Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga Look, Feel And Build Quality
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga refuses to yield to a growing market of silvery-Macbook lookalikes. At first glance, there really isn't anything to distinguish this notebook from other ThinkPads of the past. It is proud of its heritage, and rightly so. The ThinkPad look is nearly synonymous with the image of a workhorse business laptop. Everything about the X1 Yoga reinforces the aesthetic from its matte black casing to the iconic red "eraser" pointer in the center of the keyboard.
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga's nearly blank slate of carbon-fiber on its lid is only interrupted in one corner by a bright, brushed ThinkPad logo with a cleverly integrated power status LED and in the opposite corner by a nearly invisible Lenovo marking. Lenovo maintains this trend of highlighting the product line, "ThinkPad," over their own brand name as an interesting departure from other manufacturers who typically provide their company name or logo front and center.
Quickly turning over the laptop we find a little more going on, but still the message is to stick to the necessities. Standing out is a Windows 10 Pro sticker, along with an asset tag barcode and barely visible regulatory information. We find two circular rubberized feet near the front which are flanked by bottom facing stereo speakers. In one of these corners we can see where the integrated stylus can be extracted. Near the hinges are two bar shaped rubberized feet and a collection of vents for cooling. The only other demarcations are nine small phillips screws to provide access to the interior.
Along the left side is an almost-standard array of ports. There is a power jack, mini-DisplayPort, USB 3.0 SuperSpeed with always power on port, and a OneLink+ dock port. We would rather see a Thunderbolt 3.0 Type-C port in place of the OneLink+ port due to its higher throughput (40Gbps vs 33Gbps, respectively) and increasing ubiquity, but we understand Lenovo opted to maintain compatibility with their existing products. Perhaps in the future they will elect to include both options.
The right side is significantly busier. Moving from the front towards the hinge, we find the integrated ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus charging port and ThinkPad Pen Pro itself, power button with status LED, volume adjustment keys, 4-pin headset jack, two USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ports, HDMI port, and Kensington lock point. The ThinkPad Pen Pro itself is powered by WACOM and features Active Capacitive technology, 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, and integrated left and right-click buttons. Per Lenovo, 15 seconds of charging will allow the ThinkPad Pen Pro to operate for 100-minutes, and it can fully charge in 5 minutes, for up to 19 hours of use. We will get into the user experience with this in the pages ahead.
The front edge of the laptop is essentially featureless. The rear edge, however, features rear exhaust as well as MicroSD and SIM card slots which are hidden behind a semi-removable cover. The light grey hinges frame the exhaust and card slots on either side, providing the only real disruption to the black casing area.
Now, let's crack the lid open. Notably this is not a "one-finger" hinge, but it does not provide significant resistance either. Its dual hinge mechanism swings smoothly through its full 360 degree range, with a slight bounce-back of about a quarter to half an inch from wherever it is released to where it ultimately rests. It resists movement when the ultrabook is shaken or moved about, but does have a little give when trying to use the stylus on it. That's not much of a problem though as the stylus will primarily be used while the laptop is in tablet or tent mode.
Mirroring the exterior, the interior is equally unassuming and classic ThinkPad. We can gripe about their decision to place Fn in the lower left corner in place of Ctrl but that is ultimately a personal critique. The keyboard itself is generously spaced, so those with large hands will find no complaint. There are mouse buttons paired with the TrackPoint pointing device, including a scroll button, but the trackpad itself is a single glass surface. When the display is folded back beyond 180 degrees, the frame around the keys actually raises up flush with the tops of the keys and locks them in place to prevent accidental keypresses while using it as a tablet. The trackpad and TrackPoint device are disabled as well at this position, but the fingerprint reader does conveniently remain active.
The interior casing is comprised of what Lenovo has dubbed "Super Mag" materials, which means it is a magnesium alloy composite which adds to the laptop's strength without introducing undue weight. The material feels more akin to a plastic than metal, affording some comfort though not to the extent a carbon-fiber interior might. The composite also resists fingerprints and other wear exceptionally well.
Moving up to the display, our model features the higher resolution 2560x1400 IGZO IPS Touch panel option. Colors are warm but otherwise well represented on this display. However, its 300 nit rating leaves the display feeling dim and colors get washed out quickly at lower brightness settings. That said, a 1440p display is very well suited to the 14" display size to keep onscreen elements sharp without encountering the display scaling issues present within Windows currently that can occur at higher resolutions. Bezels on the display are by no means the smallest we've seen but are subdued. The bezels also provide a place to hold the unit while in tablet mode. Finally, the Windows logo beneath the screen is capacitive and serves as a Start button when using touch interaction.