairly well, and use gestures like scrolling through pages. However, it’s still rather large, and doesn’t really like being dropped (the batteries generally go flying).

That’s why I was looking forward to trying Lenovo’s solution to this, and compare it to my currently winning solution.

The box turned up which looks simple enough, and shows what you’re getting :

Opening the box, all that’s inside beyond plastic and manuals are the keyboard itself, a tiny dongle, and a USB extension cable.

The keyboard itself looks and feels very well made. I was expecting something of average quality, but this feels premium. It has a reasonable amount of weight to it and the keys feel very solid – there is no cheap plastic to be found:

Getting the back cover off was a bit tricky – I needed to apply a lot more force than I was comfortable with, but that’s probably good for a device that’ll probably get thrown around and dropped. It takes two AAA batteries (included in the box in some countries) which will last up to 8 months – about normal for a wireless keyboard.

After clicking the back cover back on, I had one more look at the device. It has a decent amount of weight to it which helps with the premium feel, and a curved back sort of like an old iPhone 3GS, but a more emphasised curve – again, a really nice design that feels good to hold:

After plugging it in to my Intel NUC running Windows 10, the device was ready to use. When I first looked at the device (I decided to approach it with no research until after I’d finished playing), I assumed the bottom section was a trackpad. It turns out, the entire keyboard area is a trackpad! Everywhere from the top left Escape key, to the bottom right arrow key is one giant trackpad – despite the keys actually being individual buttons that press down. It even supports gestures, such as scrolling.

Quick demo of using the device as a trackpad

The bottom section are dedicated left and right click mouse buttons, with no touch abilities. The keyboard itself can be used to click also, just like a trackpad and using a tap motion rather than actually pressing down on it.

It’s also worth noting that the cursor sensitivity can be adjusted via the keyboard itself, with the Fn + F9 and Fn+F10 key combos – personally I upped the sensitivity a bit.

After using it for a while, here’s the pros and cons I formed about this device:

Pros:

  • High quality device – good materials, good weight, not flimsy in any way
  • Compact – it’s about the size of a large smartphone
  • Touchpad accuracy – fairly accurate with a very large surface to work with
  • Keyboard keys – they press down seperately and actually click. Typing can be done similar to the old full keyboard Nokias.
  • Battery – ~ 8 months means you won’t go flat easily, or have to remember about charging the device. It can be treated like any other standard remote control

Cons:

  • Small keys – no small device will let me type as fast as I can on a full sized keyboard, but this is probably the best to expect for a device this size
  • Touchpad sensitivity – because the keys are so close to the edge, I found my hands would accidently rest againt a key and affect my ability to move the cursor.

Overall, this is the best keyboard I’ve seen for couch usage for it’s size. The more important consideration is how you expect to use it; if you do a lot of typing and are used to typing fast, you’re going to need a full sized keyboard – no mini keyboard is going to be as good to use. However, for light typing and a trackpad experience, in a form factor that’s around smart-phone size, this ticks all the boxes.

Because the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller is a different style of device than what you’d be used to, there is a little adaptation required to put your hands in the right spot, get used to tapping the trackpad instead of clicking and use a small keyboard – but these to me were just minor adjustments I had to learn, rather than being too difficult to change what I do.

A note for Australians – at the time of writing, I can’t see anywhere to buy this locally, but for US residents the device costs around $40US.



Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1 Gen3 Review

Lenovo’s X1 Yoga for 2018 is now available, and I have my hands on one to review – which I’m using to write this article (Lenovo sometimes provide me with a laptop for review purposes, but that’s not the case for this particular one.)

Initially it looks and feels rather similar to the Gen 2 which I reviewed not that long ago. There are differences, but the jump from Gen 2 > 3 isn’t as big as Gen 1 > 2 was. I’d like to think that’s because they got things pretty right with the Gen2, and there wasn’t as much to change.

First, let’s check out the ‘Tech Specs’ – I’ll bold the options this particular laptop has in the table below.

Processor
  • 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-8250U Processor (6M Cache, 1.6 GHz, 3.4 GHz max)
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8350U Processor (6M Cache, 1.7 GHz, 3.6 GHz max), vPro™
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U Processor (8M Cache, 1.8 GHz, 4.0 GHz max)
  • 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8650U Processor (8M Cache, 1.9 GHz, 4.2 GHz max), vPro
Operating System
  • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit – Lenovo recommends Windows 10 Pro.
Display
  • 14″ FHD IPS (1920 x 1080), 270 nits, Touch
  • 14″ WQHD IPS (2560 x 1440), 270 nits, Touch
  • 14″ HDR WQHD IPS with Dolby Vision™ (2560 x 1440), 500 nits, 100% colour gamut, Touch
Graphics
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
Memory
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3, memory soldered to system board
  • 16GB (max) / 2133MHz LPDDR3, memory soldered to system board
Webcam
  • Standard: 720p HD camera with ThinkShutter
  • Optional: IR camera – required for Windows Hello and facial recognition, but it does not have ThinkShutter
  • Both with dual array microphone
Storage
  • M.2 SSD / PCIe NVMe OPAL2: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Optical drive
  • None
Dimensions (W x D x H)
  • 333 x 229 x 17.05 mm
Weight
  • Starting from 1.4 kg
Case colour
  • Black
  • Silver
Battery
  • 4-cell (57 Wh), integrated
Battery life1
  • Up to 15 hours
AC adaptor
  • 65W 3-pin USB-C, supports RapidCharge
Keyboard
  • ThinkPad backlit rise& fall keyboard
Fingerprint reader
  • Match on Chip (MoC) touch fingerprint reader
Audio support
  • Stereo with Dolby® Audio™ Premium
Ethernet
  • Via native ethernet dongle
Wireless LAN
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac + Bluetooth® 4.2*
Wireless WAN
  • Integrated global mobile broadband LTE-A (optional)
NFC
  • None
Ports
  • 2 x USB 3.0 (1 x AlwaysOn)
  • 2 x Thunderbolt (x4 Gen3)
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x 4-in-1 micro SD card reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC)
  • 1 x Combo audio/microphone jack
  • 1 x native ethernet

Let’s go through some of the areas of interest:

CPU – Although often there’s little difference between each generation of CPU, there’s actually a big difference this time. If you look at the Intel spec sheet, the core count has doubled from 2 to 4, along with the thread count of 4 to 8. The single core clock speed is lower, down from 2.60Ghz to 1.90Ghz, but the Max Turbo Frequency is the slightly higher at 3.60Ghz rather than the older 3.50Ghz.

What does this all mean? It depends, but overall it’s probably a lot better. Single threaded programs might be a bit slower, but these days if it’s single threaded it’s probably old and anything modern is more than fast enough for it. Multi-threaded programs will go substantially faster. Here’s a benchmark comparison with some figures to demonstrate that. Of course, multitasking with many different programs should be a faster experience too.

Display – I would have loved to have seen that high end display, but the base level one is more than enough still. HDR, Dolby Vision and other high end settings – I need to see this!

RAM – If you want this laptop to last you years, go the 16GB. 8GB is still plenty, but we’re getting closer to 16GB being the standard. For general use, you still probably won’t hit the 8GB limit (unless you have a lot of Chrome tabs open!).

Webcam – I like the new little shutter that’s built in. You see a red dot when it’s closed, and the switch to open it is very small and unobtrusive.

Storage – As always, pick what you think you’ll need. It’s nice and fast!

Weight – Nothing’s changed here, same weight within a few grams as the last few models. It’s not a feather, but it’s light enough.

Case Colour – Yes this one is black, but it’s a bit different. The entire shell is a slightly glossier black than the matte black the last few models have had. The hinges are now black too, which fits in a bit nicer with the black body. There’s also the new X1 logo on the lid and the Lenovo branding on the bottom left of the display – all of which I think looks good. It’s branding without being in your face.

Battery – Same as the last generation, a big 15 hour claim and 12 hours just from an hour charge. I haven’t sat down and tested this, and another review I found claimed a bit under 8 hours which is slightly under the average, but of course it depends on what you do.

Other notes:

The fingerprint reader is a little smaller now, but works the same. Still USB-C charging which is great, but we seem to have lost one of the USB 3 ports on the left hand side. The device supports Microsoft AutoPilot which is good for anyone who wants to set this up on their Azure/Office 365 tenant and send devices out without needing to actually do anything to them.

There’s the new ‘Cortana Premium’ which makes the device pick up voice commands better and from a distance or different angles. The stylus is the same too, which is still a mid-size rapid charging pen that does the job well.

Let’s have a look at all the angles of the X1 Yoga Gen3:

Keyboard and Trackpad

As with most ThinkPads, the keyboard and trackpad are high quality. There’s not any wacky key changes in this model, and it’s very similar to the Gen2.

Lid

It was really hard to get a decent picture of the lid due to the new material they’ve used! We’ve now got the new X1 logo in the bottom right, the black hinges at the bottom and the standard ThinkPad logo in the top left, with the dot on the ‘i’ to indicate power on or off.

Front

Back

Front and Back – nothing exciting here, you can see the hinges again with the fan vent and panel for SIM and SD card.

Base

Again nothing exciting on the base, fingerprints already after I’d wiped it and moved it about which is the price you pay for having a nice black surface. You can see the dual speakers along with the stylus on the bottom left.

Left Side – USB-C In, USB-C Out, USB3 Right Side – Stylus, Power, 3.5mm Audio Jack, Mini Ethernet, USB3, HDMI Out, Kensington Lock

Summary – A small upgrade from the last Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga Gen2, the Gen3’s better 4 core CPU is a reasonable selling point. The slight cosmetic changes are all nice, but there’s nothing too drastic that a Gen2 owner should consider upgrading to. However, it’s a big jump from the Gen1 which you can read my original review on too. I’ll do a seperate writeup comparing the three models soon, and it’s still my pick of the ThinkPad lineup that I can’t fault. I’m actually running a VM on it (Windows 10 VM on Windows 10!) to work from and it performs very well for those wondering if they can do the same. Feel free to ask any questions below!

Also here’s a video review from MobileTechReview:

Lenovo ThinkPad P51s Review

Thanks to Lenovo and their Lenovo Insiders program #LenovoIN,  I received a new Lenovo ThinkPad P51s.

I’ve previously reviewed the ThinkPad P50 (which has been superseeded by the ThinkPad P51) which is the big brother or sister to this device. Where the P51 is a top end workstation with multiple hard drive bays, 4 RAM slots and so on, the P51s drops a few of these extra features to be a bit more mobile, while still fitting in the workstation class.

Tech Specs

Here’s an overview of the possible technical specifications of the P51s, with the options I have on this model bolded. I’ll talk in more details about some of these below.

Processor

  • 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
Display

  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080), anti-glare, IPS, 250 nits, 700:1 contrast ratio
  • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080), anti-glare, IPS, 250 nits, 700:1 contrast ratio, with on-cell touch
  • 15.5″ UHD (3840 x 2160), anti-glare, IPS, 300 nits, 1300:1 contrast ratio
Graphics
  • Intel HD Graphics in processor and NVIDIA® Quadro® M520M, 2GB GDDR5 memory
Memory

  • Up to 32GB / DDR4 2400MHz1, dual-channel capable, 2 x SO-DIMM sockets ( 2 X 8gb16Gb)
Webcam
  • HD 720p
Storage
  • SSD / SATA 6Gb/s: 128GB
  • SSD / PCIe NVMe, 8Gb/s, OPAL 2: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
  • HDD / SATA, 6Gb/s, 2.5″, 7mm high: 500GB 7200RPM / 1TB 5400RPM
Dimensions (W x D x H)
  • 365.8 x 252.8 x 19.95 – 20.22 mm
Weight
  • Discrete non-touch:
    • With 4 + 3-cell: starting at 1.99 kg
    • With 4 + 6-cell: starting at 2.18 kg
  • Discrete multi-touch:
    • With 4 + 3-cell: starting at 2.01 kg
    • With 4 + 6-cell: starting at 2.20 kg
Internal battery
  • Integrated 4-cell (32 Wh)
External battery
  • 3-cell (24 Wh) or 6-cell (72 Wh)
Battery life
  • 4 + 3-cell: up to 13.5 hours
  • 4 + 6-cell (72 Wh): up to 26.4 hours
AC adaptor
  • 65W
Keyboard
  • 6-row, spill-resistant, multimedia Fn keys, numeric keypad, optional backlight
Fingerprint reader
  • Swipe style fingerprint reader on the palm rest (optional)
Audio support
  • HD Audio, Realtek® ALC3268 codec / stereo speakers, 2W x 2 / dual array microphone, combo audio/microphone jack
Ethernet
  • Intel Ethernet connection
Wireless LAN

  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, 2×2, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth® 4.14, M.2 Card
  • Intel Tri-Band Wireless-AC 18265, 2×2, WiGigTM + Wi-Fi + Bluetooth® 4.14, M.2 Card (configurable from model with UHD display only)
 Ports
  • 3 x USB 3.0 (1 x AlwaysOn)
  • 1 x USB-C/Thunderbolt
  • HDMI
  • Ethernet (RJ45)
  • Combo audio/mic
  • CS13 Docking
  • Media card reader (SD 3.0 UHS-I)
  • Smart Card Reader (optional)

Processor: It’s always nice to have the fastest. This has Intel 7th gen CPU options, which now are 1 behind the latest, but usually between single generations there’s not that much of a difference.

Display: Would have been nice to have touch screen, but I’m still happy with a 1080p res. Above that, and Windows 10 scaling + remote desktopping doesn’t usually make for a good experience. It seems like a higher quality display than what’s on my P50, something a bit more crisp about it.

Graphics: Having a dedicated graphics card is always a bonus on a laptop, and the 2GB NVIDIA Quadro M520M is about the same as a GeForce 940MX if you’re looking up benchmarks. This should give you high level gaming at 720p, or decent level gaming at 1080p.

Lenovo ThinkPad P51s Display

Memory: It doesn’t have 4 slots like it’s P51 sibling, but can still take two 16GB sticks. This one has two 8GB sticks which is plenty, but if I wanted to run lots and lots of VMs or a few beefy ones, I might upgrade that amount.

Battery: This took me a little bit to realise. There’s both an internal battery, and an external battery. I first connected the battery that came with it and noticed it was only 3 cell. I thought that wasn’t too big, but then found it also had a 4 cell battery inside. If you remove the external battery and the power plug, the laptop keeps going. 13.5 hours is a pretty good claim, and makes sense with that much battery power. It starts getting crazy with a 26.4 hour claim when using a 6 cell battery plus the internal 4 cell, and a good option if you really need your laptop to stay awake longer than you will.

Ports: Let’s look at each side of the laptop –

 

Left side – Rectangle charger plug, USB3, USB-C, Smartcard slot (filled in on this one)

Back – Nothing to see here, battery and hinges

Right side – 3.5mm headphone port, 2x USB3, full HDMI, full Ethernet

Another point I noticed about this laptop is that it came with a USB-C power cable, but still had provision for the older rectangle power cord. Handy if you have those from the last few years of ThinkPads as either port will charge the laptop.

Keyboard: Most people are fans of the ThinkPad style of keyboards, and this one even has a number pad. Nothing too different or tricky here – I liked the feel of both the keys and the trackpad on this model, and there’s no buttons that felt out of place for me (good to see Caps Lock where it should be!)

Lenovo ThinkPad P51s Keyboard

Other observations: The circular power button felt slightly off center, as in the left side of the button dipped in further than the right side. Not something that will make any difference, and isn’t visible unless you look really closely, but still worth mentioning to anyone that will notice non-perfect things like me :)

At around 2KG the laptop isn’t light, but it’s much lighter than the P50 on my desk. It feels solidly built, the hinge style seems strong and there’s very little screen wobble. The fingerprint reader is also nice for Windows Hello, but this unit actually came with Infa red cameras too – meaning I can use my face to log in. You visibly see something flashing when it tries to read your face (at a guess they’ve got some sort of film over the lenses to show that, since IR is invisible to our eyes normally.

Beyond that, I’m very happy with this laptop. There’s no frills to it’s appearance, so it’s square and black like most ThinkPads, but it’s enjoyable to use with a screen that has a decent bezel.

The laptop is also pretty much a ThinkPad T570 with a Quadro graphics card in it, so if you’d rather the consumer Geforce option, check that out too. If you’re looking at videos on how to take this laptop apart, the T570 is identical.

Lenovo ThinkPad P51s vs P51 or P71: If you’re wondering which to get, the main decision is purely tech specs based. The P51s can take 2 RAM sticks, for a max 32GB RAM. The P51 however has 4 slots, which doubles the max to 64GB.

It’s similar with the hard drives – a single drive in the P51s, versus the P51 that can hold either; a combo of two M.2 drives and one 2.5″ drive, or two 2.5″ drives. The third spec factor is the dedicated graphics card which in the P51 has 4GB RAM rather than the P51s’ 2GB. The M2200 is also a higher end card than the M520, and worth looking up comparisons on performance.

Finally the CPU, although the P51s can take a high end i7, it’s still not the Xeon you can get in the P51. Deciding what you want and need in specs, or leaving your options for upgrading in the future. If you don’t need the high end options, the P51s is a great choice which comes in a much thinner form factor, and a bit less weight.

All the above applies to the P71 too, just with a larger 17.3″ screen.

Feel free to ask any questions below about the laptop, and I’ll leave a banner here that should update on any Lenovo Australia deals currently on offer:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 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!

Here’s a video review of the laptop from MobileTechReview: