Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED (2017) Review

by Reads (3,076)
  • Editor's Rating

    Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

      • Software & Support
      • 8
      • Upgrade Capabilities
      • 7
      • Usability
      • 10
      • Design
      • 8
      • Performance
      • 8
      • Features
      • 10
      • Price/Value Rating
      • 7
      • Total Score:
      • 8.29
      • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10
  • Pros

    • Vibrant colorful OLED display
    • Excellent performance
    • World-class keyboard
    • Tons of great features
  • Cons

    • Expensive

Quick Take

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a superb mix of performance, utility, and gorgeous visuals. Just be ready to pay for that trifecta. 


The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a masterclass of a convertible. With excellent build quality, reliable performance, and a cornucopia of useful features for both consumers and business users there’s a lot to like here. In fact, there wasn’t a whole lot we could find to dislike when we first reviewed the 2017 Lenovo X1 Yoga, save for the reflective display panel and expensive price tag. The Lenovo X1 Yoga OLED variant features a jaw-dropping 14-inch QHD OLED display, but it also comes at a noticeable price hike.

Are the improved visuals worth the price increase? Read the full review to find out.

Editor’s Note: This review is a follow up to our original review of the Lenovo X1 Yoga (2017). If you want a more comprehensive review to be sure to read the full Lenovo X1 Yoga 2017 review.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Build and Design

The black (also available in silver) carbon fiber build provides a great cush feel making the laptop easy to handle and hold. With sharp lines and moving slants, the X1 Yoga has an angular stylish look despite its plain black coloring. The laptop perfectly toes the line between an attractive consumer and classy business notebook.

Of course, the laptop is more than a pretty face though sporting the now well known 360-degree display hinge design. The hinge allows the screen to rotate a full 180 degrees switching between a laptop and a tablet and everything in between.

Measuring 13.1 x 9 x 0.69-inches and weighing 2.9 pounds the 14-inch convertible is incredibly light for a 14-inch laptop. However, as a tablet, the device can feel a bit unwieldy especially when trying to hold the X1 Yoga with a single hand. There are lighter convertibles on the market, such as the 12.5-inch Toshiba Portege X20W (2.4 pounds) and the 13.3-inch HP EliteBook x360 (2.8 pounds). Of course, these devices also come with smaller screens so there is a tradeoff.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Ports

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga packs a surprising amount of connectivity into its thin frame. The right side features a Kensington lock slot, an HDMI connector, a USB 3.0 port, a Mini-RJ45 Ethernet connector, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The left side features two USB Type-C (Thunderbolt) ports, and two additional USB 3.0 ports, the latter of which is always on. Finally, there is a micro-SIM and microSD card reader located next to the back right display hinge on the rear.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Keyboard and Touchpad

There’s a reason we continue to guys over Lenovo’s ThinkPad keyboards, they’re fantastic. The black glossy square keys curve inward to help cup and grip your fingers when typing. Key travel and action aren’t all that deep but the action is crisp and satisfying. That coupled with the consistent feedback makes for a comfortable and consistent typing experience. The laptop offers a new wave feature where the keyboard recedes when the screen is traveling past 90 degrees or is closed. Because the keys lay flat when the screen is closed, this removes the need for a tray allowing the keys to lay level with the deck.

Located below the touchpad is a black rubber pad. The touchpad is soft and smooth to the touch allowing for excellent travel and control. Equipped with Synaptic drivers the touchpad performs beautifully corresponding to each swipe, click, and multi-finger gesture without delay.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Stylus

The notebook also features the Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro stylus, which supports 2,048 levels of pressure. The pen has a dedicated compartment along the lower right side of the chassis, which also serves a charger for the pen. The pen is a bit a small side, feeling more like the pencils you’d find on a golf course than your traditional writing utensil. With excellent tracking and sensitivity, the Pen did a masterful job capturing our quick tests of notes and doodles, which is really saying something given our poor penmanship skills.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Screen and Speakers

The display is easily the crown jewel of this version of the Lenovo X1 Yoga. It’s gorgeous. The OLED display also helps to solve the reflective issue that that baseline model suffered due to the brighter panel. OLED displays are typically brighter than IPS and TN LCD panels due to the fact that the screen material emits light, instead of relying on a back light to shine through the panel. This also allows for a crystal clear image and rich detailed colors. In particular, NBR was blown away by how well the laptop captured the vibrant color landscape in Overwatch. The bright whites yellows and blues really popped right off the screen. Overall the Lenovo Yoga X1 offers a pretty fantastic viewing experience.

The Lenovo X1 Yoga speakers are a bit on the quiet side, capable of filling a small room with audio. However, the sound quality is rather impressive. NBR enjoyed listening to a number of Candyrat Records guitar instrumentals on the laptop. The speakers were capable of capturing the wide arrays of highs and lows and were even able to reproduce the faint harmonics with near pristine quality.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Performance

Another area where the Lenovo X1 Yoga is beefed up a bit is in the spec department. The Lenovo X1 Yoga review unit that we tested was equipped with a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7-7600U CPU, with Intel HD Graphics 620, 16GB of RAM, and a 516GB NVMe PCIe SSD. The faster processor definitely makes a difference (though you may not need that much performance depending on what you’re doing) but it also comes at a price hike, as the unit that we tested is currently priced at $2,115. That’s a sizable jump from the $1,400 unit that we tested last time. Of course, it’s worth noting that most of that cost increase is actually coming from the improved OLED display.

As the benchmark scores indicate the Lenovo X1 Yoga is a powerhouse. With a powerful Intel Core i7 under the hood and ample RAM, the laptop has no problem multitasking. While testing the device NBR was able to run 15 active Google Chrome tabs, with two HD video streams, and listening to Spotify in the background without any drop in performance. The 516GB PCIe SSD also performs beautifully with lighting fast read and write speeds. That means the machine boots up near instantaneously and programs and files only take a few seconds to load.

The biggest bottleneck for performance on this machine has to be the Intel HD 620 graphics. Truthfully the integrated graphics aren’t that bad, it’s just that everything else on this machine is rather good. The X1 Yoga is capable of basic HD video editing and playing less demanding game titles like League of Legends and Hearthstone, but the machine will struggle with more demanding tasks like 3D modeling, and more graphically intense games.

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED review unit that we tested had the following specifications:

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 14-inch QHD (2560 x 1440) OLED display
  • Intel Core i7-7600U CPU 2.8GHz
  • Intel HD Graphics 620
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 516GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth 4.1
  • Dimensions: 13.1 x 9 x 0.69-inches
  • Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Price as configured: $2,115

 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Benchmarks

PCMark8 Home (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for general activities from web browsing and video streaming to typing documents and playing games (higher scores mean better performance):

PCMark8 Work (Accelerated) measures overall system performance in Windows 8 for work-related productivity tasks (higher scores mean better performance):

3DMark Fire Strike measures the overall gaming performance of the GPU (higher scores mean better performance):

CrystalDiskMark storage drive performance test:

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga OLED Battery Life

PCMark 8 Balanced Battery Test (listed in minutes): 

The one area where we were worried this notebook might take a hit is the battery life. As we said earlier OLED panels are typically brighter than their IPS counterparts, which also means they’re bigger energy hogs. The more powerful specs and the brighter display did take their toll on the machine, but not nearly as bad we thought it might. In our tests, the Lenovo Yoga X1 ran for 8 hours and 56 minutes before shutting down. That only puts the 27 minutes behind the IPS variant. Considering that our tests are more strenuous than typical use, you can expect to get upwards of 11 hours of use on a single charge.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Final Thoughts

We already know that the Lenovo X1 Yoga is a great machine, so the better question is: are the upgrades worth the price hike? Well, that really depends on what you want. There are only a handful of OLED convertibles on the market and the X1 is one of the most feature rich out there with an excellent built-in stylus, security measures, unbelievable connectivity, and a world-class keyboard. The notebook could certainly be a great fit for artists or media junkies that want a convertible with some oomph. NBR, in particular, can see this device being a great fit for corporate art departments with a great balance between utility, dependability, and security.

That being said if you’re simply looking for a well-rounded laptop that can do a bit of everything you’ll likely be far better served by the IPS variant. Sure the visuals are great, but they’re hard to justify if you’re not really going to get a ton of use out of the display. Still, if you have the cash to burn, it is a great machine.

Pros:

  • Vibrant colorful OLED display
  • Excellent performance
  • World-class keyboard
  • Tons of great features

Cons:

  • Expensive



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