- High quality audio
- sturdy portable design
- bright display
- excellent display hinge
- Slow SSD speeds
- Weak color reproduction
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12’s premium build and strong performance continue to make it an excellent choice for users on the go.
Lenovo has returned with its newest convertible/business hybrid the ThinkPad Yoga 12. As a follow up to the original ThinkPad Yoga, the 12.5-inch convertible offers high-quality build materials with the flexibility of its 360 degree hinge design. Lenovo has further bolstered the device’s utility with the addition of an optional stylus and Intel’s fifth generation Core CPU.
Build and Design
Similar to other ThinkPad devices the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 features a high-quality chassis design. The black magnesium-aluminum is soft but sturdy, making it comfortable to handle, but remaining durable under pressure. The lid is curved along the top corners and squared off near the display hinge. “Lenovo” lettering is engraved along the bottom right hand side of the lid, while chrome “ThinkPad” lettering complete with the led “i” sits diagonally along the top left-hand corner.
The matching deck features similar “ThinkPad” lettering along the bottom right hand side. The metal composite is cool to the touch offering a comfortable wrist rest while typing. The keyboard is slightly indented and is surrounded by a black plastic tray.
The zinc-alloy hinges help bolster the device’s durability, holding the display firmly in place. The iconic 360-degree hinge design also makes it easy to switch between laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes. A windows home screen button sits at the bottom center of the display, which is particularly handy in tablet mode. Independent volume controls, the power button and a lock-screen button also sit along the right side of the chassis for easy access.
Measuring 12.44 x 8.7 x 0.74 inches and weighing 3.48 pounds the ThinkPad Yoga 12 is portable for a laptop, but at nearly three and half pounds the device can still feel a bit unwieldy as a tablet. The competing HP Spectre x360 and 12-inch Apple MacBook (2015) are both thinner and lighter at 3.3 pounds and 2.03 pounds respectively. The added weight is really only problematic when trying to use the ThinkPad Yoga 12 with one hand. For many business users the added durability from the premium build will be well worth the extra girth.
Ports and Features
Despite its relatively thin frame, the ThinkPad Yoga 12 manages to cover all of the essentials when it comes to connectivity. The left side features a power connector, a One Link Docking port, a USB 3.0 port and a headphone jack. The right side of the device offers a Kensington lock slot, mini-HDMI connector, USB 3.0 port and a full-size SD card reader.
The Yoga 12’s connectivity can be bolstered by the optional One Link Dock, which is currently available for $120. The plug-in docking station offers two front-facing USB 3.0 ports, a Kensington Lock slot on the right side of the device, two rear-facing USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet connector and a full-sized HDMI connector.
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 also features an optional Wacom active pen stylus, which is located along the right front corner of the chassis. The pen clips into the right front corner for easy travel. The small writing utensil doesn’t match the quality of the Acer Active Pen, but it also doesn’t require batteries to work. It’s perfect for marking up PDF files or adding hand drawn notes, but it clearly isn’t a key focal point of the device.
Display and Speakers
The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 12 features a 12.5-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 10-point multitouch display. Like the rest of the device the screen affords extra durability thanks to the protective Dragontrail Glass display. The anti-scratch surface proves to be a notable boon when using the panel’s touch controls. Lenovo also reports that the surface is smudge-proof, but Notebook Review noticed fingerprint marks along the edges of the display after using the controls controls for an extended amount of time.
The panel itself is exceptionally bright at 393 nits. That’s well beyond most competing devices such as the HP Spectre x360 and Microsoft Surface Pro 3. The well-lit display affords excellent viewing angles with images holding well past 140 degrees without any color loss. The Yoga 12 also performs well in direct sunlight making it an ideal travel device.
Images appear sharp and clear on the panel, but color reproduction is a little flat. While watching a trailer for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt only specific colors looked saturated. The screen did a good job capturing Geralt’s blinding white hair and the orange hue of the sunset, but the blue waters and green foliage seem noticeably muted. Still for most uses the Thinkpad Yoga 12 will more than suffice, but it’s not the perfect multimedia machine by any stretch.
The speakers are located near the back of the chassis near the display hinge. The speakers aren’t particularly boisterous, though the sound output can be augmented with the paired Dolby Digital Plus software. However, even with the volume maxed out the speakers will still struggle to fill a modest sized room with audio. While the speakers may not be all that loud, they did do a fantastic job depicting an orchestral track. NBR was blown away by the level of detail as the Yoga 12 was able to catch all of the nuances without an noticeable distortions.
Keyboard and Touchpad
One of the highlights of any ThinkPad device is the keyboard and the Yoga 12 proves to be no different. The ThinkPad Yoga 12 looks and feels similar to the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14, complete with the Chiclet-style design and black plastic tray. The square plastic keys are rounded along the edges and soft to the touch. The face of the keys curve inwards to provide additional grip for the user’s fingers. Travel distance is decent given the device’s slim frame and the keys quickly snap back into place. The consistent and forceful tactile feedback makes typing a real joy on the ThinkPad Yoga 12.
True to their traditionalist nature the Yoga 12 also features a trackpoint stick located between the “G” and “H” keys. The red braised nub is responsive to the touch and controls extremely well. With corresponding mouse buttons located on top of the touchpad, users can navigate with the trackpoint stick without ever having to take their hand off the keyboard.
Located directly below the spacebar is a modestly sized Synaptic touchpad. While the small rubber pad has three mouse buttons on top, the bottom portion of the pad is devoid of buttons. Instead the bottom right and left portions of the pad are designated to act as mouse buttons. The rubber pad is smooth to the touch and allows for easy frictionless travel, affording a great level of control and sensitivity. The synaptic pad performs well accurately reading swipes, clicks and multi-finger gestures without issue.