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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (2018) hands-on review

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LAS VEGAS: LENOVO REFRESHED its ThinkPad series with the latest X1 range at CES this week, including the standard Carbon as well as a tablet version and a refreshed Yoga 2-in-1 device.

Not surprisingly, the most interesting out of the bunch is the latter, the X1 Yoga, which takes the innovations of the X1 Carbon and places them in a convertible form, boasting access to Intel’s latest 8th-generation Core processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage under the hood.

We got a closer look at the ThinkPad X1 Yoga at Lenovo’s Booth at CES to see just how the aforementioned features stand up in reality.

Design
What has always made Lenovo’s Yoga devices stand out from many other laptops on the market is its 360-degree hinge. This flexibility makes it superior to many other notebook devices out there, as the Yoga’s simple design enables it to be used in a number of positions. This is now an available feature in the ThinkPad range, thanks to the X1 Yoga.

By rotating the display back from ‘notebook mode’, it can be bent into either ‘tent mode’, for example, which allows the Yoga to stand on its two halves so it can be watched on uneven surfaces, ‘stand mode’, which enables the screen to be viewed while being supported by the keyboard, or ‘tablet mode’, where the bottom of the keyboard and lid meet so it can be used as a tablet.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga builds on this successful design and like previous models works perfectly well, slipping easily between modes quickly and easily.

Measuring 15.3mm thick, the X1 Yoga is slightly thinner than its 2nd-gen predecessor, but still isn’t in the same league as some of its rivals in the consumer space, such as the Acer Swift 7 which measures in at a mere 8.98mm thick.

Build quality is also a strong point for the X1 Yoga, which is essential owing to its flexibility. Both the keyboard and the screen feel robust and sturdy despite the X1 Yoga’s slim, lightweight construction.

Twisting the display in opposite directions at both sides gave us no cause for concern, as it felt sturdy and maintained considerable resistance. Oh, and there’s also a ThinkShutter Camera Privacy physical webcam cover for those of you that have seen one too many episodes of Black Mirror and are a bit paranoid about being watched.

Keyboard
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga’s Qwerty keyboard is nothing to write home again. As a ThinkPad device, it’s got your red dot mouse button that you’ll probably never use as well as a good travel that means it feels great to type on, although we’d have to try it out properly by constructing long documents or spreadsheets.

Display
The X1 Yoga features a 14in WQHD-resolution display with a 2,560×1,440 pixel resolution as well as 100 percent Adobe RGB colour gamut and brightness up to 500 nits. The most interesting thing about the display though is that it will, pending a future update, support Dolby Vision HDR for greater brightness, contrast and colour palette. This, Lenovo has promised, will make the screen look more vibrant and dynamic with deeper blacks and colour range.

Nevertheless, all images, whether movie clips, photographs or web pages, look brilliantly clear, sharp and vibrant on the display as it is. Pixels aren’t visible and viewing angles are good thanks to integrated IPS display tech. Moving images appear sharp and, on first tests, the touchscreen commands seem very fluid. We enjoyed using the touchscreen to skip between tabs and apps, for example.

Performance
The X1 Yoga is powered by Intel’s latest and greatest 8th-generation Core processor, meaning it will run for up to around 15 hours between charges, which is a significant upgrade over its predecessor.

Paired with the new Intel chip is up to 16GB of memory, a 1TB of PCI Express solid-state storage, and Intel UHD 620 graphics.

In our hands-on test, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga seemed very responsive to commands, probably due to its Intel Core i7 processor, and we found that the device offered an all-round fluid experience. But unfortunately, we didn’t have long enough to test its full performance capabilities during our brief hands-on time.

One of the most interesting parts of the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga, however, is the far-field microphones, which can pick up voice commands from as far as 13 feet away.

And for people who don’t fancy barking commands at Windows 10’s Cortana, then they can shout at the Amazon Alexa app due to land on Windows 10 in January and will be bundled into the X1 Yoga. And when the machine is closed, Lenovo said it will offer voice command and smart functionality similar to an Amazon Echo speaker, but without its audio chops. 

First impressions
The ThinkPad X1 Yoga offers the same innovative design as previous Yoga products but with a significant performance upgrade. In our short experience with it, we found it fun to use with fast and responsive performance, but it did still feel a little too chunky compared to some of the other devices we’ve tested over the last week, especially for those wanting a portable machine.

Due to launch later this month, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is due to hit the market priced from $1,889, around £1,400. µ

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