Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: The ultimate business Yoga

Lenovo refines its ThinkPad Yoga for 2016, and the result is a powerful hybrid that’s fit for any office

5
Price when reviewed 
1,939
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Page 1 of 2 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: The ultimate business Yoga

Lenovo knows a thing or two about building great business laptops, and the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is no exception. Fusing Intel’s Skylake processors with a 14in WQHD display, this business hybrid is designed to flit between laptop and tablet modes with ease – and with a dash of style to boot.

Not that the ThinkPad X1 Yoga draws attention to itself. Entirely encased in sheets of matte black carbon fibre, bar the small pinprick of red afloat in the centre of the keyboard – yes, there’s still a TrackPoint, this is a ThinkPad after all – the X1 Yoga is relentlessly monochromatic.

There’s still something lovely about it, though, something reassuringly utilitarian in its simplicity. And crucially for a 14in laptop, it’s actually pretty thin and light. Weighing 1.27kg and measuring a slender 16.8mm thick, it's lighter than many 13.3in laptops. (I’ll keep quiet about Dell’s 1.13kg Latitude 13 7370, though.)  

Oh, and did I mention it’s MIL-SPEC rated for toughness? The combination of carbon fibre and a metal skeleton make for a business laptop that’s ready to handle whatever punishment you can dish out.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: Design

By far the X1 Yoga’s greatest talent, however, is that its hybrid trickery doesn’t come at the expense of usability. Where the HP Elite X2 and Microsoft Surface Pro 4 push the tablet into the limelight, Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a much easier sell for many people. It’s a great laptop that just happens to turn into a king-sized tablet. Yes, at 1.27kg, it’s heavy by tablet standards, but even here it has several advantages over some of its peers, not least that the stylus docks invisibly into the X1 Yoga’s right-hand side.

In truth, it’s pretty hard to find anything to moan about. The backlit keyboard offers the usual ThinkPad quality and, as the X1 Yoga has a 14in chassis, it’s every bit as spacious and comfortable to type on as a desktop keyboard. Personally, I’d still rather have a touchpad with discrete buttons, but Lenovo’s buttonless touchpad is reliable enough, and you can always resort to the touchpoint if you prefer.

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga is more than just a superb laptop, though. Tilt the screen back and the solid-feeling yet super-flexible hinge allows you to fold it through 360 degrees and use it in stand, tent or tablet modes. In tablet mode, the X1 Yoga is in its element. Pull the small stylus out of the right-hand edge, and the matte finish across the display gives a lovely feel to everything from writing to sketching or annotating documents. It’s probably the most responsive tablet I’ve ever used – and that includes the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 – with the Wacom active digitiser and pen technology providing a perfect blend of sensitivity and accuracy. It’s seriously impressive.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: Display

The most unusual twist in the X1 Yoga’s specifications is perhaps the one you’d least expect in a business laptop: that 14in touchscreen also comes in an optional OLED version. Our review unit only had the standard IPS touchscreen, but if the OLED panel is up to these standards, it’s fair to say it’ll be very, very good. The 2,560 x 1,440 panel is so crisp and vivid that I briefly wondered if I was looking at a fake laptop. Desktop icons are suspended on an inky blackness and colours look gorgeously vibrant. For a while, I wondered if I actually had the OLED model in front of me.

Run through the numbers and there’s equally little to complain about. The panel covers 96.9% of the sRGB colour space, hits a maximum brightness of 296cd/m2 and has a solid, if not class-leading, contrast ratio of 916:1. The clincher here, however, is colour accuracy; not only has Lenovo ensured that the X1 Yoga reproduces almost all the colours you could want, it also serves up the right colours at the right time. An average Delta E of 1.37 is good by any standards, and the maximum deviation of 3.55 isn’t bad at all. The only shortfall is the panel’s inability to delve down into the most intense blues, which is barely noticeable. Here is a business laptop that's equally at home with colour-critical applications, which is something of a rarity.

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Page 1 of 2 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga review: The ultimate business Yoga

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