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ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 6 review: flexible flagship

As soon as upon a time, the Thinkpad X1 Yoga was Lenovo’s flagship enterprise convertible, becoming a member of the clamshell X1 Carbon on the prime of the corporate’s enterprise hierarchy. Nowadays, it has extra firm. We now have the paper-thin, titanium-coated X1 Titanium Yoga, the featherweight X1 Nano, and the powerhouse X1 Extreme kicking round, all of that are wonderful, dear, and will fairly be thought of flagships in their very own proper.

There’s lots of innovation taking place throughout the ThinkPad line, however the X1 Yoga retains lots of the hallmark options which have graced old-school ThinkPads over time. (With a starting tag of $1,493.40$2,315.28 as tested — that features the premium worth.) There are some delicate however essential upgrades, after all, together with a 16:10 (lastly) contact show, a brand new grey colour, a wider touchpad, and new safety features that may largely enchantment to enterprise customers. It’s removed from probably the most cost-effective Home windows convertible you should buy, nevertheless it does have rather a lot to supply — particularly to long-time ThinkPad followers on the lookout for a contemporary spin on a longtime package deal.

Beginning with what’s new: the 16:10 facet ratio is right here. This can be a change that Lenovo has delivered to different prime ThinkPads this yr, together with the X1 Nano. I a lot choose this to the 16:9 panel we noticed on the Gen 5, as a result of it offers noticeably extra vertical house with out including a lot footprint to the chassis.

The opposite factor to notice about this show is its matte texture — you don’t see matte touchscreens fairly often. Writing on it with the stylus feels mainly the identical as writing on a shiny panel, although the sound of the tip dragging alongside is a bit louder on the matte display screen. (I additionally choose touching the matte texture, although preferences differ.) Primarily, the matte texture makes colours look a bit muted in comparison with these on shiny screens, however you’ll additionally see considerably much less glare, and work in brilliant settings is a way more doable prospect. The colours had been sharp sufficient that watching movies was nonetheless pleasurable, and I may make out the main points properly sufficient, so I discovered the matte texture to be a constructive general. The panel additionally didn’t retain any smudges or fingerprints throughout my testing interval.

The opposite notable change: the touchpad is greater. Particularly, it’s 4.33 inches extensive, the place the Gen 5’s (much maligned by reviewers for its small dimension) was simply 4. It’s lots extensive now, although it’s nonetheless a bit brief, and my fingers hit the plastic body typically as I scrolled. If the trackpad is simply too cramped for you, the X1 Yoga affords you loads of different methods to click on: There’s a set of discrete buttons on the prime of the touchpad (although they lack the pink accents that always seem on ThinkPad clickers) in addition to the signature ThinkPad TrackPoint within the middle of the keyboard. And the unit comes with a tiny stylus, which lives in a storage on the best facet of the chassis.

After which there are a selection of up to date safety features, which Lenovo has drizzled throughout the ThinkPad line. There’s an non-compulsory IR webcam with human-presence detection which might robotically lock the pc in the event you’re not close by (the webcam itself has a bodily shutter, as ThinkPads historically do, and delivers a reasonably grainy image), a match-on-chip fingerprint reader within the energy button, a dTPM 2.0 safety chip (which encrypts consumer knowledge on the system), and an non-compulsory characteristic referred to as Privateness Guard which makes your display screen tougher to peek at from the perimeters.

However probably the most noticeable replace is to the look. Whereas the Gen 5’s chassis had some grey on it, the Gen 6 is grey in all places, together with the keyboard, touchpad, and hinge. Because of this the Yoga seems to be a bit completely different from the sea of other ThinkPads out there, that are historically very black. It provides the X1 Yoga extra of a futuristic vibe than gadgets just like the X1 Carbon and the X13, although pink and grey aren’t practically as putting as pink and black.

Anyway, to every their very own on the aesthetic. What’s barely disappointing is how simply scratchable the end was. I folded my unit right into a pill and positioned it onto an out of doors desk for a couple of minutes for some temporary drawing and writing, and after I picked it up there have been scratches on the palm rests. I used to be afraid to let the gadget close to something remotely sharp after that. If this was the impact of some minutes of writing, I fear about how scratched up this chassis may get from each day pill use.

In any other case, I’ve no complaints concerning the construct high quality. There’s a little bit of flex within the keyboard deck, however none within the show, and there wasn’t any display screen wobble whereas I used to be typing or touching the display screen. The end didn’t decide up many fingerprints (a difficulty I typically have with black ThinkPads). The hinge is clean, making folding and unfolding a breeze — I may pop it open one-handed, with some issue. It’s additionally a reasonably transportable product, at three kilos and 0.59 inches thick, although a bit heavy to carry as a pill for lengthy durations.

Elsewhere, the X1 Yoga is excellent. ThinkPad keyboards are world-renowned, and this one — whereas flatter than these of a few of its siblings — remains to be snug with wonderful journey. Notice that like most ThinkPads, the Yoga has half-sized arrow keys, and the Fn and Ctrl keys swapped from the place they’re on nearly all of different laptops, which takes lots of getting used to. (You’ll be able to remap these keys, however having incorrectly labeled keys can nonetheless be an eyesore to some.) The port choice is nice, together with two Thunderbolt 4 ports (a brand new addition to the X1 Yoga), a USB 3.2 Sort-A, and an HDMI 2.0 on the left, in addition to a USB 3.2 Sort A, a headphone jack, and a lock slot on the best. The 4 360-degree microphones did a nice job of selecting up my voice. And the Dolby Atmos speaker system sounds nice, with audible bass and really clear vocals.

The X1 Yoga Gen 6 has 1,000,000 and one configurations, with every kind of add-ons. One fascinating factor: the cheapest listed model (at present $1,493.40) is definitely a Linux mannequin. The bottom specs embrace a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM (soldered), and 256GB of storage. My take a look at mannequin (operating Home windows 10 Professional, not Linux) is listed at $2,315.28 at B&H and features a quad-core Core i7-1165G7, 512GB of storage, and 16GB of RAM.

Then there are the varied extras. Home windows 10 Professional will value you $60 greater than Home windows 10 House. You’ll be able to bump as much as a 3840 x 2400 display screen, or a 1920 x 1200 display screen with Privateness Guard. Each of those choices are solely accessible with the IR digital camera, which is $30 over the common digital camera. Human Presence Detection, additionally solely accessible with the IR digital camera, is an additional $15. And you’ll add 4G and 5G cellular broadband; costs differ relying on the modem you choose.

The Core i7 utilized right here is similar processor present in lots of the best laptops available on the market and is sufficient for every kind of demanding workloads. Intel’s Iris Xe graphics card can assist with work duties and lighter gaming, although the X1 Yoga isn’t a gaming laptop computer by any stretch. Apps launched rapidly, and I didn’t discover a lot stuttering or slowdown throughout my day stuffed with streaming, photograph enhancing, and Slacking on prime of round a dozen Chrome tabs. Efficiency does rely considerably in your battery profile greater than with different Home windows laptops — I needed to change off of Battery Saver after I was making an attempt to run a Zoom name on prime of a heap of tabs and apps as a result of every part began freezing.

Talking of battery, the X1 Yoga’s life span isn’t a catastrophe however was nonetheless simply nice for a convertible at this worth level. I averaged eight hours and 7 minutes of steady use with the display screen at medium brightness. That’s not a nasty consequence, however I’ve seen higher from the highest ultraportables at this stage.

The ultimate commentary — which I’m most likely a bit too joyful about — is that there’s no bloatware on this factor. No McAfee, no Norton, no nonsense that I needed to uninstall as quickly as I turned it on. I typically hope that laptops above the $1,000 mark received’t come loaded with these items, however I repeatedly see them on dear client laptops from every kind of corporations (together with Lenovo). I’m glad that the ThinkPad isn’t loaded with any junk, however shoppers ought to get this expertise, too.

With so many add-ons and configurations, and costs starting from $1,500 to over $3,000, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga can actually be what you make it. It may be a midrange convertible with fundamental specs, or it may be a premium enterprise laptop computer with the safety emphasis attribute of the ThinkPad line. Among the many saturated sea of convertible ThinkPads on the market, it’s completely one to think about.

With that mentioned, it’s fairly an expensive line for a client or self-employed employee. For context, you may get a comparable mannequin of Lenovo’s prime client convertible, the Yoga 9i, for just $1,529 — which even has the Core i7-1185G7, a step above the chip that got here with my take a look at mannequin. X1 Yoga fashions with that processor begin at $1,938. Just like the X1 Yoga, the Yoga 9i has a convertible type issue, a bodily webcam shutter, a built-in stylus, a one-year guarantee, and many of the similar software program from Lenovo.

That raises the query of what all that more money is admittedly paying for. The X1 Yoga’s 16:10 facet ratio is actually a bonus, as are the shortage of bloatware and the matte show. However, the 9i has higher battery life (as do many client convertibles at that worth), distinctive audio, and a few really progressive options like a haptic touchpad and an ultrasonic fingerprint reader. At a sure level, X1 Yoga patrons are actually paying a premium for the ThinkPad construct. ThinkPads have some distinctive points — their TrackPoint and the distinctive keyboard association will all the time have their devotees — however in addition they have a glossy, skilled appear and feel. They’re recognized for his or her excessive sturdiness (and the X1 Yoga is MIL-spec examined, although the X1 Yoga’s scratch-prone chassis and the flex in its keyboard provides me some pause on that entrance). Total, just like the MacBook’s bitten apple, the ThinkPad emblem is a graphic anybody will acknowledge. It’s related to a excessive stage of construct high quality, longevity, and efficiency — it instructions a sure standing amongst enterprise customers and shoppers alike.

Which is all properly and good, if that’s what you need. Should you’re on the lookout for a contemporary ThinkPad that’s aggressive with as we speak’s finest laptops, and particularly in the event you’re all in favour of tidbits like Linux and human presence detection, that is most likely your dream machine. I simply really feel obligated to notice that in the event you’re so-so on the ThinkPad branding, you may get most of what this affords for less expensive.

Pictures by Monica Chin
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