Keyboard and trackpad

The computer input system is used every time, all the time, so it is an essential thing to consider when purchasing a laptop.

This keyboard has a U-shape key design, which means that the keys are not flat, but curved downwards in the middle. This makes the downward push force naturally push the fingertip towards the center, thus helping avoid typing errors.

This keyboard has keys that are 256 mm² (~0.4 sq. in) big, which is pretty standard, and perhaps a bit larger than others. The key travel is 1.8 mm, and that is very deep. Many people like longer key-travel length, but you need to figure what is best for you. You can try or look up what length you previously liked.

Unlike more expensive ThinkPad models, the keyboard is not spill-proof, so keep an eye on that coffee mug. Also, it seems that although the key caps look identical, the L380 Yoga switches feel different from the more expensive Lenovo laptops. Again, not surprising, but good to know. The feel is quite good, but not as sharp/crisp.

The L380 Yoga’s trackpad has a Mylar surface. Mylar is a polyester (plastic) material also known as BoPET. Very smooth surfaces that are electrically insulated can be made from it, and it is also less fragile than glass, another favorite material for high-end laptop trackpads. Many people cannot tell the difference, but some users argue that glass is more agreeable and generates less friction with the fingertips.

With a trackpad surface of ~8.99 Square-inches, the trackpad is of standard size. Like any other touch-interface, the size of the trackpad in relation to the gestures matters. On laptops, most people use scroll and pinch+zoom motions. More advanced gestures require up to four fingers, and circular motions tend to be more comfortable with a larger surface. In general, larger is better.

Of course, Lenovo’s legendary Trackpoint (the red dot) is also present to continue catering to a hardcore fan base that literally “demands” this feature.

Ports

  • 2x USB Type C, 3.1 Gen1
  • 1x USB Type A, 3.1 Gen1, Always-on
  • 1x USB Type A, 3.1 Gen1
  • 1x Standard HDMI1.4
  • 1x Mini Ethernet (requires an Ethernet adaptor)
  • 1x 3.5mm audio
  • 1x Anti-theft port, Kensington
  • 1x Flash Reader, MicroSD

The ThinkPad Yoga L380 provides a good mix of ports, with both USB-A (regular) and USB-C ports. A full-size HDMI 1.4 can also be extremely convenient if you often connect to a projector or a dongle. People who need impeccable network access would probably prefer the Wired Mini-Ethernet connection to the built-in WiFi. However, although this is a native Ethernet port, you still need an RJ45 adapter.

The microSD slot lets you add slower-performance storage at a very low-cost. You can get 128GB for ~$40 or 256GB for ~$62, with a monster 400GB microSD card going for ~$200. You could use it as a backup or store media files. Obviously, you can also copy files from your phone or camera microSD card with it.

Speakers

The L380 Yoga has two 2W speakers placed at the bottom of the laptop (the two horizontal slots). While this is not an ideal position (towards the user is always best), they don’t occupy physical space around the keyboard and they are designed to use the table surface for sound reflection.

The sound quality is very decent, and you can watch movies and listen to music without any issues. In absolute terms, I would give the sound a 7/10 rating, and within this price range, I’m not entirely sure because we usually review more expensive laptops.

The Lenovo ThinkPad L380 Yoga comes with Dolby Advanced pre-installed. It is a sound driver that is designed to make the sound clearer, especially when the volume is high. It also has handy features such as sound normalization which keeps the volume consistent from video to video.

Overall product rating: 8/10

Filed in Computers >Reviews. Read more about Editorspick, Laptop Reviews, Laptops, Lenovo, Lenovo reviews and Thinkpad.

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