Before we actually review the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018), let’s talk a bit about this third generation device in relation to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which is now in its 6th generation.
Back in the days when convertible laptops first became a reality, you had to sacrifice a lot of performance and features to be able to use your device as both a laptop and a tablet.
Thankfully, all that has changed, and today, you don’t really need to sacrifice all the cool stuff in favor of a convertible.
While the Yoga and the Carbon are basically sister devices, there are some subtle differences between the two that we’ll discuss as we go along to help you choose between the two.
To start with, there is a lot to like about in this 3rd generation Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018), which is a premium business Ultrabook and a convertible one at that. And what’s more, it comes with a pen.
Like with almost all things Lenovo, you get a lot of different options in so far as the Yoga’s display goes, including full HD, WQHD, and now you can also get the Dolby HDR version, just like you can on the Carbon, which can go up to 500 nits of brightness and the color accuracy is just fabulous.
Also, like the Carbon, this third-gen Yoga gives you a hundred percent SRGB and a hundred percent Adobe RGB, which has never been seen before on a laptop.
It’s certainly great news for people who work in videos or do a lot of photo editing, as well as for those who are just looking for a device that works great for movies.
However, unlike the Carbon, the display on the Yoga is a little bit less glossy and hence there is less of the irritating reflection and while the Carbon does give you both convertible and non-convertible options, the Yoga only comes in convertible versions.
Another difference between the Carbon and the Yoga is the display bezel which is conspicuously larger, and understandably so, as this is meant to serve as a tablet too.
Also, the inclusion of a webcam privacy switch on top of the display allows you the option of shutting the webcam and the microphone, should you so desire – certainly a great feature to have, especially for the privacy-minded user.
Looking at the 3rd generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s deck you’ll see what appears to be a standard Lenovo keyboard but the one on this is what you call a wave keyboard, which we’ll talk about later on when we discuss the tablet mode.
However, as far as the overall layout of the keyboard is concerned, it’s more or less the same as the Carbon, with keys that are slightly softer, which is neither good nor bad, really, and the response time is great. You can light type on the Yoga’s keyboard just as well as you can on the Carbon.
The trackpad on the third-gen Yoga is slightly larger compared to the Carbon and that’s simply because of the Yoga’s wider footprint, and you also have the buttons for the trackpoint system. In short, it’s a superb precision trackpad with a nice soft click to it.
The standard fingerprint reader continues to find a place on the Yoga but, certainly, Lenovo could do a better job with it. Basically, the reader is a pain to use as it’s slow to read. Honestly, your smartphone fingerprint reader is way better than this.
The ThinkPad logo on this third-gen Yoga’s deck is somewhat different from the previous generation Yoga, in that it’s a nice black this time around, with a little LED in place of the dot on the “I” of the of the logo word “ThinkPad,” which lights up when the laptop is on.
Overall, it’s a pretty neat design.
A new logo on the back of the device also looks excellent on both the available color options– the deep black and the silver.
While color is purely a matter of personal choice, it must be mentioned that the black Yoga is like a fingerprint magnet, highly prone to attracting a lot of fingerprints and grease which will require frequent wiping down.
On the left-hand side of the device you have your two USB Type C ports; again, Thunderbolt 3, full 4 PCI e-lanes, which actually means you can use an external GPU with this. It’s certainly exciting news for gamers.
Moving over to the right-hand side of the device, you still have the full HDMI jack but you don’t get the full port replicator that’s found on the Carbon – another difference between the 3rd and 6th generation ThinkPads.
You have another standard USB 2.1 port here, in addition to a little Ethernet port that is not an Ethernet 1, probably because there is a dongle that Lenovo wants to sell you.
Plus, on this side, you have the 3.5 mm headphone jack and the power connector next to it because don’t forget, this is also a tablet and Lenovo has made sure that the power button is always accessible.
What makes the Yoga somewhat unique is the inclusion of a pen that pulls right out of the chassis from a slot on the right-hand side as well. It’s a really cool option for those who don’t use a pen but want to have one on occasion.
The pen is charged while it remains garaged in the slot, and the fact that just 15 seconds is good enough to give it a battery life of 100 minutes, means that it can practically never be out of charge.
There’ not much change on the bottom of the device, with the regular intake vents as well as a bunch of screws for removing the panel should the need arise.
You also have your speakers on the bottom which is a better speaker system than the Carbon and this is one of the big differences between the two ThinkPads.
As far as the features and specifications go, like all things Lenovo, you have your configuration choice of the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor and, of course, you can go up to Core i7 and just like the Carbon you’ll get the two options there- the 8550U which is pretty standard and the 8650U which is the more powerful of the two.
The ThinkPad Yoga comes in two RAM configurations – the 8GB and the 16 GB options. Of course, the DDR4 would have been an awesome option to have but the fact that it drains the battery life that much quicker does not make it a worthwhile option – at least not yet.
The 8265 chip inside is a very good wireless option for both WiFi and Bluetooth. However, Lenovo will soon be offering an LTE advanced option with a modem built into the Yoga.
Coming to storage, the options available are 256GB, 512 GB and 1TB of storage.
Now, let’s talk about the banner feature of the Yoga – the 360-degree hinge that turns the keyboard right around to give you the tablet mode. The wave keyboard feature we spoke about earlier on allows the keys to retract into its body in this mode, becoming flush with deck while the button becomes non-responsive to touch.
And, of course, you have that pen, which is a Wacom AES and pretty small and handy for highlighting stuff on a document, or even signing one; however, it’s not something you’d like to use long term if, for example, you are an artist, in which case you might want to buy Lenovo’s bigger pen to carry around or use the Wacom Bamboo ink pen that’s available now as well.
Overall, the Yoga boasts several benefits over the Carbon, like, for instance, the display is more anti-glare and it’s also touch and you can’t get the HDR and the touch version, for some reason, on the Carbon.
Plus, the pen, conveniently built into the side of the device, is an excellent option to have mainly because its inclusion is not compromising anything.
And, of course, the slightly larger trackpad affords more room for your wrists making it a more comfortable experience than the Carbon.
The Yoga, however, is a little heavier, has the bigger form factor and is slightly more expensive, starting at around $1,500 for the Core i5 and 256 storage and an additional $180 for the HDR display version.
The Yoga does, however, give you much more in terms of longevity.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018) Specifications
- 1920 x 1080 or 2560 x 1440
- Anti-reflective, anti-smudge
- Dolby Vision HDR (optional
- Yes (built-in)
- Wacom AES (2,048 levels, no tilt)
Processor: Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8650U with vPro
Graphics: Intel UHD 620
RAM: 8GB or 16GB DDR3 2133MHZ
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe-NVME SSD OPAL2.0
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (one Always On)
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C / Intel Thunderbolt 3 (Power Delivery, DisplayPort, Data transfer)
- 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader
- Ethernet Extension Connector
Connectivity: Intel Dual-Band Wireless AC (2 x 2) 8265 + Bluetooth 4.1
- Dolby Audio Premium
- Dual speakers (bottom edge)
- Noise-canceling dual-array mic
Battery: 54Wh, up to 15.4-hour battery life
Dimensions: 333 mm x 229 mm x 17.05 mm / 13.11″ x 9.01″ x 0.67″
Weight: 3.08 lbs (1.4 kg)
Colors: Black or silver
Pricing: Starts $1,480