Lenovo Yoga packs a punch for road warriors

The Yoga can be used in Stand mode (above) or in Tent mode.
PHOTO: Lenovo

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga is a sleek hybrid computer that looks identical to the ThinkPad X1 Carbon ultrabook that recently won our Editor's Choice award.

Its twist: unlike the clamshell Carbon, it can transform between laptop and tablet modes, by rotating its 360-degree hinge.

In addition, it can be used in Tent mode (in which the device is balanced on its edges in an inverted "V"), and Stand mode (by rotating the display till the keyboard is facing downwards and resting on the desk).

In Stand mode, the keys are retracted into the keyboard so they don't get scratched. The keyboard is also disabled in this mode to prevent accidental key presses.

The Yoga looks like the ideal business companion with a subdued black carbon-fibre chassis that is easy to clean and seemingly impervious to fingerprint smudges.

Its 14-inch touchscreen complements the Yoga's tablet functionality. It also has a stylus concealed at the side for handwriting input.

But, as a tablet, the Yoga feels clunky and awkward to use because, in landscape orientation, it is much wider than a typical 10-inch slate. At around 1.3kg, it is also heavier than conventional tablets that usually weigh less than 500g.

Its display looks sharp with a 2,560 x 1,440-pixel screen resolution. I wish the screen could be brighter at maximum brightness, but I have no complaints about its wide viewing angles. Lenovo also has an optional Oled display for the Yoga, which is not available yet.

Because of its hybrid design, the power button is at the side, along with a volume rocker. There are three USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI interface, a mini-DisplayPort and a proprietary OneLink+ port that connects to an optional dock. Behind a flap at the back are the microSD and 4G SIM card slots.

There is no Ethernet port, but these connectors should satisfy most business users.

The keyboard has the classic ThinkPad layout: the Fn key - not the Ctrl key - is on the outside, and there is a red track point in the middle. Key travel is very good and the keys are well spaced for comfortable typing.

Like the X1 Carbon, the Yoga has a new fingerprint sensor similar to the ones found on smartphones. Instead of swiping on it with your fingers, you simply touch the sensor with your finger. It feels more reliable and is quick to detect your finger, too.

At $3,799, the Yoga is more expensive than the $3,049 X1 Carbon which I previously tested. But the Yoga has slightly better hardware, such as a faster processor and twice the amount of RAM. This is reflected in the PCMark 8 benchmark: the Yoga scored 2,755, compared with 2,686 for the Carbon.

At maximum screen brightness and volume, the Yoga lasted 6.5 hours in our video-loop battery life test. This is about 30 minutes shorter than the X1 Carbon, but it is still fairly good for a hybrid laptop.

Verdict: A premium ultraportable hybrid laptop fit for business users.

TECH SPECS PRICE: $3,799 PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-6600U (2.6GHz) GRAPHICS: Intel HD Graphics 520 RAM: 16GB SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 2,560 x 1,440 pixels CONNECTIVITY: 3 x USB 3.0, Mini-DisplayPort, HDMI, OneLink+, microSD, audio jack BATTERY: 52 watt-hour


This article was first published on May 18, 2016. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.