Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga 3rd Gen Review (2018): Full-Featured Convertible

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3: Improved Power and Security

We have covered Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga series since its inception, and while the company might only be on its 3rd generation machine, what's under its hood is what might be thought of as four generations of advancement since then. Of course we are speaking of the 8th Gen Intel Core-i5 8250U quad-core mobile processor on board the new Thinkpad X1 Yoga. What makes this chip different from its predecessor, is it has 4 psychical cores now and supports Hyper-Threading, all within the same 15W power envelope. At just 15W the Core i5-8250U doesn't require hefty thermal solution and large chassis to prevent a full on meltdown  so, Lenovo was able to pack an impressive 8 thread chip into their latest Yoga series without having to drastically increase the size of its clam-shell and cooling solution.
Lenova X1 Gen3 Yoga Mode
The processor isn't the only thing that's changed though, as Lenovo is also flexing their security muscle with some new features. With their latest iteration, Lenovo has incorporated an updated finger print reader and added a new ThinkShutter feature on its webcam. The ThinkShutter feature allows the camera to be covered by a shutter with the simple flip of a switch. With an adjustable shutter to cover the camera, you won't need to pull a full on Mark Zuckerberg and get out the electrical tape for privacy. Lenovo has you covered (literally). As for the improved finger print reader, the machine now features an advanced Match-in-Sensor. This is a much more secure method of analyzing fingerprint data than the previous Match-on-Host implementations, making it harder to forge a fingerprint.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is one product that lives up it's name. In the image above, you can see it doing the downward facing dog (aka Tent Mode), but it's capable of so much more. Let's take a look at the specs and then we'll see just how flexible this machine really is...

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3
Specifications & Features
Processor Options 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U (1.6GHz up to 3.40GHz, 6MB cache)
Display
14" FHD (1920x1080)
Graphics Intel UHD 620
Memory
8GB LPDDR3-1866MHz
Storage
512GB NVMe SSD (Samsung MZVLB512HAJQ)
Audio 2 x 1 Watt Speakers, Dolby Audio Premium
Ethernet None
Wireless Connectivity
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 + Bluetooth 4.2
Interface (Left)
2x Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0 Type A
Interface (Right)
ThinkPad Pen Pro, Power Button w/ Status LED, 3.5mm Jack, USB 3, HDMI
Interface (Back) MicroSD slot, SIM card slot
Webcam
HD720p camera with ThinkShutter camera privacy, fixed focus
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Battery 54Wh battery, supports Rapid Charge
Dimensions 13.11" x 9.02" x 0.67"
Weight
3.08 pounds
Manufacturer Warranty
1-year depot or carry-in
Pricing Starting At $1484, $1673 As Configured And Tested

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3 uses Lenovo's dual-hinge mechanism, allowing the the system to bend a full 360-degrees. In the video below you can see just how easy it is to switch from position to position. In just seconds, you can go from having a laptop on your desk to a tablet in your hands. Also, as you're switching between the modes the keyboard and touchpad automatically disable at 190-degrees. From here Windows Tablet Mode kicks in, making for a seamless transition between the different use cases.

As for the actual enclosure, not much has changed from last years model. It still features a carbon fiber-polymeric hybrid material, along with a fingerprint reducing flat matte black finish. At 3.08 lbs the overall weight and size have not changed drastically either. So instead of a simple face lift, what you get is a refresh that's intended to deliver more bang for the buck, employing Intel's Kaby Lake R processors, while keeping the same feel and flexibility as it's predecessor.

Internally, the Lenovo X1 Yoga sports a quad-core Core i5-8250U processor with a base clock of 1.8GHz and a Turbo Boost clock of 3.4GHz. That's impressive considering last years model had a max Turbo Boost of 3.9GHz, but only half the cores. With the extra processing power you can expect a sizable increase in performance, which in some cases can be up to thirty five percent (more on that in our benchmark data). In addition, the model we were sent sports 8GB of LPDDR3 memory and a 512GB NVMe SSD. Unfortunately, like last years model the memory is soldered directly to the motherboard, so this machine's memory isn't upgradeable, which is fairly commonplace these days for this class of laptop. In short, choose your configs wisely.  

As configured for our review here, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3 will set you back $1673 USD, and like many 2-in-1 ultrabooks this flexibility comes at a premium, though perhaps not as steep as some. Regardless, lets see what that price tag buys you on the pages ahead...

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