Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 (2017) Review: Nearly Perfect With OLED

Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 With OLED - Superlative Ultrabook

One could argue that the two primary features of a modern laptop, that can most prominently define the user experience, would be its display and keyboard. After all, these two aspects make up the majority of a notebook PC's human-computer interface. If that's the case, then Lenovo's latest ThinkPad X1 Yoga (Gen 2) with OLED display has a rather unfair advantage. As we've noted in the past, Lenovo has some of the best laptop keyboards in the business, at least in terms of usability and feel. And when you couple a 14-inch OLED (Organic LED) display with one of the best laptop keyboard designs on the market, you're definitely starting with a winning combination.

Of course, the keyboard and display are only part of the equation and the rest of the build is what Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 OLED refresh is really all about. This marks only the second coming of the ThinkPad X1 Yoga, actually, and the first generation was well-received about this time last year. Though this new machine was released just prior to Intel's 8th Gen Kaby Lake refresh, it is now powered by an Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake processor and sports some other solid upgrades in materials and features. 

Lenovo X1 Yoga OLED Gen2

The material and design updates that were made to the new Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 2 are subtle but really clean the machine up nicely versus the previous generation. Let's take you on a quick guided video tour and then we'll dig into the particulars. 

The ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 review unit we have in for testing is built around an Intel Core i7-7600U dual-core Kaby Lake chip that turbos up to a snappy 3.9GHz. Couple that with 16GB of DDR3 memory and a 512GB NVMe Solid State Drive and you're looking at a config that can get the job done for a multitude of professional and consumer workloads. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2
Specifications & Features
Processor Options 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7600U (4M Cache, 2.8GHz to 3.9GHz)
14-inch WQHD (2560x1440) OLED Touchscreen, Glossy
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 620
16GB LPDDR3 SDRAM 1866MHz (Soldered to mainboard)
512GB M.2 NVMe OPAL 2.0 PCIe Solid State Drive
Audio HD Audio, Conexant CX11771 CODEC, Stereo Speakers 2W x 2
Ethernet Gigabit Ethernet via Mini RJ45 Dongle (Included)
Wireless Connectivity
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC (2x2) 8265, Bluetooth Version 4.1
Interface (Left)
2x Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, USB 3.0 w/ Always On 
Interface (Right)
ThinkPad Pen Pro, Power Button w/ Status LED, 3.5mm Headset Jack,Mini RJ45 (Dongle Inc.), USB 3.0, HDMI, Kensington Lock Port
Interface (Back) MicroSD slot, SIM card slot
720p HD Fixed Focus Camera with 2W Dual Array Microphone
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Battery 56Whr (Up to 11 Hours)
Dimensions 0.69 (H) x 13.11 (W) x 9.02 (D) inches
2.99 pounds
Manufacturer Warranty
3-year, Depot
Pricing Starting At $1682, $2429 As Configured and Tested

If you're really looking to A/B the previous generation ThinkPad X1 Yoga versus the Gen 2 system, beyond the chassis design changes we'll get to shortly, there are some notable specification updates. In addition to the faster Kaby Lake Core i7 CPU, the new model now sports an NVMe SSD that's significantly faster than the Gen 1 systems SATA drive. Also, in exchange for just a touch more weight -- 2.99 lbs versus the previous gen 2.8 pound machine -- we now have a 56 Whr battery at our disposal versus the 52 Whr power plant in the first gen system. And as you'll see in our testing on the pages ahead, it makes a difference.

Lenovo X1 Yoga OLED Gen2 with Power Brick
The other notable update is Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, two ports in total, and even the power adapter now has been updated with a USB-C connector type interface for charging over one of those ports. However, perhaps the most visible difference is when you compare the two keyboard areas side-by-side.

ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen1 and Gen2 Side By Side
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Gen 1 (Left) - ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Gen 2 (Right)

The new ThinkPad Yoga X1 Gen 2 (on the right) now employs as slightly more flat matte finish on the machine. The good news is, that carbon fiber-polymeric hybrid on the top and magnesium-poly hybrid on the bottom, now resist fingerprints much better than the previous gen X1 Yoga. The three button TrackPad has also been updated with a slightly lower profile and smoother lines. In addition, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 now incorporates what Lenovo calls a new "Wave" style keyboard with a new rise and fall mechanism, that pulls the keycaps down into the typing deck when inverting the X1 Yoga’s display into a wider than 180 degree Yoga mode. The previous gen machine's "Lift And Lock" mechanism required a keyboard plate to lift up and lock the keys into place. The bottom line is this simpler mechanic improves durability and offers a cleaner aesthetic for the machine around the keyboard area with no protruding parts, once locked into place, and a contiguous typing deck design made of Lenovo's classic hybrid Carbon Fiber construction. 

Let's drop down for a closer look at the design of the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2 With OLED...

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