Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (6th Generation) First Impressions

Posted on June 1, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Windows 10 with 37 Comments

The new ThinkPad X1 Yoga carries forward an iconic design and puts it over the top with a 16:10 display, Thunderbolt 4, and an all-aluminum body.

This is my kind of PC: Versatile to a fault, and the right combination of size, display aspect ratio, performance, and expansion.

In the review configuration, we’re looking at an 11th-generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 with Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB of LPDDR4x-4266 RAM, 512 GB of NVMe-based SSD storage. And Lenovo promises over 9 hours of real-world battery life, so it meets the Intel Evo certification criteria.

Inside, you’ll find other modern components, including Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2, though I don’t believe there’s a cellular data option.

And on the outside, you’ll find an excellent selection of modern and legacy ports, including two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, one full-sized x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, and one full-sized HDMI 2.0 port on the left side of the PC.

And on the right, there’s a second full-sized x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, but with always-on capabilities, a headphone jack., and a Kensington-style security lock.

Aside from the versatility of the Yoga form factor, which can transform into various usage modes like Tent, Stand, and Tablet, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga is made entirely of aluminum, giving it a distinctive look when compared to most other ThinkPads. And at 3 pounds and .59 inches thin, the X1 Yoga should prove to be quite portable.

And let’s not forget the screen: Lenovo has heard its customers and is now transitioning to 16:10 displays that provide more room for productivity multitasking. There are various display choices up to a bright 500-nit UHD+ panel with Dolby Vision capabilities, but the review unit shipped with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS panel with an anti-glare coating and Privacy Guard technology that I think is just right.

That said, the bezels aren’t particularly small given the possibilities here. Perhaps a refresh of the form factor is due.

For security and privacy, the X1 Yoga provides a Windows Hello facial recognition, a manual ThinkShutter webcam cover, a match-on-chip fingerprint reader built into the power button, and optional Human Presence detection that can lock the PC if others approach or unlock it when it senses that it’s you (assuming you enable Windows Hello facial recognition as well).

As with other Lenovo PCs, the X1 Yoga includes a high-quality keyboard with scalloped keys and short key throws, plus a dual-pointing system with a TrackPoint and touchpad.

My only immediate issue is that the Fn and Ctrl keys are reversed, which I will never understand, Lenovo. Never.

Power is supplied by a standard 65-watt Lenovo power supply that can charge the 57-watt-hour battery to 80 percent in 60 minutes.

More soon.

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Comments (37)

37 responses to “Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (6th Generation) First Impressions”

  1. bluvg

    Looks good! Very curious: does a video call (especially Teams) still crush the CPU and cause the fans to kick in (loudly?)? i5-8350U is not that old, but it can barely cope (no filters applied), which I find amazing since we've had webcams for a couple decades or so.

    16:10... it's finally happening!

    • wright_is

      I have a ThinkPad T480 i5 and the fans never rev up when using Teams, even for prolonged periods. About the only thing that causes the fans to rev up is the daily anti-virus scan from our corporate AV solution.

      • bluvg

        Do you mind sharing the CPU model (and GPU, if discrete)? What kind of CPU util do you see during a video call?

        • wright_is

          Core i5-8530, 8GB RAM, no external GPU. I run an external Logitech 1080p camera and incoming streams a mix of 720p and 1080p. It is usually connected to an ultra wide 34" display, running outlook, Brave, Edge, TeamViewer and an RDP manger.

          • bluvg

            Thank you! I wonder if the problem is the built-in camera itself (vs external) then? There is never an instance in which the fans don't fire up during a video call on these units.

            • wright_is

              More likely the design of the notebook. The ThinkPad T series is the high-end normal (i.e. not X1) ThinkPad, which has a decent sized case with lots of airflow.

              It has been interesting to look at comparative benchtests over at heise.de, a lot of i7 laptops actually perform worse than i5 laptops, because the airflow on the i7 ultrabooks is compromised and the i5s can actually perform better, because their designs had more air flow.

              This could be the case with yours, the ThinkPad has a nearly 2cm thick base, with big air slots left and right. If you have a much thinner ultrabook, the performance will be compromised by the thin design, meaning less air flow, meaning more fan noise and a throttled processor.

              I had a telco with one of our reps yesterday. He was complaining that his laptop was slow... No kidding, a 2010 Core i3 m350 with a 250GB HDD, it was like do remote support through molasses! I told him, I wouldn't waste time fixing it, I'd just tell his line manager to get him a new PC pronto!

  2. brettscoast

    wow that is a sweet machine. It would be nice if they placed a USB-C port on either side of the laptop. Agreed the bezels could be trimmed down even further. Look forward to your full review.

  3. VMax

    A cellular connectivity option is definitely available here in Australia, I'd expect it to be possible in the US too, unless there's some hopefully-temporary issue.

    The Fn/Ctrl swap has always been justified as making the hardware-control type key combos easier, e.g. toggle keyboard backlight (or ThinkLight back in the day), change display brightness, enable/disable radios etc.

    I'm curious to hear your impressions of the aluminium vs CFRP chassis. Not sure if that's a change I'll like, but interested to find out more.

    • dukeb

      Lenovo is so odd with their cellular offerings. We are a Lenovo reseller and a couple of weeks ago I was on a webinar where the product managers were touting 5G availability across many of the Thinkpad product lines including the X1 Yoga. If you use Lenovo's PSREF tool and look at the Gen6 products they offer NO cellular in the USA. If you look at Australia, they show "Quectel EM120R-GL with embedded eSIM" as an option.

  4. wright_is

    The first thing I do on my ThinkPads is go into the BIOS settings and swap the Ctrl and Fn keys over.

    • Paul Thurrott

      For a while, you could do this via the Lenovo Vantage app, which is a lot easier. But these newer machines require this BIOS switch again. Goofy.
      • bluvg

        Wow, they took that option out of Vantage?! That's silly.

        • Paul Thurrott

          Yep. It's been driving me nuts, and on the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 I'm currently reviewing, there's no option for this in the BIOS or in the Vantage app. It's just stuck in the wrong position on the keyboard.
  5. beneaththesurface

    I bought the X1 Yoga Gen 5, i7/1TB/16 last fall. It’s the best computer I’ve ever owned. No issues with speed or overheating. But I like the feel and reduced weight of my company-provided X1 Carbon much better. When Lenovo had a big sale in November, I asked my wife to choose between the Yoga and Carbon for herself, and she chose the carbon due to weight. I’d still choose the X1 due to pen capabilities, but my dream machine would combine Yoga versatility and inking with Carbon weight.

  6. dennisg

    I have one of these. Awesome machine! The aluminum machine feels professional and sleek. I keep running my fingers along the side of the chassis to admire it. The 16:10 form factor is a great step in the right direction. I love the optional 500 nit and 4k also. The 32gb of RAM is helpful for those of us having dozens of tabs and programs open. And the function key is right where I'm used to it! I can just reach without looking to wake up the machine. I don't use other brands and have had ThinkPads since they were first introduced in black and white. The fingerprint reader is much better than the one in my older ThinkPad Yoga. The power supply switch is mercifully moved to the top of the keyboard, meaning no more accidental powering down by accident when trying to slide the machine over to the left. Ugh that was a painful but rare experience over the last three years.

    Cons: the touch pad is nice and large but does not have an option to cordon off part of it. The area at the base of my thumb keeps doing a "click" when teaching for the track point and I have found the machine to begin moving folders to an arbitrary location to my horror. I had to turn off the touchpad's single click feature, which isn't optimal. Also, my touch screen stopped working with my finger, but still works with the included "pen." They are sending me an entirely new computer under my on site warranty.

    Bottom line: best ThinkPad yet, but please, Lenovo, enhance the driver to enable restricting the "click" area of the touch pad like on my old one!

    • VMax

      Other than the USB-C/TB ports both being on the same side as has already been mentioned, I've always felt like one of the biggest drawbacks on the X1 Yoga (I have a gen3) is the lack of a physical volume control accessible in all modes. My old Helix 2 had a volume rocker on the side, and I really miss that when using the Yoga in one of the non-laptop modes. I actually prefer the power button on the side for a similar reason, though I can see how accidentally hitting a side-mounted button could be annoying.

      Does the aluminium finish carry on across the keyboard deck and top cover, or is that the usual soft-touch finish from previous ThinkPads?

      • dennisg

        Good question. The top and bottom feel way different from the previous soft-touch finish. It's more slick and almost feels like aluminum, although I believe it's some kind of plastic. It's very pleasing.

  7. dennisg

    Reaching not teaching. Oops.

  8. huddie

    Great. Another thing for me to desire. I have a ThinkPad Yoga 460 that's about 6 years old and getting long in the tooth. This thing looks like the business and a worthy successor. Now begins the process of pretending I can resist consumer temptation, followed eventually by the inevitable purchase. Will I ever learn ?

  9. buzzmodo

    Did they give you the part number for this one? "Is it Part Number: 82BJ0006US"

    • garethb

      That part number is a Lenovo Yoga, not a Lenovo *ThinkPad* Yoga.

      These are different things. One is a consumer-level product, the other (which Paul has) is a business level.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I believe it's 20XY002NUS.
  10. solomonrex

    So, what is the state of ‘inking’ on Windows? App deprived? Fine? Depends?

  11. youwerewarned

    I bought my wife a Lenovo i7/512/16 for mail/browsing. Should have lasted for years. But the plastic craptastic chassis now has multiple 1"+ stress cracks, and I regularly have to entirely open the chassis and retighten the motherboard screws to fix the loss of ground paths which kill the screen.

    So here's hoping a metal chassis solves these problems.

    • bluvg

      That sounds like one of Lenovo's consumer lines? The ThinkPad line is pretty rugged (not rugged-ized, but strong).

      • james.h.robinson

        Yeah, I wish people would learn sub-brands. It's like people judging Dell XPS because their cheap Inspiron crapped out.

        • youwerewarned

          Was a dealer for all of these brands, for years, so i understand sub-brands. The apples don't fall far from the tree...shortcuts seen in "consumer" models absolutely appear in the "professional" models where the metal case you can touch simply covers the generic motherboard used by both. But you have to pop the lid to see that.

        • dukeb

          But at least Dell doesn't create confusion by using the same names between their business and consumer product lines.

          Let Lenovo call the consumer convertible the FLIPPY -- anything other than Yoga.

  12. hrlngrv

    TrackPoint and full-height [Up]/[Down] cursor keys. A Good Laptop!

    Getting away from gawdawful 16:9 also good, though 3:2 would be better.

  13. JE

    No ‘champions row’ of home/end/pgup/pgdown on the right side of keyboard which I’ve really grown to find a must have after using HP devices. They’re there but awkwardly placed.

    • ianw789

      Hah! That nightmarish column of keys on the HPs is a big reason why I stuck with Lenovo for my most recent laptop purchase. And long live the Fn key on the corner to make Ctrl-B and Ctrl-V easier! :-)

    • VMax

      I imagine it's just a matter of what you're used to - using ThinkPads regularly, I find that layout to be logical and straightforward, with the HP and similar keyboards quite frustrating due to the number of similarly-sized keys in that column, as well as the undersized arrows. I can't imagine it'd take long to get used to that layout if I owned an HP machine though, and the reverse is likely also true.

      • bluvg

        I agree on the HP layout. Very frustrating loss of muscle memory on the right hand side, and a lot of mistakes initially. I'm sure I'd get used to it, but... why?

  14. omega shark

    The ctrl and fn keys are reversed because most use the ctrl key more often, so having it reversed puts the more used key (ctrl) closer and easier to access. However, for those who rather have those keys in their traditional position, you can have them unreversed in Lenovo Vantage settings.