The Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 3 is an excellent professional computer

Highs

  • Extra-durable and easy to service
  • Very bright HDR display option
  • Built-in Stylus
  • Excellent performance in this class
  • Quick-charge

Lows

  • Slightly pricey for this kind of CPU/RAM/SSD combo
  • Larger than other thin and light laptops

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 9/10

In its 3rd generation, the Lenovo X1 Yoga has been announced at CES 2018, and we had an early peek at it, including in the video below. We had a unit in the office for some time now, and it’s Review time! As usual, the X1 Yoga is aimed at a business-oriented user base that wants a care-free, robust 2-in-1 convertible laptop that is dependable under heavy travel or “in the field” conditions. Let’s take a closer look at this 2018 (aka Gen 3) model of the X1 Yoga.

Specifications as tested

Here is the configuration as tested. There are many more options to choose from, and we will cover the primary differences for differences choices you may have.

Configuration options

CPU

: the Lenovo X1 Yoga Gen 3 has four CPU options which are

  • Core i5-8250U
  • Core i5-8350U
  • Core i7-8550U
  • Core i7-8650U with vPro.

Intel does a good to job scale performance and price as the numbers go up in the naming scheme. We will come back to this in the Performance section, but price-wise, there is a gap of $265 from the most affordable to the most expensive CPU option.

Memory: core i5-8350U and core i7-8650U can get a 16GB RAM option. Otherwise, it’s 8GB of RAM.

Displays: Three different 13.9” (aka 14” in common language) screens can be chosen with very distinct advantages as you upgrade.

  • Base 1920×1080 IPS LCD display ~300+ NITs
  • The first upgrade (+$96) increases the resolution to 2560×1440
  • The second one (+$170 from base) adds Dolby Vision HDR + 2560×1440.

Storage

: 256, 512 or 1TB of SSD (PCIe-NVMe OPAL2.0 M.2)

What’s New?

Among the changes made for the 2018 edition of the X1 Yoga, we think that the Dolby Vision HDR screen option and the new Gen 8 Intel CPUs will have the most impact, especially for users who do image-based work, or simply enjoy HDR videos.

Industrial Design

At first glance, the industrial design of the X1 Yoga 2018 uses the same design language as the prior editions. Over the years, Lenovo has modernized the design, but from last year’s model, the size of the laptop has not changed much. The 2017 edition is ~2.1% bigger and ~2.4% lighter than the unit we are reviewing today.

The X1 Yoga has not been designed to compete in the ultra-thin / ultra-light space (The X1 Carbon is…). If you want such a ~14” laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 920, the Zenbook 3 Deluxe or the Huawei MateBook X Pro are good options to look at. Yet, these laptops will serve as competition because the X1 Yoga has very unique and specific features that set it apart.

"HIGHER SURVIVABILITY"

Instead, this X1 Yoga design is focused on being extremely sturdy, carefree, but performant and relatively thin at the same time. The X1 Yoga was initially introduced as being the multimode (tablet-convertible) version in the X1 line, and it is still the case.

The X1 laptops are among the rare, if not the only, laptop in this category to pass 12 U.S Military STD-810G durability tests and have some degree of water survivability. For professionals who do want to reduce possible downtime to the maximum, these are very desirable features that are often worth a premium, given how much it costs to have a high-skilled worker idle because of a problematic computer.

Learn more: What is MIL-STD-810G?

Keyboard and Trackpad

The spill-resistant keyboard is another thing that makes the Lenovo X1 Yoga more sturdy than other 14” laptop computers. Drinks and coffee are never far from keyboards, and this design allows the water to flow away without damaging the electronics.

When folding the laptop past 180 degrees, the keys retract to be flush with the chassis’ surface. This makes the laptop more stable, and removes unwanted pressure on the keys, further reducing the odds of damage.

"THINKPAD LAPTOPS ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR EXCELLENT TYPING COMFORT"

The keyboard has comfortable ~225 square mm keys and a long key-travel of 1.8mm. The space between keys is ~3.6mm. Depending on your habits, long key-travel is often associated with extra typing comfort. This, and the retractable keys, partly explains why the X1 Yoga is thicker than its Lenovo Yoga 920 counterpart by ~3mm for example. The priority has been given to comfort and durability over good looks.

Many people complain about shallow keyboards, while some don’t mind or even love them. Since this is a personal preference, we would recommend you to test the keyboard if you can do so at a retail location. If you have never tested one of these keyboard, you are in for a treat. ThinkPad laptops are known for their excellent typing comfort.

The trackpad surface is made of glass, which is the smoothest and best material for this purpose. This is typical in this price range, but more affordable laptops can have various trackpad materials to reduce the cost.

At ~9.92 square inches, the trackpad is large and comfortable. You can find larger trackpads, but whether you need it or not depends on what kinds of gestures you use in Windows. Most people use a swipe and pinch-zoom gestures. However, if you use the circular or pinch-rotation gestures, a more substantial trackpad might bring additional comfort.

Ports

Another great reason why there are extra millimeters of thickness on the X1 Yoga is the number of ports.

  • On the Left side, you have
    • 2x USB-C connectors
    • 1x Full-size USB-A
  • On the Right side, you have
    • 1x 3.5mm audio connector
    • 1x Power button
    • 1x Native Ethernet port (needs an Adapter)
    • 1x USB-A
    • 1x Full-size HDMI
    • Lenovo ThinkPad Pen Pro which slides into the chassis.
    • Anti-theft lock port.
  • On the back, you have
    • 1x SIM tray
    • 1x microSD slot

This is much more Ports than many thinner computers. For business people, not having to require a dongle for HDMI or full-size USB is often of great importance. I wished that the Ethernet port did not require a dongle, but unfortunately, Ethernet ports are huge, it’s not even close to fitting. Also, the Ethernet adapter is NOT included.

If you are going to have to use a dongle, I would probably opt for having a USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 dongle with a bunch of connectors. It should easily be able to handle Gb Ethernet as well. The full-size HDMI video connector is probably the most important because it is the most commonly used for presentations. At the end of the day, if you use dongles, at some point you will forget/lose them.

SIM and microSD slots are behind this cover

Interestingly, the microSD slot lets you add slower-performance storage at a 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 to store media files.

Component access

The X1 Yoga’s rear can be quickly opened with a small Philips screw driver for access/maintenance. The user has access to the M.2 SSD module, but also the battery, fan and WiFi module. The RAM is soldered to the motherboard.

We’re not sure what the warranty says about having the user open the chassis, but from an IT’s perspective, it makes the laptop easier to maintain/repair if ever needed. Again… this means less downtime and possibly faster recovery time, especially for simple things like disk-imaging.

Speakers

The two 1W speakers are powerful enough to be used in a reasonably large (and quiet) conference room. Also, watching movies would pose no problem, and if anything I would turn the volume down even if I was by myself. The sound is definitely loud enough, although one might argue it it lacks a bit of “body” and bass — but this common with laptops.

The speakers are placed on the bottom of the laptop, and in theory, they should sound better in “tent” mode (270 degree screen rotation). However, I found that the sound was not that different and also sounds good in standard laptop mode.

Overall product rating: 9/10

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

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