Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 3: Performance Summary And Final Analysis
Of course these are standard features across the X1 Yoga series, so lets dive deeper into what makes Gen 3 tick; namely Kaby Lake R. Employing Intel's latest 8th Gen architecture, Lenovo was able to pack a stout 4-core/8-threaded processor with 6MB SmartCache into a 3lb ultrabook and those additional cores shined through in our testing. In some benchmarks, we saw an improvement in performance that was upward of 30% over the previous gen machine's Intel Core i7-7600U dual-core processor. In addition, the new X1 Carbon's included Samsung NVMe SSD was extremely snappy, in both real world and synthetic testing. At higher queue depths, it blew away the similarly configured Dell Latitude 7390 2-in-1, in both read and write performance. With a quad-core processor and a fast SSD this machine really packs a punch in the performance department. Not bad for an ultrabook config that costs well under $2K. That said, to paraphrase Notorious B.I.G though "mo cores, mo problems." While 2 additional cores did increase the performance over last gen's outing, in our testing we found the thermal solution used in the X1 Yoga wasn't fully up to the challenge in spots. During our testing the processors core temperature would routinely scale higher, causing the clock speeds to throttle. To be fair, this didn't happen in all of our testing however. In fact, gaming performance was right where it should be and when under a standard load the processor hummed right along at 3.4GHz without issue. It was just when putting the processor under a sustained, heavy load that we saw throttling. Benchmarks don't always represent real world usage, so most users should be okay, but if you're using this product for 3D rendering, or large format video editing your X1 Yoga could be feeling more like the X1 Hot Yoga.
One aspect where a 2-in-1 should really standout is the display and the X1 Yoga didn't disappoint in this regard. The included FHD 1080p display had excellent color reproduction and brightness seemed better than the previous gen machine. In addition, the ThinkPad Pen Pro makes this machine a good option for digital artists. Of course, if you're looking for even better image fidelity, Lenovo offers an HDR display option with the X1 Yoga, as the do in the new X1 Carbon for an additional premium, that is truly a fantastic panel.
As for the improve microphones, we were impressed with just how far away we could be from the X1 Yoga and still bark orders at Cortana. From the other room we were able to set reminders, open documents and play music. When Amazon Alexa becomes available you'll also have the ability to order products and groceries with simple voice commands.
At $1673 the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is by no means an inexpensive 2-in-1 ultrabook, but it delivers in terms of flexibility, horsepower, build quality and security. If you're in the market for a new ultrabook, the Lenovo X1 Yoga (Gen 3) should probably be on your short list.